O-Zone: Hats off

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey, Mr. O: Mark Lamping has just appeared on the radar as if from nowhere. I know his job title, but what's his role? And what do you think he means by "We have done a crappy job of winning, but just to sit back and say winning is going to cure everything – not in this market." Thanks y'all.

Lamping is the Jaguars' president – and far from appearing from nowhere, he has overseen the business side of the Jaguars since 2012. He has been in the news this week after speaking with an editorial board from the Florida Times-Union on Monday, a meeting in which Lamping publicly  discussed multiple Jaguars issues – including the pending "Lot J" deal, the possibility of more games per year in London, the possibility of a cover at TIAA Bank Field to provide shade and the franchise's future in Jacksonville. I'm sure I'll answer many questions about Lamping's statements in the coming days, but the comment from Lamping that has been discussed most was the one you mentioned: "… to sit back and say winning is going to cure everything – not in this market." Many observers and fans took this as a criticism of Jaguars fans. This was not meant this way. What Lamping meant was simply that winning will not solve all the issues the Jaguars face in a market that is challenging because of its size. That's why the Jaguars continue to play a home game in London – and possibly two for an undetermined number of years – and it's why developing downtown through projects such as Lot J and Daily's Place matters. Yes, winning will help ticket sales, etc. But the Jaguars' belief is that more revenue around the stadium is necessary to make this work as an NFL market. Many fans don't like hearing that. Many fans get hurt when Lamping and Owner Shad Khan say it. But that's the reality. What shouldn't get lost is the Jaguars' continued commitment to finding ways to make it work. For whatever the team hasn't been on the field, that commitment to the city has been – and remains – remarkable.

Art from Drexel, PA

Shad is losing me. A second game in London? You don't need to play any games in London if you put a winning team together; only sheep continue to spend money on losing products. The only reason the English are going to games is because it's still a novelty to them.

This was another hot-button issue from Lamping's comments Tuesday because he also mentioned the possibility of a second home game in London. That's distasteful to Jaguars fans obvious reasons. But what shouldn't get lost amid the furor was when Lamping said the team is being proactive to avoid the situations that led to franchises such as the Rams, Raiders and Chargers leaving their respective cities in recent years: "They took actions that devastated fan bases. They took actions that devastated communities. Not on our watch, OK?" That's a bold statement of commitment to the city, perhaps as bold as either he or Khan have made. That won't appease many fans who are upset with multiple issues about the team, but the statement's importance shouldn't be overlooked.

Travis from North Dakota

Not so much a Jags question, but with former Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly announcing his retirement and retiring in his prime, do you think he'll have the same problem getting into the hall as Boselli has?

No. Kuechly, who retired Tuesday night, was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time Associated Press first-team All-Pro selection. He also was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He will get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, perhaps on the first ballot. Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli was a three-time AP All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowl. He's deserving of the Hall, but he's not nearly as much of a no-brain selection as Kuechly.

Cathy from Jacksonville

Lamping's comment that a winning franchise cannot be successful in this market is insulting and wrong. How about having more than ONE year with a winning record since you bought the team? I wonder what would happen with attendance if the Jags actually had two years in a row when they were actually good?

Lamping did not say a winning franchise couldn't succeed in Jacksonville. He did say that it would take more than winning to make it work. But yes … attendance would go up if the Jaguars win more. No doubt.

Garrett from Jesup, GA

Is Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon as bad as many people say? He did lead the Jags in interceptions and had a few solid games. Not a No. 1 corner in my opinion but could be a No. 2. What do you think O? Worth trying to develop, or should we give up on him?

You have a good grasp of Herndon. He's probably not a No. 1, shutdown corner but he absolutely can be a solid starter. I anticipate him starting for the Jaguars next season, perhaps opposite an early-drafted rookie.

Tyler from Jacksonville

Best idea I have heard recently is to just promote Todd Wash to offensive coordinator while keeping his defensive duties. This way we have the best coordinator for both sides of the ball. No need to overthink things! Todd Wash is the #$&@#$ man!!!

You're right in thinking that Wash is a capable defensive coordinator. Asking him to do both capably would be a bit too much. Good idea, though.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

The Hall of Fame is a joke, John. I know our lowly Jags don't register on most people's radars, but keeping Boselli out in favor of the two other lineman that were chosen is ridiculous. Boselli was the best at his position when he was at his peak. Shouldn't matter how long he played. Best is best period.

Confusion continues regarding this topic. The Hall of Fame announced 15 enshrinees Wednesday morning to go along with the announcements of head coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson over the weekend. The 15 were part of the NFL's centennial celebration. Boselli was not eligible to be among that group because he is a modern-era candidate. The modern-era process remained separate this year, with the modern-era inductees to be voted upon and announced on February 1 – the day before the Super Bowl.

Jerry from Yulee, FL

With Jimbo Covert being selected to the Hall of Fame, do you think this helps Tony Boselli's chances? Jimbo had a similar career and only played one more year than Tony. Also Hail to Pitt as Jimbo is Pitt's ninth Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Covert's enshrinement theoretically could help Boselli's case, though I don't know if it will play out that way. Covert was voted in as part of the centennial celebration. Because that's separate from the normal process and not decided by Hall voters, the centennial candidates may not be viewed as comparable candidates by the voters.

Bill from Jacksonville

"The Titans are who the Jaguars wish they were." Hey! We've now determined the main issue with the rebuilding of this team. The front office looks at the AFC Championship Game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, and wishes they were the Titans, when their goal should be to become the Chiefs. If you were building a team today would you really rather be the Titans?

You make a fair point. There's little question you would want to be the Chiefs because the Chiefs have a franchise quarterback in Patrick Mahomes – and you always want to be the team with a young franchise quarterback. When people say the Titans are who the Jaguars wish they were what they obviously mean is the Jaguars believed that – not having a franchise quarterback – they could win with big-time defense and a dominant running game. That's a way to win without a franchise quarterback, but you always prefer to have the franchise quarterback.

Josh from Jacksonville

If the Jaguars' best two or three players on defense are better suited to a 3-4 scheme, why not make the switch to get the most out of them? Is it not easier to replace a coach than acquire all the peripheral talent necessary to fit a square peg into a round hole?

I don't know that the Jaguars' two best defensive players – defensive ends Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue – are better-suited to a 3-4 than a 4-3, although they clearly would fit the scheme. The Jaguars' scheme is flexible and adaptable enough to be successful, as evidenced by the scheme's success here in 2016-2018 – and its success with other franchises around the NFL.

Drew from Atlantic Beach, FL

My hats off to you for keeping your composure with some of the questions you get! All I can do is shake my head and continue to enjoy your responses. Keep on keepin' on!

Keep your hat on. I suck.

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