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O-Zone: Getting a lift in

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Adam from Spartanburg, SC

I have been a loyal Jags supporter after living there for 20 years. I know this was a rebuild year and draft picks are good, but I feel we got rid of too many veteran playmakers. Do you feel Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell got rid of too much?

Not intentionally – and that's the difference between 2020 and 2013. In 2013, when Caldwell first arrived as general manager, he released many veterans with the idea of developing a young roster that would mature and grow together. The trades this past offseason were about getting the cap in order but the Jaguars also kept veterans they could have released had the idea been to cut to the bone. Yes, Caldwell opted to trade veteran defensive end Calais Campbell and cornerback A.J. Bouye – but those two moves were about the cap and parting ways with players the Jaguars believed past their primes. Trading safety Ronnie Harrison in training camp has been criticized, but a strong argument can be made that the Jaguars are at the same level at safety without him as had he been here. What Caldwell and the Jaguars didn't want to do was trade defensive end Yannick Ngakoue or have defensive tackle Al Woods opt out because of COVID-19 or have defensive lineman Rodney Gunter retire because of a heart issue. The Ngakoue situation evidently reached a point that a trade had to be made and Woods/Gunter were out of the team's control. I'm sure Caldwell would change those situations if possible.

Sam from Nottingham, UK

I've got to hold my hands up; I've been really critical of the front office signing linebacker Myles Jack to a long-term deal and prioritizing it over defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey; but what a decision. Since the move to weak-side linebacker he's been a beast! How has Joe Schobert's play seemed? I'm no expert but he seems to have missed a lot of tackles and surely – as middle linebacker calling the plays – some of the underperformance should sit with him?

Schobert has been good at times, OK at others. Not great. And he has missed some tackles. But the "underperformance" on defense hasn't been on Schobert. And I don't even know that the defense is "underperforming." It's quite possible it's performing to its level.

Zac from Austin, tejas

Oh Man … are fans going to start picking apart Lot J again? That was a rough stretch in the O-Zone.

Fans can pick apart what they want. Lot J matters. It's key to the franchise's long-term financial stability in Jacksonville. Pick it apart. Hate it. Distrust it. Whatever. It matters.

Robert from Oneonta

John, the issue here is not that you're wrong. A team should not change coaches every time something goes wrong. I completely agree. Consistency and continuity are good things. When you look at the Jags, very little has gone right over a compilation of years. They have tried several different quarterbacks, a host of defenders, a revolving door at receiver, etc. Simple process of elimination points to coaching. I've watched Head Coach Doug Marrone interview. I like the guy, but he is a dullard. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash has no imagination and the multiyear overview of his outcomes shows he is not effective. Our opponents have figured him out, maybe as much as two years ago. Inability to adjust to what is going on currently is not a positive trait. I realize having young and/or less talented players is a big component. I am trying to be rational. Just this one time the write-in/readers are correct. Nothing good is going to happen at the 'Bank until at least some of these coaching pieces are upgraded. How long does a rational general manager/owner hang on to a group of coaches that, for whatever reason, are ineffective and not getting the job done?

You're right. The issue absolutely isn't that I'm wrong.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Things change. The NFL has changed (because of COVID-19) to kind of a baseball look with no fans in the stands and relying on TV money to stay afloat. How will this change affect megacontracts? Thanks

There will be a lot of veterans released and contracts restructured around the NFL next offseason because of this season's short-term effects on the salary cap. Once rules revert to "normal" and fans attend at "normal" levels, contracts will become mega again.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Isn't it a little early to fret about the long-term impact of quarterback Gardner Minshew II? He has all of what, 18 games in the NFL? Right now, he has a defense that ranks in the top ten – in points allowed. He has a new offensive coordinator. Sure, we can see areas he needs to improve upon. But shouldn't we wait to see how the season plays out, and the "Stache" develops, before hitting the panic button?

It's never too early to fret about quarterback, but yet … it's fair to let the season play out.

Zach from Delevan, WI

If Blake Bortles or Blaine Gabbert was where Gardner Minshew was at this point in their second season with this inexperienced of a team is it really fair to say that the organization wouldn't be over the moon with their performance? Seems to me this is a classic case of judging based off draft status. It's not like Minshew has been perfect, far from it but he's by far the best we've had.

I don't know how the organization would feel if circumstances were changed. I know the situation the organization is in now. It needs to know if Minshew is a franchise quarterback. If he's going to be that, then he must improve in the pocket and figure a way to beat some of the defensive approaches he hasn't been able to beat consistently. Perhaps that will happen, but it hasn't happened yet. And it must.

Bill from Jupiter, FL

So we are still not interested in Marcell Dareus? Was there a locker-room issue? is he just not in shape? I note that he hasn't been signed by any other team. But he would be an immediate upgrade, right?

It's not 2017 anymore.

Brandon from Duuval

John, what do you think of the gift of a deal Owner Shad Khan received from the city for Lot J project? This is giving him access to a boatload of taxpayer money structured as such that he will not have to pay taxes on it for 50 years if everything goes through. He makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year from owning the Jaguars, yet the taxpayers and the city have to fork over all this money? He is even selling the Kismet because he is reportedly having an even bigger yacht built. Why shouldn't HE invest in his business and not the city – aka taxpayers?

I think Lot J will benefit the Jaguars, Khan and the city of Jacksonville. I also lived here before the Jaguars and have lived here since the Jaguars. Is there going to be a cost on some level to keeping the franchise here and developing TIAA Bank Field and the area around it to the point that the franchise can remain competitive with other NFL cities? Yes. Is the cost well worth it? I would say yes.

Paul from Apalachicola, FL

If my Baguars lose their third consecutive game to a winless opponent, do you think they can land the top pick? Or will they need to go 1-15 to beat the Jets?

Stay tuned.

Adam from St. John's, FL

So this season, as you say, was about getting under the cap and Minshew. Then you admit this season was never about winning? Also, you have to admit that Caldwell is safe, because if he wasn't, he wouldn't be given another chance to rebuild it. What you say and what happens are two different things. So, the fans can just write it off that we're trying to win one day. Bring everyone back, everyone has done a great job. Just listen to Johnny O, no one with the Jaguars is responsible for the team sucking.

I don't "admit" things in the O-Zone. People ask questions and I answer them. The 2020 season is about winning. The offseason was about getting the salary cap in order moving forward and yes – the Jaguars must learn whether Minshew is the franchise quarterback. And I don't know that either Caldwell or Marrone will be "safe" after the season. No one does – perhaps even Khan. That will depend on how the season plays out. Oh … and take a breath, Alan. Your forehead is starting to get all red the way it does when you need to sit down. Breathe. Breathe. There. Good.

Definitely Mike Vrabel from idk … somewhere in Tennessee

Hey John, I'm bored. Want to work out?

I laughed at this.