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O-Zone: Well within reason

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

CJ from Pace

O-Zone, it's evident you value Trevor much more than many fans given the recent mistakes you continue to excuse – either because he's young or you compare him to the other quarterbacks of that draft class who are also performing poorly. Nonetheless, if the Jags have a high draft pick, if you were Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson, would you consider drafting a quarterback? Because if he's going to turn this team around, I'm sure he'd want a quarterback that he chose.

The value I place on Lawrence is he was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – and while I appreciate the readers' understandable obsession with my motivations for what I write/say, I can assure you all I do in this forum is answer questions as well as I can by applying reason, experience and my scant NFL knowledge. Lawrence is young. That's why I mention it often. That's not an excuse, but – fans' feelings on the matter aside – it can't be ignored in any reasoned and/or informed discussion of Lawrence's performance and/or potential. And while it's true Lawrence has made mistakes this season, I expected mistakes as he adapted to Pederson's system. It would be better for all involved in the short-term if he weren't making them, but the mistakes necessarily mean he won't eventually be good in the long-term. As for the quarterbacks in the '21 class, I can't recall an O-Zone answer mentioning this. I in fact rarely – if ever – compare Lawrence to those other quarterbacks because those quarterbacks don't matter when assessing Lawrence. And no, I wouldn't draft a quarterback in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft were I running the Jaguars. Lawrence is talented and needs time to develop. As for the value fans place on Lawrence, I can't speak to that and it's another thing I consider very little. While it's something fans care about, it's just not particularly useful or informative when analyzing Lawrence.

Daniel from St Johns, FL

Trevor just turned 23, running back Travis Etienne Jr. and others have played in eight games. I haven't turned off a game at halftime all year. It's painful, but it hurts so good!

People tire of hearing about the Jaguars' youth. I get it. Perhaps it's because few realize how rare it is for rookies to play at a consistent winning level in the NFL. More likely it's because Jaguars fans are understandably just tired of losing and don't want to hear reasons a potentially good team isn't winning yet. Regardless of what fans want to hear, this is a young team that still must have young talented player mature – and that still must add more talent to develop. It's also a team giving itself a chance to win, even though it's not yet proven mature enough to take advantage of those chances.

Britney from Parts Unknown



Bill from Jacksonville

John, you'd really rather have a 28-year-old wide receiver that stepped away from the game because of personal problems, was then suspended for gambling, and the next time he steps on the field will be two years removed from the game? Rather than spend a Top 10 pick on the top wide receiver in the draft? Really, John? Phew.

I often wonder if people read and listen to what is said and written, or just hear and read what they want to hear and read – though I pretty much know the answer. The Jaguars this week traded for wide receiver Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons, sending two conditional draft selection to the Falcons. And he indeed stepped away from the game in 2021 for personal reasons and is suspended this season for gambling. I wrote and said following the trade that it makes sense for multiple reasons, a big one being that the Jaguars likely will have multiple needs next offseason and not just wide receiver. It seems likely they will need cornerback and there are other positions where they probably will be able to use first-round talent. Ridley by all accounts was playing close to a Top 10 level in 2020. If he's close to that and the Jaguars were able to obtain a No. 1 wide receiver and still have a first-round selection to use elsewhere next April, is that a good move? Yes, I would say so. Phew.

Merritt from Jacksonville Beach

Will Calvin Ridley be allowed on the sidelines during games this season and will he be able to attend practices and use training facilities?


Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, I believe in Trevor Lawrence, but what is happening with his slow development right now in your opinion? He had the hype coming out of college with good reason. Any team picking first last year would have taken him. He was outstanding in college. He seems to have all the physical and mental tools. Is it because he's not super hyped up and amped and carries himself with much more laidback demeanor? Is it because the ACC can't truly prepare a player for the NFL because the competition stinks so he's just going to need a couple years to get to speed?

My opinion is Lawrence is where he is in his development largely because he's in his first year in a new offensive system and because he's still learning what throws he can make – and get away with – in the NFL compared to college. That last factor isn't an ACC thing as much as it is a college-football-isn't-the NFL thing. It certainly has nothing to with his laidback demeanor. Fan and observers spend too much time worrying about how players "carry themselves." Few things in the NFL get misread and overanalyzed more. Shouting and being demonstrative gets some fans excited. It rarely wins games.

Justin from Jacksonville

I understand we all expected (and frankly deserve) a proclaimed "generational quarterback" to come in and show strong signs of being just that. But why does everyone seem so dead set on showing Trevor the door already? Everyone knows how much of a lost season last year was. Everyone knows this is a brand-new offense with a lot of new moving pieces. Why is it so hard for people to see, even in the midst of heartbreaking results, that Trevor is still making REAL strides? Even if he's still making a lot of bad decisions and having some issues with accuracy. So many really good quarterbacks have struggled before finding their footing in this league. I understand the frustration and criticism. I do. But why such extremes as, "Draft a new one" or "start the backup?" Rome wasn't built in a day, John. Sorry, rant over.

One fer Lawrence …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

Is he a choker? It seems like it. High level, he has had his worst misses when his bosses wanted it most: Pederson in Philadelphia and Owner Shad Khan in London. He throws picks in the end zone. He makes crushing mistakes at crunch time. Can this be turned around or is this who he is?

… and one pretty much not fer Lawrence.

Mr. Padre from St Marys, GA

Am I crazy or could this team actually be 8-0 if we removed "one" play from each game? Sure seems like it.

You're not crazy. It's also not crazy to remember that the NFL is a league of close games and that good teams win them more often than bad teams. It's good that the Jaguars are closer in games than generally was the case last season. But it's no guarantee of future success.

Josh from Ft. Myers

It's hilarious to me that people are saying that Trevor is holding this team back. Has he made costly mistakes? Yeah. Has rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker made costly mistakes? Oh, yeah. Has cornerback Shaq Griffin made costly mistakes? Yup. The reality is he has helped our offense stay in games with a couple drives late in games just to let the defense give up a long drive. He has made more plays late in games than the defense, yet his are more scrutinized for obvious reasons. The interceptions are inexcusable, but so is a 98-yard drive given up by the defense. These losses are a combination of the two failing in critical times. I think we are going to be alright as we grow up. How do we get fans to see the progress?


Zac from Austin, Tejas

I've pinpointed my frustration. I was expecting a season of losing games by double digits and then winning by double digits. I was expecting for the team to show whole games where they had it turned on. Right now, they can only turn it on for a quarter or so. Would fans want to see big wins and big losses or a season of losses but it's always close?

You're asking me to study the collective desires of Jaguars fans and come up with a reasoned answer regarding how they think. I'm good, Zac. I'm not that good.