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O-Zone: All that jazz

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

David from Ada, OK

Every head coach we've fired has been hired by other teams. Some have done pretty well. Some of our coordinators have landed head-coaching jobs. No matter how much we've hated them, other teams magically did fine with them. So, clearly it's just a curse. It's all curses in the NFL.

It's not all curses in the NFL, but it is this: Most NFL coaches know enough football to coach well if they have good players – and a good quarterback – with a reasonable level of experience. The reason former Jaguars head coaches and coordinators have gone to do fine in other positions is the same reason many – if not most – coaches have varied degrees of success and failure through long careers. If the situation is good and if a team has talent – i.e., a good quarterback around whom to build – they magically become good coaches. NFL success is far more often predicated on talent – especially at the quarterback position – continuity, experience and health than it is coaching. This isn't to say coaching doesn't matter. It does. There are coaches who are better than others. There are coaches that are truly special. But the vast majority of coaching changes each offseason – and in-season – are as much for show and to appease angry fan bases rather than for any real improvement or tangible reason. And the amount of blame or credit given to coaches most weeks in the NFL season is absurd. I understand that people hate when I answer questions about coaching in this way. That's fine. I'm not here to make everyone happy, or to write or say what is commonly believed – or to write and say what people want to read and hear. Either way, it is always coaching in the NFL. Always.

Chris from Canal Winchester, OH

So in the vein of "it's always coaching in the NFL," I present to you the 2020 New England Patriots. No major changes in the coaching staff, at least at the top, and they're not doing very well at all. Maybe it is players and real talent after all.

No. That's impossible.

Really from Windermere

THANK GOD Marrone didn't get fired. Now Wash can set the undisputed NFL record for games where the opposing team scores 30 or more!

Absolutely. And it would be ENTIRELY defensive coordinator Todd Wash's fault. Good eye.

Claudio from Barcelona, Spain

Hi, Mr. O! Minnesota traded the Jaguars for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue with a second-round pick and change. Five weeks later they pack Ngakoue to Baltimore for a third-round pick and dimes. I can't help to think that the Vikings didn't like what they got from Yan. Maybe Jaguars did just right trading Yan. Am I a fool?

Time will tell if the Jaguars did the right thing trading Ngakoue; I expect that will depend on the long-term deal Ngakoue eventually signs with whatever team eventually signs him.

Micah from Chicago, IL

John, in 2011, we gave Cam Newton his first win in the NFL. In 2020, we bestowed the same honor on both Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. Nothing has changed for us in almost a decade. Shad Khan is 39-96 as owner. His handpicked general manager is 37-82. Do you see the problem here? Do you see why we doubt that Khan actually wants to win? At the same time, do you see why this is such an attractive front office job? Tons of high draft picks and tons of job stability!

Of course I see the problem. The Jaguars have lost too much.

Adam from Bryan, TX

Hey John, now that our season is all but over, I wanted to get a glimpse into our future. Living in Texas, I don't get to see most of the games, so what's your analysis on Claybrooks, Daniel Thomas, and Josiah Scott? Any chance they can become core players? And if Schobert continues to struggle do you see Quarterman stepping in any time soon?Thanks.

Rookie cornerback Chris Claybrooks is a kickoff returner. I expect rookie safety Daniel Thomas to have a chance to grow into a starter. I haven't seen enough of cornerback Josiah Scott to have an analysis, though the team expects him to have a chance to develop into a nickel corner. Middle linebacker Joe Schobert had one rough game – this past Sunday. This came two weeks after what may have been his best game. Barring injury, I don't expect rookie Shaq Quarterman to start over Schobert this season.

John from Melbourne, FL

"I don't see the Jaguars pulling quarterback Gardner Minshew II for Luton as an imminent move. I do see it as a possibility if 1-6 turns into one-and-a-lot-worse. And Luton does have a strong arm. You're right that it could be fun to watch. It also could be an absolute fiasco. Luton is a talented rookie who never has taken an NFL snap of any kind. There's no telling what you might see." John, not to be snarky, but we're one and six against teams that were also o-fer or around the same besides the Titans and we can't throw downfield and we're looking forward to the draft again already. To be fair, it's already a fiasco. It's always a fiasco in Duval and at least it might be a funny fiasco or at least the ball would travel 50 yards. No matter if that's 50 yards our way or back the other.

I don't think you're being snarky.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Considering the Jaguars have given up 30-plus points in six straight games, is this the worst team the franchise has ever fielded? The results are unbelievable. It seems like the offense is too talented to let this happen.

I do not believe this is the worst team the Jaguars have fielded; the 2012-2014 teams – particularly the 2013 team at the beginning of the Dave Caldwell/Gus Bradley era – had far less talent, in my opinion. Remember: Scoring is up around the NFL, so even though allowing 30 points in six consecutive games is bad, it doesn't automatically make this the worst defense in franchise history. As far as the offense being too talented to let this happen … you're right: there is talent on offense. The line. The running back. The receivers. Better play at quarterback is needed. We'll see if that happens moving forward.

Larry from Duncan, OK

Great and powerful O, you might want to tell your website director that Minshew has multiple injuries to his right thumb. Could that be a reason why his throws are not up to your and Brian Sexton's standards for quarterback play?


Scott from Virginia Beach, VA

Boy, do you have a disdain towards Minshew. If you read this column every day (like I do) everything that ails this team is his fault. Never coaching, never the front office and never the defense WTH?

I don't dislike Minshew, though I understand how people could think that because I try to answer honestly when it comes to Minshew – and I get a lot of questions about Minshew. But I've also been consistent saying that the defensive interior and pass rush have been major issues this season. I have to think that somewhere in your daily reading, right?

Kay from Jacksonville

Is this the end of the road for Gardner Minshew (at least as a Jag)? Please, football gods... not like this.

To be determined.

Chris from St. Augustine, FL

With the cancellation of this year's Pro Bowl, how does that affect the conditional pick that the team received for Ngakoue? If I remember correctly, it could have become a fourth if he made the Pro Bowl or it could have become a third if he made the Pro Bowl and won the Super Bowl.

The league still plans to honor players by announcing Pro Bowl rosters. This will be conducted as has been the case in the past – with fans and players voting. Under the conditions of the trade, that's how Ngakoue would have had to make the Pro Bowl for the Jaguars to get a fourth-round selection; he couldn't have made the game as an alternate in "normal" circumstances for the condition to come into play.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Please tell me that if the Jaguars have one of the top two picks of the draft, they won't pass on a quarterback based on the belief that Minshew is a franchise quarterback who would have proven himself had it not been for this thumb injury.

Ha. No.

Peter from Tallahassee, FL

Dear Ko all things, except Gene, you know who I mean, do you think Gruden's game planning to minche strengths was still a work in progress of whom I speak,I was going to ask if you thought grudenw of whom I speak, I have watched M Glennon over the years and he can get you through a few series in an emergency but otherwise, meh. I was going to ask ifmsw of whom I speak.

This was like the first time I heard jazz. I didn't remotely understand it, but I couldn't help sense its beauty.