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O-Zone: Tidbits

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tom from Jacksonville

Have you tried this thought experiment: If Doug Pederson was the Jags coach last year, how many wins above three would you give the team? Now consider the additions to the roster this year: How many more wins would they add?

It seems your "thought experiment" is a (not-so) sneaky way of asking for a prediction for the Jaguars' 2022 season, but what the heck? It's still the dead zone, so I'll take a small bite. First, it must be said that it's impossible to know exactly what would have been different about the 2021 Jaguars had Pederson rather than Urban Meyer been head coach; Meyer as head coach influenced everything. It stands to reason the off-field situation influenced a lot, but quantifying how much is difficult. A change to a more professional approach has to help somewhat – and my sense is players will believe strongly in Pederson and that he will have this team mostly pulling in one direction. Those elements are often a head coach's biggest influence, so – for argument's sake – I'll give a theoretical Pederson-coached Jaguars team three more victories. I believe the Jaguars have improved and that quarterback Trevor Lawrence will take a step. I believe those elements can get the Jaguars four or five more victories. That lines up with what I've said often this offseason – that I think the Jaguars can get to seven or so victories in 2022. I have trouble projecting more than that because this team won three games last season and improving to eight or nine victories would be a massive jump. There are a lot of unknowns that have to work out the right way for a jump that big (or bigger) to happen. Could it? Sure. It's just difficult to predict one that big.

Colt from San Diego, CA

Who is your breakout player on offense and defense this year, O? I am holding out a shred of hope for linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson to take the next step. Though I'm not too confident. I guess I'll go with Cisco on D and Etienne on O. Those two seem to be the most popular picks. What say you?

I expect Lawrence to improve, perhaps dramatically; if he does, I expect that would make him the breakout player. Nothing would be better for the Jaguars. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. also indeed would be a good breakout candidate. The Jaguars need him to be the big-play, touchdown-producing threat he was at Clemson; they haven't had such a player in too long. There seem to be more possibilities defensively. I'm always hesitant to choose rookies as "breakout" players, even first-round rookies, so I'll steer away from linebackers Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker. I like the Cisco selection. Even though he's an obvious choice, he has the right combination of talent and opportunity. As a Year 2 safety with a knack for the ball, there's a good chance he will "break out" in 2022.

Capt Bob from Jax

Recent reconfirmation that this season's practices will be closed due to the move to Episcopal hopefully doesn't mean there also won't be a stadium scrimmage. Please clarify that announcement.

There will not be a scrimmage at TIAA Bank Field during Jaguars 2022 Training Camp.

Bob from Neptune Beach

Local bookstore told me you book out of print?

Your referencing "Jags to Riches," the book Pete Prisco and I co-wrote on the Jaguars 1996 season. Yes, it's out of print. That has been the case for upwards of 25 years.

Johnny from Jax



Sean from Oakleaf, FL

I noticed the other day that Blake Bortles holds many of the Jaguar franchise passing records for a single season and single game. If Trevor Lawrence is the guy, you would expect some of these records to change hands soon. With the 17-game season last year and playing from behind in most games he was close to the single-season completion and pass attempts record in his rookie campaign, would you expect these two records to fall to Lawrence this year?

Bortles indeed holds the Jaguars record for single-season completions and attempts, with 625 attempts and 368 completions in 16 games in 2016. Lawrence in one more game completed 359 of 602 passes last season. There's a chance Lawrence could break those records, but it likely would be better for the Jaguars if he didn't. The Jaguars had a 60.6-39.4 percent pass-run balance last season. They likely would like to be closer to 50-to-55 percent – and such a percentage probably would indicate that they were leading far more often than was the case last season. That would reduce Lawrence's chances of breaking the completion/attempts record, but it likely would mean the Jaguars were a better team.

James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

O-man. I was a Rams fan in the same era you liked the Washington football team. I, too, can say I hated Roger Staubach.

Good eye.

Steve from Nashville, TN

On the "Bundle at the Bank" promotion image featuring 2022 first-round picks Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker and veteran linebacker Josh Allen, Lloyd looks significantly more excited about the upcoming season than Josh Allen. I am sure Allen is thinking about the upcoming grind of a 17-game season and these two rookies have no idea what is coming?

I'm sure all three players are excited about the 2022 season. They better be. They're the core of what perhaps will be second-most important position to watch on the team.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you think we'll be lucky enough to have another quarterback competition during camp?

I doubt it.

Greg from Section 122, The Bank Jacksonville, FL

Cool Tony got in the HoF. Now who you see being the next potential candidate? Coughlin for sure needs to be in. Jimmy Smith, Freddie T? Donovin Darius? Brunell? Seems we have many legit options.

It absolutely is cool that former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli will be enshrined in the Pro Football of Fame August 6, and that indeed will turn the discussion to other former Jaguars who could be candidates. I would expect running back Fred Taylor – a semifinalist the last three seasons – to make the finalist list sometime soon. Wide receiver Jimmy Smith, though absolutely Hall-worthy, has yet to be a semifinalist and I haven't sensed much momentum in his direction. Quarterback Mark Brunell really isn't a Hall of Fame possibility, nor is Darius. Former Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin absolutely should be a Hall of Famer. I expect he will be prominent in the discussion soon and I expect he will be enshrined shortly thereafter.

Dave from Jax

I think it would be fun if the Jaguars could collaborate with the Jaguar car company. For the London game, the team could wear the uniforms with the gray helmets that has the leaping jaguar as a throwback. Thoughts?


Jonathan from Jax

I've always thought Jacksonville does not have the respect of the rest of the league. There are countless examples but the only one that matters is of the coaches brought here and free agents. Countless free agents have come here on big contracts and laughed all the way to the bank ... and presumably when leaving "The Bank." When covering the Colts, did you get the feeling that this is a thing, or am I off base here and we just have a .010 batting average when selecting free agents?

I think you're off-base for the most part. I do think the Jaguars in recent seasons at times haven't had the "respect of the rest of the league." That's not a "Jaguars" thing or a "Jacksonville" thing as much as it's a "struggling franchise" thing. The Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at various times over the last few decades have struggled enough that they were perceived as weak franchises. The Jaguars no doubt have struggled enough over the last decade that that is a perception. As far as free agents "laughing all the way to the bank," that implies that free agents come to Jacksonville intending to not try hard and to underperform. A lot of free agents haven't worked out for this franchise. Some of that has been because the team around them wasn't strong. Some weren't as good as hoped. Some were examples of overpaying for flawed or aging players, which is common free-agency occurrence. But I rarely have had a feeling not respecting the franchise or the city was a factor.

Earl from Middleburg, FL

John O, I share your dislike for bony wings, but for different reasons. The act of watching others eating bony wings is quite repulsive, especially nearing the finality of each wing. There's that close inspection for tidbits that wouldn't feed a mouse. Then comes the relentless gnawing between tiny bones to dislodge 1/10th of a gram of gristle. Then comes the worst part, sucking on the end of the bone sockets. Oh boy, I'm gonna get massacred in the comments section.

Good eye.