O-Zone: Long live the king

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

John from Jacksonville

This musical chairs of coach firing/hiring is like a sad club of guys that can't let go. It's like finding which guy from a group of people who were fired do I like the most to fit in my "definition-of-insanity" puzzle? When players are released from a team, we are told there is obviously a reason the team released that player, so we should steer clear. When it comes to coaching, why can't teams think outside of the box and look for good talent outside of the tired NFL circle?

Loyal O-Zone readers – he knows who he is – know that I believe the fast-churn, musical-chair nature of the coaching profession is among the sillier aspects of the NFL. The same loyal reader also knows that I believe that while coaching is important, coaches are far too often over-blamed – and over-credited – for things beyond their control. Either way, it’s going too far to characterize coaches who get fired and re-hired as needing to stop coaching. The reality is most coaches fired are perfectly capable coaches who deservedly get re-hired. To paraphrase one national analyst on Twitter this week, “I’m trying to remember the last fan base that wasn’t thrilled when the team’s offensive coordinator was fired.” In the NFL, one man’s trash truly is another’s treasure – and it remains very much to be seen whether the Jaguars indeed improved hiring John DeFilippo in the wake of the departed/fired Nathaniel Hackett. But while recycling indeed is rampant in NFL coaching, and I don’t doubt there are college coaches who would be capable NFL coaches, I don’t necessarily believe there is this vast pool of coaches outside the NFL who would revolutionize the sport if only given a chance. The college game is different enough from the professional game that it’s not always the easiest transition. Beyond the college game, how far outside the box should teams look? High school? Pop Warner? Madden? Strato-matic?

Bill from Hawthorn Woods

Don't you think one of the other quarterback “passes” that could have changed the trajectory of the franchise was Ben Roethlisberger?

This question references a question from Saturday’s O-Zone about quarterbacks the Jaguars could have drafted. I answered in the context of recent seasons. If we’re going back to the start of the franchise … yes, there are more than I included in Saturday’s answer.

Ed from Winston-Salem, NC

I'm not trying to spend the owner's money, but he should: one, buy Wembley and use the money to either work with an airline and hotel for discounted pricing for our "home" game or have an auction to help a third of the season-ticket holders get to London; two, pay whatever fine to dump those practice jerseys they wear on Sunday and get the 2011 helmets and Fred Taylor-era jerseys back; three, state teal as our primary color; and four, strongly encourage signing Kaep and Kareem Hunt, hold a press conference talking about "second chances" and push for a two-back set with Leonard Fournette and Kareem. Seems like a lot, but not really. Wadda ya say??

I say it kinda, sorta seems like you’re trying to spend the owner’s money.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

What do you think about Drew Lock? He has prototypical size and an NFL arm. However, some of the throws he makes that make me think he can be a good quarterback I see him doing that Jay Cutler thing where he leans back a little or off to the side which makes me worry a bit.

Let’s clarify one thing here about quarterbacks as we move closer to the 2019 NFL Draft: Like most fans/observers/media, I based my opinions off a relatively few highlights and perhaps a stretch or two of a game or two watched during the college football season. There are many factors teams consider about which I and other observers have little information. With that in mind, I like what I have seen from Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. He indeed has an NFL arm and appears to make good decisions on the plays I’ve seen. He appears to have a lot of the basic skills needed to start in the NFL for a long time.

Greg from Carlsbad, CA

It's “toe the line,” but you already know that.

Yes.

Clif from Washington, DC

I think you were a little dismissive of Ken’s question recently. "Why is it that the Jags are always one step behind the rest of the league?" They certainly are behind the league and have failed to look ahead. Drafting a running back No. 4 overall when you can find RBs anywhere? Behind. Not drafting a young QB to take over like Watson, Mahomes and Jackson? Behind. Playing with this ground and pound attitude? Behind. This team and organization seem to lack the ability to plan ahead and look to the future.

I probably was too dismissive of Ken’s question – because I tend to be dismissive of questions of questions and theories that make blanket statements based on “conventional NFL wisdom” and that portray the results of one season as a trend. Yes, right now it appears that drafting running back Leonard Fournette at No. 4 was a mistake, and I absolutely would agree that passing on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was a mistake. Was passing on Deshaun Watson a mistake? Or Lamar Jackson? Perhaps, but time will tell on those two. I’ve never been a big running-back-in-the-Top 10 guy, but I don’t know that the Jaguars’ major error there was as much philosophical as circumstantial. What I mean by that is this: If Fournette had played at a level of Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley would observers have as big a problem with the selection? Likely not. As I’ve said often, the Jaguars realized the importance of quarterback in 2017 and 2018 and they realize it now. They believed Blake Bortles with a run-oriented offense could work. They were right in 2017 and wrong in 2018. I believe they’ll draft a young quarterback this season. We’ll see where that takes them and where it puts them against the rest of the league.

John from Playa Del Carman, Mexico

It seems likely we will enter the draft this year with a lot of holes to fill on offense. Will this force their hand to draft for need? Is this something we should be worried about? I guess it's just a case of hoping need and talent match up when we pick, otherwise this draft could set us back again if we reach for a bunch of players that aren't worth their draft position.

This is a concern.

Johnny from Jacksonville

They keep accusing you of spinning ... while you keep answering consistently and factually. Yet they keep asking … think many of them are the ones who must be dizzy. As BS&T said “What goes up ... must come down....” Keep showing us those Colors that are real... Zone.

I am the king of all funk.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

To the casual observer, it appears the Jaguars’ front office enjoys playing a quarterback that has balls batted down at the line, as evidenced by either Chad Henne and Blake Bortles leading the league in this bizarre statistic since 2012. The casual conclusion can only be that the Jaguars would draft a quarterback that is 5-feet-9 in order to ensure they continue with this pitiful trend. Stupid is as stupid does. Kyler Murray is the pick.

I don’t think even the casual observer really believes the Jaguars’ front office enjoys playing a quarterback has balls batted at the line. I imagine you’re trying to be clever. Keep trying. You’ll get there.

Limo Bob from Neptune Beach, FL

How will the lockout after next year affect the signing of coaches and players today? Can you also explain to readers why there will be a lockout and when the stadium contract with the Jags expires?

There is no guarantee of a lockout in 2021, though teams reportedly are planning to structure contracts with players and coaches to structure pay with the idea that there may be a work stoppage. A lockout would occur if players and owners couldn’t agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which – considering that there was a lockout in 2011 when the last CBA was signed – seems probable though not inevitable. The Jaguars’ lease agreement for TIAA Bank Field with the city runs through 2030.

Steve from Jacksonville

If I were the Jaguars' general manager, I might be more than a little concerned that if I drafted Kyler Murray he might decide to bail to play baseball. That would set the team back another year and I would probably lose my job. Even if I thought he was another Andrew Luck, I don't think I would draft him.

Whatever team drafts Kyler will do so having extensively researched Murray. And he likely would only “bail” to play baseball if it already had been determined that he wasn’t going to succeed playing quarterback.

Keith from Section 150

I don't understand why people don't "get" you. How is it possible? I mean, you are the King of All Funk!

Yes.

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