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O-Zone: Dare to be great

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

Kudos to Shad Khan on his public comments on the state of Jaguars football and coaching. I think that I have underestimated him based on the lack of winning during his tenure. I think the issues have been due to failure of head coaches and general managers under him. I think some of that failure is due to him being trusting in his leadership team to a fault. These guys have taken advantage of him. On a different note, why does Doug not get criticized much by the local press? I think you're all scared of him. Face it, he's a bad interview and seems to get pretty standoffish with you guys. Thoughts?

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan hires qualified general managers and head coaches then allows them to run football operations. Most NFL owners take the same approach and it's the only approach that makes sense for Khan. While brilliant and successful, he – like most NFL owners – did not grow up in the NFL and therefore has little-to-no inclination to run the day-to-day operations or overrule most football decisions of qualified football people. On your "different note," why in the world would the local press be "scared" of any head coach, particularly Doug Pederson. He's not remotely standoffish, is a fine interview and ranks among the more helpful head coaches I've covered in nearly three decades around the NFL. Perhaps Pederson doesn't get criticized all that much by local media because he's coached the Jaguars to back-to-back winning seasons – something that no Jaguars head coach has done since 2004-2005. He's a good coach doing a good job. That keeps criticism to a minimum.

Jason from North Pole, AK

Regarding the play-calling controversy, I follow the Minnesota Vikings closely as well. They had their Head Coach, Kevin O'Connell, on a podcast with a local media the other day discussing his first couple of games as a head coach. He said they had just finished a touchdown drive and he sat down with a tablet to review the previous drive with his offensive staff like he normally had as a coordinator. All of a sudden, defensive coaches were screaming in his headset to challenge a play on the field. He had to admit to them he hadn't even seen the play. Calling plays as a head coach has been a big adjustment for him and he hinted at the idea of trying to relieve himself of play-calling duties. Reminded me a lot of Doug Pedersen talking about being able to see the big picture at a head coach on game days.

An NFL head coach's main job is managing the team and setting a direction, with the main focus on game day managing the game. This is a good illustration of the importance of that and gives you a good idea of why Pederson ideally would rather have offensive coordinator Press Taylor calling plays.

Lane from Winter Garden, FL

John, Can we stop calling the new stadium the "Stadium of the Future" and just fast forward to what it will be called after it opens: "O-Zone Stadium."

I'll check.

Marty from Jacksonville

John, with all due respect to Bruce from St. Simons Island and his statement that raising kids might be harder than being Jaguars quarterback, somehow billions of people manage to raise kids, but only a few dozen can play quarterback in the NFL.

I understand your point. Yet, I also remember how damned hard it can be to be a parent – and how much commitment it takes to do it well. Maybe call it a draw.

Chris from Fleming Island, FL

Discussing successful seventh-round picks, one fer defensive end Rob Meier and his 21½ sacks.


Tom from The Mean Streets of Nocatee

Former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer would tell you that the cheap boos were not due to anything he did. They were the fault of his assistant coaches and the players on his football team.


Bradley from Sparks, NV

Cornerback Jarrian Jones, linebacker Ventrell Miller, defensive lineman Maason Smith, offensive lineman Cooper Hodges, offensive lineman Javon Foster and tight end Brenton Strange. If you could only keep three, who would you pick?

What's good about the NFL is there's no reason to make this decision on these players. Why is this good? Because it's an unfair, unnecessary question. Jones, Smith and Foster are rookies and therefore never even have participated in an NFL padded practice. Also: While Miller and Hodges are second-year veterans, they missed last season with injuries and therefore never have participated in an NFL regular-season game. There's no reason to give up on any of these players, just as we don't know the ceiling for any of these players. Strange, like Miller and Hodges, is a second-year veteran and is the only player of the six who has even a sniff of a legitimate opportunity. I would keep all six on the roster because I can – and because why wouldn't you? Who are the best three players of the group? I don't know. No one else does, either, because five of them have yet to play a meaningful NFL game.

Bradford from Orange Park, FL

Would never slam any fan for championing their ability to attend as many games as possible in Jacksonville and scream for the Jaguars. But I will say, the NFL not terminally subverting us in October withstanding, I'm all for as much worldwide Duval as we can establish. I mean especially in Ireland, right? Many thousands of Irish fans in teal blasting opposing teams & the refs? One hundred percent. Yes, please.

One fer Ireland, apparently.

Ray from Vernon

Mr. Zone, this year it seems that the dead zone is taking forever. Thankfully your daily read makes it more bearable. So, here's my question, of the two alternate sites mentioned for us to play home games in, who has the better food and parking around their stadium? Especially the food!

I haven't the foggiest idea whether Florida Field in Gainesville has better food around the stadium than Camping World Stadium in Orlando. I'm good. I'll never be that good.

Mario from Hannover/Germany

Where is the best place before a game on gameday? I will be coming to one of my Jaguars games again this year and would like to experience as much as possible! DUUUVAL, Mario.

Bold City Brigade Tailgate. Write in to the O-one that week and I'm sure a reader will make sure you get there.

Professor Woody from Dunlap

KOAF: After many minutes of research, I have been able to document some of the famous streaks you have currently obliterated, and at least one competitor you can overtake before the end of 2024. First, the streaks you have put to shame: 40 days/40 nights (longest continuous rainfall); 133 (number of days at Number 1 on Billboard Hot 100 [Old Town Road]); 331 (longest streak, in days, of at least some rain every day - Hawaii); 964 (number of consecutive games played in the NHL - Doug Jarvis); 1,480 (length, in years, of the longest lasting empire - Rome); 2,495 (number of games without a loss (Harlem Globetrotters versus the Generals); 2,632 (number of consecutive games played - Cal Ripken, Jr.). Your streak now stands at 4,711 (consecutive days as of July 1, 2024). You are within striking distance to overtake the streak of 4,850 (length in years of the world's oldest named living thing - "Methuselah" Bristlecone Pine Tree). Yeah, I know the difference between "days" and "years". But the darned tree did not write so much as a limerick over those many years, whereas you put pen to paper every single day! Beyond this streak, it becomes more difficult to find future targets to overtake. The age of dinosaurs lasted 186 million years (likely out of reach). Once you surpass "Methuselah," I will do several additional minutes of scientific research to identify your next target.

I confess I have thought more often in recent years about stopping the streak. I have no thought of a target number. It just seems sort of silly to stop after all this time when it's not incredibly difficult and when (some) people seem to enjoy it every day. I'm fortunate to earn a living writing. Many very good people with whom I began in this business have been less fortunate. I guess I figure there are worse and more difficult things to do than answer a few emails every day.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

I'll say it. Morrissey turned out to be a real jerk. Some say Morrissey's vocals brought The Smiths success, but I say that wouldn't have happened without Johnny Marr's guitar play.


John from St. Augustine

What will happen with Daily's Place? Will it remain in use thru the end of Phase 1 (end of 2026)?

The plan is for Daily's Place to remain open throughout the renovation that will end with the Stadium of the Future being completed.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Great and Mike Bianchi aren't usually used in the same sentence.

They damned sure are when I'm the one talking or writing.