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O-Zone: Fair's fair

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jesse from Texas

Is it possible one reason James Robinson hasn't been used properly for most of this season is because he was former Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone's guy? The new staff signed Carlos Hyde and may have been hoping for him to succeed more so than Robinson.

I have been asked about this possibility often, and it perhaps had merit very early in the season. The Jaguars signed Hyde as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and selected Travis Etienne Jr. No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, all of which gave the feel entering the season of Robinson being part of a multifaced running-back room more than being The Guy. That feel carried through Week 1, when Hyde carried nine times and Robinson carried five times in a loss to the Houston Texans. But that really didn't hold after that, with Robinson increasingly being the featured back and the offense developing an identity around him – particularly in the final three weeks leading to a Week 7 bye. Head Coach Urban Meyer talked often about liking the identity of the offense during that time – and Robinson's running with quarterback Trevor Lawrence benefitting from that running game was very much the identity. That trend changed when Robinson sustained a heel/knee injury against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8. That injury kept Robinson out for a game and limited him after that. There has been some weirdness around his playing time in recent weeks, and the explanations about that playing time haven't always been clear – but the thought here is that had Robinson been healthy throughout the season this wouldn't have become much of an issue at all. Does that mean it was handled great? No. But I don't get the sense the coaches currently are confused about the identity of the team's best running back.

Joseph from Acworth, GA

One thing I'd like to see different this offseason is the Jaguars not getting worse while they are getting better. What I mean is: retain good players; don't let wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., left tackle Cam Robinson, etc., walk out the door before you are absolutely sure you have players better than them. They have plenty of cap space, so there's no reason why we should lose those types of guys and watch them play elsewhere next year. I've seen it time and time again, where the team lets a player go and never finds his replacement.

I would like to see the Jaguars retain Robinson and Chark, too. They're capable players and certainly can start for many NFL teams. I also would like to know what they will command on the open market and how the Jaguars plan to use them before determining if keeping them is correct. While it's easy to say the Jaguars have "plenty of cap space," a sure and irresponsible way to suddenly have very little cap space is to overpay players who won't play roles that correspond to their salary. Plus, if you're trying to upgrade the roster, it's tough to pay players big-time money then also pay or draft their replacement.

Matt from Houston, TX

One thing I'm missing from Urban's persona is urgency and passion. His body language and answers to questions make it seem like he is taking a backseat approach to his team management. Is it normal for head coaches to be so laissez-faire in their management? It's annoying. This is your team, and it seems like you have little to no clue what's going on. I miss the passion of former Jaguars Head Coaches Gus Bradley and Jack Del Rio. I really felt like the players in their tenures respected them and their coaching, and played at an elevated level energy wise as a result. It's great Urban is managing his stress, but he needs to show a little more urgency.

Meyer often indeed doesn't seem all that interested or passionate during press conferences, but my understanding is that's not all that different from how he was while at Florida and Ohio State. So, I don't know that that's a fair reflection of his persona or approach. He does, after all, express passion on the sidelines and I certainly have seen him express it in practice. I'm not intentionally dismissing your theory here. I'm just not a big believer that coaches are judged accurately by how they appear when in front of the media.

Seamus from Sioux Falls, SD

At the start of the season, I was not for Meyer. However, his approach to conducting himself appears to have changed successfully since the Columbus matter, and I have come to like his candid, measured style. I'll let others squawk away at how good/bad he is, but I do know that there once was a rookie head coach of an expansion team whose first season went 4-12. I just finished a semi-exhaustive review of the Jags 1995, 1996 and 2021 seasons. The 1995 and 2021 teams look very similar, complete with high turnover ratios, a string of "get-right" games against non-playoff teams, and upwards of 80 penalties at this point in the season. My point is if this forum existed in 1995, those fans would have been calling for Tom Coughlin's ouster that first season. I recommend everyone take a breath and realize that in a rookie season, mistakes WILL happen. Next year SHOULD be better. Lawrence WILL be fine. Robinson's touches WILL improve. The offense WILL improve.

So, one fer Meyer …

Bob from Sumter, SC

I think the James Robinson interview has become a lightning rod for the fans' frustration with this organization. He's a fan favorite, a great FA story, plays through pain, hasn't demanded more money and seems like a really good guy. Yet, he doesn't know what's going on. The team has not only been bad except for a brief stretch but has appeared to be disorganized all year. So far, whatever it was that made Urban successful as a college isn't translating to the NFL.

… and not one fer Meyer.

Tony P from SLC, UT

I understand the idea that an up-tempo/hurry up offense could lead to inordinate amounts of three-and-outs. It seems to me this team using a slower/huddle-up offense is also leading to an inordinate amount of three-and-outs. What am I missing as the downside to trying something different? Heck, how bout we innovate and invent something different? Why kick the team in the shins for making changes to processes that aren't working?

I've gotten multiple emails asking about this topic. The reality is the Jaguars have tried up-tempo and hurry-up at times this season. They're also used run-pass option and zone-read concepts offensively at times. They haven't gone full out for the zone read because the idea much of the season has been that they didn't want to overexpose Lawrence to injury and wear and tear as a rookie – and that for his development it's best to have him play predominately from the pocket. It's difficult to do much up-tempo and hurry-up if you're not producing first downs and throwing incompletions. Then you're just hurrying off the field. The Jaguars are trying a lot of things. The things they're trying aren't working.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

I am tired. I am bitter. I thought this would finally be different. It's not. Is it ever gonna get better?

Yes. I don't know when. But yes.

James from Callahan, FL

John, With Detroit looking better than a one-win team of late, and the Jags playing both the New York Jets and Houston Texans in the coming weeks; who would you say has the inside track on first overall selection for 2022?

I would expect the Jaguars to select No. 1 overall based on the results of the last four games. They have trailed by double digits in the first half of all four games and haven't led in any of those games. The Lions, for their part, won last week and tied the Pittsburgh Steelers during that same four-game span. They also lost by two and three points in their other two games. Maybe that outlook will change. Here's hoping.

Mitch from Jacksonville

Is the QB exempt from Meyer's wonderful you-bench-yourself-if-you-fumble motivational strategy?

Goodness gracious, yes.

Diego from South of Tierra del Fuego

Would it not be fair to say that the Jags have become the Detroit Lions of the AFC? No hope for the future and mired in mediocrity. Dead end for free agents, poor drafting and coaching have ruined this once proud franchise. It all starts at the top and trickles down.

A lot of criticisms levied at the Jaguars these days are fair. They're 2-10 and have had one winning season since 2007. There have been far too many cases this season where things don't look right on and off the field. Until those things change … yeah, the criticisms are fair. Absolutely. It's up to the Jaguars to change the narrative.