JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Levi from Huntsville, AL
With the recent news about Chark not playing again this season, I'm worried about his future with the team. I think he was a big help for Trevor, looked like they were developing some chemistry. Could you talk to Urbs and let him know we need to keep DJ around? They gave Marqise Lee an extension, for cryin' out loud; we could extend DJ. Not like we don't have the cap.
Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. indeed is out for the rest of the 2021 season with a broken ankle sustained in a Week 4 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, with Head Coach Urban Meyer confirming on Monday morning what had seemed likely since the injury. But while your sentiment regarding Chark is understandable, the decision on his future is trickier than just saying, "Well, they extended Marqise Lee, so let's do it." Chark, a second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, has shown some good signs in four NFL seasons – and he was particularly good in 2019, making the Pro Bowl following that season. But that was his lone standout season – and because he only played four games this season, the current decision-makers have a comparatively limited time and production on which to base the decision about whether to re-sign Chark. There also is the obvious issue of not just whether they want to to re-sign Chark, but the level of contract to which the sides can agree. If I'm Chark, I'm basing discussions on the 2019 season and my potential – because Chark undoubtedly has shown some nice flashes of being at least a very good No. 2 NFL receiver. If I'm the Jaguars, I'm worried that I haven't seen those flashes consistently – and I'm wondering just how consistent and productive Chark will be moving forward. This also isn't just about having ample salary-cap space, which the Jaguars do. It's about making the right decisions with that cap space – and considering the circumstances, those decisions in this case won't be simple.
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey, John. Is there any possibility that the Jags start Walker Little at right tackle? It seems that Jawaan struggles a bit too much and maybe you can then see if Little is what the Jaguars hope he is. Or is the skill set from right tackle and left tackle too much of a difference?
You're correct that Jawaan Taylor, the Jaguars' third-year right tackle, struggles at times in pass protection – and I, too, would be intrigued to see how rookie tackle Walker Little could fare there. With Little having a very high ceiling, I would think the Jaguars will want him to get significant snaps somewhere in the final 11 games of this season to determine just where he will fit moving forward; he has the potential to be a big-time player moving forward. At the same time, remember: Taylor is a very good run-blocking tackle and he's a third-year veteran. A strength of this team has been running back James Robinson's effectiveness, and the run blocking of the line matters very much in that equation. And one of the reasons for keeping this offensive line together was to have continuity in front of a highly valued rookie quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. Those issues will and should be considered before moving a veteran out of the lineup for an inexperienced – though talented – rookie.
Tom from New Smyrna Beach
We finally had a game scoring in all four quarters. When will we see the Jags score 28 points in a game?
Soon. Maybe. Or not. It would seem on paper that that could happen against Seattle, but what once was a struggling Seahawks defense is playing better. We'll see.
Lenny from London, UK
I keep reading that Urban Meyer loves speed and wants a fast offense. That's why we have Austin and Johnson at wide receiver, as well as Agnew. My question is, with all this speed on the offence, why does it seem like we're not doing anything with it? We are taking very few deep shots or trying very few bubble screens to try and get this speed in open field.
The Jaguars' offense doesn't seem fast because it generally isn't fast. Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Tyron Johnson are fast, as is wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew; they're all on the roster and coaches are trying to work them into the game plan. For various reasons – Agnew's relative inexperience at the position and Johnson still needing to develop as a route-runner chief among them – that trio hasn't made enough of an impact to make the Jaguars' offense seem "fast." I expect the Jaguars to keep trying to get fast. It feels as if it will be a season-long effort. Stay tuned.
The backup offensive linemen aren't being penalized near as often as the currently injured starters, so given that all else has been pretty much equal, the backups indeed are playing better than the starters.
Billy from Middleburg, FL
How does the radio communication between coach and quarterback work? Does he have continual communication or just up until the huddle breaks?
The in-helmet communication device is a one-way device, meaning a coach can talk to the quarterback (or any other player wearing in-helmet communication) but the quarterback (or other player) may not speak to the coach. Under NFL rules, the communication must end with 15 seconds remaining on the play clock.
Tim from Fernandinho Beach
John: It's early, but thoughts on rookie class?
It is indeed too early to assess the Jaguars' rookie class, but the too-early assessment is fairly obvious. Lawrence looks like everything expected from the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. is out for the season with a Lisfranc injury. Those are the two first-round selections. Second-round cornerback Tyson Campbell is starting on the outside opposite Shaquill Griffin and struggling to defend deep passes, and Little – also a second-rounder – appears to have long-term starter potential but isn't starting over two current starters, Cam Robinson and Taylor. Third-round safety Andre Cisco apparently is close to playing more but has played sparingly so far behind veteran Andrew Wingard, and fourth-round defensive tackle Jay Tufele was getting closer to being in the rotation before injuring his hand in pregame warmups before a Week 6 victory over Miami. The Jaguars like fifth-round tight end Luke Farrell and sixth-round wide receiver Jalen Camp didn't make the 53-man regular-season roster. So, thoughts on the class? If Lawrence is as good as he looks, it's maybe the best draft in franchise history because that's the importance of the position. The rest of the class is an incomplete. Stay tuned.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
I watched this weekend's slate of games and often thought to myself … thank you football gods for giving us a quarterback. I'm glad that it looks like we don't have to worry about that position for a while. There are A LOT of teams that need a quarterback.
Jarret from Crosby, ND
Look, the Texans are who we thought they were. Now if you wanna crown them for beating the Jags week one, then crown their ass. But they are who we thought they were, and the Jags let them off the hook from being the first 0-17 team in league history.
I suppose I must confess to not thinking about the Houston Texans all that much since they beat the Jaguars in Week 1. I haven't felt any compulsion to crown any body parts. I don't expect this to change.
Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA
O, I recently suggested that you should go back to your original prediction of six-to-seven Jaguars wins this season. You responded that you haven't seen enough from this team overall to think it's going to win six of its next 11 games. But the Jags already have one win and five more would get them to 6 wins for the year. You also stated that the Jaguars' lone victory so far was over a struggling, injured Dolphins team. That is true, but the Jags will be facing several such teams the rest of the year – i.e. Seahawks this week, Texans and Jets later. The Falcons and the 49ers are not dominating teams this year, either. The Jags are clearly on the upswing and if they continue on this trajectory they will have a chance for six wins this year. We can dream!
OK. Go for it.
_Chris from Mandarin _
No question, just wanted to say I bet Pete Prisco could beat you up, hahahaha.
The list of people who could "beat me up" is long, illustrious – and not necessarily gender specific. I don't worry about this much because I no longer am in the fourth grade. Either way, Prisco knows where to find me.
Ethan from Olin, Iowa
Got any hot takes about Trevor Lawrence?
He's good. He's going to be really good, maybe great.