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O-Zone: Give it time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Greenwood, IN

Did you ever think that you would be covering Urban Meyer as the head coach of the Jaguars? I'm still blown away that Meyer is the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Don't coaches like him only go to places like Dallas or San Francisco? Further, Trevor Lawrence? The stars are aligning, Mr. O-Mighty. The stars are aligning.

I did not think I would be covering Meyer as the Jaguars' head coach – at least not until the reports in December that it was a possibility. Once I considered it, and once I started thinking about what I know about Jaguars Owner Shad Khan – his will to win, his willingness to spend, how good he is at communicating his vision – I knew it was a real possibility. It also obviously helped that the Jaguars are in the closest thing possible to an ideal situation for a "program-building" head coach – i.e., the salary-cap space, the No. 1 overall draft selection, the 11 draft selections this offseason, the young talent already on the roster. Once I considered those things, my reaction wasn't surprise when Meyer took the Jaguars' head-coaching job. My reaction instead was, "Why the hell not?" I mean, what do San Francisco and Dallas have that Meyer's situation in Jacksonville lacks?

Marty from Jacksonville

A lot has been made about the small percentage of coaches with no NFL experience who become an NFL head coach and have success. For every Jimmy Johnson, there are a dozen failures. But why don't we apply the same measurement to NFL coordinators who become head coaches? What percentage of those succeed as head coaches? I would wager that it's an equally small percentage.

Most NFL head-coaching hires fail. That's true of former coordinators, former NFL head coaches, former college head coaches. There is risk to every NFL head-coaching hire. If there were a "best formula," every team would follow that formula. I say that a lot. That doesn't mean it's not true. It's about the specific coach in question – not about the resume.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, when you woke up from your nap and heard that Urban Meyer was our new coach, what did you think?

Well, here we go.

David from Broward County, FL

O-Man, my big concern is with the new "power structure" – for lack of a better term. By putting the most power with the head coach, as is the case now with the Jags and Meyer, far too often the tendency is for moves to be made based on the head coach's future – therefore, short-term need – and not best available player and team long-term future. In rare exceptions like New England, this has worked – but it has failed badly like in the Jags' early years with then-Head Coach Tom Coughlin. In the Jags' short term, need is everywhere on the roster. But down the road this becomes a problem. Thoughts?

This is a fair concern. I guess my first thought would be if Meyer approaches the position as Coughlin did and gives the Jaguars four postseason appearances and two AFC Championship Game appearances in the next five years, Jaguars fans would probably take that. My second thought is that if the Jaguars select a franchise quarterback in this draft – Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence, per chance – that would give the franchise a foundation piece around which to build the roster and salary cap. It becomes a lot easier to build a long-term competitive franchise – and to draft and develop around the quarterback – when you have the quarterback.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Besides smaller balls, awesome overtime, down you're down, and one foot in, what are the differences between NCAA and NFL football that everyone is referring to?

We'll agree to disagree on college overtime being "awesome, but that's OK. As far as the difference between the NFL and college, the primary difference is the NFL is a dramatically faster, bigger, stronger – and therefore, more violent – game. In the NFL, every player on even the worst rosters could play at a high level in college – and it's therefore much harder for quarterbacks and offensive coaches to find weaknesses and matchup advantages in defenses. 

Aaron from Aldie

Zone, nothing much to say here but just really impressed with the Jaguars right now. I was a student at UF while Meyer was the head coach. Super-spirited, detailed-oriented guy and we should expect significant improvement on multiple fronts.

That's certainly the hope.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

Fans are going to fan. I get that, King. Most of me is on the "playoffs baby, here we come" immediately and the other part has been hurt by too much hope year after year, thinking we finally had that "one last piece." It's a swing between bracing myself for a .500 year at best and just wanting to let the world know we are a brewing storm. Does that make sense?

Absolutely. It hasn't been easy being a Jaguars fan for the last decade. A lot of hopes have been dashed. The pieces are coming into place that makes it seem this might be different. But there's no guarantee. The NFL is not scripted television. The mystery is what makes it so compelling.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

Per my last contact, I was leery about the possible hire but after the introduction and other interviews I feel very positive. If he holds players coaches and himself to that high standard, I believe we can soar.

Meyer will hold himself and others to a high standard. There seems little doubt about that.

Claudio from Barcelona, Spain

Hi John! I don't get the "quitter" adjective applied to Urban Meyer. He left Florida after six years and two titles. I'm sorry, but right now only seven head coaches in the NFL have more than six seasons with their teams. I sign right away on the dotted line if Urban Meyer leave Jacksonville in 2027, with six playoff seasons. In fact he would be the greatest coach in Jaguars history by far."

Meyer stayed at Florida six seasons and Ohio State seven seasons, so this talk that he leaves programs immediately upon joining them indeed is ridiculous. It's not accurate the six playoff appearances would make Meyer the "greatest coach in Jaguars history by far." That shortchanges Coughlin. But would the Jaguars take seven seasons from Meyer and six postseason appearances? Would that be success. Well, yeah.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

How is former Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis still playing in the NFL?

Hard work, want-to and professionalism.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

I thought the Jags had a new practice facility. And then I hear from some dork on NFL Network that they practice on their playing field. I also thought they had a state-of-the-art locker room. So what is up with the facility upgrade talk?

The Jaguars do not practice on their playing field; they practice on three practice fields outside TIAA Bank Field – and they have an indoor practice facility on the flex field adjacent to Daily's Place. They do have a very nice locker room that was redesigned upon Khan's arrival as owner. Khan throughout his tenure has upgraded the facilities. Could a lot about the facilities still stand an overhaul? Sure. You can always do more.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi John. What do you think of the Texans getting their quarterback involved in deciding who their next head coach is?

I'm not big on it, honestly. I'm of the belief that general managers find players, coaches coach and players play. That includes quarterback. But I'm old-school – or old, actually. Maybe this is the way things are now. And maybe that's OK even if it's not my belief.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Don't most coaches start in college?

Some. Not all.

Nick from Milton, Ontario

It's sounding more and more like Trevor may not be the automatic first pick in the draft...say it ain't so O!

Meyer when speaking to the media Friday didn't specifically say the Jaguars would select Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. This has caused a bit of a panic among observers and fans who are locked in on Lawrence being the selection. Remember, though: There was no way Meyer on Friday was going to say the Jaguars were going to select Lawrence No. 1 overall. The Jaguars haven't hired a general manager yet. They haven't hired an offensive coordinator yet. Meyer is thinking about hiring a staff. He has done a lot of scouting and studying, but his coaching and scouting staff haven't done this as a team. That time will come soon enough. There's no guarantee Lawrence will be the selection. But if he's not, Meyer and those making the decision will have a very good reason.