JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
_Dave from Chorley, UK _
Hello, O: Seasons greetings. So, with another loss under our belts, it has to be time to clean house. It is abundantly clear the current regime has not been able to build a successful franchise. We have so many issues on offense, an inability to stop the run on defense as well as an ability to give up big plays on pass defense. Surely, bringing back any member of this current front office would be a mistake. Sometimes a fresh start has to be better for all involved.
This is a popular sentiment among Jaguars fans. It's also an understandable sentiment considering the franchise has had two consecutive double-digit-loss seasons – and a bunch more double-digit loss seasons before that. What I can tell you is I believe there is a very, very good chance both General David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone will return next season. I believed this last week, and multiple credible media reports over the past weekend reported the same thing. If the Jaguars go in this direction, I would anticipate Owner Shad Khan releasing a statement explaining the move and being asked about it extensively when he next speaks publicly. Part of the reasoning would have to be that Khan believes both Caldwell and Marrone deserve the chance to operate in a structure in which they both report to Khan as opposed to reporting to former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin – as was the case during the previous three seasons. Is that enough? Is that the right move? Only time will determine that. Khan had hinted after last season that there would be change following this season if the Jaguars continued to lose too often. Moving on from Coughlin represents significant change. He was, after all, the final say on football decisions during his tenure here. I absolutely understand that moving on from Coughlin won't be significant enough for many Jaguars fans. Stay tuned, I guess. And don't call me Shirley.
Chris from Niagara Falls, Canada
Hey, Zone. Could one not assume that Coughlin was brought in because Shad was not happy with the way Dave was making selections? If so, would that not be a red flag moving forward if they kept Caldwell? And Merry Christmas!
If Khan retains Caldwell it's because he believes he is the right person for the job at this time. I'm not sure what to say on the matter beyond that. And Merry Christmas.
Ray from Alexandria, VA
Now that we've seen that Caldwell draft some great players, the biggest issue now is sustainability. That starts with signing high performers like former wide receiver Allen Robinson and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, and knowing when to let others walk. If Khan keeps Caldwell, do you see this as something he is capable of doing? Barring trade demands or unforeseen retirements, how much of the recent slide is on Caldwell versus Coughlin? Or is that a secret we'll never know ...
We'll never know for sure whether the decline in talent is "on" Caldwell or Coughlin, mainly because many decisions on signing or not signing players reach consensus over time and it's tricky to know who sways who – and how much. As far as knowing when to let players walk and when not, it's fair to say letting Robinson sign elsewhere was a mistake. Ngakoue hasn't signed anywhere else yet, so that's yet to be determined.
Paul from Columbus, OH
When are the Jags going to make coaching changes?
I don't anticipate changes of any kind until after the regular season, and I wouldn't anticipate at this point Marrone going anywhere. I don't yet have a feel for what that means for the rest of the coaching staff.
Wyatt from Jacksonville
O-Zone, connecting the dots in the Tom Coughlin Coughlin-Ramsey saga it seems that just prior to Ramsey's departure Khan probably came to the conclusion that Coughlin needed to go at the end of the season. I'm also thinking earlier in the season when he said he thought Ramsey's "back injury" would recover and he would resume playing (though he didn't) it's likely he directly communicated Coughlin's impending departure to Ramsey, possibly along with other things like wanting to make him the highest-paid corner in the future. Now if we take those connections as likely true, then clearly Ramsey had something else besides just Coughlin as motivation to force his way out of town. So, while Coughlin apparently was part of the combination of things that led to this conclusion, we can't say this was all on him. The saddest part of this whole situation is Coughlin should be on the Jaguars' Mount Rushmore, even with a tenure as Executive VP of football operations that was only somewhat successful, and I hope in a few years we can go back to remembering him as fondly as he should be.
I agree about not connecting the Coughlin-Ramsey saga too directly to Coughlin's departure. I understand that's the vogue thing to do right now, and I understand that the overriding narrative always will be that Coughlin Drove Ramsey Out of Town. But many, many other factors had to play into Khan's decision to dismiss Coughlin – and the team's record and overall decline in talent were likely at the top of that list. Losing Ramsey was part of that decline, to be sure, but what created the need to part ways immediately was the NFL Players Association story this week. Ramsey is part of that story, but absolutely not all of it. The Jaguars lost too many games and Coughlin oversaw that. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a head coach someday, and deservedly so. He will not be in the Hall of Fame as an administrator. That's why Khan was going to dismiss him at season's end. The NFLPA expediated that decision.
Marc from Oceanway
I am surprised that I haven't heard more talk about how essential Marcell Dareus has been for our defense. Before he arrived, we struggled to defend the run. We again regressed after he was hurt. What are your thoughts on Marcell's importance on our team?
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus in retrospect was the most irreplaceable player on the team. He wasn't playing phenomenally well before his midseason core-muscle injury, but he was far and away the best interior lineman against the run. The run defense was OK with him playing and it since has been completely ineffective for the most part. I don't believe the Jaguars would have made the postseason had Dareus remained healthy, and I don't believe they would have been a great defense had that happened. I do believe they would have been far better against the run and that the defense as a whole wouldn't have felt as outmanned as often.
David from Oviedo, FL
O - Maybe, the statement, "sometimes it's time to move on" works both ways, not just from the team's perspective, but from a player's perspective. Maybe, cornerback Jalen Ramsey requested a trade nicely, but when it wasn't granted, he had to up the pressure. If a team can move on from a player at any time, it seems fair that a player should have the same right? Your recent responses suggests that he went about it all wrong. If he wanted out of Dodge, how else should he have handled it?
Professionally, and by not quitting on teammates he professed to love.
John from Cape May Court House
"The Jaguars should focus on offensive and interior defensive line until both areas improve dramatically." But they have, John. NFL player management is an economic game in that there is limited amount of resources to obtain talent. We have spent both capital and draft equity on both position groups in recent seasons at the expense of other positions. Now, that's not to say that we shouldn't address them, but to spend high picks and free agent dollars on lineman when we have pressing needs at quarterback, wide receivers, cornerback, tight end linebacker – that is something I just don't agree with. The players we have must play better, be coached better, or be the bridge until the position can be addressed in the future.
You're right that equity has been spent on the lines. But if this team can't get to a point that it can stop the opponent from running, or not look dysfunctional from the snap on offense, nothing matters.
Gary from Ponte Vedra, FL
In hindsight maybe the Jaguars should have traded Minshew during the height of the "mania." I bet if they packaged Minshew and as senior writer to be named later, they could've easily gotten a second-rounder rounder in return. Both seem highly overrated and easily replaced. Thoughts?
Bosley from Orange Park, FL
You have often stated that you are not a fan of the "Jacksonville Jaguars." So, I don't care about your opinions about the "Jaguars!"
We should be best friends. Totally. We could get together on weekends, go to lunch, do errands for each other when the other one's sick. It could be "awesome." (Text me.)