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O-Zone: Mutually beneficial

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tricky from Duval

I was doing a list of guys that might not be back for salary/performance reasons, but it's easier to list the guys that are almost guaranteed to be back (starter level): wide receivers DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook, tight end Josh Oliver, right tackle Jawaan Taylor, defensive end Josh Allen, running back Leonard Fournette, quarterback Gardner Minshew II, defensive tackle Taven Bryan, middle linebacker Myles Jack and safety Ronnie Harrison. We aren't getting rid of everyone else nor should we, but what the hell man? It's a total tear down. I don't know the point. What's the point?

The situation is bad. The Jaguars are struggling mightily, and it appears for the short term – i.e., the remainder of this season – there's little chance of improvement. And there are absolutely major roster deficiencies that must be addressed during the coming offseason. We'll start there because much of that's obvious and inarguable. Still, I don't know that the roster situation is quite so dire as you portray – and I don't see it as dire as, say, the situation in the 2013 offseason when General Manager David Caldwell took over. There were few "core" players on the roster entering their primes at that point, and the Jaguars further hurt the situation by moving on from some capable veterans. As for the roster now … you can at least make an argument that Chark, Allen and Taylor have the looks of future Pro Bowl players, and there are more serviceable players that can start at an NFL level than your question suggests. That's not saying what's going on is good enough, but it is say the roster isn't completely useless. Another thought on your thought: You named 10 players guaranteed to be back and starter level. If all those players are good – and I don't know that they are – then the Jaguars are in better shape than many teams beginning of a rebuild. Much better shape, actually.

No one from nowhere

Don't worry about this season, John. We were in the AFC Championship Game in 2017, and this defense has been a Top 6 defense for the past few years!!! With all that money we spent on that franchise quarterback, everything is just fine. You'll see.

That logic made sense a few months ago. Circumstances have changed.

San from Orlando, FL

No question. Just pointing out that Dante Fowler Jr. is closing in on 10 sacks, is 25 years old and in prime of his career. Another great move by this front office.

The Jaguars have made some mistakes in recent seasons. I don't know that I would put trading Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams at the top of the list, but I understand why someone would.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

This team gives fans nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, to cheer for. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wouldn't even have a winning record with this team. I'm just in awe at how bad they are and that's saying a lot with how bad they've been forever now.

The Jaguars are bad right now. They have lost five consecutive games by 17 or more points. That's epic stuff.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ

Zone: Obviously this Jaguars team would beat any of the CFB teams, including an all-star team comprised of the four schools involved. But, I am still hung up on something you said in the preseason, that the bottom half of our 90-man roster would essentially score any time they wanted to against any college team. You insinuated that the fourth quarter preseason offensive line, whom none of them had a chance of ever making an NFL roster, could have somehow dominated the 2018 Clemson D-line that boasted three first round picks and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft...?

I would be surprised if I insinuated that the fourth-quarter preseason offensive line would have dominated the Clemson defensive line because I don't believe that to be true. But perhaps I did. Sometimes, I get tired. I am tired now, for instance.

Joshua from Lakeland, FL

I think it's time to put us in the Bottom Three in the power rankings. At this point, your articles and this Q&A are the only things that keep me interested in this team.

The way the Jaguars are playing, the rankings will take care of themselves. As for your last point, I have long wondered the true definition of rock bottom. That sentence may not be it, but it ain't far off.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hey, Zone: Last year the O-line was the problem due to injuries. This year they have been mostly healthy and still have struggled. Either way, the starting quarterback has suffered for it. Blake Bortles was benched and then released and now Nick Foles has been benched. When will they be held accountable?

I always struggle with emails asking for players to be "held accountable." Does that mean benching them? That's an option, but then you're replacing the best players with inferior players. Does that mean cutting them? That's also an option, but you're still replacing the best players with inferior ones. NFL teams don't typically fine players for poor play. All NFL players are eventually held accountable because they eventually get replaced if they aren't playing well enough. Short of that …

Steve from Nashville, TN

If the Rams fail to make the playoffs this year will we know at the end of the regular season where the first-round pick the Jaguars acquired in the Jalen Ramsey trade will be slotted in the 2020 draft?


Mike from Jacksonville

Zone, if the bumpers that Shad Kahn's company produced were of the same quality as these teams have been during his current reign, would he be a billionaire today? This mess falls at his feet for keeping people around way too long when it was well apparent it was time for a change. Former Head Coach Gus Bradley, too long; current Head Coach Doug Marrone, too long; Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, too long; and Caldwell surviving after all the missed first-rounders which includes missing on a quarterback and then doubling down on him, is truly mind boggling.

You can't compare bumpers to football. Managing an NFL team is a completely different dynamic than a "regular business," primarily because there are no quarterbacks involved.

Joe from San Antonio, TX

The rebuild that began in 2013 has failed. It's time for another one.


Chris from Jacksonville

This the second year in a row that the Jags have performed significantly worse in the second half of the season than they did in the first half. Any thoughts on why this is?

Different seasons, different reasons. In 2018, it was about injuries and quarterback play. In 2019, it has been about the complete breakdown of the run defense. There are more reasons because there always are more reasons in the NFL, but start there.

Fred from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

I the early years of the franchise, the owner (Wayne Weaver) and general manager (Tom Coughlin) wanted a fast start for the Jags. They spent heavily and did, in fact, achieve some success. By 2000, the Jags were in salary-cap hell and had to unload some quality players, creating a decimated roster and years of struggle. Seems as though we are experiencing deja vu all over again. Your thoughts, please.

This is a comparison many make. It's not all that valid. The Jaguars will have to release some cap-heavy veteran players next offseason. But when they do, they will have cap space and can clean the cap comparatively quickly. It won't be easy, but it needn't be crippling to the tune of many, many years. The key to any resurgence? Can the Jaguars find a quarterback? That's always the key. It remains that way.

Robert from St. Augustine, FL

The year 2019 has been very challenging for Nick Foles, both personally and professionally. All this talk about retirement, trading or releasing him just seems premature. I can't help but think in 2020 we'll see a different Nick Foles- a much improved Nick Foles. At least give him one more year to prove his worth.

Maybe they will.

Yoav from St. Johns, FL

Hi John, do you believe any of the Jaguars players or staff are "mailing it in"?

Absolutely not.

Richard from Tom

Making fun of a typo rather than writing something. check. (it's free amiright, despite the season tickets, jerseys, time, effort) It's always coaching. check. (I'm sure the team is awful because only the players, not because the people in charge have proven to be, if not incompetent, failures) Gotta say O, I try but you make it hard. Despite the malaise, there could be a lot of interesting things going on, and we get Minchew. LOL. Bravo.

What are doing Friday night? You should come for beers in the backyard. I won't be there, so you can have a good time. And I can have a better one.