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O-Zone: Sympathetic figure

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Marty from Jacksonville

John, Andrew from Little Elm, Texas, pointed out that Trevor has missed a lot of short-range throws into the end zone and that he needs to clean that up. I would say it's up to the coaching staff and front office to clean that up by RUNNING THE BALL BETTER! Slam the ball into the end zone. Don't leave it all on the quarterback to throw the ball into the end zone from the two-yard line. ARGH! Can you tell I'm really aggravated by the way we can't run the ball with any reliability?

There are a couple of legitimate points here. One is that Jaguars quarterback Jaguars Trevor Lawrence does at times miss "short-range" throws. But while he indeed has missed a throw or two along these lines, my sense is we who constantly observe the Jaguars focus on these misses while forgetting all quarterbacks miss throws at times. My impression is Lawrence isn't guilty on this front all that much more than most NFL quarterbacks. As for the Jaguars' running offense … it absolutely hasn't been as effective in recent seasons as would be ideal. This was particularly true last season, when the team's struggles running in short-yardage and other key situations went a long way to defining the season offensively. The team has focused on the area this offseason, which was a big reason they made their first major offseason move by signing center Mitch Morse after his release by the Buffalo Bills. This doesn't mean the Jaguars always will be able to run it in from the 2-yard line in 2024, but if the team can run more reliably it will help the entire offense – particularly Lawrence. As for the "coaching staff" needing to clean it up … coaches can coach this all they want. Sometimes it's up to the players involved to just play well enough in this situation. But it's always coaching in the NFL.

Green from Phoenix, AZ

Regarding the Texans, we played them last year and went 1-1. That's why teams take the field. But if the public wants to crown their @$$ this season, then crown 'em. Last year they only won 'cause we let 'em off the hook.

This was good and I get the Denny Green reference. This makes sense considering I made the reference. But yes … Conventional Football Wisdom seemingly has made the Houston Texans the AFC South favorite. They are the Flavor of the Month and the Cats Pajamas. Perhaps they will prove deserving of these statuses. The 2024 NFL season starts in three months. Until then, it's all just a lot of predictions and annoying Capitalized Cliches.

Who cares from Round the way

I like Gary. Gary is smart. One fer Gary.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL, makes a lot of good points. Anyone who doesn't know that hasn't been paying close enough attention.

B Keepers from Saint Augustine, FL

Hey, John. My group of buddies are convinced that Nielsen is going to unlock Travon Walker's potential. Would you agree?

Jaguars defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen seems very capable of getting a high level of play from edge Travon Walker. It also is fair to note that Walker increasingly has played at a high level in two seasons and registered 10 sacks last season.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Hey there, hot stuff!


Rob from The duuuuuu

You're right John, that is a little high: 18 years, $1 billion would be a little more on point with what the yearly average should be. Why not? Just guarantee the first four years. You are going to have to give him a raise before then anyway. We paid Blake Bortles and Nick Foles for crying out loud, it is such a privilege to be able to pay Trevor it is ridiculous. This is the way … moodachay!

The debate discussion over Lawrence's pending contract continues – and I suspect it will continue until the Jaguars and Lawrence agree to the extension. Your projection is a "little high" because paying him $1 billion over 18 seasons makes the contract "a little long." Eighteen years is a little long because it would push into Years 20 and 21 of Lawrence's NFL career. We can be optimistic about Lawrence's longevity, but that's really optimistic and therefore a "little long." Or a "little high." Or something.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, the coaches need to emphasize to the players that once the season starts, no more "thud" tackles.

Doug Pederson … hire this man!!

Hilarious from Funnytown

Sometimes it seems like the Jaguars can't get out of their own way. Unorthodox head coach selections, lawsuits from players, losing stars to mysterious back injuries, accountants with gambling addictions, reports of rampant tomfoolery on the team plane. I don't already have an opinion, I'm honestly coming here to ask your take. Is this just the kind of stuff you deal with as a professional sports team, or are we a poorly managed organization?

Professional sports franchises are run by people and the games are played by people. Most people have "stuff" on some level and every professional sports franchise deals with "stuff." It's part of life and part of professional sports. If there was no stuff, it would be perfect. To my knowledge, no one is perfect.

Kevin from Jacksonville

You keep saying tight end Brenton Strange looks good in OTAs. So what? You yourself say you can't judge anything from OTAs.

It's absolutely true that observers glean little of importance from organized team activities. It's also true that we as media and observers are allowed to attend multiple OTAs each offseason. Fans seem to like to hear what we observers see there. Among the things that I have "seen" in OTAs is Strange looking good there. Care or don't care about that observation, but that's the observation.

Brian from ROUND ROCK

There has definitely been too little discussion of Pederson's performance last year. The team was way too high on itself entering the season and never felt like it was on a firm footing all year, even at 8-5. Everyone could see the cracks. The fact that the team collapsed wasn't a huge surprise. Doug had a huge hand in not setting the right tone. In my opinion, a coach should treat the start of every year as a blank slate and totally flush the past, whether good or bad. Agree? Or is every season supposed to be a reaction to what happened last year? I also hope to hear less hyperbole from players. They seemed to throw around the word great way too much. Short memory and humble attitude would go a long way to success this year.

This question seems to assume the Jaguars were "supposed to be" a great team last season because they won the AFC South in 2023. While many observers did seem to assume this, my thought was that the Jaguars entering 2023 were a good team facing a more difficult schedule than the season before. I thought from the outset that if they could improve on or even match the 9-8 record from 2022, it would be a good season – and that they would have a chance to make another step in 2024. That's often the timeframe for a team that goes from really bad (which the Jaguars were in 2021) to good in one season. My thought when the Jaguars were 8-3 last season was they had gutted its way to a record it deserved at that point. They were competing for the No. 1 seed. From this view, they probably would have won the South and finished 11-6 or better had Lawrence and wide receiver Christian Kirk not been injured for the last month and a half of the season. If they had finished around 11 victories, would we be talking about Pederson not setting the right tone? Perhaps, because it's the NFL and coaches are going to get criticized. I just don't know how reasonable it is to cite Pederson as doing an awful job last season. Doing so just seems to ignore a lot of other circumstances.

Armand from Jacksonville

KOAF You have my sympathy. I know fans are going to fan but having thousands of armchair Gms saying sign him cut him do not have the whole picture in front of them. Thank you for enlightening us with the truth even if we do not want to hear it.

Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – doubtless have read this before. I repeat it here. Fans aren't supposed to have the "whole picture." Those that do aren't supposed to care about the "whole picture." They're not supposed to be reasonable. They're supposed to want their teams to win no matter the circumstances and they're supposed to be angry if this doesn't happen. Anyone doing this job for very long who forgets that doesn't get it.