JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Rob from Fleming Island, FL
Hey, John: Will the new general manager likely bring in his own scouts with enough time to prepare for the draft or will he be forced to rely on the current staff for the analysis work this year? Seems like that would be a disadvantage.
Many O-Zone questions in the coming days will be impossible to answer. This is one of them, because there's no way to know precisely what a general manager will do before a general manager is hired. But generally, new general managers keep many area scouts from previous regimes. This is because area scouts have extensive history, contacts and familiarity with their areas; such institutional knowledge can be important in that front line of scouting. Remember: area scouts on that front line are typically not involved in final decisions. They're not making the call on draft day. Discussions on that level are conducted by the general manager, director of player personnel, regional scouts, etc. A general manager therefore often will make changes at those positions – though it is common for much of that change to occur after a general manager's first draft with a team. The timing of the draft makes wholescale change difficult in a general manager's first offseason with an organization.
Tim from Fernandina Beach
John: Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields had monster games and passed the eye test while Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a so-so day. What do scouts look for, aside from obvious stats, to determine that Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect this year?
His entire body of work in three college seasons, and his mental and physical attributes – all of which I expect to be more than enough to make him easily the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence didn't have his best game against Ohio State in a national semifinal Friday, but that was more about his team being overwhelmed by a superior opponent. Lawrence passed the eye test for three years. He'll pass it again come April.
Joel from Jacksonville
For no reason other than the man quit on two college programs because "health," I really don't want to see Urban Meyer here as head coach. I think we can do better. Something about the program he ran at Florida bothers me. I know he would be popular, but he reminds me of Tim Tebow, an overachiever at the college level.
Popularity wouldn't be the reason for the hire, and I don't know that it would be a particularly popular choice anyway.
Howard from Homestead, FL
Regarding Urban Meyer: Let's remember he might have had a fourth national title, but there was no playoff the year his Utah Utes went undefeated. If anybody is going to make the transition from college to the pros, it's the guy who built three separate championship caliber teams in three different conferences.
Hey, one fer Urban …
Catherine from Jacksonville
What are the chances that Eric Bieniemy has a real interest in the Jaguars head coach job? I could get behind that choice for sure.
There's no reason Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy wouldn't have high interest in the Jaguars' head-coaching position. All candidates should have high interest. It's easily one of the best two positions of the hiring cycle along with the Los Angeles Chargers, and many would argue it's the best.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
How likely is it that the 2021 Jaguars roster will not include a single quarterback from the 2020 roster? Has that ever happened before in the NFL?
It has happened before. The 2012 Indianapolis Colts, for example, had no quarterbacks on the roster from the previous season after selecting quarterback Andrew Luck No. 1 overall. And that's certainly a possibility for the Jaguars next season. If you assume a rookie is starting at quarterback, it would seem reasonable for a new general manager to bring in a veteran quarterback the general manager knows and have that veteran work with the young quarterback. The general manager also could want to sign a rookie free agent quarterback following the draft to develop on the practice squad, and he could want that rookie free-agent quarterback to fit whatever system the new coach is running. That's an easy scenario that would cause complete turnover at quarterback.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, so who do we pick at No. 2?
I assume you're asking who the Jaguars will select with the second selection of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. This might be at least somewhat influenced by what the Jaguars do in free agency and it absolutely must depend on what is available when they select. Corner, safety and tight ends are needs and you can often find good ones later in the first round. Let's go with one of those positions. Defensive tackle also is a major need, but that can be tricky later in the first round because greatness at that position tends to go in the Top 15.
Chip from Jacksonville
Welcome to Trevorville!!! Can we rename Lot J Lawrenceville?
You go, girl.
Abe from Catonsville, MD
Hello! I hope your day is rocktastic! How likely would Byron Leftwich be as the new head coach of the Jaguars?
It would appear to be unlikely. Former Jaguars quarterback and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has received comparatively little interest in this head-coaching cycle and hasn't been mentioned as a Jaguars candidate. I'm not sure why, other than the Cardinals starting slower than expected offensively this season. I expect Leftwich will be a head coach someday, just perhaps not in 2021. We'll see.
Unhipcat from carlsbad ca
Hi, John. News reports say Urban Meyer is assembling his Jaguars coaching staff. News reports say Urban Meyer is the top choice for the job. Shad Khan says, "That's news to me." Who's right?
Steve from Woodbine, GA
Why do you only answer the dumb questions?
I answer questions every day, 365 days a year. Let's say for argument's sake there are 10 O-Zone questions per day. That's 3,650 questions a year, give or take. Many, many, many are football questions. I would guess there are a lot of "smart" questions in there. Some are probably dumb. Some are silly. Some I answer because I think of an answer that makes me laugh. Some I answer because it touches on a topic that interests me, or that I think might interest readers. Mostly, I choose the questions I choose with the idea of making that day's O-Zone as interesting, entertaining and informative as possible. When you're answering 3,650 a year, not all questions and answers are going to dazzle everyone. And some might be beneath people as smart as Steve. But here's guessing most topics and issues get covered somewhere in the 3,650. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
William from Jacksonville
I just can't imagine that the next head coach general manager doesn't keep wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell and running backs coach Terry Robiskie on the staff.
We'll see. Both are capable coaches. It would make sense to keep both on staff. But new coaches and general managers have their own capable coaches who they know and with whom they are comfortable. It's why coaching turnover is high, and why good coaches often work at multiple stops throughout their career.
Seamus from Vancouver
In previous years, namely in 2013, I feel like I remember it being said that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan was looking first and foremost for a general manager, who would then find and hire his preferred head coach. Now it seems like the logic is flipped - hire a head coach who will find his preferred general manager. Of course, Khan says he prefers the idea of hiring both at the same time. So, which is the more successful or preferred hiring sequence? Also, if you have an extra moment, can you also tell me who all is involved in the hiring process, in addition to Khan?
There isn't a preferred sequence, and this is something that has been sort of cyclical. For many years, it seemed most in league circles preferred to hire a general manager first and let the GM hire the coach. You have seen teams hire the coach first more often in recent seasons. It doesn't matter which way you go. What matters is the two are on in lockstep as much as possible, meaning that they understand one another and agree philosophically. You can't have a scouting staff that thinks the coaches aren't running the right scheme and you can't have a coaching staff that thinks the scouting department are selecting the wrong players. That will never work. You need leadership with vision and a common focus for the organization. Who sets that tone isn't as important as it being set.
Biff from Jacksonville
Are you keeping the beard? Keep the beard.
I plan to keep the beard because I am "awesome." And I am the King of all Funk.