JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
So, it has been reported Tom Coughlin interviewed Wednesday. That is hardly breaking news given Dave Caldwell's recent comments, but it is good to see the ball rolling on meetings. I find myself wanting to see Tom get the job. Other than age, which is a legitimate issue at 70, he has everything else. He has credibility. He has proven he can win. He fights for his players and brings discipline. Oh yeah – and he loves Jacksonville … and the Jaguars. Some part of him is and will always be a Jaguar. Some hot coordinator might be the sexy pick, but I'd rather see Tom come take this team to the playoffs, go into The Pride and make some coordinator his successor like McAdoo was in New York. Maybe that's even Todd Wash ... if you get my drift. Thoughts?
John: I've said before and I'll say again that I'd like to see Tom Coughlin get the Jaguars head coaching job – and I think he would be a very good choice. There's no guarantee that he's the best choice because there are no guarantees in coaching or in life. I personally also like the idea of Mike Smith as head coach, and there are other intriguing names. Kyle Shanahan, Josh McDaniels … all have appeal and make sense. This process should gain some serious momentum after Sunday's regular-season finale. I don't necessarily have a vibe that Coughlin is the favorite at this point because I don't get the idea there is a favorite at this point – and there shouldn't be a favorite at this point. Owner Shad Khan and General Manager David Caldwell need to conduct the interview process, and that needs to be a real process. But if it's Coughlin who is the head coach after that process … yes, that would be cool for many reasons. The coolest is he is a capable head coach whose reputation precedes him. His direction, experience and ability to discipline and set a tone would be an immediate positive – and I think those elements would help create an atmosphere that would give the Jaguars a chance to succeed. That's the first thing you want from whoever gets the job. It's hard to imagine players not believing in him, and that's important, too. He also would get the fan base excited and give some fans who might have lost some hope this season a reason to regain it. That's not as important as the first couple of elements, but it would be a positive. This is about to get interesting. Hang on.
Dave from Duval:
Do you think the Jags have just used Myles Jack sparingly to save wear and tear on his knee and while he adjusts to the NFL on and off the field?
Jordan from Little Valley:
Games are won Monday through Saturday. The game on Sunday just shows how prepared you were. NFL teams are not drastically different with talent as many people want to believe. The Jaguars were crushed by the Titans and the Titans were crushed by the Jaguars all in the same season.
John: NFL games more often than not are decided by a few key plays. Take for instance this past Saturday. Yes, the Jaguars led throughout and won by 21 points. But with a little more than eight minutes remaining, the Jaguars led 24-17 and faced second-and-7 from their 38. Wide receiver Allen Robinson on the play made a remarkable one-handed catch that led to a touchdown pass from wide receiver Marqise Lee to quarterback Blake Bortles. Had Robinson not made that remarkable catch, the Jaguars would have faced third-and-7 – a difficult down and distance. That could have led to a punt and a very pressurized Titans possession. Sometimes, winning and losing can be as close as that – even in games that end looking like blowouts.
Bill from Springfield, VA:
Oh, mighty O, please explain to me why the team had their best effort after the head coach was fired, but they did it for him. Why not do it for him when he is the coach???
John: Good question. Maybe the pressure was off. Maybe the players played with more intensity after a shakeup. Maybe it was a combination of the two.
Nate from York, PA:
If the Jaguars play as well this Sunday as they did Saturday, I think it would play in Doug Marrone's favor as far as taking a permanent head-coaching job. However, is two games really enough to look at to see if the success really is because of him? This makes me wonder if waiting so late in the season to let Gus Bradley go really was the best thing. If it was done sooner, it would have allowed a better evaluation of Marrone.
John: I've gotten this question a couple of times – and there's no question a larger sample size would have given the Jaguars a better idea about Marrone as a head coach. But I don't know that there's that much reason to sweat the issue too much. The Jaguars know plenty about Marrone. He has been the assistant head coach-offense/offensive line for nearly two seasons. He has been in the building. He knows the staff and the players. At some point, the Jaguars must interview candidates and decide on a coach. Those coaches won't have coached the Jaguars this season, either, so beyond the final two games of the season, the Jaguars will do with Marrone what they do with all candidates: judge him on his interview and his resume, make a decision and go from there.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, there have been some weird playoff scenarios, but the Packers and Lions have maybe the weirdest yet. If they tie this week, both teams make the playoffs. I'm sure it would never happen, but what would be the reaction from the league office, around the NFL, and fans, if both teams just decided to take a knee the entire game ensuring they both make the playoffs? Thanks! Go Jags!
John: It wouldn't "sit well."
Daniel from Jax:
I don't know if it's just me, but even Blake's wind looked better last week against the Titans. Could it have been that he was purposely playing bad until Gus Bus got fired?
John: Are you serious, Clark?
Igor from Jacksonville:
So, John! You would not use the ... let's say No. 5 overall pick … on a running back (Dalvin Cook). How did picking Zeke Elliott work out for the Cowboys? Playmakers are playmakers ... I think Cook is too much of a baller to pass up, regardless of draft spot.
John: No, I would not use the No. 5 overall selection on a running back. That's why I said on Wednesday that I would prefer a wide receiver, or an offensive lineman or many other positions with a Top 10 selection. The reason for that is a running back more often than not is dependent on the line to be effective. Ezekiel Elliott, for example, is impressive and could even be the NFL Most Valuable Player this season. Would he be that behind the Jaguars' current offensive line as opposed to the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line? I doubt it. The Jaguars took Jalen Ramsey No. 5 behind Ezekiel Elliott. They don't regret the selection.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I have heard over the years that head coaches keep a short list of other coaches that could be potential hires in the event that they lose an assistant. Do general managers do the same sort of thing with potential head-coaching candidates? Do you think Dave Caldwell has had a list of potential candidates in mind since before Gus was let go?
John: Of course.
Dave from Duval:
Not to rain on the Jalen Ramsey Parade, but many of his passes defensed could have been picked. That was the biggest negative on him coming out: his lack of interceptions. Why do you think he's so good at getting a hand on balls but not catching them? He has adequate hands as he caught everything at the combine they threw at him including the Jugg machines.
John: Ramsey indeed has dropped some interceptions this season, but while it was a knock on him entering the NFL, it's a vastly overrated knock. A cornerback's job is to break up passes and defend passes. Ramsey's athleticism allows him to do that more than most players at his position. Interceptions are a bonus. Ramsey has two interceptions this season and has nine pass breakups in the last two games. His negatives are pretty scarce right now. As far as why it happens, I have no idea. Maybe he's so physical and attacking so strongly that it's difficult to catch. Maybe he's going at such a rate when he gets to the ball that the catch is more difficult. Maybe it's just sort of fluky. Whatever it is, I'd far rather have a cornerback with the ability to get into position to knock the ball down than one with great hands who can't get into position. With the former, you have a bunch of plays getting made for your team. With the latter, you have a bunch of plays getting made, too – but it's the opponent making them.
Cody from Washington:
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL: