JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Daniel from Johnston, IA
I find the concept of fans grading offensive coordinators like Byron Leftwich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, etc., a little odd. It's a rare thing these days that the head coach will also be the offensive coordinator. To a large extent, Leftwich's performance as an offensive coordinator has a lot less to do with how he would perform as a head coach. My personal preference is to hire someone who has actually been a head coach before ... preferably with at least some success.
You're on the right path. There's nothing wrong with an owner wanting to talk to head-coaching candidates who have had success as offensive and defensive coordinators. That's a logical starting point in a head-coaching search. But it's not the only place to start. And when making the final decision on a head coach, it's best to look at how the coach can handle head-coaching responsibilities – i.e., leadership, communication, setting an organizational tone, handling off-field issues and being the face of the franchise. If a head coach is good in those areas, he will have a very good chance of being a good head coach regardless of how he handles Xs and Os. The opposite is not as true. As far as head-coaching experience … yes, on paper, I would prefer someone who has been successful as a head coach. It feels as if that would benefit the next Jaguars' head coach because of the chaotic year the franchise just endured. But it's not the end all. A head coach can be successful without previous experience in the role. Just choose the right guy, something far easier said – and written – than done.
Steve from Nashville, TN
Is there a Clemson wideout in the draft this year with a similar relationship to Trevor like Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase?
The highest-rated Clemson wide receiver entering the draft is junior Justyn Ross. I can't speak to his relationship with Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He's projected as a second-round(ish) selection, so it's likely he's not quite an impact player on Chase's level. The impact of Burrow and Chase – former teammates at Louisiana State – on the Cincinnati Bengals' this season is cool and unique. It's also enviable. It's probably not something that can be repeated, but we can darned sure envy it.
Steve from Brentwood, TN
JO. If you could act as general manager, would you trade Trevor Lawrence for Deshaun Watson if the Houston Texans included their first-round pick in the upcoming draft? Watson would have to have taken care of his legal problems before any trade.
No. I would not make that trade.
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey, John. Currently everything I hear about the draft is that there is no quarterback worthy to pick No 1. But isn't it often the case that a team fell in love with another player, for example Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon edge defensive Kayvon Thibodeaux or even Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton? In such a case maybe it's possible that they trade their first and maybe a second rounder? Or is that unlikely?
Sure, some team could fall in love with those players – or any player – enough to entice a trade with the Jaguars for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Such a trade historically is less likely for a player who's not a quarterback. But could it happen? Maybe.
Practical Tom from Jacksonville
Of the 10 top receivers (by number of catches) this year, two were chosen in the first round (none as No. 1 overall), one in the second round, four in the third round and three in the fifth round. Half were chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft or later and half were drafted prior to 2018. Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams was drafted in the third round in 2017, the seventh wide receiver taken that year, and injured his knee is his second season. He has recovered nicely, but this year was his first 100-reception season. Here's hoping we keep DJ Chark Jr. and draft a wide receiver and tight end later in the draft.
There's no magic round to select a productive wide receiver, and it's true you can find quality players at the position well after the first round. I expect the Jaguars to emphasize the position this offseason, likely signing one in front-line free agency and selecting one in Round or 3. As with any position, the key is finding the right guy. If you do that at wide receiver, you can find good ones after Round 1. Really good ones.
Steven from Charlotte, NC
The DJ Chark Jr. situation really bugs me. Obviously, much is to be decided on this pending the coaching/general manager hire; however, all Jaguar fans know how this ends. We will not sign him because "we couldn't agree on what he is really worth." Come on, O: He will go somewhere else and have a successful career. Even if he isn't a true No. 1 wide receiver, I can guarantee you we will overpay a wide receiver who won't be as productive more money. Just overpay the guy we know instead of the guy we don't. You continue to say that the guys available in free agency are there for a reason and I don't see a WR in the draft that will produce better than him. But alas, same ole Jags.
It's perhaps unfair and premature to assume something will happen that hasn't yet happened, though the Jaguas have made enough mistakes with personnel that your assumption is understandable. The Chark situation is tricky. It would be less tricky if he had proven himself a No. 1 receiver. He hasn't done this yet. I don't have a feel for how it will play out because no one yet knows who will be making the decisions. Whoever's making them, this indeed is one to watch.
Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA
O, I just read that New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton will not commit to returning to the Saints. Seems to me he would be an excellent coach for the Jags. You agree?
I would put Payton among the top four or five head coaches in the NFL – and consider him an enticing combination of high-end Xs-and-Os ability with proven ability to lead, communicate and be the voice/face of an organization. Would I be intrigued to see what he could do with Lawrence and working with an owner as supportive as Jaguars Owner Shad Khan? Yes, that would be intriguing.
Charles from Savannah, Ga
It's been reported that the Jaguars are going to conduct a second interview with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for the head coaching position. I thought that the Jaguars were going to focus on developing Lawrence and building the offense around him? Why is the team considering bringing in someone with a defensive coaching background and not offense?
I have no idea if Eberflus will be the next Jaguars' head coach. He indeed reportedly interviewed for the position last Thursday. If he does get the job, that's not the same as the Jaguars not wanting to develop Lawrence or the offense. You hire a head coach to be the head coach. You hire coordinators and assistants – and draft players – to develop each side of the ball. Don't get caught in the trap of calling head coaches "offensive" or "defensive" head coaches. They're head coaches. That's true for the good ones, anyway.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers came back really quickly from the same injury that Jaguars running back James Robinson went out with. I hope he can follow Akers' timeline because it could be the difference from having a deep running-back room to a major position of need.
Mark from Archer, FL
John, who would be your MVP pick this year?
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers because it's a regular-season award.
Travis from High Springs, FL
I read an article recently that said some of the head coaching candidates aren't interested in the job if Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke is retained, but Khan may hire one of them with the understanding that he's going to keep Baalke to run the draft and let him go afterwards, instead of bringing in a new general manager this close to the draft. Do you believe this could be a possibility?
Until Khan announces the football structure moving forward, nothing is official and therefore many things are possible.
Dave from Nk, RI
John, Any chance they keep Bevell as head coach and retain the staff, or do you think they need to go completely new?
I don't expect Darrell Bevell – who finished the season as the Jaguars' interim head coach – to be the permanent head coach. I expect some members of the current coaching staff could be retained, but I expect the staff to mostly be new. That's what usually happens after three-victory seasons.
CJeff from Atlantic Beach, FL
So, John from Jacksonville's qualifications for a head coach is someone who has never had a bad game … seems easy enough to find.