JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Camron from PA
For years, the response the team has had to an inadequate, subpar offensive line is: "It's not a weakness, it's better than people think, there's a lot of talent there." I will give former General Manager David Caldwell's front office credit for attempting to address the issue, bringing in right tackle Jermey Parnell and left guard Andrew Norwell on big deals, retaining center Brandon Linder, and drafting two SEC tackles in the second round. However, those moves obviously haven't translated into a great offensive line. Time and time again, we see teams forsake building an elite offensive line because it isn't quite a weakness in their eyes, just to have seasons ended and careers derailed as a result. Look no further than former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for the latter and the Seattle Seahawks for the former. If an offensive line isn't a strength, then it's a weakness. I hope the Jags strongly consider using No. 25 and 33 on offensive linemen, maybe Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi and Duane Brown. Protecting Trevor should be priority No. 1, because we're building for the next two decades, not the next few seasons.
If I'm reading your question right, the premise is that the Jaguars' current offensive line is "inadequate" and "subpar." If so, you are not alone in this thought. But as you suggest, the team doesn't appear to see it this way. Not only did Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer say recently that the line was pretty good and not in need of a tear down, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told me last week: "I like those guys. They've done a nice job. It's a group that has meshed very well and I think they're a close group. It's a good place to start. If there's a place I want to start it would be with the offensive line because that really makes everything go." He also said: "I'm excited about the offensive line. That's really where your offense needs to start. Somebody's got to protect the quarterback and somebody's got to open up those holes. We like what we have up there." While it's true that you can't believe everything you read, I get no impression that Meyer and Bevell are saying things merely to exercise their jaws. Why do they believe these things? Because the line blocked very well for the run last season, and because many of their pass-blocking issues had much to do with the offense constantly being in obvious passing situations – and because the quarterbacks didn't always do a great job in the pocket or getting the ball out on time. To repeat what has been said here in the O-Zone often recently: There's a decent chance left tackle will change next offseason because Cam Robinson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, and that situation has yet to be resolved. That could mean drafting a left tackle or it could mean acquiring a veteran in free agency. Beyond that, there is nothing to indicate that the new decision-makers think major change at the position is necessary. That doesn't mean protecting the quarterback isn't Priority No. 1. What it means is the people who decided these things believe for the most part that the line as it stands now is capable of doing that.
Duke from Jacksonville
There seems to be a disconnect between many fans and the team regarding the quality of the offensive line. The last time I remember this happening was with wide receiver Marqise Lee. The result? Lee contributed little and is now out the league. Sometimes the fans are right.
Actually, the last time it happened was with the wide receiver corps entering the 2019 season – and specifically DJ Chark Jr. He made the Pro Bowl that season and the receivers as a group were actually pretty good that season. It also happened with the offensive line last offseason, and – as was the case with the receivers the season before – the line was actually pretty good last season. Also: former Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee is not out of the league. He is a member of the New England Patriots. But no question: Sometimes fans are right. You'll get no argument on that point.
P Funk from Springfield
Do you get an offseason?
Reuben from Pikesville
In poker, if you can't figure out who the sucker is at the table, you're the sucker. Similarly, if segments of your team are not a strength, they are a weakness. It isn't good enough that the offensive line isn't as bad as some people think; it is inarguable that they are not a strength and – therefore – are not good enough for a team aiming to win. The Redskins had their defense as a strength, and they were still a losing team. There is no segment of this team as good as the Redskins defense, certainly not the offensive line.
You say the Jaguars' offensive line "inarguably" isn't a strength. I don't get the idea the Jaguars' front office or coaching staff agrees.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Yannick Ngakoue is scheduled to be a free agent. Could the Jaguars get him for under $10 million per year? He's going to have to take so much less than what the Jaguars were willing to pay him. What a strange saga that was. I'm curious as to how the conversations in the front office went about what he wanted.
I doubt former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue would re-sign with Jacksonville; even with new decision-makers, that would be shocking considering the circumstances of his departure. I imagine he will still command more than $10 million a year, but I can't tell you the exacts because figuring the exacts is tricky this offseason with the changing dynamics of salary cap and free agency. I can tell you how the front-office conversations went regarding Ngakoue, though: "He wants what? Well, we're not paying that."
John from Jacksonville
Are people really serious about replacing Jawaan Taylor after only his second year? Did you see the fish he reeled in? The man's a beast and he can play the drums, too.
Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor indeed is all those things – and the idea that he can't be a very good tackle in the NFL is premature, too.
Austin from Orlando, FL
Okay so hear me out. Mr. Khan sells his team to a guy named Mr. Con. Mr. Con then decides to sell the team back to Mr. Khan. Whoa! New ownership! Time to change the uniforms!
Shad Khan … hire this man! No wait. Don't.
Ryan from Detroit, MI
Zone-man, regarding Cam, do you think we could keep him on the transition tag? The franchise tag is always really high for offensive linemen because it's basically elite left-tackle money. But I think this year because of the low cap, we could probably keep Robinson on the lesser tag. How many teams would realistically look to sign him for more than that given his past production?
The franchise and transition tag numbers really aren't all that different, with the franchise tag for offensive linemen this season being about $14.5 million and the transition tag being about $13.1 million. What makes either tag intriguing this season is it's not that ridiculously high for a fifth-year left tackle. That's why the tag makes sense for Robinson – it would give you a reasonably priced veteran option and continuity. In a season in which you're probably going to be starting a young quarterback, continuity is a reasonable objective.
Nelson from Middleburg, FL
I understand nostalgia and all. Even to this day, every time I smell burning cigarette butts, stale beer and smelly feet I think of my mom (rest her soul). But in the big scheme of things is it wrong for me not to care too much about teal jerseys?
This is quite an email.
Dave from Dallas TX
Hey, Mr. O: Alex Smith may be a cool mentor and support to Trevor Lawrence, but would be super expensive as a backup. And do you think that he'd sacrifice starter ambitions for such a role? Also: Dawuane Smoot. Thoughts on a contract extension? Thanks
Quality NFL backup quarterbacks are typically super-expensive. It has become something of a necessary cost these days for many NFL teams. And while I don't know enough about Smith's thoughts on this to guess if he still expects a chance to start, his connections with Meyer – Smith's college coach at Utah – certainly could be a factor.
Don from Marshall, NC
With the newfound rock star status of the Jaguars now is not the time to spend money just because you have it. Long-term success is being able to reward your own players with contracts. I would never sign a multiple-year deal for a receiver that is 30 years old and has a history of injuries. Go Jaguars!
Let the record show that Don has weighed in.