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O-Zone: A jump too far

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

William from Jacksonville

My heart is broken with the news that Keenan is gone to the Vikings. He is a legacy player in Jax, and because of the garbage quarterback play this last year, he's now gone. Never should have been allowed to happen. What does this do to his inclusion in "The Pride?" I know this is what happens to coaches, but not Keenan. My heart is broken!

It indeed became apparent Thursday that Keenan McCardell no longer will be the Jaguars' wide receivers coach, with reports surfacing that Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer had hired former Dallas Cowboys wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal for the position. McCardell, who coached the Jaguars' wide receivers from 2017-2020, reportedly will become the Minnesota Vikings' wide receivers coach. This upset many long-time Jaguars fans – as expected. Fans have an emotional attachment to McCardell, as they should. He was an all-time great wide receiver for this franchise from 1996-2001, and he indeed did a good job coaching wide receivers during his four seasons here. But the Jaguars have a new head coach and new coordinators. That new staff will install a new offense, and Lal has 14 seasons NFL coaching experience – 11 as a wide receivers coach. New coordinators and new head coaches typically change assistants. They're looking for coaches who can teach "their system," who are "their guys" and who can be part of "their culture." The coach's popularity with fans can't be and shouldn't be a factor. McCardell has been around the NFL a long time and understands that new regimes mean new people – and that even the best position coaches often have long resumes featuring multiple teams. The NFL is, in the end, a business – even for players/coaches as popular as McCardell. As far as how this will affect McCardell's chances to be in the Pride of the Jaguars … not one iota. McCardell in my opinion should be so honored. I believe it will happen. I believe he should be the next person inducted. I don't know how soon that will happen. It's well above my paygrade. But what isn't?

KC from South Florida

O, it is being reported that Keenan McCardell will not be returning to the team. Honestly, I am a bit disappointed about this. I know a lot of fans are as well. I thought Keenan has done a great job with the players over the past few seasons, as well as being one of the best players in franchise history. So, one fer Keenan!

Absolutely. One fer Keenan. Good coach and great player. One of my favorite people in the NFL. Here's wishing him the best. Here's the thing to remember about McCardell: He was the wide receivers coach with the Washington Football Team in 2011-2012, then spent two years out of coaching before spending two seasons as Maryland's wide receivers coach. He then spent a year out of coaching before joining the Jaguars. My point? McCardell is a good coach, but good coaches sometimes get caught outside the league for a while before getting re-hired. I'm glad for McCardell that he was hired quickly this offseason. It feels like he is established and respected in the league now. I think his next step could be as a coordinator. I hope that's the case. He deserves it and his future should be bright.

Clayton from Gambier, OH

It's now been reported by multiple sources that quarterback Deshaun Watson has requested a trade out of Houston. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, the Jaguars will have the best quarterback in the AFC South next season!


Tudor from Saint Augustine FL

Urban better not DARE even think about a trade for Watson.

Or what?

James from Jax Beach

What are the chances of bringing back wide receiver Allen Robinson?

Good question – and there's no answer yet. The Jaguars' decision-makers are still finalizing staff. The next task is self-scouting, after which they will begin figuring how free agency and the draft can be used to build for the future and address immediate needs, etc. If the Jaguars decide they need to sign a veteran wide receiver, and if they decide Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson would be the best target, there's no reason it can't happen. Yes, he played here four seasons (2014-2017), and it's sometimes tricky for former players to return to former teams. But pretty much every major football connection with that era is gone – particularly all significant connections to Robinson. If the money and situation are right, I don't imagine Robinson would have a problem returning. If those situations aren't right, it won't happen.

Joseph from Jacksonville

Zone: What has happened to the two defensive players that opted out this year? Do you think they will be back?

Nose tackle Al Woods and linebacker/defensive end Lerentee McCray opted out the 2020 because of COVID-19. Both are veteran players who may or may not fit what the Jaguars want from their positions. Because of their age and experience, and because of the new staff's unfamiliarity with those players, it wouldn't surprise me if neither plays for the Jaguars this season. But we'll see. I expect the Jaguars' coaching staff to be made official relatively soon. Once that happens, the decision-makers will start getting their heads around what players could return. We're early in the process. We won't have answers on a lot of things until the decision-makers actually start asking the questions.

Don from Marshall NC

I think Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would have been drafted first after his junior year in high school. You want to talk about Urban Meyer winning percentage, Trevor has got him beat! I am going to nickname him lotto because he is the deal. Trevor Lotto Lawrence! Go Jaguars!

You go girl.

Linzo from Jacksonville

I think the vast majority of NFL followers agree that the Senior Bowl, this year, is the best venue to see 2021's draft inventory. You have reported several times that the Jags coaches will not be attending same for various and sundry reasons that are well known. Do you think this inability for our coaches not being able to attend the Senior Bowl workouts, game, etc. puts our drafting this year at a meaningful disadvantage?

No. The Jaguars are well-represented in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl this week. Their entire scouting department except for General Manager Trent Baalke is there. The scouts do the majority of the work at the Senior Bowl. They will get the information to the decision-makers and that information will be part of the large mosaic used to set the draft board. The coaches' absence from the Senior Bowl will have minimal impact on April's decisions – if any.

Tom from Charlottesville

Are the Jags draft positions for 2021 set? What numbers do they have besides 1 and 33?

The specific positions for the 2021 NFL Draft aren't set because there are still compensatory selections to be awarded. The Jaguars currently have 11 selections: two in Round 1, two in Round 2, one in Round 3, two in Round 4, two in Round 5 and two in Round 7.

Robert from Oneonta

Go ahead post this, dare ya. The NFL Jaguars are perennial loses. Achieving a record better than 6-10 has been rare. The bar has been set so low that when the Jags actually do produce a winning season it is like they won the Super Bowl. Yet, you have the temerity to blame Jacksonville for no/poor outside investment in the sports and entertainment district. Great deflection! John, Great deflection!

My answers regarding this issue haven't been about blame. Rather, they have been about explaining this situation from the Jaguars' point of view – and about informing readers about the issue. I never have blamed the City of Jacksonville for investing or not investing in anything. I have stated that at some point the areas around TIAA Bank Field and the stadium itself must be upgraded – and that the responsibility for this will have to be shared. I state this because this is true – and it's true whatever the team's record over the last decade. This is not deflection. (Insider's tip: there is no reason to "dare" me to post questions. If a question is worth answering – i.e., if I deem believe including it and answering it will either inform, interest or entertain the reader – then I'll post the question and answer it. If I don't believe it will do that, I won't include it. It's really that simple!)

Shanghai Stevie from Jacksonville

OK. A serious question now. If the decision were made then to move up and draft a top-tier left tackle to avoid a "Joe Burrow sitch," what would it take to get ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals to grab Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell. Best guess?

The Jaguars getting ahead of the Bengals at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft would mean jumping from No. 25 to No. 2. It won't happen.