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O-Zone: Spinster

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sean from Jacksonville

So, we have speedy receivers, but coaches are trying to figure out how to get them into the game plans? If we have wide receivers that can't practice running routes very well or are just seemingly not getting in the game more often, what are the issues? If coaches can't get players into games, we either need new coaches or new wide receivers who are up to the task – as in those who we dropped before the season began. I feel like a broken record when saying it baffles me how coaches appear slow in making nearly desperate changes in gameplans and/or competent players.

It seems you're complaining about the Jaguars not using their speed at receiver correctly – either that, or about them releasing some awesomely great and fast wide receivers in recent months. I don't remember the latter happening – though it's possible at my age my memory fails. The issues in this area are that the Jaguars aren't very fast at receiver, and they don't have enough game-changing, difference-makers there. It's a good receiver group in a lot of areas in a league that rewards greatness at the spot. As for the coaches being slow to make "desperate changes" … the Jaguars have made multiple changes at wide receiver this season. They currently have a total of 10 receivers on the practice squad and 53-man roster. They're looking for answers. They haven't found them. (I recall as I write this that I got an email sometime in August or September questioning the wisdom of having Jamal Agnew on the roster. This doesn't have that much to do with this answer. I was just thinking about receivers and thought of that email, and it made me smile).

Marcus from Jacksonville

A win is always better than a loss, even a "good" loss. But in terms of evaluating where the team is right now, does the narrow loss to the Cincinnati Bengals give us more hope moving forward than the narrow win over the Miami Dolphins? The Bengals look legit, and we took them to the wire. That seems significant to me, possibly more significant than narrowly escaping with a win against a banged up and struggling Miami team. What do you think?

I'm a bit torn on this. If you're comparing the Jaguars to last season's 1-15 team, which was outmanned many weeks and lost repeatedly by double digits, then yes … playing close against a good Cincinnati team would be cause for encouragement. And the Jaguars did play well throughout much of that game. They also played well for a lot of a loss to Arizona and for part of a loss to Tennessee. A case could be made that they played better in those games in spots than they did against Miami. Does that give hope? I suppose. At the same time, I guess I've wearied over the years of grading the Jaguars on a curve. The NFL is designed for close games. Most games are decided by eight points or fewer. The fact that the Titans, Cardinals and Bengals all had their way with the Jaguars in the second halves with the games on the line troubles me more than the fact that they played well enough to compete in those games. The Jaguars' most encouraging trait is rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the running game. They increasingly appear to be able to rely on those elements. If a receiver or two can consistently make plays downfield and if the team can stop giving up so many huge passes, I think the Jaguars could have better results in the final 11 games. If not …

Johnny from DUVAL but in Pensacola now

Any news about Imatorbhebhe on the practice squad? Seems he would be a great redzone threat?

The Jaguars like rookie wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe's potential, which was why they signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2021 NFL Draft and why they re-signed him to the practice squad recently. There's a feeling he can contribute in the long run. I doubt you will see him in the next few weeks.

Hilarious from Funnytown

Maybe most or all teams do it, I don't know, but what this team does for the community is astounding. That is all.

Good eye.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, what would you say they odds of Chark returning as a Jaguar? If it were my money, instead of Khan's, I can't say I'd be willing to give him the massive contract he is likely to seek. I don't think he's earned it on the field.

Questions like these require a lot of speculation and tricky to answer correctly, because the reality is we don't know what wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. will want on the open market. I can't see the team paying him like a No. 1 receiver because he's never played like a No. 1 receiver – and because he's had one good season and three incomplete seasons. Will Chark want elite money? Will he want a smaller contract with the idea of "betting" on himself? Will any team pay him like a No. 1? Those answers will come into view as free agency approaches in March.

Nathan from Utah

Zone, do you think, in light of DJ Chark's unavailability, that the Jaguars should sign another receiver? Have you heard any talk on who? Thanks.

The Jaguars have been looking for receiver help all season, with Chark's status having little-or-nothing to do with that. They are undoubtedly considering any receiver they believe could help them – particularly if that player has speed. I doubt seriously they will trade for any player they believe will only play here for a year; at 1-5, they likely will emphasize the long term over any sort of rental.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, coming out of the bye week, how would you evaluate the sports performance model Head Coach Urban Meyer has employed as it relates to our current injury status versus other NFL teams to this point? Urban mentioned it in his press availability this week. Seems like our guys are starting to react faster.

Meyer takes pride in the sports performance model, and understandably so. The Jaguars this season have had comparably few soft-tissue injuries. They have had few enough of these injuries that I suspect they have among the fewest in the NFL – though there are no worlds I can imagine in which I'm going to put in the effort required to research soft-tissue injuries throughout the NFL.

Steve from Yulee, FL

I know it's way early for this but I'm curious about whether you believe like most of the folks who are putting their early mock drafts out that the Jaguars will go offensive line first? I don't see why they would with offensive tackle Walker Little and guard Ben Bartch waiting in the wings. I was thinking more along the lines of shutdown corner or defensive end. What say you great o?

I don't think it's at all a guarantee the Jaguars will select offensive line in the first round. I absolutely think they would select a dominant defensive lineman if one is available in the Top 10.

David from Oviedo, FL

KOAF – Next time you interview Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen, could you tell him that David from Oviedo wants to know why receivers are consistently wide open in our secondary and does he know why it's happening and what needs to be done to fix it because week after week there's no signs of improvement?

I kind of doubt your name will come up when I next speak to Cullen, but this isn't a mystery. There have been multiple miscommunications that have allowed too many huge plays, and the secondary overall isn't as good in man coverage as originally was hoped. The Jaguars are moving more toward zone coverage. That's what's being done to fix it. Stay tuned.

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL

We've heard a lot of comparisons of Trevor Lawrence and Andrew Luck, specifically as draft prospects. Watching the Thursday night game, I thought Aaron Rodgers was a better comparison for Trevor. Luck was never as good as Trevor at any level of football. I'm not trying to take anything away from Luck, but Trevor just seems like he can be so much more than Luck was. And his mobility and will/ability to win really remind me of Rodgers. Fingers crossed.

I don't know that there are all that many great comparisons for Lawrence. His size and athletic ability make him different from a lot of quarterbacks. I wouldn't go so far as to say Luck never was as good as Lawrence at any level of football. Luck was awfully damned good at Stanford. I don't know that his teams were as good as Lawrence's, but as an individual quarterback I remember Luck being … well, awfully damned good.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I saw that we are tied for fewest allowed sacks - I wonder how fans are going to spin that as still bad?

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'll do the spinnin' round these parts, partner.