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O-Zone: True value

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Fred got jobbed. That's all.

Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor was not among those named to the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class Thursday night. Taylor, a Jaguars running back from 1998-2008, was named a Hall finalist this year for the first time. I wouldn't necessarily say that Taylor "got jobbed" in this particular process. Every Hall of Fame class features five worthy players, and this year's modern-era electees – returner Devin Hester, defensive end Julius Peppers, wide receiver Andre Johnson, linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Dwight Freeney – were all deserving on some level. I didn't expect Taylor to be elected this season. This was his fifth time as a semifinalist, and I figured it might take a few years as a finalist for Taylor to garner the support/momentum. I do expect Taylor will be elected to the Hall. I wish it had been this season and hope it's soon. He's absolutely deserving.

Rick from Jacksonville

Blah. Average Hall of Fame class.

There's no such thing, though it is true that this year's class doesn't have the megastar power of some classes. Johnson, Peppers, Willis and Freeney from this view had to be elected at some point. I'm less enthusiastic about Hester, because I just don't know that a player who "only" returned is Hall of Famer. Just my thought.

Fred from Naples, FL

Pickleball is the hottest sport going … do you play?


Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

What's the shelf life on an NFL offensive scheme? Defenses seem to always catch up to the flavor of the month, so I would think that offensive schemes need to adapt or go bye bye.

NFL offensive and defensive coordinators spend every offseason adapting to what worked against their schemes the previous season. This is why although analysts speak of specific schemes, the reality is offenses and defenses are constantly evolving. Fear not, though: The Jaguars have a very good base scheme from which to build. It's quite similar to the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive scheme, which was good enough to win the Super Bowl last season and good enough to be there again this season. The scheme hasn't gone "bye bye" just yet.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

John, I get hopeful with all your talk about the interior offensive line that we'll actually do something about that this year. I'd honestly be fine if we used every single draft pick on the offensive line because I do think if you've got a strong line, you can dominate everywhere. I know we won't do that, but you get my point. I really hope this is the year we address the line and give TLAW some time and the running backs some room to run.

Your email suggests that the Jaguars have neglected the interior of the offensive line in recent years. This isn't true and the offensive line in fact has been an annual priority. Remember: The Jaguars signed right guard Brandon Scherff as a high-priced unrestricted free agent in 2022 and selected center Luke Fortner in Round 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft. This came an offseason season after they selected tackle Walker Little in Round 2 and an offseason before they selected tackle Anton Harrison in Round 1. I expect the Jaguars to address offensive line in either free agency or the draft this offseason. If they do, that will continue what they have been doing. Remember: Just because acquisitions perhaps haven't played as fan/team officials hope does not mean the team has ignored those areas.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Even during Super Bowl week, you still suck.

Enjoy the game.

Josiah from Plymouth, NH

I'm not a predictor, but I think Travon Walker is gonna have a breakout year – especially with our new defensive coordinator, Ryan Nielsen – and outside linebacker Josh Allen will have another good year if we could just get someone to rush up the middle and impact so we collapse the pocket. I really think DaVon Hamilton needs to have a big year and I assume he will or he's gone.

Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker was dominant against the run in 2023 and had 10 sacks; whether he "breaks out" further or not, he's already very good. As for nose tackle DaVon Hamilton, 2023 was something of a lost season because a preseason back issue kept him out nine games. I don't know what needs to happen for him to not be gone after the 2024 season, but the three-year contract extension he signed in 2023 is such that it's difficult to release him before the 2026 offseason.

Brandon from Omaha

Hey O. I asked you a question a few weeks ago regarding an extension for left tackle Cam Robinson to spread his salary cap hit out, rather than releasing him. You didn't think an extension was likely. I have the same question regarding Christian Kirk. He has a massive cap hit of $24 million next year and $27 million after that. I can't imagine the Jaguars leaving that as is. I also can't imagine the Jaguars releasing him with the rapport he has built with quarterback Trevor Lawrence. How likely do you think it is that the Jaguars give Kirk an extension to mitigate those cap hits and keep him in town for the long term. He'll turn 28 next year and is right in the middle of his prime.

I can't see any way wide receiver Christian Kirk isn't with the Jaguars in 2024. I would put him No. 2 behind Lawrence as the most important player in this offense. You're correct about his salary-cap hit. There are so many moving parts when it comes to the cap at this point in the offseason that it's a bit foolish to try to predict specifics in terms of extensions, added years, etc., but Kirk is a player who deserves to be treated like a long-term investment. I expect the Jaguars to treat him that way.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

I am trying really not to be mean about your take on the "not being able to compete over the long haul." News flash: We haven't been competing for a VERY LONG HAUL. I would rather push all the chips in and win ONE SUPER BOWL. Kinda like the Rams did a couple years ago. Sure, they aren't hugely competitive now, but I would give up 10 years of success for ONE Super Bowl win.

You don't necessarily have to "push all chips in" to win the Super Bowl. If you have a front-line quarterback, it's possible to push a lot of chips in some seasons, and fewer chips in some other seasons, and still make the postseason most seasons and contend for Super Bowls. Also: While the Los Angeles Rams indeed won a Super Bowl following the 2021 season with an "all-chips-in" approach, teams taking the same path more often find themselves with aging rosters and salary-cap messes having had little success. A front-line quarterback opens your competitive window long enough that you really don't have to gamble on a particular season.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ

Zone, Way to go out on a limb speculating that our second-round tight end and third-round running back might be more involved in their second seasons than five catches for 35 yards with one touchdown and 132 yards averaging 2.6 yards per carry with two touchdowns, respectively. Knowing you can't re-sign everyone to second contracts, isn't it kind of important to select players that can provide as much production as possible all four years with second- and third-round picks? I think teams that made the playoffs would tell you so.

You definitely need draft selections – particularly Day One and Two selections – to contribute on first contracts. Whether draft selections, even early selections, must contribute as rookies depends on their teams' situations.

Mike from Azores

Hey John, we can all agree that the run game was a weakness and needs to improve. We all focused on the offensive line as the problem and that they needed to get more physical. However, I think we are overlooking the weakness of the tight end and wide receiver groups in the running game also. Do you think we need a tight end – in particular, the likes of Marcedes Lewis or Chris Manhertz – that were like additional tackles at the line of scrimmage?

The thought here is that the interior of the line was the primary issue in the Jaguars' running game in 2023. Tight ends Brenton Strange and Luke Farrell were fine run-blocking much of the season. Strange appeared very good early and perhaps not as good late, a pattern not unusual for a rookie. I expect the Jaguars to explore this as they will explore many areas in the wake of a difficult finish to the 2023 season. I don't know that I would call it a priority.

Tom from The Mean Streets of Nocatee

The real value in a stereo resided in the second cassette deck. One could bootleg all of one's friends' cassettes.

Good eye.