O-Zone: Cutting a rug

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Other teams have been figuring out what we do and having a lot of success countering our game plans and supposed strengths. I’m no expert, but a wise man once said that it’s always coaching in the NFL. Do you think Owner Shad Khan is still liking where we are? Is it possible Mr. Khan might be feeling some frustration with his coaching staff?

When I spoke with Jaguars Owner Shad Khan in London just before the bye week, the Jaguars were 4-4 and had done an admirable job overcoming the adversity of a Week 1 injury to their starting quarterback (Nick Foles) and the weird departure of their former star cornerback (Jalen Ramsey). Khan’s comments during our conversation indicated he was happy with the team’s direction and grit. The Jaguars since that time have lost two AFC South games by a cumulative score of 59-16, so I’m sure he’s not feeling as good now as then. As such, I’m sure he is frustrated. But Khan likes to say he is fortunate enough to see “behind the curtain,” so he understands the whys behind what’s going on more than outside observers. In that regard, I imagine he will wait until season’s end and evaluate decision-makers and coaches based on all circumstances. That answer won’t satisfy those who want to know RIGHT NOW what Khan will do following the season, but only Khan knows that. All others will know in time. As for that line, “it’s always coaching in the NFL…” that’s a good one. I probably would like whoever said that.

Royce from Jacksonville

Mr. O: defensive performances like the one the Jags showed Sunday are the kind that get coordinators fired don't you think?

Sometimes. And sometimes they’re the kind of defensive performances that show teams aren’t as good in some areas as many people believed.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Do you think if Foles continue to love and trust his teammates and have faith it will lead the Jags to victories, or will he have to play better as well and not look like a backup?

This line of questioning was bound to happen sooner rather than later, and it’s perhaps fitting that the first volley in this area came from Jerell. But the point is a fair one. Quarterback Nick Foles has talked since joining the Jaguars about love and trust between teammates being key to the team’s growth and chances of success. There’s truth in that, and that’s a good foundation for leadership and perspective in adversity. And Foles’ perspective on this comes from an honest place; it’s the same approach and perspective that allowed him to be a clutch, reliable player in must-win situations with the Philadelphia Eagles the past two seasons. It is in a very real sense the approach that saved his career, and therefore it’s a big reason he is in Jacksonville. But the reality for this season is the Jaguars are 4-6 and need to win now. Foles’ approach is designed to ease the pressure from that sort of situation. But whatever the approach, the need to win now remains – and fans will only want to hear so much about love and trust before wanting to see the results. And will they tire quickly of a “sky-isn’t-falling” approach when the sky indeed begins to crumble? I don’t think there’s any question about that.

ABC from ABCTown

So, we have got an offensive coordinator that can't use our star running back and a defensive coordinator that has nothing in his mind to stop the run.

This is a difficult week to make positive points about anything about the Jaguars, and it’s a particularly difficult week to see things from the coordinators’ perspective. The Jaguars lost big Sunday; when teams lose big, it’s always coaching in the NFL. (Hey … goo-o-o-oo-ood line!) But while running back Leonard Fournette should have gotten an additional carry or two in the first half Sunday, consider: he got a total of 15 touches Sunday including receptions, and the Colts’ second-half lead forced the Jaguars into their two-minute offense midway through the third quarter. That at least somewhat explains how offensive coordinator John DeFilippo used Fournette Sunday. And while Head Coach Doug Marrone pointed at himself when discussing the issue Monday, I’m not sure given the circumstances in the second half how much more Fournette realistically could have been used. As for defensive coordinator Todd Wash … he continues to take the brunt of the blame from many fans for the team’s run defense. And that’s fine: When things go bad, coordinators get blamed. But when players tackle as poorly as the Jaguars did Sunday – and when players play their way out of gaps as often as the Jaguars did Sunday – it’s difficult to call a defense that works. The Jaguars adjusted Sunday after not playing the run well early. They shifted to a defense more focused on stopping the run. The same mistakes were made in both approaches. Is that on coaching? If so, then blame the coordinator.

Colt from Woodstock New Brunswick, Canada

Since jalen Ramsey is gone and Dj Haden is out can we maybe put in beon borders in instead of Dj Herndon

Try again, Colt.

Aqeel from Toronto, Canada

I understand that guys with talent and red flags will always be drafted Mr. O, but I was wondering if teams will start drafting them lower? The first-round pick is too valuable and needs to work out long-term. I would take the high character guy with slightly less talent there having a better chance of re-signing him and creating better culture while still performing and take the red flag chance in the second round or lower. You could also probably end up getting those red-flag guys in free agent or by trade after they quit on their team later anyway.

I don’t believe you’ll see a significant difference in how teams approach this. There always will be teams that take character seriously, but there are 32 teams so there just as certainly always will be teams enticed by talent enough to take chances on players with unique talent.

Dan from Las Vegas, NV

Dude, you have the worst job in that building. You have to come with legit excuses for this pathetic team and coaching staff every week. And on top of that, the people who make a lot more money are hiding in their cozy offices.

There’s nothing wrong with my job. I answer questions about football. That’s not a bad thing to do every day. And while people often interpret my answers as excuses or arguing, they’re just an attempt to rationally and in a somewhat entertaining way explain why the Jaguars do things they do. Some days are easier than others – and I do get more venom from fans when the Jaguars lose. So, if you want to feel sorry for me, so be it. I am extraordinarily pitiable in countless ways. But don’t pity the job. And don’t mention what I make, either. Some things hurt too much.

Jason from Salem, Oregon

Who or whom do you think on the Jaguars besides Foles and Fournette could make this offense really go to the next level?

Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.

Leon from Jacksonville

Mr. O: You may not agree, but this is a bad defensive team: back to back games with a week off before the second one and they get run over. No reported injuries on defensive for this game. This is as good as they are going to be.

I have written and said on several occasions since Sunday’s game that the Jaguars right now are a bad defensive team. That doesn’t mean they can’t be good, because this is still a team that can rush the passer well if it first stops the run. But considering the defense has allowed 480 yards rushing over the last two games, and considering the players knew it was a focus entering this past weekend’s game and still couldn’t stop it – and considering they still couldn’t tackle or fill gaps correctly … yes, considering all of that the Jaguars right now are absolutely a bad defensive team. It’s up to them to prove otherwise.

Mark from Archer, FL

Well, Zone: It is time for fans to start chanting to play Gardner Minshew II and bench Nick Foles. Seriously, though: Here is hoping Foles got all the rust knocked off in that game and plays much better next week.

Fair.

Eric from Columbus, IN

Is Myles Jacks contract refundable?

Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack played one of his worst games I can remember against the Colts. His contract is obviously not refundable, and his signing bonus and guaranteed money means he will be a key part of the team for a while. He must play better. Period.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

So what now?

Now? Now, we dance!!!

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