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O-Zone: Look out

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JT from Fort Worth, TX

All joking aside John, how much do you believe coaching actually plays a part? The 1995 Cleveland Browns had arguably the two best coaches in history with maybe the best general manager in history also (Ozzie Newsome). They couldn't make it work there, but when Bill Belichick left for New England and got Tom Brady at quarterback, he became the greatest coach of all time. I am honestly curious to know how much does the coach actually matter?

Coaching matters. Coaches provide organization, direction and leadership. The head coach can have a major influence in situations such as game management, overall approach and keeping players believing in the direction of the franchise. But the reality is there's often not nearly as much difference in most NFL head coaches, coordinators, etc., as media and fans believe and say. And coaching isn't remotely as important as players – and in particular, quarterbacks. The biggest truth about coaching and the NFL is it's a league of razor-thin margins where many things occur – injuries and talent level, most notably – that are beyond the coaches' control. And we are in an era where coordinators and head coaches are fired more quickly – and more randomly – than ever before. Your point regarding Bill Belichick is a good one; he was seen an average head coach until Brady and has been seen as an all-time great one since. The reality is Belichick always was a good coach, but it took a quarterback such as Brady to allow Belichick's strengths to help produce dynasty. And while coordinators matter, the recent trend of firing and replacing after one statistically rough season – and them being on the "hot seat" after a rough stretch of games – is ridiculous. Wade Phillips and Romeo Crennel have been lauded for decades as two of the NFL's best defensive coaches and both were fired following this past season. Really? Are the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans really going to get better defensive coordinators or are they simply making a change because someone needs to be blamed? Logic tells us it's far more the latter, and that's the reality in far too many coaching changes.

Kevin from Bakersfield, CA

In other words, we've already given up on tight end Josh Oliver?

Not that I know of.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

What is the thought on having a left-handed quarterback – given that it is such a rarity – regarding the tackle spots? Would you move your left tackle to right (given that the left is the better "player)?

The difference in left and right tackle is bigger than many people realize – and while some players can comfortably switch, some players can't. Your best approach is usually to play your tackles wherever the players are most experienced and most comfortable, though there are obviously some players that can make the switch and play well out of their comfort zone. But no … I wouldn't automatically move the left tackle to right in that situation.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

Just to make sure you are clear, there is no "the city" will pay for the stadium. It is the reason San Diego and Oakland lost their teams. It the taxpayer (us, the actual season-ticket buyers) that will pay for a new stadium in more taxes. Yet it is spun to make it sound like they are doing us a favor. Sorry, I am all for the private ownership route. Stop sticking the taxpayers with the bill for a privately owned and funded business.

I'm clear, Greg – and yes, there is in some cases a price to having the NFL in a city. I don't know whether to call it a favor or not, but I do know that in the case of the Jaguars/Jacksonville a private-public partnership has been the approach and I expect it will remain the approach.

Rob from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Not that anyone cares what I think, but I think we should keep Nick Foles as a backup quarterback. Pretty average price for both quarterbacks, and Gardner Minshew II is small and runs a lot. It is highly likely a backup will be needed at some point in the season and it would be good to have Foles in that scenario. Philly missed him this year. Eagles might be in the Super Bowl right now if they had their clutch assassin. Maybe we can squeak into the playoffs, and if Minshew goes down? Foles wins Bowles, Super Bowls.

This is plausible. A Foles trade would only save the Jaguars about $3 million in salary-cap space next season, so there may not be much incentive for the Jaguars to trade the needed equity to entice a team to take on his $22 million cap hit. And there certainly have been stranger scenarios in NFL history than Foles playing well for the Jaguars next season. As for your first sentence … I care, Rob. We all do. More than you know.

GenuineJag13 from Jacksonville

The Jags seem very likely to cut starters due to salary cap. Should fans expect the team to be more talent-needy needy than they were last season, or do you see this as not an issue?

It's an issue, particularly in the case of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus; he's still very good and very good against the run. And while defensive end Calais Campbell was not the player in 2019 he was the previous two seasons, he still was good. Other potential cap casualties would be easier to replace, but those two would hurt.

Chris from Space City, TX

O, Blake Bungles wasn't a free agent. His contract was extended by the worst front office in the league before they had to even address a new deal or extension with him. But I am sure Caldwell had zero percent to do with that. It was all Grumpy Gramps.

If you say so.

Chris from Phoenix, AZ

If we do lose Yannick in free agency what kind of compensatory draft pick would we receive?

This is complicated. The NFL's compensatory draft system awards players to teams that lose more – or better – players in free agency the previous offseason. If Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue signs elsewhere as a free agent this offseason, he would count in the compensatory formula the NFL's Management Council uses to determine selections for the 2021 NFL Draft. But if the Jaguars sign an unrestricted free agent considered similar in value to Ngakoue, they would not receive a compensatory selection. If the Jaguars lose Ngakoue and sign no one, I would expect they would receive a third- or fourth-round compensatory selection.

Cliff from Las Vegas, NV

I get how easy Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes make it to bash the Leonard Fournette pick – or just Fournette in general. Being a Jags fan, I can remember Denard Robinson, TJ Yeldon, Toby Gerhart, Chris Ivory, Jordan Todman and Storm Johnson being here and I can honestly say that I believe in Fournette more than 20 other teams' starting running back. When healthy he is a real treat to watch and I am happy he was a first-round pick.

Hey, one fer Fournette!

Dan from Jacksonville

I did some analysis; Super Bowl droughts are more common across the NFL than I thought. Since our inaugural season, a third of NFL teams have not made a Super Bowl and two thirds of NFL teams only made it once. Dallas hasn't been since 1996 and Kansas City just made it this year after waiting since 1970. So, as hard as it seems to be a Jags fan feeling like the Super Bowl is so out of reach, we are in good company (in a bad way). As a fan base, we need to get behind the owner, coaches and players and cheer them on towards making this a decade remembered as one where the Jags were in the playoffs frequently and that our Super Bowl drought ended. There isn't much value living in the negative and angry alternative of the past. Here's one for the Jags.

Making the Super Bowl is hard. The Jaguars during their tenure have come within a game of getting there three times, and they had a very real chance to go in 2017. This doesn't mean the results of much of the last decade have been acceptable, but it is true that long runs of struggling are equally common in the NFL as long runs of success.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, it just seems like such a "Jaguars" thing that the team spent big on quarterbacks for Bortles and Foles and, therefore, are not in the market when guys like Brady, Philip Rivers, and Drew Brees might be available. Don't get me wrong, I understand the downsides and difficulties with trying to get any of those players in a Jags uniform. It just strikes me as rather comical is all.

Life comes at you fast in the big city.

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