JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Vanawsum from Blountsville
I'm really hopeful that Coach Caldwell is going to be a huge boost to the new defense. Was there anything in OTAs that you get a gleam of what the new defense may look like?
What Mike Caldwell brings to the defense in his first year as Jaguars defensive coordinator indeed will be a major 2022 storyline. And it's indeed intriguing. Caldwell worked the last 10 seasons under Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles, long considered one of the NFL's best – and most creative – defensive coaches. Bowles is known for running a three-lineman, four-linebacker base defense with multiple looks when employing sub-packages. And he's known for giving offensive multiple, confusing looks while keeping the schemes simple enough for his players to execute. I expect the Jaguars' defense under Caldwell to try to take a similar approach, and 2022 Jaguars Organized Team Activities confirmed that much. But remember: Things are kept basic and without much contact in OTAs – particularly in those sessions open to the media. We should start a getting clearer idea about specific sub-packages, how personnel will be used and other details when full, padded practices are open during '22 training camp.
James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville
I think the biggest contribution Travon Walker can make is to take some pressure off Josh Allen and see him have 15 or more sacks this year. What do you think, Mr. O?
Walker, an outside linebacker selected No. 1 overall by the Jaguars in the 2022 NFL Draft, no doubt can help the defense by drawing double teams from Allen – and therefore giving Allen more opportunities. The Jaguars really haven't had a player capable of doing that since they traded defensive lineman Calais Campbell and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue before the 2020 season. I think Walker's biggest contribution will be adding unreal athleticism, size and strength to the defensive front – and adding playmaking ability. That should help the defense overall. But his presence absolutely should help Allen, and that's indeed a big storyline for the Jaguars in 2022.
Ed from Danvers, MA
I found your comments about other stadiums interesting and wouldn't mind hearing more of them. Are there pregame, in-game, postgame spreads of food for the media and how does the quality vary from stadium to stadium? Are there crawfish and shrimp on the spread in New Orleans? Give us the inside info, O-Zone.
Every NFL stadium provides pregame and halftime food in the press box. Some do postgame spreads and some don't. The quality does vary from stadium-to-stadium, with Pittsburgh being a personal favorite because of variety and quality. New Orleans doesn't stand out.
Travis from Athens, GA
While I would not argue for being in the Top 5 or the Top 10, one player I always enjoyed watching was safety Donovin Darius. When I get depressed about the quality of our team, I watch YouTube highlights of quarterback Mark Brunell, wide receiver Keenan McCardell, wide receiver Jimmy Smith, running back Fred Taylor (lots of Taylor), running back Maurice Jones-Drew, left tackle Tony Boselli and Double D. Watching Darius-level players makes me smile at a time when there is not a lot of Jaguar things to smile about.
I don't know if I can qui-i-i-i-i-i-te put Darius at the level of the other players you mention, but hey … one fer Darius, Brunell, McCardell, Smith, Taylor, Jones-Drew and Boselli.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
While the entire world focuses on getting better every day, you manage to get worse. Congratulations, I guess.
Joe from Louisiana
Doesn't Gary realize that he's more the rule than the exception? The list who like you would be a much shorter list. But on a Jaguars note, where is the biggest need that may still be attended to in the preseason with a move made to address it?
Gary from St. Augustine eloquently and frequently expresses his dislike for me and makes a lot of good points. He is and should be in the majority. As far as the Jaguars' biggest needs as they enter the preseason … question areas would include safety, running-back health and kicker among others. Time will tell if those are needs or questions. I don't anticipate any major moves in the preseason. I suppose one could happen, but the time for major moves was during unrestricted free agency and the draft.
Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld
Sometimes the O-Zone column gets posted earlier; sometimes later. Do you guys at Jaguars.com have a schedule or routine, or is it random chaos?
This is a human world and a human business – and the people who write, edit and post the O-Zone are humans. Sometimes those humans post the O-Zone early. Sometimes it's a bit later.
J.Hooks from Orange Park, FL
I'm sure you've gotten this question before, but I forget the answer. I was thinking about our current situation at kicker, and then I started thinking about how totally awesome Josh Scobee was and how much he was loved by the fans. Do you think he would ever be a strong candidate for the Pride or does being a kicker kind of eliminate him from the conversation?
Being a kicker wouldn't – and shouldn't – eliminate Scobee from consideration for the Pride of the Jaguars. Scobee has made some of the biggest, most-memorable plays in franchise history. Considering that, he absolutely should be in the conversation for the honor. There are multiple players such Jones-Drew, defensive end Tony Brackens and McCardell who I believe should get in before Scobee, but I could see that happening. Someday.
Tom from Nocatee
1…Rockville, 2…Sitting Still, 3…Driver 8, 4…Wendell Gee, 5…I Believe.
Good list. Damned good, in fact.
Scott from Jacksonville
O-Man, please tell Dave to shut up. I haven't heard or read one negative thing about Devin Lloyd! The dude willed Stanford to their first conference title ever, so … incredible leader to go with incredible athlete. Teams just don't seem to value off the ball middle linebackers much, even though the right one can completely transform your defense and can have a pretty big impact as a rookie. I'm certainly hoping he's the "right one" and am looking forward to seeing him play and hopefully becoming a leader that can elevate the entire defense.
Telling people, even Dave, to shut up isn't "nice." And it's sure not "awesome." But you're right: Lloyd, the No. 27 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, is impressive – as evidenced by him leading to Stanford to the Pac-12 title while playing for Utah. That, my friend, is impressive.
Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA
O, The Jags are a big mystery at this point, but somehow this season seems to have a different, positive, vibe. Agree?
Most offseasons have a positive vibe. This one does, too – and the presence of Head Coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Trevor Lawrence give that vibe some real credence.
Dave from Jacksonville
KOAGF. Didn't Greg Landry play quarterback for the Lions? I was actually referring to a segment of The Install with Greg Cosell of NFL films discussing the Jaguars. I hope both Lloyd and Walker are great for years. Would you say the franchise needs Walker to be the most impactful player as he is the number one overall draft pick?
Landry did play quarterback for the Lions – and Cosell indeed is one of the more respected NFL analysts. It would benefit the Jaguars for Walker to be the most impactful player because his ceiling his so high. But if Lloyd is a Hall of Famer and Walker is "only" a multi-year Pro Bowl selection, then Lloyd's impact would be greater. The franchise would still be in good shape at that point.
Ben from Cuba, MO
O'. In the past I've always been a huge defensive line, trenches, fan. This year I'm extremely excited about the linebacker corps. It seems we have the beginnings of a really special group that could define the defense and make a name as a group. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't even take that long for them to become a hot topic across the league. Pair the rookies with the veterans and it is an exciting group. No question just a statement of hope and a one fer.
The Jaguars' decision-makers clearly thought a major upgrade at linebacker was needed. They made major moves toward that, signing inside linebacker Foye Oluokun as an unrestricted free agent and selecting Lloyd and Walker in Round 1 of the '22 draft. It's hard to invest more equity in one position in one offseason. Considering the presence of Allen – the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft – opposite Walker, you have high-end, blue-chip talent everywhere on the linebacker corps.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
Oh Mighty 'O'/King of all Funk, so is your copy of Road To Ruin on yellow vinyl?
No. It's black. And one of my favorites.