O-Zone: Great expectations

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it…

Baker from Celina, OH

I'm so done. The team is so inept. How does this team never understand moving on from failure?

This was a common reaction Sunday and Monday, and I expect this feeling will linger among many Jaguars fans and observers. Owner Shad Khan announced Sunday that Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin will return in 2019 along with General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone. Considering the team entered the 2018 season with high aspirations and fell far short, it’s easy to understand Sunday’s anger. When things go wrong, fans want someone to blame. People in charge of teams – Khan, in this instance – must look beyond the fans’ desire for blame and determine if they believe they have the best people in the right positions. Khan in this case believed in stability. He believed there were circumstances – most notably injuries – beyond the control of Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone that led to this season’s outcome. He also clearly believed the men capable of leading the Jaguars to within minutes of the Super Bowl last season can make the changes needed to get the Jaguars back to the postseason. In terms of public relations, Khan’s decision wasn’t popular. But Khan’s job here isn’t to be popular. It’s to make the decision he feels is best. Only winning will prove him right. And remember: while you see Sunday’s news as not moving on from failure, Khan sees it at least in part as staying with the group that very recently brought success.

Big on Blake from Philly

It would be a completely backwards move to retain the front office and release/trade/move on from Fournette. An organization like the Chiefs would be more than happy to acquire him and his “immaturity.” If you ask me, the move should be keep Fournette, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant and find another running back in the draft. I didn’t understand the Hyde move in the first place.

I would be surprised given Fournette’s first two seasons – the lack of availability and the off-field issues combined with the production – if any team is in a hurry to acquire Fournette this offseason. While he clearly has ability, he has yet to show consistent production. How the Jaguars approach running back will be a fascinating storyline this offseason. Yeldon almost certainly won’t return, and I get no sense Corey Grant will be re-signed. My guess right now is Fournette will be retained, and it remains to be seen if Hyde returns. That leaves Dave Williams as the surest member of the Jaguars’ backfield next season. The Jaguars have a lot of work to do at a lot of offensive positions – running back very much among them.

Richard from Jacksonville

Fournette might be a selfish player, but he is Tom's selfish player. He could have had any other player – except for three – last year and Fournette was his guy.

OK.

Frank from Jacksonville

In regards to Yeldon’s behavior Sunday, before hearing he was sitting on the bench it was announced that Hyde and Williams (or whatever his name is) would take the snaps. I immediately thought to myself that since Yeldon will be a free agent next year, they did him a huge injustice by not letting him play and keep his value as a functioning running back. Yes, there is a lot of film out there already – but when a team doesn’t start you, that says more than past films and he certainly performed well enough to get the start. Any thoughts on this?

I think you’ve got it a little backward. Yeldon was in uniform Sunday basically as an emergency option if needed because of injuries, but I don’t get the sense he was upset about that. My sense is it was apparent after he was inactive the previous week against the Miami Dolphins that Yeldon no longer figured in the team’s plans moving forward. In light of that, it would make sense if Yeldon didn’t want to play in the regular-season finale with free agency pending in a few months; better to not risk injury. I didn’t think Yeldon’s behavior was all that much of a problem Sunday. He’s leaving the team, so his disinterest made at least some sense. Fournette’s in that sense was more disturbing.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Koetter is gone in Tampa Bay. Can the Jaguars please hire him ASAP?

Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter indeed was fired as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday. All we know about the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator search is Marrone said he will move quickly, but there are far worse options for offensive coordinator in the NFL than Koetter.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Fournette better have a monster season next year because he is beginning to make a name for himself for all the wrong reasons.

Beginning?

Rob from Orange Park, FL

You have often said when questioned about discipline that you don't believe players, who are adults, respond to yelling and the like. So, if you were coach, general manager, owner, etc., what would you do to correct the most unsportsmanlike penalties in the league?

Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones perhaps put it best Monday when talking about culture, saying it can’t be established by coaches yelling and telling players, “You need to buy in or we’re not going to have a good season.” Taking playing time away is one solution; parting ways with obvious problems is another. But it must come from players, who must know it keeps them from winning. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue talked in the locker room Monday about wanting to be a captain next season, and he talked about knowing he and others must reduce unsportsmanlike penalties. That’s an encouraging start.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Rejoice Jaguars fans. Our favorite team didn’t make the playoffs, but neither did Tennessee. That’s something to celebrate.

OK.

Logan from Wichita, KS

I don't get this. Maybe I'm just a stupid fan, but how can we expect anything other than failure next year and probably long term? No quarterback. A proven record of failed draft picks again and again. A locker room with ego problems. No offense to speak of at all. Horrible trade decisions. Outcoached and schemed every week. Yet, no changes to the decision makers... but I'm just a dumb old fan what the hell do I know?

Your feelings are understandable and fair. The Jaguars must win to prove you wrong. The anger over this isn’t likely to wane until that happens.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Do you prefer the team keep Blake for as long as possible so that your inbox has a consistent flow of Blake questions, or for him to be released quickly so that you can focus on more important matters like lack of a MNF appearance in 2019?

The inbox functioned fine before Bortles and I have no doubt it will continue to function fine after Bortles.

Frankie from London

Leonard Fournette … his behavior has been absolutely unacceptable this year. On top of his unavailability, I'm not sure what worth he's providing us as an average performing back. Do you fear for his future as a Jaguar?

I don’t fear for it. I do wonder if Fournette will be back with the Jaguars next season. My guess right now is he will return because I doubt other teams will be very interested – and because the Jaguars will want to give him another chance. That’s just a guess and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went the other direction.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

I hadn't watched a Jags game in probably six weeks (first season since we've had a team that I genuinely lost any desire to watch them). I tuned in for about five minutes Sunday to see the Jags are still really bad. Is there any hope for next season because everyone blames Bortles and he was and is not the Jags top problem?

Of course there is hope and of course the Jaguars looked bad Sunday. The offense this season was decimated by injuries, and the offensive line on Sunday was down to its fourth left tackle and third right tackle of the season. That’s the same reason there’s hope. The Jaguars’ defense remains very good. Even with an offense that struggled mightily, the Jaguars were close to winning five more games than they did. Improve the offense even a little and this is a more competitive team.

Ray from Jacksonville

John: What are your thoughts on the execution of the offense?

To paraphrase the late, great former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach John McKay, “I’m all for it.”

Royce from Jacksonville

Mr. O: Did Mr. Khan’s written message mean VP Tom, GM Dave and Coach Doug have one year to turn the team around?

Not necessarily – though Khan clearly viewed 2017 as the norm and 2018 as the aberration. That being the case, significant improvement is expected.

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