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O-Zone: Fill it up

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jeff from Jacksonville, FL

I am disappointed in the Urban Meyer/Trent Baalke hire. Now it is reported that Baalke says it is hard decision on the first-round pick. So, if Baalke does not pick Lawrence, then it will be the same old Jags. Even if he does pick Trevor, I see the Jags being no better than .500 in next three years and will be looking for a new coach and general manager and franchise will set back another five years.

Are you serious? Yes, General Manager Trent Baalke during his introductory media availability Thursday said there's no such thing in the NFL as easy decisions – and Head Coach Urban Meyer indeed said the process to decide the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft will be a "deep, deep dive." Memo: This is exactly what all general managers/head coaches would say – and what they should say. And a deep, deep dive is exactly what they should do. The Jaguars hold the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. It's the first time in franchise history they have held the No. 1 selection entering the offseason. It's a monumental moment for this franchise, a franchise-turning decision. The two people making it have been on the job a little more than a week and a little more than a day, respectively. If they were already doing public cartwheels over Lawrence and proclaiming him the selection without doing due diligence, that not only would be silly; it would be negligent. There's a process to the NFL draft, even when there is a quarterback who people believe is a generational prospect. The Jaguars have plenty of time to work that process. It's not silly for them to do so. It's exactly what should happen.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, do you foresee the Jags being in trouble with the NFL for violating the Rooney Rule? The Jags were linked to Meyer in December. Reports were the job was his if he wanted. I know they did interview minority candidates. But it seems those interviews were not serious and just done to be compliant when you look at everything. What is your take on it?

I'm getting this question often, so I suppose it bears repeating: I do not foresee the Jaguars being in trouble with the league regarding the Rooney Rule with regard to hiring Meyer – and I can't see why that would happen. The Jaguars interviewed Eric Bieniemy, Robert Saleh and Raheem Morris for the position in addition to Meyer and Arthur Smith. You say it seems the interviews were not serious? Based on what? Were you in the interviews? Were you part of the process? Look, it's quite possible that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan wanted Meyer to be the head coach entering the process. It's even possible he wanted this in December. It's not against the rules to want someone to be your head coach. It is against the rules not to interview at least two minority candidates or to not follow similar steps in interviewing all candidates. There is no reason to believe the Jaguars did anything wrong in this process, and it's unfair to assume otherwise.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I was not excited about Trent Baalke as the GM hire, but I understand it. His track record in San Francisco was pretty terrible, but I am also a believer that people can learn from experience and improve. It makes sense that Meyer wanted someone here that is familiar with the roster and can help inform decisions. What does Shad Khan see in Baalke that he was willing to go to bat for him?

Experience, a track record of winning and a feeing that he and Meyer will work well together.

Brian from Jacksonville

The offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator under Coach Meyer are really important hires. Their management of coach Meyer's culture and system will be who the Jaguars are on the field. Are any coaches from Head Coach Doug Marrone's staff that are seriously being considered for any of the coordinator positions? Specifically, former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden?

No reports have mentioned former Jaguars coordinators as possibilities to be retained. Former Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen reportedly will be hired as defensive coordinator, and reports Thursday were that former Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will be hired by the Jaguars in the same position. As far as managing Meyer's culture and system, that won't be an issue. He doesn't appear to struggle expressing a message or idea.

James from Jacksonville Beach

Why would the Jaguars not pursue Matt Patricia as defensive coordinator? He provides the current staff NFL experience at the same time allows Patricia to start to rebuild his street cred!

Because they wanted Cullen.

Bill from Jacksonville, FL

John, let's say Trevor Lawrence is the pick and the Jaguars know it. Would/should they tell Lawrence, "Don't bother with a Pro Day or Combine, we'll see you at the Draft on April 29th." If they know he's going to be their pick, is there any reason to let him participate in a Pro Day or Combine?

This is a fair point, but there's no NFL Scouting Combine this year – and even in a "normal" year, I would expect a player such as Lawrence to participate only in his on-campus Pro Day as opposed to both the Combine and a Pro Day. Either way, there's little risk for a quarterback in a Pro Day or offseason workout environment.

Nathan from USA

Zone, am I correct in thinking Urban Meyer has more head coaching experience than any Jaguars head coach? And what does that mean?

You are correct, sir. Meyer has been a head coach for 17 seasons – two at Bowling Green (2001-2002), two at Utah (2003-2004), six at Florida (2005-2010) and seven at Ohio State (2012-2018). Other former Jaguars Head Coaches: Tom Coughlin (seven total seasons as a head coach before taking the Jaguars job), Jack Del Rio (none), Mike Mularkey (two seasons), Gus Bradley (none) and Doug Marrone (six). What does it mean? That Meyer has a lot of experience setting the tone and vision for an organization. He never has done that at the pro level, but he has been wildly successful doing that at the college level.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Urban Meyer coached Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith. Alex Smith played the forerunner role for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Could you see the Jags pursuing Smith as an initial starter and/or backup?

It's not an absurd thought. Stay tuned. (Though it seems likely a quarterback selected No. 1 overall will start far sooner than later).

Bobby from Duval

Man, we don't hear from Shad a lot, but what a class act and great guy. We are really blessed to have him. I hope everything works out and the team is big successful and the city does great. I guess my question is, do you also think Shad is a "class act?"


Marcus from Jacksonville

I realize that specific details haven't been given as to the structure of the front-office mechanics, but can you speak to how it typically works in a situation like the Jags are getting into? If the coach has control of the roster, what does the general manager do? I don't worry so much about whether Meyer can win games, but I do worry that he could get the Jags into a situation like Houston is in now. They've got the quarterback and little else, with few draft picks and no cap space.

The specifics have been pretty well laid out. Meyer and Baalke will report to Khan, who will maintain control of the roster. That doesn't mean Meyer won't have heavy influence. He undoubtedly will. The general manager's job is to scout players, work with Meyer in the selection process and have the experience/knowledge to ensure they navigate the salary cap and draft with an eye on the future and the present.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, if there are star players that can make the transition from the very different game of college, I'd say it's certainly worth giving Coach Meyer a chance. He can do the same, right?

He's darned sure going to get the chance. We'll see.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I understand there is no clear-cut formula - but whose job is it typically to develop a rookie quarterback? Head coach? Offensive coordinator? A quarterbacks coach? I'd like to know where the benefits and match is typically and if we think Head Coach Urban Meyer is to be expected to take a similar approach.

All of the above, and there's little question Meyer will hire an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the idea that those two positions will work with a young quarterback.

Brody from Carmel by the Sea

Will there be a full stadium in Duuval next year?

That's the hope.