JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Kyle from Palm Harbor, FL
John, you've been in the industry for a while. So, if you will, allow me to pull from your experience. I think the writing is on the wall. This team has a shot at a stud college quarterback. That seems like a good spot to clean house. It shouldn't be hard to find a new, experienced staff that is eager to come to Jacksonville and mold a successful franchise. From what you've seen in your tenure with the NFL, have you had a similar premonition?
I learned long ago "premonitions" mean little when it comes to NFL leadership changes; general manager and coaching changes are decided by one person. That person is the owner – and owners often make decisions that defy premonitions and "conventional wisdom." Jaguars owner Shad Khan in the coming weeks will decide if Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell will return next season, or if new leadership at one or both of those positions is necessary. I can tell you both Caldwell and Marrone believed they needed to win this season to be making decisions here moving forward. And I can tell you most organizations would make changes based on this season's performance to date. And many fans undoubtedly want change. Those things don't matter. What matters is whether Khan sees something that makes him feel the leadership should stay in place. Perhaps he does. I can tell you no matter who is making the decisions a franchise-level quarterback likely will be available when select in the 2021 NFL Draft. No matter who's making the decision, that indeed is a good place to start the franchise in a positive direction.
Chris from Neptune, The Planet
Looking forward, how else do the Jags improve their roster? Quarterback, defensive tackle, secondary are all concerns. Is Cam Robinson going to re-sign? What would you do as GM?
I would draft a quarterback with the Jaguars' first first-round selection next offseason, and I would address defensive tackle and defensive end early in the draft and/or free agency. I also would address tight end and one receiver position – and perhaps add a safety and a corner to the Jaguars' current mix. Regarding left tackle Cam Robinson … stay tuned. He has played better this season than in his previous three seasons. He probably hasn't played well enough to merit a top-of-the-market contract. Will he re-sign for less? Many players don't. We'll see.
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
Has right tackle Jawaan Taylor played as well this season as you expected he would? Does he still look to be part of the core that the team builds around, or more of just an OK starter?
Taylor, a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, hasn't reached the level the team hoped – but hasn't been bad and he still has big-time potential. He has been good for the most part, but not great. Whether he is part of the core moving forward largely will depend on how he plays the rest of the season and next season.
Mar6 from Prescott
Hi, John. I think you missed one obvious point in your What We Learned article this week. The game showed that the offensive line is not good, rather, average... at best (and we know the condition of the defensive line). So, the offensive and defensive lines should be the top priority, after quarterback, in the upcoming draft - don't you think?
I didn't miss your point. I just don't agree. The Jaguars' offensive line didn't have its best game Sunday, but running back James Robinson averaged 4.3 yards per carry and quarterback Jake Luton wasn't harassed to an unreasonable extent in the first half. The Steelers' pass rush was effective throughout the second half when Pittsburgh led by double digits, but few NFL offensive lines are going to hold up against the Pittsburgh defensive front when the Steelers know their opponent must throw nearly every play. I absolutely would put defensive line high atop the offseason priority list and offensive line could be a need based on offseason departures. But the players on this offensive line aren't the major issue on this team.
Don from Marshall, NC
Maybe we can switch Jake from second base to third!
I laughed at this.
Rich from Atlanta, GA
Hope there is a franchise quarterback out there past Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, because I saw Justin Fields of Ohio State play against a good team and he sucks. Do you have any info on the quarterback class coming out this year?
Your scouting acumen aside, NFL analysts and talent evaluators base judgements on more than just one game, and there is not a consensus or even much thought that Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields "sucks." I haven't dug overly deep into the 2021 quarterback class. The NFL season ends in early January and the draft is in late April. There's plenty of time to discuss the draft during that time.
Luke from Brisbane, Australia
O, interested on your thoughts re: Gardner Minshew II/Luton. Minshew has proven he can win at NFL level, but he's most likely short of what you'd call a "franchise guy" and also very different from any other quarterback you'll see on a typical roster. Luton on the other hand has yet to prove he can win, but has the "prototype" size/arm strength and seemingly has enough talent to justify keeping around. Assuming the Jaguars pick a quarterback next year early in the draft, who do you keep in case if illness/injury? Thanks as always!
I'm honestly not sure. Yet. Can I choose, "Bring them both in for training camp and I'll decide in early September?"
Mark from Archer, FL
John, I have a big hypothetical for you. Let us say the Jags do not win any other games. They are one game behind the New York Jets for the No. 1 pick. The Jets' final game of the year is against the New England Patriots. Do you think Patriots Head Coach Belichick would purposely let the Jets win that game to keep them from getting the No. 1 pick and drafting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence? To me, it would seem a very Belichick thing to do.
Chris from Mandarin, FL
2017 was a fluke. We have a difference of opinion, but you saying otherwise doesn't make that a fact.
Of course it does.
Sean from Middleburg, FL
What is the Jags' salary cap outlook for 2021?
The Jaguars are currently projected to have nearly $80 million in cap space entering the 2021 NFL League Year, the most cap space of any NFL team.
Matt from Charleston, SC
If both the Jaguars and Jets finish with the same record, say 1-15, how is it determined who gets the number one overall pick in the 2021 draft?
The No. 1 selection in this case would go to the team with the worse strength of schedule.
Don from Marshall, NC
What does it say about the rest of the team when an undrafted rookie has been your best player this year? Gulp!
It says the rest of the team hasn't performed as well as Robinson and it says the draft isn't a science. I'm not sure it says much else.
Alex from Chicago, IL
Now that we have a 1.5-game "lead" on the rest of the NFL for the No. 2 overall pick, I feel pretty confident saying we'll have one of the first two picks in next year's draft. Is there any possibility that we go with Oregon lineman Penei Sewell rather than Lawrence or Fields? Say what you will about our quarterback play this year, but I don't see even a prime Joe Montana having this roster better than 3-7 so far. We have far more holes than just under center!
No, I do not see that.
James from Jacksonville
What can you say? People need to stop writing in saying that this team gets no respect. One good season doesn't make up for anything. 41-100... What else can be said? Does this make Khan one of the worst NFL owners in history?
It gives Jaguars owner Shad Khan one of the worst records for an owner in NFL history. It gives people who want to say he's a bad owner ammunition. I believe Khan is a good owner and I believe his record will improve accordingly over time. I believe he's a good owner because he is willing to spend and do the things in his control to try to win. Many people will not agree with this. That's OK. People don't have to agree on everything.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
I feel like they could be a lot better with a good quarterback. The problems on defense can be fixed with the draft capital they have and by careful supplementation in free agency. Having a good quarterback would make a huge difference.
But of course.