O-Zone: In it to win it

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

What will the receiving corps look like next year? Aside from DJ Chark Jr., how many of them are a lock to return?

Aside from Chark? Best guess: Dede Westbrook – and frankly not much else. The Jaguars’ wide receiver corps a month ago looked vastly improved, looking like a group that had proven many offseason disbelievers wrong. A month later, it looks a bit different. Quarterback Nick Foles hasn’t played particularly well in his two games since returning, but he also hasn’t gotten enough help from this unit. Chark, a second-year veteran, remains perhaps the team’s most improved player but veteran free-agent signee Chris Conley has had too many dropped opportunities and third-year veteran Keelan Cole hasn’t had major impact after two touchdown receptions early in the season. Westbrook appears to have been slowed somewhat by an injury for about the past month, but he remains a viable second or third option. He and Chark certainly will return next season. We’ll see on the others.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Foles’ passes haven’t looked the same since he’s been back. Is he totally healthy from his injury?

He says yes. I’m not sure. Considering the difference in his passes from training camp/preseason to now, it’s fair to wonder about this.

Gamble from Luanda from Angola

What would be your answer if an alien abducted you and asked: “Earthling: speak honestly or we will remove your tongue. Can the Jaguars rebuild their offensive and defensive lines over two drafts? Are four first-rounders enough?”

I would say, “Four first-round selections would go a long way toward fixing the offensive and defensive lines if they’re all good,” and then I would say, “You came all this way to ask me that? You could have texted. Or DMed.”

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, being weak and inexperienced at the linebacker spots to start the season is really showing itself now. My question is what can the team do about it now? I know coaches coach better technique. Players should take that and play better. Put themselves in better situations/positions to make the plays that they have to, but hasn't that been happening since the start of the offseason? Big changes need to happen not just tweaking things. Can it be done in the middle of a season?

Apparently not.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Are your power rankings based strictly on team record alone? I don't follow how New England remains above Baltimore considering 1) Baltimore beat the brakes off them, 2) Baltimore is beating the brakes off everyone, and 3) New England is BARELY squeaking by teams it should be beating handily.

New England remains No. 1 in my power rankings because they’re my power rankings. I agree that the Baltimore Ravens look good. I have been tempted to move them up. But yes: record plays into it. The Patriots have lost one game this season. They have home-field advantage through the playoffs right now. I’ll believe they’ll lose that advantage when I see that happen. And I’ll believe they’ll lose at home in the postseason when I see that happen.

Ralph from Ponte Vedra, FL

Zone, I usually agree with your takes and perhaps I am in the minority as a result. But I disagree with one take made Wednesday. You said Marrone does not believe coaching is an issue. I interpret his remarks to conclude that coaching is, in fact, an issue but he does not think firing any of his current staff increases the likelihood of winning thus no changes will be made.

Agree to disagree with an acknowledgement of your right to be wrong.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Coughlin wasn't chastising the fans? You and he must be from the same remote planet. He told the fans everyone needs to do better to see this team win, then included the fans in the list of those responsible for helping the Jagwads win. Sorry … this is an entertainment business. It's not my job to help make this team better; it's the organization's job to make this team more entertaining, so that I'll be willing to continue to invest my time and money in the product. And since 2000, the organization has been woefully pitiful at accomplishing that.

Yes, the Jaguars have struggled too often since 2000, and I’m aware many fans are of the attitude right now that neither Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin nor anyone else in the organization can do much right. That’s understandable. But Coughlin wasn’t chastising fans when he spoke to the media Wednesday. Maybe his tone causes it to come off that way, but that’s just kind his tone.

Justin from Toledo, Ohio

John - You have repeatedly said that the front office has drafted well since General Manager David Caldwell took over or have at least had "good" drafts overall. You always say sarcastically that it's "always coaching in the NFL." Well, with a 34-73 record since Caldwell took over, if the front office has done a good job, and so has coaching, does that mean our players don't like winning?

Nope. Thanks for reading, but try again. Haven’t said that. Haven’t written it. Haven’t thought it. Just haven’t. I said the Jaguars for the most part have drafted well in the past few drafts – i.e., 2016-2019. They didn’t draft particularly well for the most part before that, and some holes in the roster – defensive tackle, tight end and linebacker – left this team vulnerable. There also aren’t enough quality veterans on this team. I don’t know if drafting relatively well the past few drafts will keep this regime around, but I do believe they’ve done it.

Nate from St. Augustine, FL

I'm as sick as the rest of the fan base with this season. I think Gardner Minshew II has a chance to be the quarterback of the future, so play him now. I think this coaching staff and front office is in store for a lot of new faces, but if one thing went right this season it was trading cornerback Jalen Ramsey! Fans still hung up on getting rid of that crybaby have no clue about football. We got two first-round selections that look better with each Los Angeles Rams loss, thanks to Ramsey not having much of a positive impact on his new team’s defense. What's the over/under on Ramsey being unhappy with the Rams? Three more weeks?

I would guess based on Ramsey’s history in Jacksonville that he’s already found something to make him unhappy. As for how long it will take him to make his unhappiness public, probably a while more. I expect it to happen. I would be stunned if it didn’t.

Max from Jax

We were 4-7 at one point in 1996, right?

God bless you, Max from Jax.

Jerry from Riverview

After a three-game losing streak, the angry birds are out in full force, with finger pointing out of control. I guess you can’t blame them, and they offer excellent fodder for your entertaining responses. I don’t get it. There are plenty of websites out there to reinforce their negativity. We have your forum to offer a different perspective on what’s happening and for that, we are thankful.

I can’t control why people go to other websites, and I can’t control what those websites say or write about the Jaguars. I can control what is said and written by me in this forum. If you want to read writers ripping people and calling for coordinators to be fired because that’s the first thing they think of to write and say, and because that’s the easiest thing to write and say, and because they want to write and say whatever people want to read and hear … well, as you said, I suppose there are plenty of places where you can find that.

Aqeel from Toronto, Canada

Mr. O, in cornerback A.J Bouye's most recent interview he mentioned how many factors contributed to the defense's problems, but he specifically mentioned personnel as he said “We had one who requested a trade, we had a linebacker that never showed up and then Marcell [Dareus] got hurt.” It was the first time you could sense anger/frustration from him in regards to the two selfish players. Do you get a sense from the other defensive players that they are upset they were left high and dry and are left dealing with the consequences and what could have been a playoff year?

I haven’t gotten a major sense that many players are upset with weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith for stepping away from football last summer, though most certainly wish Smith was still playing. Was there a weariness with what was going on around Ramsey this season? Yeah, that’s fair.

James from Socorro, NM

Foles wasn't signed here to grow through character moments. He was signed to win. He's 0-3 as a starter.

Fair.

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