JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mark from Jacksonville
Are there any key differences in the franchise's viability in Jacksonville between, say, the 90s and early 2000s versus today? I understand we're a small market, but I just don't remember all this talk about local revenue and the necessity for creative solutions (London, Lot J, Daily's Place, etc.) when Wayne Weaver owned the team. Was this a point of discussion then? Has the world changed since then? Regarding sponsorship opportunities, is the greater Jacksonville that inferior to Buffalo, Cleveland, Tampa, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and probably a few others? I understand we're not Chicago, Los Angeles or New York, but nor are we Starke. I guess I just don't understand why things are so dire.
There is one key difference. When the Jaguars entered the league in 1995, they had what essentially was a new stadium that at the time produced as much revenue as any NFL stadium. The team's lease with the city and its revenue streams from the stadium put it at or near the top of local revenue for the first several years of the franchise. That rapidly changed as other teams built new, state-of-the-art stadiums. It's 25 years later, and TIAA Bank Field is now one of the NFL's more antiquated stadiums – and the team has fallen into the bottom quarter of NFL teams in local revenue. It's probably not reasonable to think that a team in this market will be at the top of that metric again, but it's also not reasonable to think that the Jaguars can turn a blind eye and passively slip further behind in this area. Regarding local sponsorship opportunities … yes, cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tampa, Phoenix and Kansas City have more than Jacksonville. But the stadium is the primary difference. The world indeed has changed.
Michael from Isle of Palms
Hi John. Why don't we compare the Jags' first-round picks for the last 10 years and who else was available at those same picks?
Have at it.
David from Gainesville, FL
Zone - like you, I'm a glass half-full kind of guy. With the talk of potentially two home games in London, and with the likelihood that a new stadium (or one that protects fans from the sun during late summer/early fall) is unlikely in the near future, maybe two challenges can be solved at once if those two London games are early in the season? That way fans aren't subjected as much to the brutal September/early October heat.
I would be all for that and I know some fans would be for it. Though the team certainly can request such things, the NFL ultimately determines the schedule.
Matt from Bradford
Zone, we just need to see who falls to us in the draft and largely forget about need – especially at No. 9. Round 1 and the Top 10 in particular is where you need to find elite Pro Bowl, All-Pro level players who will be cornerstones of your team for a decade. Position comes a long way second to that for me (unless it's quarterback).
George from Harrisburg, PA
John, Nick Foles was brought to Jacksonville to be the starting quarterback. I don't think he's been given a fair chance to be the quarterback for next year. A year later and a very small sample size, you're ready to move on. How come?
I'm not ready to move on because I don't care one way or the other. I have written that I think there's a good chance the Jaguars will try to move on because it feels as if Gardner Minshew II will start the offseason as the quarterback and it's unusual to have a backup making $22 million. There's no guarantee the Jaguars will be able to move Foles, but I expect them to try.
Marco from Lima, Peru
Hey O! Regarding the recent controversy about our former offensive coordinator there's another former Jaguars offensive coordinator coaching this weekend. Surely it's not always coaching, right?
It's always coaching in the NFL.
Jonathan from Jacksonville
Hey Zone, just FYI. If team wins constantly year in year out, a lot of sponsors will come knocking on that door. They might get a bigger sponsor's name for the stadium, fans will fill up that stadium and Jaguars merchandise sales will be up as well. At the end of the day no one would even entertain you when you keep putting crap after crap on the field. It's all about WINNING. Good day, O!
The Jaguars haven't won enough lately. No one doubts this. No one disputes this. And the Jaguars will keep trying to win. But to say that the team should just stop trying on the business side – and to say they shouldn't try to stabilize the franchise – until it starts winning … that's just not realistic.
Nick from Palatka, FL
Greetings Z from the nebulous land of prognostication : I was wondering, if one key to improving next year is to shore up the middle of the defense so as not to allow hundreds of rushing yards per game, would obtaining a primo middle linebacker through free agency/trade and a run stuffing lineman through the draft be the way to go?
It sure wouldn't be a bad start.
Bill from Springfield, VA
Zone, the other day you said, "I just hope his back allows him to have an extended career in the NFL. He deserves all the success that comes his way." While I agree, I just hope we have had our last reference to him in your column. Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
That reference probably wasn't the last time former cornerback Jalen Ramsey will be mentioned in this column.
Larry from Jacksonville
Is Gardner the quarterback of the future?
I wish I knew. The Jaguars really wish they knew.
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL
Mr. The Real O-Z: Shirley some will call me a homer, but I can see how hitting on the correct interior defensive lineman, adding a playmaking corner and drafting a guy like Isaiah Simmons with the first pick could make our defense downright nasty (all of which seem potentially within reach). Agree?
Those moves would make the Jaguars better defensively than they were this past season. They also might still leave the Jaguars a couple of big-time players away from being "nasty" defensively.
Kevin from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada
What would your preferred approach be for improving the O-Line? Draft a stud left tackle with one of the first-round picks, or draft interior linemen with the third and fourth round picks?
This sort of question always depends on who is available when the team in question is drafting, but ideally, I would draft a "stud" tackle and perhaps move left tackle Cam Robinson inside. The more elite talent, the better.
Jason from Houston, TX
Dave Caldwell is 36-76 as the Jaguars' general manager, and this recent 6-10 record is actually the second-best season the team has had since he has been in charge. His record is worse than that of former Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith. Why would there be any faith whatsoever he can turn around this franchise, since he's been a dismal failure in six of his seven years in charge?
Owner Shad Khan is trying to take the long view in this, and the long view is Khan believes moving on from Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin will allow Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone to work together and succeed. Bottom line: Words won't answer this sufficiently for most people, and they won't make you feel better. If the Jaguars win next season, bringing Caldwell and Marrone back will be seen as a good. If they don't, it will be seen as a mistake.
Daniel from Urbandale
I just want to point out that David Caldwell has done a really good job of finding talent in the draft. I look at our drafts versus the previous regimes and we really have found some great players. Not all of them, of course, but I remember what it was like in the days when we grabbed a punter in the third round – and Matt Jones in the first and ... I could go on for a while, but Caldwell has some solid drafts. I don't know if that's enough to keep his job next year if we don't win but I think we should respect the drafts we've had.
Hey, one fer Caldwell!
Joe from Hall of Fame City, OH
Hey, Mr. O: I have trouble believing that a man like Khan would buy the team, invest tons of money into it and the city only took move it or let it die. What I do know is win and we're all back in. Minshew is gonna be the GOAT in Jax. Doug Marrone is the man. Dave will build a great roster. And you, sir (in your own wise words), will still suck …
So, one for Zone!