Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Bird and the bush

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Marcus from Jacksonville

The impression from the outside looking in last season was that the front office focused on the last stretch of games (where they won seven of their last nine, including a playoff game) to determine the approach to offseason acquisitions. They did not make a lot of major moves, but focused on adding depth through the draft, seemingly because they felt like the team was on the rise and just needed a few pieces to push them to that next level. The question is, will this offseason be viewed through the lens of 9-8 and one win from the postseason, or through 1-5 in their last six and one of the worst collapses in franchise history? If they look at the whole, they might approach this offseason similar to the last, but if they look at the finish – like they did last year – they may be looking to make some major changes. What do you think, John?

I think the Jaguars' plan for the 2024 offseason would have been to make few major free-agent moves no matter how the team fared in 2023. I think this because General Manager Trent Baalke said as much from the time the team spent a record amount of guaranteed money in free agency the previous offseason. His approach was you couldn't continue to spend big free-agency dollars as the Jaguars did in 2022 and be successful in the long term. He said all this publicly beginning in the 2022 offseason. And he kept saying it. Why people either didn't listen or didn't believe him … that, I can't explain. I think that always was the lens through which the organization was going to view the 2023 offseason. Baalke also long has said the spending would free up in 2024. I expect the Jaguars to be more active in free agency this offseason – again, not as much because of how they started or finished last season but because that was the roster-building plan all along.

Mark from Archer

Zone, Josh Allen was second in the NFL in sacks. He was probably the second-best outside linebacker in the NFL this year. So how does he 1. Not make the All-Pro team? 2. Not get named a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year?

Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen being second in the league in sacks doesn't by definition mean he was the second-best outside linebacker in the NFL in 2023. In Allen's case, a high sacks total is particularly impressive because he's a complete player and very good against the run, in addition to rushing the passer consistently and effectively throughout his career. I expect he deserved to be All-Pro and to be considered for Defensive Player of the Year. Why didn't he earn those honors? The people voting voted for other players.

Don from Marshall NC

Joe Gibbs put the hogs together and ran a diesel behind it. We got a Hokey Pokey line dance with a weed whacker.

I'm not sure what Don is "all in" on here, but I laughed.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

Baalke isn't a good GM. We'll be discussing his replacement 12 months from now. *sigh* the normal life of being a Jags fan. There is no SB trophy in our foreseeable future.

Or maybe the Jaguars will win in 2024 and we won't be discussing a new general manager. And maybe the Jaguars add a few pieces, play a bit better than they were playing when they won eight of 11 games this past season, and win big. We'll see.

Eddie from Sec 104

Big O, I am not sure I understand people calling for offensive coordinator Press Taylor's job. It is Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense and he has his headphone on during the game. Do they think if Press was calling plays that Doug didn't agree with that he wouldn't stop it and take over the play calling? If fans don't like the way the offense was called, they need to call for Doug to be fired, not Press. Am I missing something?


Stan from Braselton

John, I watched GM State of the Jaguars. GM stated he and coach were in lockstep and yes, they were a part of the second-half collapse. GM stated everyone had to do better this offseason and next year to make the Jags better. What evidence does Jaguars Owner Shad Khan have that the GM and coach will not make the same mistakes next year? I fear we are in an endless loop of incompetence with our current GM and coach.

I never know how to answer questions about guarantees and evidence when talking about team performance, player acquisition and the like. Khan's belief in Baalke and Pederson is part faith, part conversations with the pair and part having seen the duo lift the Jaguars from a team that went 4-29 in 2020 and 2021 to one that went 19-17 with an AFC South title and a playoff appearance over the last two seasons. The Jaguars' record the past two seasons wasn't "good enough," but neither was it disastrous and it's unfair to call the results of the last two seasons "incompetence." If that's the case, all but three or four NFL teams are incompetent. Who knows? Maybe that's true.

Jason from Jacksonville

John, There is no one better at passing the buck than Baalke. It's easy to understand why he's not liked by many, because when it comes to accountability, he has zero ability.


Zac from Austin, Tejas

I think it's funny that the box says "Question" and then readers put their long Reddit posts in here and end their diatribe with: "Thoughts?" This is funny to me, because it's barely a question and just really wants to be affirmed or seen. Question, though: Do you have any parting words for Sports Illustrated as a writer? Do you have any front porch commentary of the medium moving from magazines, newspapers, and radio to online columns, tweets and podcasts?

Sports Illustrated recently announced layoffs that many project will signal the end of the magazine and of the entire entity. If so, it indeed is a sad day for me and most in my chosen profession who grew up in the business before or during the 1990s and 2000s. During that era, SI was what it had been since the 1960s – the preeminent source for sports journalism. I, like many sports writers my age, read it weekly. I loved the writing of Leigh Montville, Gary Smith and Curry Kirkpatrick – and others. I wasn't as much of a fan of Rick Reilly as others, but that was personal taste and Reilly was deservedly a rockstar in sports media for what seemed like forever – and the source of that stardom was the printed pages of Sports Illustrated. The magazine's reach and influence in the last two decades waned in direct correlation to the rise of the internet. Waiting a week for sports news – or any news for that matter – became an antiquated notion. I lost interest in Sports Illustrated to the point that I didn't know until the recent layoff news that the magazine was now published monthly. In that sense, the recent news seemed less news and more like an inevitable end to something that had been slowly declining for a long, long time. It's sad that SI won't be around, but it hasn't really been around for a long time. As far as commentary on the switch of the medium from print to digital … it isn't a positive. It has helped take reason, logic and thought out of the equation. Oh well. Get off my lawn.

*Chief from Biloxi, MS  *

Mr. Baake said, "The Jaguars must improve many areas moving forward." Well, it sounds good but when he had the opportunity to do so he simply doesn't. The reason the team underperformed falls squarely in his back. He should be gone by now.


Josh from Lakewood

When the Jaguars were in their 13-3 regular-season stretch, did you get many emails from fans apologizing for judging Baalke too harshly during the whole clown thing?

I received many such emails, and they were warranted at the time – just as fan criticism of Baalke in the wake of the Jaguars missing the postseason is warranted. Fans have every right to be unhappy with anything these choose about the Jaguars. It's the NFL. It's high-profile. Criticism is part of the job. Criticism being fair doesn't make retaining Baalke idiotic, though some fans feel that way. If the Jaguars win next season, I suspect I'll get more emails apologizing. Or I won't. We'll see.

*Howard from Homestead, FL   *

In one year at Atlanta, new Jaguars defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's defense showed marked improvement. He shouldn't and wouldn't have been available, except for the fact that the Falcons fired their head coach. Nielsen is smart enough to know that new coaches often want to bring in their own guys. The Jags wanted him, and the new Falcons head coach (now Raheem Morris) may and may not. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. Does that sound about right?