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O-Zone: Getting by

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Daniel from Vero Beach, FL

Has the Jaguars coaching search really come down to throwing darts at the wall with a list of names on it? I hope there is someone who has a better plan than what's going on right now. Who does Owner Shad Khan listen to for guidance and feedback about the optics of what the Jaguars are doing? A concerned fan.

I have received many, many – MANY – versions of this email in recent days, which makes sense. As I have written often in recent days, fans not liking/hating/being concerned about the Jaguars' ongoing head-coaching search is understandable; it has been highly scrutinized and criticized in the media – and it has taken longer with more reported twists/turns than many other NFL head-coaching searches this offseason. Those circumstances have helped whip Jaguars Nation into a frenzy. But while that's true, those things are about perception – and perception doesn't always equal reality. And a long head-coaching search doesn't mean an unsuccessful one. The Jaguars on Monday reportedly interviewed former Las Vegas interim head coach Rich Bisaccia for the head-coach position, and there are multiple reports that the team is considering Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell for the position. These indeed are new names in the process. I also get the idea Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich remains an option. There were reports Monday that former Indianapolis Colts/Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell remains a possibility, and there was also a report Monday that the team will interview former Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson a second time. I can't speak to Khan's views "optics;" I do know NFL owners can't make coaching and personnel decisions based on fan feedback – no matter how passionate that feedback may be. Everything I have heard about all five of these coaches is they would be outstanding candidates. The speculation about this process and the accompanying criticism has been noisy. That's understandable. And why wouldn't it be? But there's nothing to indicate yet that the Jaguars won't get this right. That remains the objective and remains very possible.

Paul from Columbus, Ohio

If Mr. Khan really cares about winning, which in my opinion he doesn't, then why is Baalke still employed? He has a terrible track record around the league. If Khan keeps him around, he will reassure all of us fans he doesn't care and doesn't know what he's doing.

I also have received many, many emails along these lines in recent days – and again, that makes sense.  The reports, speculation and Twitter outcry regarding Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke long ago reached near-deafening levels – and I'm not sure I've heard a hue and cry this loud from Jaguars fans. I understand fans' perception of Baalke. But Khan to this point has done nothing to indicate he agrees with that perception. I don't know beyond doubt how Khan feels about Baalke. But to take Khan retaining Baalke as indication he doesn't care about winning is categorically false. He does. Him not doing what many fans want in this instance doesn't prove otherwise.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

At the risk of sounding cynical – the search for a head coach seems to come down to who is willing to work with Baalke. Per reports (rumors), Baalke first pushed for Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus; now that Eberflus has gone to Chicago, Baalke seems to be pushing for O'Connell. Crowd favorite Leftwich wants the Jaguars to hire Adrian Wilson – the vice president of pro scouting with the Arizona Cardinals – for the Jaguars' general manager position. Leftwich (again per rumors) is one of many who will not work with/for Baalke. I know Khan is loyal to a fault, but if he sticks with Baalke, doesn't that significantly restrict the list of qualified – and willing – candidates?

These are commonly held beliefs, and this is a common theory. Many media have reported this, and many fans believe this. Perhaps it's all true. I'm not smart enough to know if this is true.

Darren from Jax

The Jags' offense lost wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., running back James Robinson, running back Travis Etienne Jr., wide receiver Jamal Agnew and tight end Dan Arnold. Without changing anything else, if those players come back healthy, isn't it safe to assume the offense will be quite a bit better?

Those players healthy would help. Additional game-changing speed and dynamic play on the outside is still needed. Chark would provide an element of that. I don't know that his return alone would be enough.

Tim from Oklahoma City, OK

Jags fans feel really entitled. I know it sucks we have been consistently at the bottom of the standings list. But the Cincinnati Bengals before this year hadn't won a single playoff game since before the Jaguars were even a team. Same with the Detroit Lions. Let's just put some stuff into perspective.

Where would the fun be in that?

James from Socorro, NM

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated suggested in a recent article that Trevor Lawrence should start thinking about asking for a trade due to how dysfunctional the Jaguars organization, and specifically the disjointed head coaching search, has been. I wouldn't blame Trevor.

Breer is more than welcome to his opinion. I don't expect Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence to request or demand a trade.

_Kyan from LeMars, IA   _

Having a head start to the coaching search and still not having any sort of plan or idea who is going to coach the Jags is an utter fail. The Senior Bowl starts this week, and we don't have a head coach. How is this possible?

Multiple NFL teams currently do not have a head coach. Yes, the Jaguars need to get this right. Yes, it has taken longer than expected. But not having a coach this week isn't any sort of a massive competitive disadvantage.

Josh R. from Fernandina Beach (via Fort Lauderdale)

J-Z: So, we're picking number one overall in the upcoming draft. Doing so is obviously not a resounding endorsement for the quality of the 2021 season. But to complain about the prospect of adding a first-class edge rusher or offensive lineman to the Jags' roster – simply because that player may not be a generational talent – seems a bit silly. I expect those complaints to be filed in the fans-gonna-fan file, but still. A few offseason upgrades and an upward trajectory for this franchise should be fun to watch. Thanks and Go JAGS!!

I've seen or heard nothing to indicate the Jaguars won't be able to get a front-line player at a premium position with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. If they do that, it's a successful draft.

Paul from Jacksonville

After years of having faith that the team would get better - and having that faith rewarded with disappointment over and over again, I've reached a decision. I'm out. Until Khan puts together a team that posts a winning record, I'm out. This dysfunctional organization has pushed me past the point of anger and frustration to the point of indifference. Wake me up when the winning starts. I'm done.

This is fair. The Jaguars are at a low point. They have lost enough in recent seasons and done enough wrong that some fans will feel this way. It's up to the Jaguars to succeed on the field and change that. That's the task. It's past time.

Dan from Varna, Bulgaria

Hi Zone, my personal opinion is that Khan has lost his credibility with the fans of this team. I mean year after year the embarrassment on and off the field it is a bit much. When do you think the league will step in and assign the Khans advisor on football operations?

I don't remotely expect this to happen.

Julian from Brooklyn, NY

Throughout this whole process there hasn't been any official communication from the Jaguars; for example some other teams have been announcing coach interviews on social media. I understand not doing that, but now in the face of so many rumors, speculation, leaks, and fan unrest, it seems like some statement or something public would help. Assuring the fans "we do have a plan, and this isn't just GM Trent Baalke trying desperately to find any warm body who is willing to work with him," whether or not that's true, would be a smart move. Don't you agree?

There will be a public announcement from the team when the team hires a head coach and determines its decision-making structure. Some teams make interviews and the process public; some teams don't. Because my job is to write and discuss these ongoings, my personal preference would be to make the information public immediately. I also know from experience that just because these things aren't made public doesn't mean incorrect choices are being made. Fan angst over this will fade quickly when an announcement is made. It will fade even more quickly if the new head coach wins games.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Shill!!!!!!

I'm just a guy getting by.

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