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O-Zone: Trust your gut

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dan from Charlotte, NC

KOAF, for the last 20 years this team has been trying to build a run-based offense with an elite defense.  Teams that win build high-powered passing offenses, complementary run games and as good a defense as the salary cap will allow. Supposedly, we are leaning pass rush again for the draft. I mean, can we try something different? Trevor needs WEAPONS!

There's a loooooong time until the 2022 NFL Draft – and any talk of "leaning" is speculation and nothing more. One reason is nothing officially has been announced about who will make football decisions for this franchise, and another is issues such as final grades and trade possibilities are very much still to be determined. Still, I absolutely expect the Jaguars to lean pass rush and/or defensive line early in the 2022 NFL Draft because they will hold one of the first two or three selections – and that's where you typically can get franchise-defining players at those positions. Think: Joey and Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett and/or Chase Young. That doesn't mean the Jaguars won't add weapons and build the offense around rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I expect that will be a major focus this offseason.

Bill from Jupiter, FL

I agree with exploring the possibility of re-signing left tackle Cam Robinson. In your opinion, what weaknesses along the offensive line should the Jags explore upgrading next season? And does Walker Little appear to be in a position to be one of those upgrades?

I expect the Jaguars will reshape the offensive line this offseason, though I don't yet have a feel for how they will approach that. The Jaguars have a lot of starting-level-to-good offensive linemen but not any great ones. So, while the group must upgrade it's difficult to say exactly where those upgrades will happen. Also: so much is yet to be determined in terms of head-coach and decision-making structure that it's impossible to know how the team will approach changes on the line in 2022. Left guard Andrew Norwell is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, so there's a good chance that position will change. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor also has struggled enough that moving him inside to guard could be considered. Beyond that it's trickier. As far as rookie tackle Walker Little being in position to be an upgrade … well, he better be.

Robert from Oneonta

Why hasn't Shad Khan signed a stadium lease extension? Everyone who knows a football from a goal post has said the 'Bank is in very good shape. What else does he want? What harm does it do to say thank you to your team's community and fans? The new training center may be cool, but in reality it is for the team (let's put the marketing drivel aside). Excluding a few odds and ends like soil surveys, to date, Jacksonville and the state of Florida have put all the money into these projects. I do not think the Jags are leaving. Seriously, what does Shad Khan want?

To say TIAA Bank Field is in "very good shape" is to never have seen other current NFL stadiums. I expect the Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville sometime in the foreseeable future to discuss and agree to a major stadium renovation. I don't expect "lease extensions" to happen without that renovation and accompanying (serious) upgrade.

David from Ada, OK

If you spend the cap each year, you are out of cash when it's time to renew contracts for star players, right? You can't keep star players on rookie contracts.

Teams to a certain extent can often massage and work around the salary cap. But in the big picture, it's difficult to simply "spend to the cap" every offseason. You still don't want to spend salary-cap-dominating money to players who don't warrant it. If you do that too often, you find yourself unable to upgrade positions or re-sign deserving players. That's a formula for failure.

Dan from Charlotte, NC

I for one will be glad when these silly games are over so the Jags' regular season can begin.

Clever. And fair.

Travis from Wisco

So where did the organization go wrong? Was it the hire of Meyer or poor drafting last year? Maybe not going after free agents who could have made a difference? Could it have been the overutilization of a rookie quarterback with no decent supporting cast or the surrender of the running game? Is there anything to learn from 2021 or should we just close the book and move on? What can we expect or hope for in 2022. Happy New Year!!

It's never one thing when things go this wrong. The hiring of Urban Meyer as head coach clearly didn't work. Call it a shoot-for-the-moon experiment gone very, very wrong. We don't know yet it if the Jaguars drafted poorly in 2021 because the players selected haven't played long enough to accurately judge them. If Lawrence is good – and I still absolutely believe he will be – then it's a good draft. Period. What can we learn from 2021? Don't do a lot of the things the Jaguars did. How's that for a start? As far as closing the book … I'm all for it. Slam it shut. Put it on the shelf. Move on.

Biff from Jacksonville

I can handle the Jaguars struggling through another losing season, but c'mon 2021 ... why take Betty White from us?! I wanna be sedated.

Fair.

Randy from Waynesboro

So you consider Mark Brunell to be the head coach of the Jaguars or why hasn't they request it to him like come on he be great.

My deductive reasoning skills tell me you're asking if former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell should be considered as the team's next head coach. Brunell is nearing the end of his first season as an NFL assistant – as the quarterbacks coach of the Detroit Lions. I believe Brunell has a chance to perhaps be an NFL head coach – and I have no reason to think he wouldn't be a good one. It would be a bit too much of a stretch to believe he's ready for the role after one NFL season.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I'm not holding my breath, but with so many players out, perhaps we'll discover a new stud we otherwise may not have discovered?

Sure. Go with that.

EJ from Jacksonville

Regarding resigning Cam Robinson and DJ Chark Jr., while there has to be a determination of value, you've previously stated that teams overpay in free agency. Would it be better to overpay for someone you know instead of taking a chance on a player his previous team didn't want? Not saying that we shouldn't look at other free agents, but you never know who is available and we have a window of exclusive negotiation as I recall.

This is certainly a legitimate point in this discussion – and it perhaps is something of a dilemma for the Jaguars. Left tackle Cam Robinson and wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., both of whom are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in the 2020 offseason, both play important positions. Both have shown flashes of being very good NFL players. At the same time, neither has displayed anything close to elite play nearly enough to make re-signing them an easy decision. There also will be the added wrinkle of a third head coach in three seasons. At this point, we don't know if the team's decision-makers see those players as part of the plan because we don't know the dynamics of who will be making decisions. We also don't know if Chark and Robinson want to return; that also could depend on the structure moving forward. Either way, it all depends on perceived value. If the Jaguars believe Chark and Robinson are the answer at left tackle and as a starting receiver, then yes … figure a way to pay them before free agency opens. If not …

Larry from Duncan, OK

Great and powerful O, since Dan Quinn rejected the opportunity to interview for the Jaguars head coaching job, how about interviewing another defensive coordinator/head coach in Bob Stoops. I believe he would win the governor race in Oklahoma over Barry Switzer. I think it would be cool to have another OU head coach win a national championship and win a Super Bowl. Oh, by the way, there are too many SEC guys on this roster. What say you?

I don't know Stoops. He joined the University of Florida staff after I stopped covering the Gators in 1995 and I never have been around Oklahoma enough to have a feel for how he would be as an NFL head coach. But while I don't yet have a feel for the direction of the Jaguars' head-coaching search, it's comparatively safe to say the Jaguars will lean toward a coach with NFL experience. I'm not sure why, exactly. Call it a gut feeling.

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