JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
JG from Silver Spring, MD
Hi, John. It seems to me that some additional "primary issues" that led the Jaguars to be 1-8 so far this season is a near complete lack of quality veterans in their second contracts who were drafted in 2013-2015. From those drafts, the best player General Manager David Caldwell drafted was wide receiver Allen Robinson, who – like several other quality picks – now plays for another team. Other than him, the Jaguars have guard A.J. Cann, center Brandon Linder and (undrafted defensive tackle) Abry Jones and (undrafted offensive lineman Tyler Shatley) from those three years. To put it more succinctly, the reason the Jaguars are bad now and have been mostly bad during Caldwell's time here is because they've made generally bad personnel moves for the entirety of Caldwell's time in Jacksonville.
This is a commonly-cited theory, and one I hear a lot. But the reality is it's relatively rare in this era for teams to have core players drafted so long ago. Many people believe the Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL's best team. They won the Super Bowl last season. They currently have three players on the roster they drafted before 2016: tight end Travis Kelce, left tackle Eric Fisher and safety Daniel Sorenson. Kelce is elite, but I don't know that a strong argument can be made that the Chiefs are winning because of Fisher and Sorenson. A strong argument can be made that the Chiefs are winning because of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This is not to say the Jaguars have made enough good personnel decisions for the last eight years or so, or that they are nearly as good organizationally as the Chiefs. They have not and clearly are not. Bottom line: The Jaguars' current situation is more about what has happened from 2015-to-present than what happened in Caldwell's first three seasons. And the situation ultimately is mostly about the lack of a franchise quarterback. That continues to be the biggest factor of all.
Jeremy from Jacksonville
I've been trying to find a comparison in the NFL for Jaguars rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf came to mind. Maybe not where Shenault currently stands as a rookie, but do you think he has the potential be the type of player Metcalf is?
Yes, because of the physicality. It seems Metcalf might have a slightly higher ceiling than Shenault as a receiver because Metcalf appears to have the potential to be among the NFL's best at the position. But Shenault might have more potential to make plays out of the backfield as a runner and as a physical player after the catch. Either way, for Shenault to reach anything close to Metcalf's level he must stay healthy. That hasn't happened so far.
David from Ada, OK
It just dawned on me we most likely won't win another game this season. All the "easy" games are over. I mean, maybe Chicago, but you can't count on it. It's just so 2020.
This just dawned on you?
Leon from Austin, TX
Zone: Is Henderson on IR/Designated to Return or out for season? I would rather have Sidney Jones IV and the speedy rookie Chris Claybrooks as starting corners. What insight can you offer?
You're confusing the injured-reserve rule a bit, which is understandable because this year's version of those rules is confusing. Players don't get placed on injured reserve/designated to return or designated out for season; they are simply placed on injured reserve with the team having the ability to designate them for return after three weeks. Jaguars rookie cornerback CJ Henderson was placed on injured reserve Thursday with a groin injury, so he is out for at least three games. I would rather have Henderson and Jones as the starting corners because they're the team's best corners.
Ken from Jacksonville
Jacksonville has been the joke of anyone who likes to take a shot at us. Now we have an owner who can't do enough for the team and the city. He has spent his own money trying to improve not only the facilities but the perception of the city. We've never had that before. Now, there's a project (Lot J) that would change us from being a hick town to a city that will be recognized as an up-and-coming entity. I'm not sure that the good ole boys making the decisions downtown can see the forest for the trees. What do they think Shad is going to do if he can't generate enough local revenue? It's time that Jacksonville works toward being that BOLD CITY that we like to call ourselves. When Shad moves the team because of our inaction, the finger pointing will rage beyond control. It's time for one-term Tommy to lead us to that new moniker! I'm not sure there's a question in there somewhere but rather the frustration on an original season ticket holder. Thanks for letting me vent.
Chiana from Munich, Germany
Hi, Mr. O. I know with our record he won't get much attention, but should Robinson not be the top pick for Rookie of the Year? He is playing a great season on a 1-8 team. Yes Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals, Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers and Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins are quarterbacks and on better teams, but looking at the situation and circumstances, I think no rookie in the NFL is better than our undrafted running back. Your thoughts? Would he deserve it even though he will probably not get a single vote?
Jaguars running back James Robinson is getting quite a bit of attention when analysts discuss possibilities for Rookie of the Year, and I expect he will get serious consideration – and votes. He's absolutely deserving. I expect a quarterback such as Burrow probably will receive the award because quarterback.
John from Jacksonville
Do you ever tire of blaming Coughlin for Dave's ineptitude? Ever? I seemed to miss where you give credit to Coughlin getting them to the AFC Championship Game ... find a new scapegoat, please.
Nope. Try again. I have written often that Coughlin was a big reason the Jaguars made the AFC Championship Game, and I have never written that Coughlin was solely to blame for the team's current situation. The NFL isn't that black and white. What I have done is point out that Coughlin was the team's final decision-maker from 2017-2019. People who paint the entire picture of the last eight seasons as Caldwell making all decisions and shaping the franchise miss that.
Dan from Varna, Bulgaria
Hi, Zone: Don't you find it funny that after all these years in the NFL cellar the Jags have never held the No. 1 overall selection in any draft?
Bob from Sumter, SC
Some players show a lot of improvement in Year 2 (wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.) while others don't (defensive tackle Taven Bryan, quarterback Gardner Minshew II). What has to happen for defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson to become a more impactful player in Year 2?
He must develop better pass-rush moves and better technique. This is an incredibly common task for young pass rushers after their rookie seasons. It's difficult for most players – even players as athletic as Chaisson – to rely on athleticism to rush the passer in the NFL.
Kathy from Jacksonville
A football player from a few decades ago said, "If you don't have your head in the game you might as well retire." Football is such an interesting game probably because of its complexities. It's apparent in hiring employees and choosing players as well. You mentioned that there were qualities about Robinson that weren't immediately seen. I think it is equally important in the personnel at the top to be able to understand the game of football and have their "head in the game." I think it enables them to pick up on things. Specifically, Tom Coughlin's firing came because his focus was not effectively on the management of football personnel. The result was chaos. I think that even the Owner Shad Khan needs to have his head in the game. It trickles down, don't you agree?
Perhaps. But if your question implies that Khan has his head less "in the game" than a normal owner, or that he doesn't care about winning as much as a normal owner, then the question is off base. It has become vogue recently for fans and observers to say Khan isn't involved. Or that he doesn't care about winning. It has become so vogue that some fans and observers have come to accept it as fact. It is not, in fact, fact.
Bluto from Faber
I think it's once again Time Zone. If I were Doug, I would play "the speech" for this young team just before leaving the Locker Room on Sunday. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
It ain't over now. Because when the going gets tough … the tough get going. Who's with me? Let's go. C'mon.