O-Zone: Frontierland

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Paul from Ponte Vedra, FL

Yo, Zone: Wasn't TC once known for his robust and down-the-field offense? Yeah, he is a pound-the-ball guy, but let’s not look past Jimmy Smith, Mark Brunell, Keenan McCardell, Fred Taylor and even Kyle Brady. TC most certainly was an offensive-minded coach. I have a funny feeling he will be more involved this year … perhaps in personnel. I am willing to bet our O will improve dramatically.

I don’t know how much more “involved” Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin will be in personnel moving forward; he already has final say over all football decisions. And anyway: This idea of Coughlin and the Jaguars philosophically being an all-run, no-pass offense and “stuck in the 1970s and 1980s” is way overblown. When this regime came together in the 2017 offseason, this team had a defense that was already good and an offense that largely struggled the season before. The determination was that the quickest way to “win now” – remember that motto? – was to draft a big-time running back, attain a few very good defensive free agents (safety Barry Church, cornerback A.J. Bouye and end Calais Campbell) and win with defense and a strong running game. That formula worked enough to win a division title and get them to within minutes of the Super Bowl in 2017. The decision was made to continue in that direction last offseason, but that doesn’t mean this group doesn’t understand the need to be more effective passing. I expect moves made this offseason will move the team more in that direction, but that was going to be the case whatever the results of 2018.

Daniel versus O-Man from Jersey City, NJ

O-Man, do you think a player like running back Leonard Fournette realizes he is responsible for a working person like running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley losing his job?

I honestly haven’t the first idea what Fournette realizes and what he doesn’t.

Jim from Jacksonville

I think Houston’s slew of injuries was a major issue why the Texans stunk last year and getting those players back is a major reason they now are AFC South champs. As much as everyone doesn’t want to use injuries as an “excuse,” they are a huge part of teams’ performances. How about the Colts going 3-13 without Peyton Manning just in time to Suck for Luck? They were a great team the year prior, then stunk it up without him. How good would the Patriots be without quarterback Tom Brady for the entire season? If anything, I think people underestimate the significance of injuries because they can’t just sit around going “woe is me.” Could we be in line for a worst to first if the Jags can stay healthy?

Teams with elite quarterbacks often define a season-altering “slew” of injuries as an injury to its quarterback. In the Jaguars’ case, they built offensively with the idea that a lot of moving parts would have to be successful and interdependent. The formula was relatively successful before injuries caught up around Week 5. At that point, without two left tackles, two running backs, two tight ends and a wide receiver, the injuries reached “slew” level. That slew took the offense from being functional and inconsistent to ineffective. The Jaguars can certainly improve next season if the offense remains healthy. But it’s still safe to say that offense will look a lot different – at least in terms of personnel.

Richard from St. Augustine, FL

John, do you believe that Jaguars defensive lineman Taven Bryan will become a starting level –or even a good – player?

I think there’s a chance. It’s not guaranteed.

Dave from Chorley, England

Given the Blake Bortles experience, how much do you trust our franchise to pick our next quarterback?

As much as I would any NFL front office. If there is a front-line quarterback – or quarterbacks – available, I give this organization as much chance as any other at filtering through the sea of unpredictable/uncontrollable elements necessary to pick a good quarterback. If there’s not one available – and sometimes there’s not – then it won’t.

Frank from Fort Myers, FL

tell dou whiskeyg marrone talk is cheap takes money to buy

Speaking of whiskey …

Fred from Jacksonville

Injuries were obviously our biggest issue, but we clearly had several players who just did not have good seasons. One that really surprised me was Keelan Cole. I thought in his second year after the transition from small college to the NFL, that he would have a breakout season. He clearly has talent, as evidenced by two of the 15-20 most amazing catches over the past two seasons, but why did he just seem to disappear this season? Was it due to nagging injuries we didn't really hear about, or was he in the doghouse? I really thought he was a potential star in the making and would love to hear the trusted O-man perspective.

Cole’s drop-off this season surprised me, too. He understandably appeared overwhelmed as a rookie in 2017 transitioning from Kentucky Wesleyan to the NFL; he appeared to adjust in the second half of that rookie season. The Jaguars expected him to take a major jump in Year 2, and it appeared early he would do that. He then went through a bad stretch at midseason with drops and fumbles. At that point, it seemed at times the NFL was too big and too physical for him. Perhaps that’s not the case. I believe he will be in training camp with the Jaguars next season, and that therefore he will get the chance to re-establish himself after what appears to have been a dramatic sophomore slump.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

I think Ramsey set the tone for the teams culture this past season. I know you completely forgave Ramsey after he played well against the Colts. I won't forgive him unless he shows up next offseason as a positive team leader. If he doesn't, I expect him to be traded quickly before he infects next year’s team. Agree?

I won’t argue that Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey helped set the tone for the team’s culture this past season, but I didn’t “forgive” Ramsey – because it’s not my place to forgive or condemn. But him playing well against the Colts or a specific team wasn’t why I changed my tone on Ramsey. What changed was that Ramsey after a November loss to the Colts changed his approach. He worked to be better with the media and not as standoffish – and to be more of a team leader and team player. I wouldn’t say he was perfect on or off the field, but his attitude and approach certainly changed. I expect him to show up with much the same attitude and approach he showed in the final few weeks of this season. Either way, I don’t expect him to be traded – whether or not you forgive him. You can win with Ramsey behaving as he did in the last part of this season.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

It is obviously still quite early and much can change, but do you make anything out of the seemingly large imbalance in difficulty for home games vs away games?

Not really. That’s how the schedule fell.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Please keep Fournette. I know he hasn't been good this year but we have seen the potential. I really think he will come back motivated next year wanting redemption. I think we may have seller’s remorse if we get rid of him and see him shine on a different team. Can you imagine if he ended up on Steelers or Pats and we had to play against him? It would be Derrick Henry all over again and I can't live through that again. Isn't he relatively cheap on a rookie deal? How many years left on his contract? Don't you think its a good idea to let him prove his worth next year?

I do believe running back Leonard Fournette probably will play next season for the Jaguars – if for no other reason than his trade value is such that they wouldn’t get nearly as much by trading him as they might get by keeping him for another year.

Chris from Section 437

Hi O, would you expect some combination of right tackle, right guard, tight end, quarterback, running back with the Jaguars’ first five picks? Also, are Linder, Norwell and Robinson expected to be 100 % for the start of next season? Thanks.

That’s close, though it will depend what the Jaguars do in free agency – which is before the draft. Yes, center Brandon Linder, left guard Andrew Norwell and left tackle Cam Robinson are expected to be ready for next season. The only question might be Robinson, who sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 2 last season. He likely will be limited in some offseason work and brought back carefully, but the timing is such he should start next season.

TD from Festus, MD

Daniel Jones.

Daniel Boone. /fixed

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