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O-Zone: Just truth

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Welcome to the "horrible-championship-referee-call-that-cost-you-the-game" club, Saints fans. Two years in a row the teams in the Super Bowl have been impacted by bad calls. There has to be a way to get those right.

I received a slew of emails Sunday evening from Jaguars fans empathetic to New Orleans Saints fans after an apparent interference was not called against the Los Angeles Rams, a late non-call that likely cost the Saints a victory in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. This for Jaguars fans understandably brought back memories of Myles Jack Wasn't Down, the missed call that probably cost the Jaguars a victory over the New England Patriots in last year's AFC Championship Game. I actually found the Saints non-call a little harder to believe and a little more inexcusable than the Jaguars non-call. While the Jack call was incorrect, it was a difficult call; seen objectively, it was at least understandable the official missed it. Sunday's late non-call in Saints-Rams was much harder to understand, as Saints Head Coach Sean Payton publicly noted following the game. As far as getting the calls right, both are tricky situations. Interference by its nature isn't a reviewable call; the NFL just doesn't want judgement calls being reviewed. And as we've discussed multiple times in this forum, once the Jack play was blown dead, he could be ruled to have recovered the ball, but he couldn't advance it. What to do? Not much. Officials have missed calls since the league began, and they'll continue to miss calls. They're human. That's reality.

Peter from Rhode Island

You're a bigger buzzkill than Buzz Killington.


Adam from Bryan, TX

I will never forgive the Jags for letting Fowler go. After seeing the way he balled against the Saints, I don't see how we couldn't find playing time for him. I don't even understand it. Why DID we let him go?

Former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. indeed had a big game in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, including a late pressure that led to the interception that led to the game-winning field goal. The Jaguars traded Fowler to the Rams because he didn't live up to his status as the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, and because they were not going to re-sign him this offseason. They therefore decided it was better to get a third- and a fifth-round draft selection from the Rams for him as opposed to nothing. It was the correct decision.

William from Jacksonville

The NFL is not rigged. The NFL is not rigged.

You're right. Why would it be?

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi John: If the Jags draft a quarterback, I think the DeFilippo hire will be a definite plus considering his work with Carson Wentz and Nick Foles. Seems there might be a little quarterback guru in him.

New Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo's experience with quarterbacks such as Wentz and Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr give him a solid background with young quarterbacks and could be an indication of the direction the Jaguars want to go at the position this offseason. We'll see.

DoyleMcpoyle from Philly

If the Jaguars sign Golden Tate III as well as Foles (or trade for him), they will be in good shape offensively.


Robert from Jacksonville

After the disappointing finish of the season, it's clear there's tremendous pressure now to find an "answer" at quarterback. It seems an impossibility that Blake Bortles remains, and whether or not they find a veteran "bridge" quarterback, do you see any possibility the Jaguars don't select a quarterback in the first round? I know it's early to evaluate, but it feels like the front office is almost cornered at this point. Do you think they feel pressured that they must draft someone, anyone, for the position? I know the common refrain is fans don't influence football decisions, but are they entirely insulated from fans, media, etc? It just feels like they could somehow steal Nick Bosa (the consensus No. 1 overall selection to many) at No. 7, and people would likely be howling that they didn't fix quarterback.

I fully believe the Jaguars will select a quarterback in the first round in the 2019 NFL Draft in April. I don't think that because of what fans and media think. I think that because it feels as if the franchise is moving on from Bortles and that it's time to focus on finding a young quarterback around whom the team can build.

Jonathan from Ellenton, FL

Do you think coaching is more important in college? Specifically to the Xs and Os?

Generally, yes.

Jess from Glenn Carbon, IL

The Philadelphia Eagles have a much better offensive line, much better tight ends and much better wide receivers. If Foles was starting quarterback material, he would be starting over Wentz when Wentz is healthy. Foles would have done no better than Bortles did this past season with the offensive line injuries and lack of weapons at tight end and wide receiver. Bortles, with far inferior tight ends and wide receivers, and an average offensive line in 2017 PROVED he can lead this team and WIN in the playoffs. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin are making a huge mistake if they "move on" from Bortles. Improve the offensive line, tight ends and wide receivers, and this team can compete and win.

Injuries ruined the Jaguars' 2018 season. That has been said often here, and I agree that the Jaguars could have made the postseason this season with Bortles had the offense been even half as healthy as it was last season. But Bortles in his fifth season this past season continued to show the same shortcomings as early in his career. While he is adequate under the right circumstances, the Jaguars more than likely have decided it's time to move on. As far as Foles not being starting material because he doesn't start over Wentz when healthy, that logic would mean Steve Young wasn't starting material because he for a long time didn't start over Joe Montana in San Francisco. Young is in the Hall of Fame.

Mark from Richmond, VA

Can you break down your size concerns for Kyler Murray? He's tiny, but we just had a huge quarterback that couldn't get the job done and had a ton of batted balls. Is it more of a durability concern? I don't know if I buy into not seeing over the line or getting the ball over.

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is listed around 5-feet-10 or 5-11 – and some believe he's closer to 5-9. Whatever his height, he's short. Really short by NFL standards. Durability is one concern, and getting the ball out when passing from the pocket is a legitimate concern. It's something a team must address in scheme and play calling. Murray's not a prototype, and his lack of ability to maneuver in the pocket is considered an issue. That doesn't mean he can't succeed, but it is a legitimate concern.

Clay from Section 235

Since it's the offseason and we have nothing better to talk about now, with the benefit of hindsight what SHOULD we have done about quarterback last offseason? I still don't think we should have entered the Cousins sweepstakes, e.g.

The viable veteran quarterbacking options last offseason for the Jaguars were signing a pricey Cousins, trading for an aging Alex Smith or a signing a risky Teddy Bridgewater. The rookie option at No. 29 overall in the NFL 2018 NFL Draft was Lamar Jackson. The cost and risk of those options contributed to the decision to re-sign Blake Bortles.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Coaching staff and front office on the hot seat. No quarterback. Not a ton of cap room. No truly elite quarterback in the draft. Running back position in limbo. No serviceable tight end. Average wide receivers. You can make fun of Jerell all you want. We are behind the rest of the league.

Of course the Jaguars' issues on offense factored into the coordinator search, and offensively the Jaguars do have work to do. That doesn't make a blanket statement such as "the Jaguars are behind the rest of the league" true, but believe what you want.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

Myles Jack wasn't down. Prayers for Saints fans.


Bryan from Tampa, FL

Do you think the Jags will keep Cody Kessler in the backup quarterback role this upcoming season? I know that he has not been dynamic, but that is why he would be the backup. He does take care of the football and I believe he still has upside as a developmental player. It seems as though people forget he was only a second-year player.

I would be a little surprised if Kessler returns to the Jaguars next season. Not knockdown, drag-out, head-sewn-to-the-carpet, Buick-in-the-living-room surprised … but surprised nonetheless.

Ralph from Jacksonville

John, it's always the senior writers in the NFL.


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