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O-Zone: Fair is fair

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Aaaagh!!!!!!! Announce it already.

I'll just assume you're referencing the Jaguars' head-coaching search. The Jaguars haven't "announced it already" because there's nothing official to announce. To review: They reportedly have interviewed five head-coaching candidates: San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Florida/Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and Atlanta Falcons Interim Head Coach Raheem Morris – with former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett also reportedly a candidate. There also were reports Monday that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan had contacted Doug Pederson, who was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles Monday. So, there's every indication that no decision yet has been made. Now, it is true that Meyer has been mentioned so much as the "leading candidate" that many observers assume he has the position and some – Gary from St. Augustine perhaps among them – are frustrated that there hasn't been an announcement. And that frustration is understandable. So, what's a frustrated fan to do in such trying times? Breathe. Then breathe again. When the Jaguars officially hire a head coach, the world will know. These things tend to become known quickly.

Sam from Boise, ID

Is it out of the question that we could bring back Allen Robinson? Pairing him up with Lawrence might be giving him the best quarterback he has ever played with.

This would be weird; players rarely leave the team that drafts them as an unrestricted free agent then re-sign a big-time free agent contract with the drafting team. But that would be the scenario for Robinson, who played the past three seasons with the Chicago Bears after signing with them following a four-year stint with the Jaguars. One reason it's unusual is because players don't often get a second free-agent deal while still in their prime. And even fewer find themselves in circumstances in which returning to the former team would make sense. But in this case, the Jaguars have salary-cap space and the decision-makers that allowed him to leave are no longer making decisions around the Jaguars. There's no way to know how those new decision-makers view Robinson because we don't know the new decision-makers yet. And who knows if they will see receiver as a need. But yes … Robinson to the Jaguars could make some sense. And there would be a good chance Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence could soon be the best quarterback with whom he has played.

Reuben from Pikesville

Is former Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns General Manager John Dorsey set to be interviewed? You could do worse than to have drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes, quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Nick Chubb, running back Kareem Hunt and defensive end Myles Garrett, just to name a few.

Dorsey is not among the reported candidates for Jaguars general manager. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not a candidate. And you're right: Dorsey has done a nice job in the draft.

Levi from Bloomington IN

You think Khan has a mandate for the new head/general to draft Lawrence?

A mandate? No. I don't think Khan would tell a head coach/general manager that he/they wouldn't get the job if they didn't select former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. But considering Lawrence's presumed status as the best quarterback prospect to enter the NFL in nearly a decade, I have to imagine a general manager/head coach would need to give Khan a good reason for not selecting Lawrence No. 1 overall.

Alan from Jacksonville

With the talk of hiring Urban Meyer, I had a horrible flashback to 1977 when Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach John McKay – a former Southern California coach and first-time NFL coach – drafted running back Ricky Bell – one of his former players at USC – with the first overall pick instead of Pitt running back Tony Dorsett, a future Hall of Famer. In the second round, McKay drafted linebacker Dave Lewis, another USC player instead of Nolan Cromwell. Under McKay's "leadership," in their first two years, the Bucs won a total of two games. Not even counting Meyer's tendency to go when the going gets tough and his indifference to a player's character, I am afraid we would end up with Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields as our No. 1 pick just because Meyer recruited him.

It's 2021, not 1977. Everything I've ever heard or read about Meyer is he wants to win to a ruthless degree. I can't imagine the fact that a player played at a certain school would cloud his judgement in this case. Or any case. Also: Meyer left Ohio State after the 2019 Rose Bowl and Fields transferred to Ohio State shortly thereafter. If there's a connection between Meyer and Fields, it's minimal.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I understand this is a results-oriented league, and few head coaches will survive a 1-15 season. Still, I think Doug Marrone was a good head coach with too little talent to work with. Do you have a feel for the likelihood of him getting a new head coaching gig in 2021? Or is he more likely to get a coordinator position?

I expect Marrone to coach in the NFL in 2021 if he so desires. I think a logical path for him could be coaching as an assistant head coach or offensive line coach for a year and then becoming a head coach in college – providing he has interest in coaching at the college level. I think it will be a long shot for Marrone to become an NFL head coach again – not because he wouldn't do a good job, but because third NFL head-coaching stints are comparatively rare. That doesn't mean it can't happen.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Indy and Tennessee lost in the first round of the playoffs, so that was fun. I don't really care for those teams much. And Houston is just a mess, I like that too!

I'm glad you had a good weekend.

Wes from Corinth, TX

I have two overwhelming reasons that former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli should be in the Hall of Fame. One: John Madden years ago compared the great Larry Allen to Tony during a game. Two: Tony remains the only lineman from the 1990s All-Decade Team not elected. It's a shame and long overdue. Name a Hall of Fame defensive lineman that has had their way with big Tony? Exactly why this continues to be bitter.

The only defensive lineman with whom I ever saw Boselli remotely struggle was Minnesota Vikings defensive end John Randle. That was in 1998 in a 50-14 Jaguars loss – a game in which the Jaguars were behind early and decimated with so many injuries that no one on the team played well. That said, your reasons are valid ones. I have a couple of more: One is that Boselli was a three-time All-Pro selection during the NFL's Golden Age of left tackles. Another is that he was as good or better than pretty much anyone who ever played the position. I believe he will get elected into the Hall either this year or next year. We'll see.

Colin from Narnia

Imagine the next season of Hard Knocks where the Jags have Lawrence as their first pick and Urban Meyer as head coach. The Jags can be exempt to participate with new coaching, but it would be good exposure for a market so small and all the interest that will come with the new regime.


Josh from Saint George, GA

Is there any way you or Shadrick can actually talk to the candidates after their interviews to ask them how it went and what their views of Jacksonville and our future can be with them and what sets them apart from the others?

Coaches and general managers involved in searches rarely – if ever – speak to the media during the process.                       

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

Watching these playoff games without any fans is just, wrong. I mean the whole impact of an opposing fan base can't be stressed enough. One can't help but wonder how that Seattle game would have gone had the 12th man been in attendance and fully involved in the game. This needs to change, now. Bring back the fans.

No one wants fans in the stands more than the NFL. When it is deemed safe to do so, the fans will return.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

As you have (wisely) said, there are no sure things about head coaches. Still, there is history. We know of many successful college coaches who failed in the NFL. Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban, Greg Schiano, Steve Spurrier, Chip Kelly, etc. What makes Urban Meyer any more likely be as effective in the NFL as in the NCAA?

Fair question. It's also a fair question to ask what makes him less likely to be effective than Jimmy Johnson, Tom Coughlin or Pete Carroll.