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O-Zone: Mob rules

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Woo! The Jaguars got their man. We're bringing Byron home.

It appears to be leaning this way. Heavily. Multiple sources/reports indeed indicated late Tuesday that the Jaguars are expected to hire former Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich – most recently the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – as their head coach. As of this writing – early Wednesday morning – the team had not confirmed the report or announced it as official. And there will be nothing on this website in an official capacity until the team announces it. But if true, it will be a popular choice for many Jaguars. All indications are the Leftwich is ready for the job. He is considered one of the NFL's top young offensive minds and he reportedly is well-respected by players and ready to lead an organization. Those are all key traits that this franchise needs. Stay tuned.

Doug from Jax Beach

Quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, worked together at LSU. They had to be more comfortable, faster, in the NFL than if they had not. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne Jr. had that same relationship at Clemson, but Etienne got hurt and was out for the year as a rookie last season. I believe that injury really hurt the Jags and Lawrence. I'm not saying they would have won eight or nine games, but to have someone in the huddle with you that you were extremely familiar with would had to have helped Lawrence. Next year the Jags get Etienne back – sort of like we really have two first-round picks this year. I believe that's going to help the Jags run the ball, catch the ball and help Lawrence in many ways. Thoughts?

This certainly could be the case, and there's little question that Etienne's season-ending Lisfranc injury in August limited the Jaguars' big-play potential offensively this past season. There are a few unknowns here – how effective Etienne will be at the NFL, how the Jaguars plan to use Etienne and whether he will return to his preinjury form for next season. Chase appears to have the potential to be an All-Pro performer for the foreseeable future, and it's probably not fair to put that level of expectation on Etienne. Still, Etienne's presence – if healthy – can't hurt Lawrence and the offense next season. Here's hoping.

Jonathan from Jax

Agreed with Peter from Ponte Vedra about not getting enough players to their second contract. That's a microcosm of the entire issue with this organization. They have done well at certain things at certain times, they've just never done all the important things consistent enough for it all to work. Example, finally knock the draft out of the park with linebacker Myles Jack, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and only one gets to a second contract. If you can't fix that, I really don't think it matters too much who the coach is. Might have a winning season or two but no sustainable success.

You're correct that the Jaguars must have more second-contract players, which means they must draft/develop players better. And there's little question that the issue is a major reason for their comparatively weak roster in recent seasons. That's a big-picture analysis of the issue. A reality within that big picture is you can't simply say, "We're going to sign more players to second contracts" and do so without regard to whether re-signing the player is a good decision. If, for instance, the team can re-sign wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. for a contract that makes sense given production/potential/market, then you do it. If not, then it's not a no-brainer decision.

Joe living down by the River in Akron

Hey John, it's fun watching the playoffs and seeing good football players executing good plays consistently. In your opinion, when do we see the Jags contending for postseason?

Best projection: 2023. I just believe the roster needs enough additions – and enough time for young players to develop – that it will take more than one offseason. Here's hoping I'm wrong. We'll see.

Don from Marshall, NC

When I first watched Tom Brady coming out of Michigan my first thought was that the NFL was going to break this skinny kid up. 24 years later and he is the GOAT! I have never seen any sport where the best player is the oldest player in the league. I respect the heck out of him but good riddance if he retires. Myles Jack was not down! Go Jaguars!

Good call. He wasn't down.

David from Orlando, FL

Zone – If the NFL didn't add a game to the schedule this year, the Jaguars would have ended the year with an embarrassing 50-10 loss to the New England Patriots. If that game ended the season, the attitude around this team would be slash and burn, with torch and pitchfork sales going through the roof in Jacksonville. Instead, due to the feel-good victory over the Indianapolis Colts the following week, I sense a slight pivot from fans that this roster may not require a complete overhaul, but just an infusion of talent. The victory over the Colts was anything but meaningless, it showed fans that we can compete with the best. More important than a win, that victory, gave the fans something they needed more than anything else, hope.

Hope is a good thing, Red. Maybe the best thing.

Ben from Cuba, MO

O', if the decision for Jaguars head coach was down to Leftwich and Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, I believe this weekend's game should settle that. Which defensive coordinator doesn't cover arguably the best wide receiver this year with a cornerback on the final drive of the game? He got cute and lost the game. Fully in the Leftwich camp here.

If a team makes its final decision about its head coach based on one game, it's criterion for the decision are misplaced and shortsighted. The job is far more than that. This is not to say teams never base head-coaching decisions on such things, but that's not how such things should be decided.

Jason from North Pole, AK

If a team is in love enough with a player to trade significant draft equity for the 1st overall pick, aren't the chances high that the Jaguars are in love with that player too?


Artie in Orange Park, FL

Zone, are edge rushers really linebackers with just a different name?

Sort of. The "edge rusher" label emerged in recent seasons with analysts needing a term to identify a player who projected as a pass-rushing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Edge isn't always the fairest label, but it describes that sort of player closely enough that it usually works.

Billy from Middleburg, FL

Seems like one of the negatives in hiring Leftwich is the fact that he has had Tom Brady as his quarterback. How could having the GOAT in the same quarterback room as Leftwich be a bad thing?

Any "negatives" I've heard regarding Leftwich have involved perception more than reality – and if people perceive being around Brady as a negative, that's misguided enough to be laughable. I have no idea if Leftwich will be a successful NFL head coach. No one does – and no one will until he gets a head-coaching position. But having worked with Brady can only a be a positive.

Barry from Schenectady, NY

Why not Mike Leach for head coach? He has a consistent record of developing quarterbacks. Yes, he is a college coach but I think the reason so many great college coaches fail in the NFL is that their college success was due as much to their recruiting as coaching. Leach's success is a testament to his coaching as his talent level is typically not why he wins. Besides, Pirates belong in Florida, and he certainly would make life in general – and yours in particular – more interesting

It would have been somewhat "surprising" had the Jaguars hired a head coach from college without NFL experience. I can't remember why I felt this way. Maybe it's because I have a notably bad memory.

Doug from Jacksonville, FL

Concerning the overtime discussion, I agree if the defense can't stop an offense they shouldn't win. But in the case of the playoff game I assume has everyone talking about this, the coin flip decided who won. Neither team could stop the opposing offense. The current rules could stay for regular season, but perhaps in the postseason both teams could get at least one possession.

My sense is there could be a change along these lines soon. The Kansas City Chiefs' 42-36 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional Playoff Sunday has prompted enough outcry over this issue that it will probably inspire change. I don't particularly see it as necessary, but mob could rule at this point. It often does.