O-Zone: More than plenty

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dave from Jacksonville

Let me get this straight: In 2018, after the only winning season in 10 years, the Jaguars were 16thin the NFL in attendance. That's not good enough? We keep hearing about all the financial struggles we have as one of the smallest markets in the league, but the ownership turns around and wants to be at the top of the league in attendance? How is that possible or fair?

No one around the Jaguars ever intended to say the attendance wasn't impressive in 2018 – just as no one around the Jaguars said winning wasn't important. What Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has said recently – and what President Mark Lamping said this week – is the Jacksonville market is such that winning won't solve all issues that face an NFL team here. Here's what must be remembered for proper perspective on this issue: What the Jaguars are doing with Lot J, London, Daily's Place, etc., is Khan's effort to stabilize the Jaguars financially in a market that's challenging enough that many owners would have abandoned it by now. When Khan and Lamping discuss this, they are not admonishing fans, nor are they insulting them. They are also not threatening them. They are explaining why London, Lot J and Daily's Place matter for the franchise's long-term stability – and why a second home game in London might be considered, at least for a short time. And know this: Just being at or close to the top of attendance wouldn't solve the issue. The Jaguars also have some of the league's lowest ticket prices, and are among the league's bottom teams in terms of sponsorship revenue. That's the market's financial reality, and if you visit other NFL stadiums and cities it's hard not to realize the difficulties the Jaguars face in these areas. Again, this is not to insult the city or fans. It's just reality. So, while it's understandable that fans don't like some of what they hear when Khan and Lamping discuss these topics, that doesn't change the fact that the franchise remains committed to the city on an extraordinary level considering the circumstance.

John from Jacksonville

Everyone always wants to hear from the Jags' brass and hear the truth... then when they explain it (and is often misinterpreted), this happens … perhaps I wouldn't talk much, either?

Fair.

Jags Fan from 818

Hey Zone ... All I'm gonna say in reference to Mark Lamping's comments is: We were a small market when Khan bought the Jaguars! Go Jags.

Yes, Khan knew this was a small market. Does that mean he's supposed to take no action and have the franchise gradually fall behind the rest of the league financially to the point that he has no choice but to move the team? This doesn't seem like a prudent approach, nor does it seem like one that would make fans happy in the long run.

Darren from Jacksonville

So, Mark Lamping has been in charge of the business side of the Jaguars for roughly eight years ... if it's still not working why doesn't Khan fire him like a head coach would be fired?

Whatever fans think they want, the last thing Jaguars fans want is for Khan to fire Lamping. The franchise has made remarkable off-field strides during his tenure – and that's the only part Lamping can control. Have those strides made the franchise stable enough? No, but that process will take longer than eight years. It might take a lot longer. It doesn't mean the franchise should stop trying. It does mean it likely will be an ongoing effort.

Cliff from Orange Park, FL

I teach economics so can I give a shot at answering what Lamping meant when he said winning would not fix everything in this market? People in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc., live in high-cost areas and therefore get paid more than people in Jacksonville. They therefore can pay more for tickets. They have a bigger fan base to buy merchandise. They have more large corporations to buy suites and sponsorship and pay more for both in those economies. You might think since we live in a low-cost area, the players would take less money, but it is a national market for the player not local. So, we have a lower local revenue but roughly the same costs as I am sure labor is an NFL franchise's dominant expense.

Much of NFL player salaries are covered with shared revenue, so it's not quite as simple as your explanation indicates. But local revenue matters in the NFL equation. The economic differences in the markets are real, and they're a real factor in the Jaguars' approach and actions.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, you say you expect Coach Marrone to comment soon on his firing of the offensive coordinator and retention of the defensive coordinator, but you also said you don't expect many details because that's not his style. Well, perhaps he should change that style now. After all, he most recently tried to show the glass half-full through his rose-colored glasses by saying he was going to improve institutional communication top to bottom. Why not include the fans in that? For a coach who miraculously kept his job after losing like 20 of his last 28 games, maybe it's time to give fans detailed, thoughtful comments on precisely why he is making the staff moves. I don't expect this to happen. I suspect we will get more of, "the responsibility falls on me," "we have to do a better job," and "we have to win more games to be a winning football team."

I understand people criticizing Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone. The team has lost a lot the last two seasons, and criticism comes with losing. But to criticize Marrone for not trying to be as transparent as possible … nah, I'm not with you. The NFL and football coaches by nature are secretive – sometimes to a fault. Marrone is far better on this front than most.

Tyler form Jacksonville

Will the Jaguars beat any other team in average attendance next year?

I don't know. How many games will they win?

Josh from Atlanta, GA

How do you balance the emphasis put on a potential coordinator's past between success and the players they coached? It is easy to look at anyone on, say, the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs or New England Patriots staffs and say they have put together high-scoring game plans, therefore they deserve to be a coordinator. Sure, they can be a bright mind, but isn't it hard to tell who is more to praise when you have an elite quarterback/offense running the plays? This falls in the "was it Brady or was it Belichick" category, but I am speaking more so in the coordinator/staff area.

This is always the dilemma. Great coordinators and head coaches tend to be those who have great players and they mysteriously tend not to be as great without great players. At the same time, it's always coaching in the NFL, which is why you get the ridiculous yearly coaching carousel that only seems to get more ridiculous every year.

Rico from The Mountain

I heard some talk this week about how bad it is for Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II to have a new offensive coordinator next year. People need to remember he played at four different colleges, he has heard lots of voices and seen lots of schemes. Hopefully he and the next coordinator will stay together for many years because of great success, but he has certainly proven to be a smart man who can pick up schemes.

Continuity usually is good, particularly for a young quarterback. Marrone realizes this, but he decided the benefits of a different coordinator in this case would outweigh the effects of change.

TJ from Orlando, FL

I would like to remind all these readers who are incensed about Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo's departure that they are the same people who have been pulling their hair out over the offensive scheme all year. I'll show myself out.

While you're showing yourself out remember that it's always coaching in the NFL.

Nicholas from Mogadishu, Somalia

KOAF: Do you think the league will implement penalties for allowing the game clock to run down excessively with multiple "delay of game" or "false start" penalties on fourth down? I remember using this technique years ago while playing video games to dramatically shorten the game. Perhaps a new rule should state that the clock will only run if the penalty is accepted.

I think the league already has rules for delay of game and false start, and I think there are more than enough penalties. Do we really need more?

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