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O-Zone: Johnny don't surf

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jake from Socorro, NM

Mark Lamping called the Jaguars a "free-agent team." Seems like the Jaguars might leave if they don't get their way regarding Lot J. Your thoughts on his comments?

Jaguars President Mark Lamping's comments to the City Council Tuesday have caused angst – and some anger – among some Jaguars fans and observers. But while what Lamping said is a statement of fact, it should not be perceived as a declaration of intent. Or an ultimatum. That's because Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has kept the Jaguars in Jacksonville because he wants the Jaguars in Jacksonville. He loves Jacksonville and has since before purchasing the team. He sees enormous potential in Jacksonville and its downtown. That's a huge reason he bought the team and a huge reason he wants to keep the Jaguars here. Still, as much as Khan loves Jacksonville, there are also economic realities because of market size that make it a more difficult market. Khan has said since purchasing the team that out-of-the-box thinking is necessary to make it work here. He never has said differently. Lot J is the latest example of such out-of-the-box thinking. I have said and written often in the past months that Lot J is crucial to the Jaguars' long-term future in Jacksonville. That remains true. It's reality and it's not new. That doesn't mean the Jaguars will move if Lot J isn't approved. That's not what this is. But something needs to happen around TIAA Bank Field – and eventually to TIAA Bank Field itself – to revitalize the stadium and the area. That's not going to change whatever the Lot J vote.

David from Maplewood, NJ

I'll say this: If the Jaguars aren't trying to talk their way out of Jax, they are doing an amazing impression of a team that wants to leave.

If Khan and the people who run the Jaguars wanted the team to leave, it would leave. They wouldn't try to develop downtown Jacksonville or invest in the stadium as they have done. And they wouldn't bother exploring ways to renovate TIAA Bank Field in the coming years. They wouldn't have bothered trying to come up with the Lot J concept. I understand this is an emotional issue for some people. And I understand that the perception of Khan to some right now is that he's somehow working for himself and not for Jacksonville. The reality is he wants to grow Jacksonville and wants to grow the Jaguars along with it. And vice versa. That's his intention, current perception of some observers aside.

Steve from Woodbine, GA

In 10 of the 11 losses (so far), the defense has given up at least 27 points (24 to Green Bay). Yes, they've been playing a little better over the past few weeks, but "C'mon Man"...put the blame where it belongs.

The Jaguars' defense has been a weakness all season. There's no question about this. It's not the only weak spot on the team, but it certainly has been a weakness.

Sam from Nottingham, UK

Rookie running back James Robinson has been taking all the plaudits for a stellar first season, especially given that he was an undrafted rookie. However, I feel another undrafted rookie flying under the radar is defensive tackle Doug Costin. He seems to have made a massive difference shoring up the interior of the D line. Do you think the Jags have a pair of defensive tackle in Costin and DaVon Hamilton that could be starters for years to come? Or do we still need veteran help there in FA?

Costin has been impressive as a rookie. He certainly has shown himself to be a promising piece to the defensive-tackle rotation moving forward. I still believe the team will address the position as early as possible in the draft and in free agency next offseason. Defensive tackle as much as any NFL position is about attrition. You need bodies, but more than that you need three or four effective players to hold up and be effective there throughout an entire season. The Jaguars don't have that. They need to get it to improve defensively.

Rob from Jacksonville

Hey John, you suck!


Rob from Jacksonville

Per my last statement, please disregard. I was thinking about someone else.

No. You had it right.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Can the defensive play caller on the field audible out of a bad call from the coordinator much like the quarterback can change plays? Has this ever happened? It seems as though former New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' Zero Blitz call against the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday was so obviously wrong for that situation that the middle linebacker on the field should have the ability to change it. One of the defensive backs even said as much, that they should have been in a different defense for that scenario.

Yes, a defensive play-caller can audible out of a defense before the snap. Depending on the coordinator and the player, it can be a tough ask to expect the player to override the coordinator in a last-play, game-deciding situation.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Hi, John. Happy holidays! I'm guessing it's never too early to talk draft with an eleven-game losing streak, so I'm curious what you think the Jags might do if they indeed have the No. 2 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft but the new general manager isn't in love with Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Do we trade down and take another quarterback in the first round, or could you see them going after Dak Prescott or another veteran the way the Indianapolis Colts did with Philip Rivers?

It's not too early to ask draft questions, but it is a bit early for me to have any educated – or more accurately, semi-educated – insight to offer. I typically start diving deep into the draft in late January, around the time of the Reese's Senior Bowl. But my guess is that if the new general manager doesn't like Fields, there will be another quarterback worthy of the No. 2 selection – if indeed, the Jaguars hold that selection.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

Everyone is saying nothing but Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Fields. Is there anyone else that you think might emerge as a potential pick for the Jags at No. 2 besides Fields?

Sure. Quarterbacks such as Zach Wilson of Brigham Young, Mac Jones of Alabama, Trey Lance of North Dakota State and Kyle Trask of Florida are being mentioned as first-round possibilities. It's possible – even likely – that one or more will push into the Top 10 and even into the Top Three. The pre-draft process is long, drawn and out and filled with misinformation and risers/fallers. This offseason will be no different.

Kathy from Jacksonville

Do you have a tally of fans who want the Jaguars to win and a tally of fans who want the Jaguars to lose? I want the Jaguars to win. After all, Magic Minshew and all of the Jaguars want to win. I have to say that to see the Jaguars try so hard and come so close to a win only to lose the game makes me feel low. It's like when you're a child and no matter how hard you try being sent to your room! I like to hear the positive comments about the players but it's punishing to hear them mocked for "yet another loss"!

I don't have a tally. Some fans want the Jaguars to win. Others want them to lose because they want the best draft selection possible. Neither group is wrong. It doesn't really matter in this sense: The Jaguars are going to continue to try to win. They have come close to doing just that in the last four or five games. I suspect they will continue to come close in the final month and perhaps win. Nothing in the last four or five weeks makes me think that can't happen.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I don't know if Fields is better than Lawrence, but I think he would fit the Jags perfectly. Just keep losing, right?

I suppose.

Jake from State Farm

I know you say "it's always coaching in the NFL" as if it's some sort of clever joke, and put it out there as a sarcastic response that continues to miss the mark to people that write in. However, the coaching staff is the common denominator through the previous 60 games. Then what is more likely, the coaching staff is not very good at their jobs, or you aren't good at yours? I suppose it could be both, but I doubt it.

The Jaguars won the AFC South in 2017 and made the AFC Championship Game in 2017. The roster has gotten worse in spots and a lot younger in a lot of spots since then. So has the record. But you're right that it's always coaching in the NFL. And as an aside … I'm "awesome," Jake. Not just at my job, but at everything. Except surfing. I never could surf.