JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Trevor from Jacksonville:
Same ole Jags (literally) ... Sigh
John: This was a common refrain among readers Monday evening, and I understand the sentiment: I really do. I realize because Doug Marrone was the interim head coach, there is a strong feeling among Jaguars fans/observers that assigning him the position permanently doesn't signal a monstrous change/overhaul. But remember a couple of things: one, Marrone absolutely is a qualified candidate who was going to be a head coach in the NFL relatively soon; and two, he absolutely has a different approach than former Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley. He is older-school, more traditional and more of a no-nonsense guy. The job of an NFL head coach is to run the team, set the tone and establish the direction of the franchise – and I don't doubt for a minute Marrone can do those things. He showed during his two-week interim status that he is more than comfortable in the head-coaching role. The most intriguing question involves his coordinators. I would be surprised if he doesn't retain Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, and early reports are that he could retain defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Does that mean the status quo? Perhaps not. Hackett this past season took over Greg Olson's offense with nine games remaining, so while he tweaked the scheme after that, it was not really "his" offense. So, I doubt the offense will be status quo. As far as Wash and the defense … we'll see. If he does remain, how much will he change? That is an important question that as yet remains unanswered.
T Revor from 133:
I LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
John: Thanks. I have a pair of pants the same color.
JT from Jacksonville:
With reports out that the Jags will retain the defensive coaching staff, does there need to be some backpedaling from all the players that were bashing those coaches after the season ended? This sounds messy to say the least.
John: Things get said at the end of disappointing seasons. People talk things out, and because players and coaches are "people," they talk out – whatever issues may linger. Will it be a little awkward? Perhaps, but I doubt it will be a huge issue. Coaches coach and players play. I imagine whatever mess exists can be cleaned up remembering that.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
Feels like a punt.
John: It's understandable it feels that way. You don't make a move like this for offseason splash; you make it to win in the regular season. If the Jaguars lose next season, it will be a punt. If they win, it will feel like the splish-, splash-iest hire in NFL history.
Ryan from Largo, FL:
I like the reported Marrone hire. However, I read that the defensive staff will stay. Their stats were good, but how would you see the players' comments after the season affecting this decision.
John: I wrote at the time the players made the comments that I doubted much if any of what they said would impact the decision regarding the coaching staff's future. I believed that then and I believe it now. You don't make decisions on NFL head coaches or staffs based on players' comments in the media. You make them based on coaches' ability to coach. This was a staff that for the most part this past season did a good job with a defense that was marked by turnover and new, young players. If the staff stays, a very strong case can be made that the coaches deserved the opportunity.
Joshua from Virginia Beach, VA:
Will Blake Bortles remain the starting quarterback?
John: That remains to be seen, and it's certain to be one of the primary topics of Thursday's press conference with Tom Coughlin, Doug Marrone and David Caldwell. I expect Bortles to have to compete to be the Jaguars' starting quarterback next season and ultimately I expect him to be the starting quarterback next season.
Steve from Atlanta, GA:
It appears that Mr. Khan really did think it was coaching after all, huh? I mean if the only difference next year is the absence of Gus, it seems to point that way. Your argument that it wasn't coaching takes a major shot here.
John: It's always coaching in the NFL. I think I've been pretty consistent on that front.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Can I go ahead and answer a question instead of asking? We at Jaguars.com did not report on the Jaguars signing Coughlin and Marrone first because it is our policy to not report on signings until, well, they have actually signed.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Please answer this question seriously: What changes have occurred that should provide hope for us long-suffering fans? It appears that there will only be one change on the coaching staff (a promotion), and you have drilled into our heads that coaching doesn't matter anyway. The roster will not undergo an overhaul (the GM's contract was extended), and the dysfunctional quarterback will keep his starting role. In all seriousness, why should we hope for a better record in the near future?
John: The biggest reason to hope for a better record in the near future is that this team was very close to winning a lot of games this past season, which could mean that what is needed is more of a tweak and an adjustment than a major overhaul. This thought process likely will draw outrage in some circles, but I can't control that; I can only write what I believe. Marrone appeared to have the confidence of players late in the season. They appeared to believe in his direction. The offense also appeared to be more effective at times in the final two games; perhaps that was a result of Marrone and Hackett dictating the offense with more authority and with more control than they had been able to do under Bradley. Those are reasons to believe the Jaguars could be improved next season. But the biggest factors continue to be quarterback play, turnovers, run game and pass rush. Improving those areas remain critical.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
I have zero hope for the future of the Jaguars. Reasonable expectations for next year in my mind is four wins. Get there and I will be shocked. Anything more than that and hell might freeze over. That is how pathetic this team has been the last six years.
John: If I'm reading your email correctly, it seems you feel pretty good about the future of the Jaguars.
James from Grand Ridge, FL:
Your thoughts on the NFL banning a suspended player (I think on like the third-time violation) from the team's building. I can understand the 'punishment;' however, wouldn't it benefit the player's rehab to have the structure and support of the team more than a weekly phone call if player is sincere in wanting to stop his addiction or behavior?
John: NFL rules currently mandate that players suspended under the substance-abuse policy can remain with the team during the "initial" four-game suspension but not on subsequent suspensions. A player suspended under the performance-enhancing-substances policy can't be around the facility. I believe the more players can be around the facility the better, though once they get to the one-year level it indeed has reached a point where perhaps an outside approach – and separation from the league – is needed and warranted.
Doug from Jacksonville:
I wish I spent more time watching highlight reels on YouTube, then I could talk about "watching game film." I wish I was proficient in "Madden," then I could talk intelligently about play-calling. I wish I had clamored for Marqise Lee to be cut the last two years like all the other general managers writing in so I could … oh, wait. Well, I guess I won't call for Bortles to be cut. I won't demand anything except what I can only assume Khan is doing ... putting together the best people for success. I may wait a year to renew my season tickets since it hasn't even been fun to go to EverBank, but that's still up in the air. I wish I had the conviction of people who can make categorical demands like "Cut Bortles" or "Draft Manziel," but I don't have the info the general manager does. So, I feel like it would show my ignorance to make such demands.
John: Madden's cool. People like it.
Gamble from Brasilia, Brasil:
You know why few diehard fans are excited about Marrone? Because this had to be his narrative: "Yes, the Jaguars have been on a historic run of losing and incompetence while I was the assistant head coach -- but I was handcuffed and watched helplessly the last two years as Bradley alone crushed dreams." Is that and 15-17 a winning argument?
John: I'm guessing Shad Khan was less concerned about offseason narrative and more concerned about trying to structure the organization in the best possible manner and trying to find the best possible head coach. The narrative will give way to reality once the season begins. That's how Monday eventually will be judged.