Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Tick tock

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

Has the importance of kickers with strong legs been diminished? Sure, every team would like to have a Sebastian Janikowski or someone who can knock down a 60-plus yarder at the end of halves. However, with the new kickoff rule changes and the game being oriented around high-scoring offenses, wouldn't a team like the Jaguars with a potent offense prioritize accuracy with their kicker? Teams that have problems crossing into opponent territory would have a lot more long kick opportunities than a team that regularly gets to the opponents' 25-yard line. With this offense, I wouldn't anticipate a ton of 55-yard field goals but more likely a lot of 35-to-50 yarders. Or am I overthinking it?

You may be overthinking a bit. The NFL's new kickoff rules mandating that any fair catch gives the receiving team possession at their 25-yard line unquestionably diminishes the value of a kicker being able to kickoff through the end zone. But leg strength matters on field goals no matter the offensive rules – and no matter an offense's potency. The Jaguars, for example, expect to be a high-scoring offense next season. Because of that, Head Coach Doug Pederson darned sure wants an offense that's moving efficiently to be able to get points when it gets to the opponents' 35-to-40 yards line. If your team is built to win shootouts, you need to pile up those points however they come.

Brad from The Avenues

What's Dawuane Smoot's status?

Smoot, a defensive lineman who played for the Jaguars the past six seasons, became an unrestricted free agent when his contract expired last March. He sustained a torn Achilles in December, with the timing and seriousness of the injury complicating his future. Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke earlier this offseason said the team remained open for Smoot to return. My sense is that it may be some time before Smoot signs anywhere. He's at the point of his career where he may not want to sign for a low contract number and the injury could give teams pause until he fully rehabilitates and is 100 percent. Here's hoping Smoot recovers fully and can continue playing, preferably with Jacksonville – but somewhere.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Don't tell anybody about this patented idea that I have to solve the safety crisis with NFL kickoffs. It's yours to get credit for and a raise will certainly follow. Here it is. All players are only allowed to walk during kickoffs ... no running. You can thank me later.

I'll text you my thank you. Or I'll call. Don't plan around it.

P Funk from Murray Hill

Does the signing of our 13 rookies dip into the money the team could use to sign more veteran free agents?

Not significantly. Remember: The rookie wage pool is best described as a "cap within a cap," and not all rookie salary cap figures count against a team's salary cap. This is because teams in the offseason operate under the Rule of 51, meaning only a team's top 51 cap figures count against the cap during that time. Because the cap figures of many of the rookies won't be in that 51, signing rookies has a relatively small effect on the cap. Bottom line: The Jaguars still have space to make moves if they so desire. Whether they so desire remains to be seen.

Dwayne from Jacksonville

Do you find some fan questions are like hot dogs? Sometimes you get an all-beef hotdog with mustard on it, and others are meat by products with mayonnaise.

Even when discussing hot dogs, it's important to be nice.

Corey from Palatka, FL

O-dawg! Are we going to see any Pete Prisco (Get off my lawn) versus Tony Boselli banter this year? If possible, could you instigate something to get this started again?! I like to see Pete get his feathers ruffled!

Former Jaguars left tackle and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Boselli and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports again will join J.P. Shadrick for Jaguars Happy Hour on Mondays in the fall.

Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

Remember when there was a fan uproar when our general manager picked up wide receiver Calvin Ridley during last season, but he wouldn't be able to play until this year? The fans were calling Trent Baalke a clown. That kind of reminds me of the uproar when Trent was able to get a bunch of extra picks for nothing, and he used the picks to fill out the depth on the roster. They called him a clown again. I think I know who the clowns really are.

I do remember a fan uproar over Baalke, but it was at its most uproarious before the 2022 season when fans connected him with past regimes and past head coaches. While unfair, it was an understandable connection that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan chose not to make. I recall a lot of positive fan reaction regarding the trade for Ridley last November, though fans being fans – and therefore being genetically prone to fanning – some fans certainly criticized the move. Bottom line: Baalke has done a nice job signing productive free agents and trading for Ridley. The 2021 draft that featured quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne Jr. in Round 1 and cornerback Tyson Campbell in Round 2 also looks good. We'll begin to get a decent feel for the '22 draft this season. Stay tuned.

Joe from Jacksonville

John, have you ever covered a player (not necessarily quarterback) who at first covering them thought this guy has all the talent in the world, but it won't be fulfilled by the situation he is coming into? For example, there are actual NFL people who think Sam Darnold is a top 10 talent but has been limited by his situations until he was picked up by SF. Could you spot it early?

Not really. Such a situation would be most obvious at quarterback, and I've always thought most observers tried to hard to make declarative conclusions about fault and blame in these situations. What I mean is it's easy for NFL types to say, "Sam Darnold was brought down by his situation with this team or that team" or "Sam Darnold caused this team or that team to fail." It's usually not 100 percent one way or the other. I expect Darnold could fare well in San Francisco. If he does, I expect it will be a combination of his maturity and growth as a quarterback, his talent and the fact that the 49ers are very good and very balanced with a perennial playoff roster.

CaptBob from Jax

With a little research I found possibly nine teams that need an edge rusher. I know it's kind of a waiting game to get best deal on both sides, but it would be better to get the one you want and get him on the practice field as soon as possible. No?

This question assumes that the Jaguars absolutely, positively believe they need to sign a veteran edge rusher. I don't know that the team's decision-makers see the situation as quite that dire. I expect the Jaguars have had discussions with the representation for available players at multiple positions, edge rusher included, and that multiple players/representation know that the Jaguars are among multiple teams who might be interested. If/when there comes a time when the player and team meet financially, then I expect a move would be made. As for getting a potential free-agent edge rusher on the practice field as soon as possible … that's not a major concern. If such a player has stayed in shape, he can report to training camp and pressure the quarterback in the regular season without being involved in an unpadded offseason program.

Joe from Jacksonville

John, Trevor plays well next season, is there any scenario where he doesn't get extended? Wait a year?

I expect the Jaguars will begin discussions with Lawrence on an extension next offseason because that's the first time an extension can be signed. Is there a scenario under which the extension doesn't happen next offseason? Sure, if the sides can't reach a deal. Because of the expected size of Lawrence's contract, and based on previous quarterback megadeals, the contract will be complex.  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow became eligible for an extension this offseason. The sides have yet to agree to it, though everyone expects it will happen. Contracts of that nature don't happen immediately, but I expect the Lawrence contract to happen next offseason or very soon thereafter.

Ed from Danvers, MA

I'm loving the idea of using the team's senior writer instead of the quarterback on those massive push plays for first downs. Give him a 50's style retro helmet with no face mask and a bright yellow uniform. Kind of like the canary in the coal mine.

I never lost a game. I just ran out of time.