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O-Zone: Getting by

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Leonard from the ABC

Former Jaguars OC Nate Hackett gave up play-calling duties. Given how easy it is for a head coach to lose his job, I'm surprised how many are willing to delegate something as important as play calling. Why do you think this is?

Denver Broncos Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett, the Jaguars' offensive coordinator from 2016-2018, indeed gave up his play-calling duties before this past Sunday's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Why do NFL head coaches delegate this or give it up? A couple of reasons. Not all head coaches are former offensive coordinators, so many don't have the experience necessary or the inclination to call plays. And installing the offense and being immersed enough in the game plan to call plays is time intensive enough that some head coaches choose to delegate. Besides, calling plays is rarely – if ever – the most important part of a head coach's job. You can be a good head coach if you're a good leader of men and a below-average play caller. The opposite is not true.

Adam from St Johns, FL

This defense isn't getting better. They are what they are. The defensive coordinator puts them in bad situations and the players make it worse. Josh Allen is not good and Travon Walker doesn't know what he's doing. Just don't seem to be developing and they're not good players. Money well spent the Jaguar way.

Allen and Walker have come under criticism in recent weeks because the Jaguars' pass rush has not generated enough sacks. Allen has been OK this season in terms of pressures and hits on the quarterback, but he hasn't had the sack numbers (3.5) – or the big plays in big moments – expected from a pass rusher who expects to be an elite, All-Pro level player. Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, has 2.5 sacks this season and hasn't been as good as Allen generating consistent pressure on the quarterback. It's inaccurate to say they aren't good players, though they have yet to show they are great players. As far as Walker developing … he's a rookie. We'll get a better idea about his development moving forward.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

October 29, 2021, you posted my comment, "The Jaguars will not be competitive (see: above .500) until 2025." I stand by this prediction, though hope it is not accurate. Do you still disagree with my prognostication?


P Funk from Murray Hill

After disappointing seasons, NFL franchises make changes to their structure. Head Coach Doug Pederson isn't going anywhere, and he shouldn't. General Manager Trent Baalke is doubtful to be going anywhere. What other changes do you think could happen?

After seasons in which teams show progress and begin to build a foundation, NFL franchises often stay the course as opposed to disrupting with major change. And that's often prudent.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

I know it's cliche, but the NFL is so successful because it truly is a week-to-week league. Teams that look like world-beaters look mediocre the next week.

Always and forever.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

Someone said the Jags were competitive with Kansas City. I'm not saying the Jags are terrible but they were not competitive with the Chiefs. There wasn't one moment in the game where you thought the Jags might have a chance to win.

The Jaguars' 27-17 loss to the Chiefs in Week 10 indeed was the first time this season the Jaguars lost by more than one score. That game along with a Week 4 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia were the only games the Jaguars didn't feel "in" in the final minutes – and the Jaguars had possession with an opportunity to tie in the last two minutes in Philadelphia. But while the Jaguars trailed by double digits the entire fourth quarter against the Chiefs, they missed multiple chances to make the game closer by squandering first-half scoring opportunities. That gave it the feel of a game the Jaguars easily could have made more competitive – even if it didn't give it the feel of an actual competitive game.

Mike from PVB

Sunday was nice! I enjoyed watching some well-played exciting football without going to bed mad because the Jags lost another game they should have won! I guess that means one for the bye week!

One fer the bye!

Joe from Fleming Island, GA

Help me understand, Mr. Ozone. I have heard it said multiple times that the reason players can't develop technique during the season is because there is no time – due to game week, install, etc. It would seem if your No. 1 overall draft pick (or any other young player) needs technique work that 30 minutes a day with one-on-one individual coaching would not be something that can't be carved out of other time. Is the "not-enough-time" explanation due to CBA rules, or coaches time, or confused /tired players? Why isn't there enough time, and what is so critical that can't be shortened that would allow a very good player into becoming an excellent player sooner than waiting a year and another training camp?

It's not that NFL coaches and players never focus on technique during the regular season, and there indeed are individual periods in practice. But the Collective Bargaining Agreement does limit practice time, and the reality of game week – with just two days of extended practice – makes it more difficult to focus on fundamentals/technique extensively during the regular season than in training camp.

Missy from Section 440 and St. Augustine, FL

I went to the Kansas City game and was surprised by how nice all the fans were to me. I was taking to two Kansas City fans and they said they were more nervous about playing the Jags than the Titans. Thoughts??

I'm glad you enjoyed the game.

Justin from Jax

Since it's always coaching in the NFL, it got me thinking the importance of contracts. How do the Jaguars go about structuring contracts to incentivize players to play up to their potential each game and penalize poor play? Are all contracts in the NFL similar or do some administrators perform better than others?

NFL teams generally don't structure contracts in such a way to penalize players for poor play on a game-by-game basis. Many contracts do offer incentives for Pro Bowl appearances, other awards, and statistical milestones. Most contracts follow a common format, though contracts of more high-profile veteran players can feature unique incentives.

Cletus from Yankeetown, FL

No question, but noticed the Los Angeles Rams have the same record as the Jags. I hope Jalen's back is doing OK.

I thought we went over this a few months back. It's important to be nice. This is not nice. In the future, please be nice.

John from Sebastian

Oh, Great Zone. Is Mike Caldwell the right defensive coordinator for the Jaguars to move forward?

Caldwell, like most NFL defensive coordinators, is perfectly capable of successfully installing a game plan and calling an effective game if players execute the game plan.

Armand from Duval

This year the coaching staff is finding out who they have and what they need. Next year watch out.


Scott from Jacksonville

Whining that we should have taken Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson instead of Travon Walker because his numbers are better when his numbers are in fact NOT better seems like more than just fanning. It seems dumb. Oh, and the New York Times says we have a three percent chance of making the playoffs, making you guilty of another instance of "sunshine pumping" by giving us a 4.37% chance.


Cliff from Everywhere with helicopter

Seeing as how Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson is a branch of the Andy Reid coaching "tree," can we expect to see opposing teams' headsets "malfunctioning" at key moments from time to time going forward? Perhaps the hot water in the visiting locker room showers failing? C'mon John, you can tell us.

You're referencing the Jaguars' defensive headsets malfunctioning for two or three plays in their loss to the Chiefs. I'm not dim enough to miss your implication that the Chiefs might have done something untoward to make this happen, and that Pederson might follow Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid's lead to do something similar. But no … there's no reason to believe the situation was anything other than coincidence. It's not something for which the Chiefs are known in league circles, and Reid has won enough games that I doubt he would go to such lengths against a team that entered the game 2-6.

Dan from Munich, Germany

You recently stated: "I don't cover other teams and I confess to not doing a deep dive on every NFL roster – not just into the perception of all rosters, but how every roster is really playing" So, the question is: Are you really a senior writer or paid PR media cheerleader by little Khan?

I'm just a guy gettin' by.