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O-Zone: Funny stuff

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey, Mr. O: So, word on the street is that Urban Meyer (ugghh) is to be our next head coach? Doesn't the Rooney Rule apply? Are there any sanctions to interviewing a minority candidate as a "check-box" action? What do you think of former Jaguars linebackers coach Robert Saleh as a candidate? Thanks.

The Rooney Rule does apply to the Jaguars' head-coach search. And the general-manager search. That means the Jaguars – like all NFL teams with such vacancies – must interview at least one minority candidate for each position. The interviews must be legitimate and must be conducted in the same vein as all interviews for the positions. And yes, the league does due diligence after the fact to ensure interviews are conducted in good faith – and that they follow best practices. The reported candidates for the coaching position are Saleh, now the defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers; Meyer; Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith; Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Atlanta Falcons Interim Head Coach Raheem Morris; and former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett. Saleh would be a good selection. He's a good motivator, players seem to play hard for him and he has had good success in his position with the 49ers. He will be a head coach sooner rather than later.

Chicago, IL

Would you say we need to ... Urb our enthusiasm?

Well-played – and yeah, it might be time to pump the brakes just a bit on the Meyer story. It still appears there's a good chance he will be the Jaguars' next head coach. Where there is this much smoke there is likely some fire. But I don't remotely get the idea that this is a done deal. The Jaguars are interviewing multiple candidates – and there's not a bad candidate on their list. People in league circles believe Morris will fare well in his next head-coaching gig after probably being too young in his first stint in Tampa Bay. Garrett is well-respected and was consistently successful in Dallas, Bieniemy also is well-respected in league circles and Smith is considered one of the league's brightest young coaches. Meyer is a rock-star candidate, but he's far from the only good one in this group.

Vanawsum from No longer sure

So, Boselli is a finalist for HOF once again! That used to get me hopeful, but it's became only a continuance into the offseason of the pain of the teams' performance. Doing a quick scan of this year's finalists, I feel his chances are probably smaller than the last few years. Will he ever be inducted?

You're referencing for Jaguars left tackle and current Jaguars analyst Tony Boselli being named one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2021 class. This happened Tuesday, and I feel opposite of how you feel. Boselli has gained momentum in pretty much each of his four previous years as a Hall finalist and most Hall voters with whom I speak regularly feel he still has a very good chance to be elected. There has been a backlog of offensive linemen in recent seasons, and that backlog is close to being cleared. This won't be an easy year, but I think Boselli gets in either this year or next year. And I have a better feeling about his chances this year than years past.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I hope it's finally his year.

Me, too.

Unhipcat from b-bar-h, ca

Hi, John. Tony will deservedly get into the Hall of Fame and that will usher in a new Jaguars era. He, Fred and Jimmy will finally get the respect they deserve. No team has a brighter future than the Jaguars. Yessir, the South is gonna change. Everything's gonna be put on electricity and run on a paying basis. We're gonna see a brave new world where they run everyone a wire and hook us all up to the grid. Yessir, a veritable age of reason, like the one they had in France.

You go, girl.

Sean from Jacksonville

I hope the rumors aren't true that Urban Meyer is looking for upwards of $12 million per year. For a good college coach with no NFL experience? Nope. Nein. Nil.

I don't particularly care how much a coach makes – and my guess is few fans care all that much, either. Coaches' contracts don't affect the salary cap, so whether Meyer makes $12 million, $100 million or works for what insiders call "Oehser Money" matters very little. The reality is hiring a big-name coach means paying big-time money. If you're going to play in that league, you must pay. As for your description of Meyer … he wasn't a "good" college coach. He was by any measure a great college. How that would translate to the NFL is a legitimate question and would remain to be seen, but he absolutely was a great college coach.

Fred from Naples, FL

Hey, John. Thanks for providing us next year's opponents on the website. My question is that the NFL announced that next year will be a 17-game schedule and the schedule you provided has 16 games on it. How does the 17thgame come into play? Will it be announced at another time and will it be a home or away game? Thanks.

All reports are that there indeed will be 17 regular-season games in the 2021 NFL season. The 17th game would feature divisional teams playing the corresponding team from a division from the other conference. Because the Jaguars are already playing all teams from the NFC West next season, that means they would play the last place team from the NFC East (Philadelphia), NFC South (Atlanta) or the NFC North (Detroit). That part has yet to be determined. The AFC and NFC would alternate hosting the "extra" game.

Bill from Orange Park, FL

Before people start asking if Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is better than Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence because of the one matchup, let's not forget that Nick Foles beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Eli Manning beat him twice in the game.


Nick from Jacksonville

How much of Jaguars outside linebacker Myles Jack's success this season is attributed to how horrible middle linebacker Joe Schobert is? He is an absolute disaster free-agent signing.

Jack wouldn't be helped if Schobert played poorly; it would make his job more difficult. But Schobert wasn't close to a disastrous signing. I wouldn't put him in the Pro Bowl, but he was not horrible in the least.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ

Zone, of the fourteen playoff quarterbacks, six were available at our draft position when they came out, and four were free-agents available to every team in the league; meaning only four of fourteen 2020 playoff quarterbacks were selected ahead of our draft position the year they came out. While the possibility of having a franchise quarterback moving forward is certainly more exciting than not, I would argue that losing fifteen straight and being the laughingstock of the sporting world is not—and should not-- be the only path to finding a playoff worthy quarterback.

Having the No. 1 overall selection is not the only path to finding a playoff-worthy quarterback. But having that selection in a season in which there is said to be a generational player at the position sure increases your odds of successfully drafting one.

Alex from Orlando, FL

O-Zone, I get that people are excited about the potential of Urban Meyer as head coach but what about Lincoln Riley? Do you think he will at least be interviewed?

I like the idea of Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley getting a look. He has a reputation for developing quarterbacks and for having a brilliant offensive mind. He also has head coaching experience, which I consider a plus when seeking a candidate. I don't know if he will be interviewed. Stay tuned.

Jerry from Jacksonville

We know quarterback will be addressed in the draft. Other positions seem to take a year or two to develop. That said, what positions do you think will most likely be addressed by an experienced pro in free agency.

Defensive tackle and safety. I would include tight end, but it historically is difficult to solve tight-end issues in free agency so I would expect that to be a focus in the draft.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I like Fields, and he could have a better career than Lawrence. Let's not be crazy, though. It doesn't matter who the coach or general manager is. No one, not even the Jags, are going to pass on the consensus best prospect in 10 years. I expect the Jags will have consistently good offense over the next decade. I'm more concerned about a defense I could score on. What's the plan?

The plan is to hire a head coach, who will hire a defensive coordinator. When that takes place, then we'll know the plan.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Will Jaguars wide receiver Trey Quinn give up his No. 16 jersey easily?

Good one, Steve.