O-Zone: All good

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Josh from Pensacola, FL

I’m not too crazy about the Nick Foles idea. What I would like is for the Jags not to let another franchise quarterback slip through their fingers in the draft. It hurts so bad to think back to all the obvious quarterback picks we have let pass. Most notably Patrick Mahomes. I think it should’ve been obvious through tape and the interview process that he was going to succeed. But that’s the past. This year we just can’t make the same mistake with Kyler Murray. He might not pan out, but we can’t afford to chance not taking him. He will be a special player.

Your pain is understandable, and many Jaguars fans feel it. But the list of “obvious quarterbacks” the Jaguars have let pass in recent drafts isn’t that long. The Jaguars passed on Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and Teddy Bridgewater in 2014 to draft Bortles, and they never had a chance to select either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota in 2015. I suppose they “passed” on Dak Prescott in 2016, and they certainly passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017. The Big Regrettables from that group would be Garoppolo (probably), Watson (possibly) and Mahomes (definitely). As for your thought that it should have been obvious through tape and the interview process that Mahomes was special …yes. In retrospect. But here’s what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote about Mahomes before the ’17 draft: “It might not be a stretch to say that he will get a head coach a lucrative long-term extension or he will get that same coach a pink slip out of town. While DeShone Kizer deserves the ‘boom-or-bust’ label as well, Mahomes is the headliner in the category. He has good size, tremendous confidence and a blue-chip arm, but his footwork and mechanics are a dumpster fire on tape and his penchant for improvising outside of the offense will drive coaches crazy.” Zierlien isn’t the end-all when it comes to draft analysis, but that was a common thought on Mahomes entering the NFL. Should the Jaguars have drafted him? Sure. Was his success obvious? No. There’s mammoth uncertainty in the draft process. You project the best you can, then you draft and try to develop. Then you hope. I could lie and tell you it’s more scientific than that. It’s not.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Sounds like the coaching staff changes were as much about personality types as Xs and Os. Heard the phrase “getting the most out of the players” several times in Head Coach Doug Marrone’s press conference.

Getting the most of a player also can have to do with fundamentals and Xs and Os. A position coach must ensure a player knows what to do within the scheme and the game plan, and that he’s executing techniques in a way that fits what that team wants to do. But yes … it can be about personality and about connecting with the player. That’s often a position coach’s most important role.

Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey Mr. O: I’ve just watched a bunch of film showcasing new signing Alex McGough’s plays at FIU. OK, so he hasn’t played against the best NCAAF sides, but Wow! He has a great arm, is accurate, scrambles like Russell Wilson, runs as well as BB5, but faster, and can sidearm like Mahomes. Sure, he needs development, especially with the RPO, but has a talent that can be grown. And he’s a proud Floridian. What say you?

I say it’s good to have a young, developmental quarterback that cost you little to attain. You never know what they might become. I also say it’s best not to count on them becoming very much. It’s rare that they do.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

What is your opinion of Kyler Murray? I’m a lifelong Sooner fan so I have a little bit of a biased opinion, but I think he is without question the most talented quarterback. He can make all the throws and has speed to boot. His height is the only thing that will drop him. Do you think the Jags will or should take him?

Height is certainly one of the things that will hurt Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray’s draft status. If Murray is the best quarterback on the board at the time the Jaguars, then yeah … I think the Jaguars should take him. That’s because I believe the Jaguars will and should draft the best quarterback at No. 7 overall. I doubt they will take him, and I think size could be a factor.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Yep, the fans are right. Shad Khan is ruining this franchise because he has too many business and sporting interests elsewhere. We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, there is precedent. Robert Kraft owns International Forest Products and a major league soccer team (New England Revolution) and has a financial stake in the UFC, and we can see the effect on the New England Patriots. Paul Allen owned the Portland Trailblazers and was part owner of another soccer team (Seattle Sounders) and look what that did to the Seattle Seahawks. So sure, let’s blame our woes on the owner!

It’s always the owners in the NFL.

Roger from London, UK

We need a complete overhaul: quarterback, offensive line, running backs, tight ends, wide receivers. And a new coordinator. How easy is this to do, to start almost from scratch and in a single offseason create a new offensive top to bottom? Can you think of a team which has managed this in a single offseason, or is this a rebuild that will take 2-3 drafts and free agencies? Thanks.

It will be intriguing to see the completeness of this overhaul. The Jaguars likely will need to replace right guard A.J. Cann, but the left side of the line and center Brandon Linder will return – and the status of right tackle Jermey Parnell is uncertain. I’m not convinced the Jaguars will overhaul the receiver position, and I also don’t know that they’ll add an early-draft selection or a big-money free agent there. It appears that running back Leonard Fournette will return. That leaves tight end and quarterback. While it does seem likely those two positions will change dramatically, that’s not as much of an overhaul as many observers expect or want. Either way, I don’t see the Jaguars being a pass-first, dynamic offense on the level of the Los Angeles Rams or Kansas City Chiefs next season. But they can improve enough from last season to contend? Yes.

Dave from Duuvall

You answered a recent question by saying the last 12 months in Jaguars Land were bad. But the 2018 season wasn’t all bad, John; the victory over the Patriots was an exciting win and even the 6-0 shutout of Andrew Luck and the Colts coming down the stretch gave hope that the defense could still be dominant. Don’t lose hope Duuuval! #DTWD

No, the 2018 wasn’t all bad, but no one around the Jaguars would say it was good – even with those admittedly memorable moments. It’s difficult from a fan perspective or a team perspective to say anything different.

The Fans from Anywhere

Blow, you constantly criticize or mock any fan that ever says anything negative about the team. If you can't understand the fans’ impatience and anger, let me give you a nugget. In this century (19 seasons now) the Jaguars have only finished with a winning record 4 times and has only made the playoffs on three occasions. Nineteen seasons and only four winning years and three playoff experiences. If you can't sympathize with the fans that are angry and impatient, then yes people will continue to call you out about towing the company line or being horrible to the fans.

I’m well aware of the Jaguars’ struggles. As far as this forum … I answer questions, countless of which are understandably critical of the team. Sometimes, I criticize. Sometimes, I teasingly mock. Sometimes, I just answer as best I can and move onto the next question. Or the next day. But to say that I don’t empathize with fans, or to say that I never express that empathy in this column, is either to never have read this column or to lack the capacity to understand what you are reading. Thank you for writing. It’s always great to hear from a first-time reader. #tow

Tom from Keystone Heights, FL

You say it doesn't bother you. But If I were you I would be tired of answering some of these very stupid, stupid, stupid – did I say “stupid?” – questions of some so-called Jag fans.

I learned long ago that there are no such things as stupid questions, though there evidently are such things as stupid, condescending, horrible, rude, selfish, critical, mocking, line-towing, spinning senior writers.

Dean from Rochester, NY

Since the "Tow-the-company-line" comment has now made it into two Zone questions, I feel the need to point out that the proper term is "Toe the line –" as in, the company line on the ground and each good soldier stands toe to the line.

Yes.

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