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O-Zone: Hanging with my people

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Rictus from Duval

Given the salary cap and the impending related cuts, plus the laundry list of needs, the Jaguars are almost certain to be AFC South bottom-dwellers next season, too – regardless of who is picking and who is coaching. It's going to be rough hearing the same old stuff next year from the same old people after the same old result. I love Shad and I like Marrone and Diamond, but I have no idea how you sell that. If Shad believes this team will be competitive next year and that is informing his decision, please give him my email address we can go out and get hammered and I'll break it down for him.

I don't disagree with much in your question, and I agree next season could be the first season of a "retool" – if not a full rebuild. I anticipate a fresh-start feel with many of this offseason's roster moves, an approach that typically is accompanied by a fresh start with the people building and coaching the team. I get a strong sense this week that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan plans to retain General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone, meaning any "restart" or "retool" will be executed by people familiar with the organization – and familiar to the fan base. That familiarity doesn't mean the approach can't work – if that indeed is the approach. It does mean it will be difficult in the short-term to build excitement. It's tricky. No doubt. We'll see what happens Sunday. Or Monday. Or whenever.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hey O: I've always wondered why field-goal kickers get credit from where they kick the ball instead of the line of scrimmage and punters don't?

Some things just "are." This is one of those things.

Red from the O-Zone Comments Section

If the questions you've posted are representative of what's filling your inbox, John, it's going to be quite the sight in the coming months as the season ticket renewal stats go straight into the toilet. Caldwell has proven he's a poor GM and Marrone has proven he's a sub-.500 head coach. Keeping them tells us Khan has no interest in making the Jacksonville Jaguars a winner. That's all. What you got to say about that?

There are going to be people who interpret it that way. It's not true, but I understand how people interpret it that way.

Jeff from Gatlinburg, TN

Can we split the difference on Caldwell and Marrone? Caldwell has had much longer to impose his structure for a winning franchise (unsuccessfully) than the fans are willing to wait. I do believe relieving our beloved Tom Coughlin of his duties as Executive Vice President of Football Operations was the right move, but it wasn't enough. I believe Marrone has handled all this season's adversity (especially cornerback Jalen Ramsey quitting on this team) as admirably as possible – that should be recognized and rewarded. My question is who does the responsibility for the discipline issues we have had fall on? We simply can't continue with these issues. I'd have thought that having a hard-nosed football operations vice president would have solved those issues, but it's like they manifested much worse because of him. Cheers!

While Coughlin indeed was hard-nosed and strict, there's a limit to how much someone who's not the head coach can do to "instill" discipline. I agree the Jaguars need a clearer direction. If Marrone indeed returns – and I expect he will – I expect he will have more of a clear, authoritative say about the direction. And I do believe Marrone is a good head coach who can win in the NFL. As for Caldwell, this will remain a hot-button issue if he indeed is retained; he has been here seven seasons with just one playoff appearance. The most obvious point to make in his favor is the 2017 team that made the AFC Championship Game was largely built from 2013-2016 and the talent from that peak season declined after he was no longer the lead decision-maker. That point isn't likely to resonate with fans because many fans connect him with a lot of losing. Here's how Khan must look at this, and I suspect he will: What Caldwell and Marrone did the last two seasons isn't what's most important; it's whether they are the best people for the positions moving forward. I expect Khan to show Monday he believes that Marrone and Caldwell are those people. Stay tuned.

Steve from Duval

If Dave had done his job in the first place Shad would never have hired TC. We going to stink next year no matter who picks. There is no single reason to keep Dave if you are basing it on his history. Let's get the misery machine going for the next regime so maybe we can sell an extra ticket or two.


David from Orlando, FL

O – Anyone with two eyes can see that both our quarterbacks are mid- to bottom-tier players at their position. We don't need a quarterback that's fun to watch and can win some games; we need a quarterback that can beat the best – if winning playoff games and ultimately the Super Bowl is the goal. Although both of our quarterbacks are nice fellows, neither is elite. Without further ado, chalk me up for rolling the dice on trying to find an elite quarterback, be it, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert or Jake Fromm.

Hey, one fer Burrow. Or Tagovailoa. Or Herbert. Or Fromm.

Jordan from Jacksonville

I love this team. I fell in love with them during the 2007 playoff season. I was in high school. I became a season-ticket holder in college. Even during some rough seasons, I loved it. I moved to the Midwest after college for a job and still found a way to see every game on my computer. We moved back to Jacksonville in 2017 and I was so excited to become a season-ticket holder again. I've never left a game early. I've never turned off the television until the final whistle. After a lot of thought, I can't support a move to retain this regime. The Jaguars need a fresh start and a new culture. I know the only way to voice my opinion is with my dollar. Therefore, if this regime is kept, I cannot support this team next year with the purchase of season tickets. Because I love this team, this is the stand I must take. I believe it's time to move on.

This is a common feeling among many Jaguars fans. And I get it. While my experience tells me all will not be lost if the current regime returns – and while that experience also tells me the coaching staff that is in place is perfectly capable of directing this team to a good season in the right circumstance – I can't in good conscience tell fans they shouldn't want change. The Jaguars have lost a lot of games the last two seasons. When that happens, fans are programmed to want change. Change isn't always the best tact, and I get the idea Khan doesn't think it's the best approach in this case. It's tough to get deeper into this until we know for certain what action – if any – Khan will take. Once again … stay tuned.

Nicholas from Djibouti

KOAF: It takes a big man to admit that they agree with their colleague or subordinate. I was proud that you agreed with senior correspondent Brian Sexton to play Foles in the final game of the season. Also, as hard as this season was for fans, I also agree that personal attacks and hatred for players, coaches and senior writers are unnecessary. So, I guess this is one for KOAF and Sexton. As long as you don't start agreeing with former Jaguars all-time great, former left tackle Tony Boselli you will be all right in my book.

Who's "Brian Sexton?"

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

What is the point of the dead cap hit? I agree with the cap limit, but the dead money concept seems like it's just there to screw teams over. Why not just obligate the teams to pay out the guaranteed money when they release the player? The player still gets paid, but the team isn't held cap hostage because the player sucks. If the player isn't on the roster, he shouldn't affect the cap.

Part of the spirit of the salary cap is to promote a competitive balance. The dead money prevents teams from being able to spend willy-nilly and never pay for their mistakes with a constricted cap. If teams could avoid the cap hit on a player by simply releasing him, the cap wouldn't be a cap at all.

David from Chuluota, FL

O-Zone: I was thinking about buying season tickets next year and was wondering which season-ticket package would allow me to make all major personnel decisions?

Just write the O-Zone. This is where the personnel people hang out.