O-Zone: Great Mysteries

O-Zone: Great Mysteries

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it…

Oh, why did the Jags go mostly defense in the offseason and the draft? Because we need Trevor to make a pass and Trevor’s woes last season was because he forced too many passes that he shouldn’t have, why??? Because we were always behind, why?? Because our defense couldn’t stop the teams scoring for toffee! Maybe only if Trevor isn’t seven points down before he takes the field, he’ll make that move.

First, the Jaguars haven’t been very defensive all offseason. They signed wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, tight end Evan Engram and right guard Brandon Scherff as unrestricted free agents; those are big moves that cost a lot of capital. They focused on defense in the 2022 NFL Draft, moves that should allow for an improved defense to keep the Jaguars from constantly playing from behind — and that should help the offense and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars for the last few seasons have struggled to stop the run – and to pressure the quarterback and force takeaways. It’s true that you don’t win in the NFL these days without being able to score proficiently. But if you can’t stop the run defensively and create pressure in big situations, that too will keep you from winning. The Jaguars moved to improve the defense in the draft. That’s not being negligent. It’s just doing part of what is needed.

What’s your take on the commentary that Jacksonville blew the wide receiver market by signing Kirk? Is it possible that there was a bidding war for Kirk that got out of control, which started many wide receivers asking for more money? Or did the agents know what was coming down the road with those huge offers, and that’s what drove Kirk’s deal to the Jaguars?

The Jaguars were indeed criticized in March by some around the NFL for rushing the receiver market to sign Kirk as an unrestricted free agent. This is an absurd criticism. Teams can spend what they want in free agency as long as they are under the salary cap, and why should one team worry about what other teams think of their signing? Remember: The Jaguars went 1-15 and 3-14 the last two seasons. When teams struggle to that degree, it’s not unusual for them to have to overpay to compete for unrestricted free agents. Why do players want to go to struggling teams for bargain money? As far as what “caused” Kirk’s high contract, there was indeed a sense going into the 2022 season that wide receiver contracts would rise. The league is running that. To compete in that market, the Jaguars came in with a strong offer to a player they wanted. They got the player they wanted. What it “did” to the rest of the receiver market was not their main concern. Can you imagine if they didn’t sign Kirk then he said, “Well, we could have signed him but we were worried that teams might not like us anymore.” Come on.

O-man, have you been switching cigarettes with Blake this season?

Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith recently said something to the effect of “Good teams know how to rebuild / be competitive every year.” He went on to say that the NFL has changed dramatically since the Jimmy Johnson era, and that teams no longer can or should consider draft picks untradeable, citing the highly transactional nature of -Current NFL. Is this Coachspeak or something you attribute to? It has been discussed here in the past that teams could follow the Jaguars model of allowing longer rebuilds to occur (if they were successful). They didn’t. Do you still think that sacrificial seasons (like 2020 in Jax) are prudent?

Each team should take their own approach to building based on their circumstances. When a team’s roster is average to above – or even slightly below average – then rebuilding/being competitive each season is realistic. That’s particularly true if that team has top quarterback play. If you have Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers in their prime, it is possible to plug and play around them and be so successful that you really never “rebuild.” The recent success of the Los Angeles Rams in trading draft picks for star players has contributed to the idea that that is a model for success. The Rams’ Super Bowl victory suggests that may be the case. Is it a sustainable model? That’s a different question. The thinking here is that drafting and development supplemented by prudent free agency and the occasional impact trade is still the best approach. And somewhere along the line, you better add a quarterback. The best way to add premium talent is still the draft. I doubt that the changes on a permanent basis.

She says and will continue to say, “Stay Tuned,” a lot. You’ve been saying it. What are we supposed to stay tuned for? How many seasons do we need to “stay tuned”? Is it like two and two from Chuck Wollery? You know, sometimes the Love Connection actually had a happy ending or two.

How does Etienne look so far compared to his rookie minicamp? Do you see the same explosiveness that caught your eye last year?

The first Jaguars 2022 Organized Team Activities practice is scheduled for Monday. It is open to the media. How is running back Travis Etienne Jr. – and cut – after missing last season with a Lisfranc injury – will be among the primary stories.

I get that uniforms aren’t really your thing, John, but the talk seems to be coming around again so here we go. At first I thought… teal hmm, it wouldn’t have been my first choice but I accepted it. Then for a while everything but went away except for Jaguars tongue. I didn’t like that at all. Then the return of teal was announced and I was happy, only to learn that the shadow had been illuminated for something, well, not teal. I hate it. To make matters worse, in a game against Tennessee that same season, we wore white on color, they wore color on white, and they were so close that when I left the room for a minute and then returned by mistake they cheered play for it -Titans. THE FREAKING TITANS, JOHN. I was sick for weeks. BRING BACK THE REAL TEAL!!

Even the bottom draft picks have four-year contracts worth millions of dollars. But what if they don’t make the team? Then how much do they get? Thank you.

This depends on the contracts. If the years in a contract are guaranteed, then the player will be paid those years’ salary even if he is released. Otherwise, the player receives his signing bonus and gets paid for the years – and games – he plays. Most first round contracts these days are fully guaranteed for all four seasons, with later Round 1 picks often having the first three seasons guaranteed . The trend was for more fully guaranteed contracts late in Round 1. I’d say “stay tuned” to see if that continues, but Alan might not like it.

Dear KOAF (aka my Shirley), if the Jacksonville Jaguars ever make it to the Soup Bowl, my 30-minute pre-kickoff song has to be Blood Red Skies by Judas Priest.

Hello John, glad to see you have Marvin Jones as a starter. I thought he was one of the bright spots on our offense last year. We were within about 20 seats of the northeast corner of the end zone during the Denver game last year. Lawrence stepped out of the pocket and spiraled between two defenders to Jones, who controlled – and double-tapped – his way out of bounds. Nice pass and a TD. He seems to have made those kinds of reliable professional plays all year. I don’t want to call him a traveller, because maybe he’s a step above that?

I actually expect Jones to start at wide receiver for the Jaguars in 2022. If he doesn’t technically start, I expect him to play a big role in the receiver rotation. I expect him to be among the top Jaguars wide receivers because he has been a productive receiver throughout his career regardless of team and circumstance. I wouldn’t call him a traveller. I would call him a really good, productive professional receiver and good teams need those.

KOAF – Why do fans keep asking you about the “Culligan Girl” and the “comments section” when you’ve made it perfectly clear that you know nothing about them?

I have no idea what you are talking about.

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