JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steve from Woodbine, GA
Hey, John! I always look forward to your win/loss predictions for the upcoming football season ... when can we expect to receive your magical prediction for the 2021 Jaguars? I'm giddy with anticipation. Your ability to look into the future is truly a gift. Oh, and what are next week's lottery numbers?
I wouldn't get too giddy over this either way. My preseason Jaguars predictions aren't often all that accurate, and they don't mean all that much. I expect the Jaguars to be improved defensively and to be more dangerous offensively in 2021. I don't expect them to be quite where Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer hopes because it can take a while to address all needs when a team is 1-15. That's particularly true along the defensive front, where I expect the Jaguars to be improved – but perhaps not as improved as would be ideal. It can also take a while for a rookie NFL quarterback – even one as gifted as Trevor Lawrence – to reach the peak of his powers in terms of field vision, playing naturally and sensing how to run an NFL offense. This certainly takes longer than a few games. I expect the Jaguars to be far more competitive more consistently than last season, and I expect them to be better against the run. I expect they will stay together and focused all season, because I think this team will believe in Meyer and the team's direction – and that's a real positive. He has their attention and commitment, and I expect that to remain true. I expect all that could mean six or seven more victories than last season and I expect this will look like a team on the rise by season's end. If you see those things – along with signs that Lawrence is the real deal – that will be a successful 2021 season for the Jaguars.
_Mike from Atlanta, GA _
Longest dead zone ever. So, Dan Marino or Peyton Manning? How do you think the Indianapolis Colts would have fared with an in-his-prime Marino? I would love to see him throwing to really good receivers like Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. And a better running game. How do you think Marino would fare in the modern era where you can't touch quarterbacks? Quarterbacks back in that era took severe beatings. How do you think Manning would have fared with all that talent on the mid-90s Cowboys?
I consider both Manning and Marino among the game's best all-time quarterbacks, and I'm of the belief that there's an argument to be made for either as the best ever. There are also arguments to be made for a handful others, but those two are absolutely in the conversation. I might go with Manning by a hair over Marino, probably because I covered him for 10 years and have a greater appreciation for his overall game than I have for Marino. At the same time, Marino did things in the passing game no one else did in his era – and I don't know that there ever was a quarterback with a quicker release. Marino undoubtedly would have fared well in this era; he would have fared well in any era – and just as pretty much any great quarterback would have fared well with the 1990s Dallas Cowboys. You're talking about great players in great situations. Such scenarios often lead to success.
Funny guy from Jax
I know why Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson has his jersey on backwards in practice. It's because we fans were so used to see the back of his jersey last year as he was running back towards the quarterback after a defender blew past him for a sack lunch. Boom, roasted.
Wow. You are funny.
Fred from RH
Hey, Zone. So, looking at last year I think it was painfully obvious that you need quality depth behind your starters. (Resulting in a 1-15 record) Do you remember a Jags team with as much quality depth? I mean didn't we retain most of our starters and then moved them to backups?
I don't know that the Jaguars moved "most" of their starters from last season to back-up positions this offseason, though this did in a sense happen throughout the secondary – particularly with Sidney Jones IV and Tre Herndon at cornerback and perhaps Jarrod Wilson at safety. And it could be the case with Gardner Minshew II at quarterback. There could be some situations where that plays out on the defensive line, too. So … yeah. This feels like a deeper team than last year's, particularly defensively – but in some crucial spots on offense, too.
Chris from Tampa, FL
Yeah, but Falco had that disastrous showing in the Sugar Bowl. Rumor has it you could smell the stink in Wales.
It wasn't pretty.
Rob from Ventura
You said that teams can't force players to get the vaccine. Was that collectively bargained? Because I heard that the Supreme Court recently ruled that employers absolutely can require employees to get vaccines. Has the NFL issued a different and specific ruling on this? If I'm an owner, I don't want to pay a player's full salary while he sits out because he chose not to be vaccinated. That player chose to take that risk and should not be paid the same as a player who was injured during a game or practice. What say you, zone?
I say anything involving players such as this is collectively decided by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. Always remember: Players should be thought of as independent contractors more than as "employees" in the traditional sense; normalcy doesn't always apply. So, no … the NFL and NFLPA aren't requiring players to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Would owners prefer all players be vaccinated? Almost certainly. But that's not how the NFL works.
Marc from Oceanway
Our wide receiver room is getting crowded and is packed with talent. Which receivers do you foresee as probable locks for the final 53?
DJ Chark Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr. and Marvin Jones Jr.
Graham from Reading, UK
Get me 2 Utah, 2!
Steve from Nashville, TN
So now what are we supposed to do between now and July 27th?
Now? Now, we dance.
Sam from Winter Park, FL
Why couldn't Tebow have tried out like the other "tryout" players? Wouldn't this of created less of a hoopla?
Jaguars tight end Tim Tebow wasn't a tryout player because the Jaguars wanted him on the 90-man offseason roster so he could participate in organized team activities and the rest of the offseason program – and no, approaching it that way probably wouldn't have created much less hoopla. There's going to be a certain amount of attention paid to Tebow whenever he's around. But just for the record … the Jaguars held a minicamp early this week and Tebow participated. I attended and covered it. I have covered many minicamps in two and a half decades covering the NFL. I can honestly say I barely noticed Tebow one way or the other and certainly noticed no "hoopla." I guess that will change a bit in training camp. I just don't know that it has caused the "distraction" within the team that made so many observers nervous about this.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
If Aldrick Rosas wins out in the kicker competition, it wouldn't necessarily mean cutting Josh Lambo right? I think last year definitely showed that it's good to have a backup handy. I get that no one is safe, but Lambo leaving would be disappointing if resulting from a handful of practices. Clutch moment kicks should speak for something.
I would be surprised if the Jaguars kept two kickers in the active roster. Stay tuned.
Mark from Jacksonville
Hey John, I think Michael from Middleburg may be confusing the original film with the 2015 remake (which is perhaps deserving of his criticism). Anyone with an eye for sophisticated filmmaking knows that the writing and the acting showcased in the original are of rare quality, truly brilliant Oscar-type stuff. Back off Warchild, seriously. Side note - nod to Falco, always thought he was gritty and was nice to see him get a second chance.
Daniela from Chapel Hill, NC
What current or former player has the most similar skillset to what Laviska Shenault could be?
Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers is a player to whom many compared entering the 2020 NFL Draft. The comparison was popular because the 49ers liked to move Samuel around a lot in the offense and use him both as a runner and a receiver. Both players also are physical receivers who can use that physicality to break tackles more consistently and with more power than most NFL receivers.
Jagzfan from Over There
KOAF, As you read the questions each day do you ever catch yourself muttering "Yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question?"
No. I love the readers. Honest. All of them. Almost.