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Week in focus: Final thoughts on Bo, postseason honors

Posted Feb 5, 2018

Senior writer John Oehser looks back on Super Bowl LII week, the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame vote and Jaguars postseason honors that were and weren’t

JACKSONVILLE – It’s not over for Big Bo.

You can look at that a couple of ways. One is it’s too bad for Tony Boselli that his Hall of Fame journey – and the accompanying anxiety – didn’t end Saturday in Minneapolis.

The other way is more positive – that the good news for Boselli from Saturday’s balloting for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class is he seemingly remains very much among the modern-era players getting serious consideration.

That’s not always a given. Hall of Fame “momentum” can be slippery, and there are cases of candidates gaining it one year only to lose it the next.

That didn’t happen with Boselli.

Boselli, a five-time Pro Bowl left tackle during a seven-year Jaguars career that spanned 1995-2001, for a second consecutive year made the final 10 finalists Saturday. That was after being a semifinalist for a third consecutive year and after being among the 15 modern-era finalists for a second consecutive year.

The distinction between 15 and 10 matters. It’s good to be among the final 15 because it means you are being discussed by the 48 voters on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. It’s better to be among the final 10 because it means a lot of those voters voted for you for enshrinement.

There are plenty of cases over the years of candidates making the final 15 or final 10 one year, then falling short of that the following season. Boselli maintained the support he got last year; he just didn’t gain enough to get elected this year.

What does that means for his chances moving forward?

That answer is elusive. There’s no set pattern for enshrinement. Sometimes a player can make the Top 10 multiple times then get in; other times – as was the case with wide receiver Terrell Owens – a player can miss the final 10 one year then make it the next.

The vibe among voters entering Saturday’s voting was Boselli had a real chance. The vibe afterward was that because he was in the Top 10, his chances remain strong. There also is still time. He will be in his 13th season of eligibility next season, meaning he has eight more chances as a modern candidate.

Still, the Hall path for those not inducted quickly is treacherous. Momentum can be lost, and new candidates can bump aside worthy ones. Cornerback Champ Bailey, tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed join the mix next year, which could mean two remaining spots next February.

The thought here is that Boselli’s candidacy remains strong. The argument that his lack of longevity must no longer be counted against him is a good one, particularly when added to his place on the 1990s All-Decade – and his status as perhaps the best left tackle in an era that includes Hall of Famers at the position such as Orlando Pace, Walter Jones, Willie Roaf and Jonathan Ogden.

Those two truths should further resonate with voters the more they hear them.

Will that happen? That’s the great unknown – and it likely will continue to be the key question around the candidacy of a player who must wait at least one more year for an honor he long has deserved.

 

AWARD SEASON

We’ll start looking ahead to the offseason on jaguars.com in the coming days. For now, we’ll take a final look back at honors received by the Jaguars this season.

With the Jaguars shut out of the NFL Honors Show Saturday, some thoughts on a couple of those honors – Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year – seem appropriate here:

*Coach of the Year: Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone finished third in this category with two votes, behind winner Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams (35 votes) and Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer (11 votes). A likely factor here: timing, with the Associated Press holding the vote late in the regular season rather than after the Jaguars’ run to the AFC Championship Game and narrow loss to the New England Patriots. A case can be made that Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson was more snubbed than Marrone. The Eagles won three consecutive postseason games as underdogs, and the job Pederson did coaching the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII title will be long remembered. He received one Coach of the Year vote. …

*Defensive Player of the Year: Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell finished second in this category with 17 votes to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s 23. Campbell would have been a worthy winner. Still, if you gave general managers a chance to select players from all 32 teams, Donald might be the first defensive player selected. It’s hard to make a strong case this was a snub to end all snubs. …

 

DESERVED HONORS

To review, here are the major postseason honors the Jaguars received this season:

*NFL 101 AFC Coach of the Year: Marrone.

*Sporting News Defensive Coordinator of the Year: Todd Wash.

*Pro Football Writers Association Defensive Player of the Year: Defensive end Calais Campbell.

*NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year: Campbell.

*Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year: Campbell.

*Pro Bowl: Cornerback A.J. Bouye, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Campbell, linebacker Telvin Smith, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.

*Associated Press All-Pro: Ramsey (first team), Campbell (first team edge, second team interior), Smith (second team), Bouye (second team).

*PFWA All-NFL: Campbell, Ramsey.

*PFWA All-AFC: Bouye, Jackson.

*Sporting News All-Pro: Ramsey.

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