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O-Zone: Mop-up time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Steve from Youngstown, OH

Why does the defensive coordinator continue to get a free pass? For the last two years we have been down and out of almost every game in the first quarter. We continually change offensive coordinators every other year, yet continue to keep the same defensive coordinator no matter what the final result is.

The Jaguars have won seven of their last 17 games and are a few plays from being 2-1 this season. That's not good enough, but it's also not close to being "down and out of almost every game in the first quarter." Still, I get your point that there have been too many games during that span when the defense gets off to slow starts. When that happens – or when anything goes wrong defensively – the defensive coordinator is going to be the fans' target. So, why hasn't Head Coach Doug Marrone fired defensive coordinator Todd Wash? Because Marrone – who has a decent idea of the players on the roster and how best to use them – doesn't believe Wash is using the defensive players incorrectly. He doesn't believe Wash is calling bad games. He doesn't believe Wash isn't blitzing enough. He believes Wash is getting as much out of the defense as any coach would get out of the defense. Part of this belief perhaps stems from the belief that Wash coordinated the Jaguars to three consecutive Top 10 defenses from 2016-2018 when there were experienced/talented players on defense. The defenses the last two seasons have not been as experienced or talented as those – as the results have shown. Bottom line: Marrone doesn't believe it's always coaching in the NFL – although everyone knows it is.

Mark from Jacksonville

Hi, John. Will the governor's new relaxation of restrictions moving on to phase three allowing restaurants to open at 100 percent capacity and that sort of thing have any effect on the capacities allowed at TIAA Field?

Not yet, because the Jaguars are still under NFL guidelines on this matter. All current physical distancing and mask protocols will remain in place. That doesn't mean it can't change in the future but that's the current situation.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, what do you think Myles Jack was hesitant to directly say in his interview Wednesday?

I think linebacker Myles Jack wanted to say diplomatically that not all Jaguars players who were here last season and in the past were team-first players. I think he wanted to be diplomatic because he and some of those players are friends. I think he did as well as possible telling the truth and being diplomatic.

Josie from Savannah, GA

Zone, saw this quote from former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey a few years ago about Todd Wash defense rings true more than ever now would you not agree? "Every week we ran the same defense," said Ramsey, who finished his rookie season with 55 tackles, 14 pass breakups, and two interceptions. "We never changed defenses. We never changed plays. What we were running on first down at the beginning of the season we were running on first down at the end of the season. What we were running on second down, third down, same. Nothing ever changed."

Did Ramsey say that before or after he invented football?

Chris from Mandarin

So, the Jaguars got blown out by a bad team and made a career backup look like Phil Simms in the Super Bowl. I worry about the Jaguars giving up 50-plus points in a couple games this season, particularly to teams like the Ravens and Packers. What can the team do to fix it, aside from overpaying a veteran on a short- term deal in the secondary or defensive line?

Your worry is legitimate, particularly if the Jaguars can't figure a way to pressure the passer. But your suggested approach won't likely be their approach. They must get better with what's here. The group has played awful in the first half of games and for the most part played pretty well in the second halves of games. It's probably not going to be a great defense. There aren't enough experienced, front-line players up front or in the secondary. But it has shown it can play better than it has early in games. And it has shown in two games it can get stops in the second half. I don't know how they'll do it, but the effort to do so will be mostly with the players and coaches already here.

KC from South Florida

Is it me, or did this team seem to not have any energy at all from the start of the game? It was a far cry from the energy they had at home in Week 1. You would think being at home in the national spotlight early in the season that they would be really pumped but I just didn't see it. What's up with that?

"Energy" is sometimes a chicken-egg scenario. Is a team not stopping anyone defensively because it lacks energy or does it look like it lacks energy because it can't stop anyone? I thought the Jaguars' lack of energy had a lot to do with Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completing a bunch of passes downfield and the Dolphins reeling off a few runs that caught the Jaguars out of position – and the Jaguars' defensive players not getting much pressure on Fitzpatrick early. The energy dwindled quite a bit, as tends to happen when your defense can't get off the field.

Steve from Nashville, TN

That is a new one. It was the coin's fault.

I smiled at this.

Dave from Duval

Hey Zone, I have reached a few conclusions already. J-Rob can play. He may not have get to the corner speed but he will carve an offense up between the hashes and he is a good receiver and pass protector.

Good eye. Rookie running back James Robinson looks like a quality NFL running back. Not only does he have good vision and an efficient, productive running style – but he is a willing blocker in blitz pickup and is productive as a receiver. He looks like he can play at a productive, starting level for a long time.

CJ from Fernandina Beach, FL

So, yes: The offense struggled this week, I believe they will bounce back. But with the consistent struggles on defense do you see any moves or trades being made there? Something needs to be fixed. I know that they believe in the guys already there, but I feel like there is a glaring weakness in the secondary. The run defense has been rather impressive. It seems to be from improved play by Myles Jack and signing joe Schobert and the big guys up front. But maybe they could sign a safety of some sort to help the safety position. Any thoughts?

If the Jaguars thought outside help would help – anywhere – they would sign that help, proving it wasn't overpriced for the amount of help is realistically would provide.

Ronnie from Jacksonville

O, seems like the wide receiver corps is not as deep as we thought without DJ Chark Jr. Chris Conley looked 100 years old, Keelan Cole is nowhere close to a No. 1 and Laviska Shenault Jr. only catches short passes. This group seemed like a huge strength but was exposed last night as a fraud. Agree?

Chark matters. No doubt. Conley and Cole are solid NFL receivers, but they're not Pro Bowl receivers – so no, they're not Chark. Shenault is a rookie who has played three NFL games, so I'm not ready to say he "only" does anything. The receivers aren't fraudulent. They need Chark on the field and Shenault must continue to improve. That's their reality.

Bill from Jacksonville

"If we can really look at the Jaguars' defensive roster and think that it's a great roster with a lot of great, experienced players then, yes..." Is there no such thing in the NFL as "coaching them up"? Is Wash unable to maximize the talent he's been given?

I haven't the foggiest idea what "coaching them up" means. I'm not being snide. I just don't know what it means. Coaches coach. They work with players all week on what to do, they work with them throughout the season on technique and then they call plays and correct mistakes during and after games. As far as Wash maximizing his talent, who is to say he's not?

Brandon from Louisville, KY

You've pointed out that the Jags wanted to go young this year. They went too young. They should have paid defensive end Calais Campbell or defensive tackle Marcell Dareus for experience. Bad decisions by the leaders.

The Jaguars' decision-makers in the offseason had two tasks – to compile a roster that could win this season and to get the salary cap corrected moving forward. Parting ways with Campbell and Dareus was critical to the latter task.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Do you think Jaguars owner Shad Khan could save a few more dollars by replacing defensive coordinator with a mop? Both would have done about the same stopping the Dolphins' offense?

Can the mop beat one-on-one protection? Can it cover?