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O-Zone: Still wet

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. I am a little bit concerned about the running back position. There is only James Robinson, who has to prove that he is a long-term solution. Behind him I see no clear 800-to-1,000 yards back. Will Urban consider a trade or something before the season?

I don't sense the Jaguars share your concern – for a few reasons. First, there's no reason after Robinson's 2020 rookie season to believe he's incapable of being an 1,100-1,300-yard back for the next few seasons; he rushed for 1,040 yards last season and missed the last two games because of an injury – and did so for a struggling team. He also has a compact, vision-based running style that should help him be consistent whatever the scheme – and he seemed last season to be able to produce even when defenses keyed on the running game. Do the Jaguars have an 800-to-1,000-yard back behind him? That realistically will depend on how the offense is functioning around the running back. Carlos Hyde has been a 1,000-yard back in the NFL – and while it's hard to say Hyde is an elite All-Pro back in his eighth season, I could see him still being a 1,000-yard back playing 16 games in a highly functioning offense. I could see Dare Ogunbowale being the same thing – if he played in a highly-functioning offense. Most NFL running backs these days can be productive on that level if they get a season's worth of carries and adequate blocking. The Jaguars may not be elite behind Robinson, but most teams aren't elite beyond their starter at any positions. I don't sense Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer will be aggressive here unless injuries force the issue.

Seamus from Vermillion, SD (formerly Vancouver, BC)

Do the coaches and GM staff just talk about players or do they score them and have names on a wall like the Draft "war room?"

I believe you're asking if the Jaguars score their own players as they would players not on their roster – or as they would college players. Yes, teams grade their own players and "rank" them; the depth chart gives you a decent idea how teams feel about their roster. In the Jaguars' case, Meyer believes perhaps than most NFL head coaches in assistant coaches having authority over their position groups – so position coaches have great influence on the depth chart. If you're asking how teams view other NFL players … also is yes. Pro scouting departments are responsible for grading and monitoring players around the league and bringing potential signings to the attention of the team/coaching staff. At that point, coaches and personnel staff discuss the players and decide if the Jaguars should pursue them.

Keith from Jacksonville

Hey, John. I remember things from a year ago as well. Pretty weird, I guess my short-term memory loss isn't as bad as I thought. Anyway, I forgot what I wanted to ask you …

Hold on.

Matthew from Townsville, Australia

Dear O, with your intimate poolside knowledge of UM's plans, please tell me that Jags are still actively hunting for better QB3 options?

The Jaguars, like all teams, always look to improve all positions. Would they like a big-time "name" player as the third quarterback? Sure. But the Jaguars made the decision to keep two quarterbacks on the active roster (Trevor Lawrence and C.J Beathard) and have one (Kyle Lauletta) on the practice squad. When you do that, you leave your third quarterback exposed to being signed to other active rosters and by definition limit your options.

Eddie from Jacksonville

De do do do, de da da da is all I want to say to you.

You'll be sorry when I'm dead. And as for all this guilt … it will be on your head.  

David from The Island

Lawrence is listed as 213 pounds. How many pounds would the Jags like him to weigh? Looks to me like 235 pounds would be about right.

That – 235 or so – would probably be about right for the long-term. Eventually. Lawrence, remember, is still 21 years old. He will add weight naturally as he matures and the Jaguars will certainly work with him over the next few seasons and offseasons to add the right amount – and type – of weight. This almost certainly will work itself out in the coming seasons.


How long until they expand the rosters? Seems to me that 53 was too low already and now there is another regular-season game added. Teams are starting to overpay practice squad players to entice them to their team may as well expand the rosters. What say you?

I doubt you'll see a significant permanent expansion of NFL rosters soon, mainly because 53 was just fine before COVID-19 changed the dynamics of weekly roster machinations. The trend of practice-squad players getting paid more to entice players to stay may prompt some conversation along these lines, but changing roster size requires agreement between owners and players. Players might want it and coaches might even want it, but owners as a group historically are in no rush to implement rules that increase player costs as a rule across the league.

Abel from Westside

Yo KOAF! Are you ready for some football?

Boy, am I.

Paul from Saint Johns, FL

Are we expecting a lot of talent to be available in the sixth round? Trading Jones, who has been productive, along with others for only multiple sixth-rounders???

I have received multiple emails along these lines in recent days, with the Jaguars recently having traded players such as cornerback Sidney Jones IV, linebacker Joe Schobert and quarterback Gardner Minshew II for sixth-round selections in the 2022 NFL Draft – with Minshew possibly being worth a fifth-round selection if he plays three games for the Philadelphia Eagles this season. And yes … the '22 sixth round could be a little better than the '21 sixth round; the draft generally is expected to be deep because many players returned to college because COVID-19-based rules allowed it. But the overall spirit of the trades was to acquire draft capital for players the team didn't expect to make major contributions in 2021. The players happened to bring sixth-round selections. If they had brought fourth-, fifth- or seventh-round selections, then that would have been the compensation. Your question also seems to imply that sixth-round compensation for the above-mentioned players is disappointing. Teams value early round draft selections; it typically takes special, high-level players to bring first- and second-rounders in a trade.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

John, I'm a huge college football fan (Go Gators). I remember watching K'Lavon Chaisson at LSU for a couple years and the one knock I had on him was that he was like a shooting star. On games that he showed out he dominated and looked absolutely worthy of his draft status, but more often than not I remember him being taken completely out of games and looking like a bust. I'm afraid that we are witnessing the same guy that he was at LSU. Does he go the way of Taven Bryan if he doesn't step up this year? What I mean is just a guy on the team, but nothing special.

Stay tuned.

Rob from PV

Josh Allen had a great rookie season fallowed by a season cut short by injury. If he plays to his potential this year and is available for most games, he sets himself up for a second contact worth over $100 million. If he chooses to remain unvaccinated and misses a few games or more because of it, he could end up with dismal numbers for the second year in a row, making negotiating such a contract difficult. It is his choice, and I'm glad he has a choice. It's a choice that could cost his family a lot of money in the long run. I hope he does what's best for them, and I hope he plays every game and I hope we win, a lot.

All NFL players have the choice of whether to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to rules that make it more difficult daily to be unvaccinated than vaccinated. Among those difficulties is indeed that an unvaccinated player is more likely to be on reserve/COVID-19 than a vaccinated player. Allen and any unvaccinated players are aware of this – and they undoubtedly are aware of the potential personal and financial ramifications.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

Is Jaguars wide receiver Tavon Austin really injured or is injured reserve just a place to park a player to get around the 53-player limit?

The Jaguars placed Austin on injured reserve with a quadriceps injury. He must miss at least three games, so placing him on IR really doesn't get the Jaguars around anything.

David from Ada, OK

Thanks for sneaking in a reference to Regatta De Blanc in your response. All I can say is keep it up a yo yo yo.

You're welcome. It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet.