JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Abs from Ponte Vedra, FL
What is your expectation from the offense next season? The offense hasn't changed much except for the addition of a new offensive coordinator, supporting staff and a few chess pieces. The defense being in flux, the offense is expected to carry the team. I don't see the Jaguars standing a chance to have a winning season, let alone making it to the playoffs.
I expect the Jaguars' offense to improve next season because I expect quarterback Gardner Minshew II to improve – meaning I expect he will be more consistent. And while many observers wonder why the Jaguars didn't make dramatic changes offensively this offseason, massive personnel change offensively aren't always the way to improve; sometimes you build offensively by giving players a chance to grow. Bottom line: The Jaguars' offense improving in 2020 largely will depend on Minshew growing, the offensive line being more consistent and some wide receiver or tight end – perhaps wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., tight end Tyler Eifert or tight end Josh Oliver – becoming a go-to player to complement wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. I don't know if those things will happen to the extent that the Jaguars become an elite offense, but I expect them to happen enough for the unit to improve. As far as the winning season and postseason chances … I expect the Jaguars to win six-to-eight games(ish); apparently we agree there.
Josh from Yulee, FL
In my opinion, the way the pandemic affected the offseason benefits young teams. Especially with so much quarterback movement this year.
I think how the pandemic affects teams in 2020 will depend more upon coaching staff and quarterback than overall youth or experience of a particular team. Teams with veteran quarterbacks familiar with their systems would seem to have an advantage and teams with coaches familiar with their players also would seem to have an advantage.
David from Maplewood, NJ
John, the more I consider all the factors, the more I think six wins should be the floor of expectations for Jags. Not only should the defense be more athletic as it skews younger, but Minshew and the offense did what they did last year in a system that wasn't designed around his strengths. Add to that the overwhelming media narrative that they will be the worst team in the league serving as the perfect motivation. I'm not saying Super Bowl or even playoffs, but I could clearly see eight or nine wins as a possibility if things break their way.
Ross from Jacksonville
Under new Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, do you expect pre-snap penalties to be more, less or equal than last year? And why?
Jaguars coaches will aspire to reduce pre-snap penalties and they will coach it – as they have before. As for whether the number actually will reduce, I have no expectations either way. I could give you a made-up answer, but that would be insulting. I try not to insult readers except, you know, when I do.
Bruce from Grizzfunkville
Rumor in Funktown is Shadrick has been trying to start a coup of the Jaguar website and has been channeling both his crystal pyramid and Gene Frenette for guidance.
J.P. Shadrick is a fine, upstanding member of jaguars.com – nay, the Jacksonville community – and his well-earned good name shall not be sullied in these parts. Except when, you know, it is.
KC from Orlando, FL
KOAF - I love the fact that almost everybody in the NFL is discounting the Jaguars, thinking we are going to be cellar dwellers. Nobody saw us coming in 2017, and they aren't going to see us coming this year. We have, arguably, the 2019 Rookie of the Year in Minshew – and after watching his recent training video, it looks like he has been working hard with Uncle Rico and wrestling and eating bears. With his aptitude to pick up offenses immediately, he is perfectly equipped to get over the steep learning curve created by the pandemic and virtual environment. If defensive end Yannick Ngakoue gets on board and plays like he wants to be paid, this can definitely be a deep playoff team. What do you say, Funkmaster?
I think the Jaguars are putting together the core of a good, young team. I think it feels like 2021 and beyond could be a lot of fun for Jaguars fans. I don't have a lot of confidence this is a "deep playoff team" in 2020 because of youth – and because I don't know yet if Minshew is the dynamic, gutty quarterback who won six games or the one who was inconsistent and shaky in six losses. The Jaguars hope he's the latter. There's evidence to suggest he could be the latter. But they don't know until they know.
unhipcat from Q-Day 81
John, your Peter King article was confusing. Every time you wrote 'King,' I thought it was a truncated self-reference.
That's on me. I would call it a "mistake," but I am the King of All Funk.
Joe from Fleming Island, FL
John, asking for your analyst opinion, not your reporter opinion. I think offensive line, defensive backs and running backs (quarterback excluded, as it is always the most concerning) are the groups of concern and the order which I find most concerning, your analysis/thoughts?
I would go secondary, offensive line and defensive tackle. Secondary is on the list because much is unproven back there. Offensive line is on the list because it must play better than last season, and because there is such a disconnect between the team's perception and that of observers and fans. As for defensive tackle, there is a lot of unknown there. The Jaguars addressed it in a big way by signing Al Woods and Rodney Gunter and drafting DaVon Hamilton. Still, until we see that group on the field and get an idea if the area will be stouter against the run than last season it has to be a major area of focus.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
Now that tight ends Josh Oliver and James O'Shaughnessy are off injured reserve, is there any word on how they are doing? Is it even possible to evaluate them given current conditions?
Oliver, who was on injured reserve at the end of last season with a back injury, has been cleared medically since around the end of last season; I spoke to him recently for a story that will run soon on jaguars.com and he is fine physically. O'Shaughnessy missed the last 11 games of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. I have heard nothing to indicate he is not progressing normally, which in the case of an ACL tear means cautious return to full activity with a goal of being 100 percent by the start of the following regular season. And yes … it's possible for teams to evaluate players physically in the current conditions. Trainers may work with players at team facilities if the player is rehabilitating; that has been the case since the start of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Lloyd from Jacksonville
I know during the offseason a lot of the time coaches cannot be in contact with players to help they prepare for the season. If a player was of the mind that they really wanted that coaching or particular feedback could a coach talk to someone not related to the team in anyway and have that passed along to the player?
That could happen in theory; I don't know that the scenario would happen enough for it to be a major concern. The offseason restrictions you cite – where a coach can't talk football with a player – are in place from the end of the season until the start of the offseason program in mid-April. There is ample time from mid-April to mid-June for players to communicate with coaches.
Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL
How do you feel about The Feelies?
I have a vague memory of them and a memory of some friends who knew about them. They weren't on my radar beyond that.
AlIen from Harrisburg, PA
Big O: This year I would like to see the offense take the ball in the opening tip, instead of deferring to the second half. Maybe we will go down and score and put pressure on the other team to score to keep up. I feel with the defense we have we can make that more difficult and give this team a first half lead. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone might like that lead and teams chasing us for a change .... your thoughts.
Opting to receive the opening kickoff is a great idea and gives you early momentum – if you score. It is also good if you can get a few first downs and pin the other team deep in their territory. It is far less good if you go three-and-out. Then it sort of sucks.