JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Red from the Ozone Comments Section
John, how many of the Jaguars' backup offensive linemen do you think the team will re-sign for 2019? Also, are Cam Robinson and Will Richardson on track to be recovered from their knee injuries in time for training camp?
Three Jaguars starting offensive linemen – left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell and center Brandon Linder – will return next season, and don't rule out the Jaguars re-signing free agent right guard A.J. Cann. A question among the Jaguars' starting linemen is right tackle Jermey Parnell; while many observers have assumed the team will move on from Parnell, I could see him returning next season. I also expect reserve lineman Tyler Shatley to return and wouldn't rule out the Jaguars re-signing some combination of tackle Josh Wells, tackle Ereck Flowers and guard Patrick Omameh. Robinson and Richardson barring something unforeseen should be ready by next season, with Richardson ready for training camp and Robinson perhaps being brought along carefully in training camp. I've heard nothing to indicate concern over Robinson, but he sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 2 so bringing him along carefully in camp and preseason would be the norm. Bottom line: There's a good chance the Jaguars' offseason approach with the offensive line will be focused on current players retuning rather than major overhaul.
Jerell from Columbia, SC
Do whatever it takes to get the first quarterback taken, Jags front office. I want you to have your pick of any quarterbacks on the table. No excuses. John, see to it Tom gets this please. Thanks in advance.
Daniel from Urbandale, IA
While much of the chatter has rightly revolved around the quarterback position and possibly wide receivers for that quarterback to throw to, my concern is more around the offensive line and building depth to support at least a couple of injuries. Do you think we'll see a big free-agent signing or early draft pick on the line? Even Tom Brady doesn't look too great when he doesn't have time to throw ...
I could see an offensive lineman selected in the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft depending on what's available – and depending on what the Jaguars do in free agency. I would be surprised if you saw a big free-agent signing on the line. As far as having depth to support at least a couple of injuries, the Jaguars actually had that last season; Wells played well in place of Robinson for a few weeks and Shatley played OK as a reserve on the interior. That means the Jaguars had two decent reserves capable of playing pretty well with the starters injured; it doesn't get much deeper than that in the NFL on the offensive line these days.
Taylor from Columbia, MD
In response to Keith from Section 436 you wrote "I honestly don't know what to say anymore about it" in reference to Caldwell/Coughlin's drafting. Would you agree that the drafting here recently hasn't been good and needs to be better? I read your column every day and despite your discussion of the topic "ad nauseum" this is not something you have written.
The Jaguars' drafting in recent seasons could have been better at times. You can say that about most teams. That same drafting also selected three Pro Bowl players, a lot of players who are playing beyond second contracts and a lot who have helped this team to the postseason following 2017 – so it hasn't been all bad. The primary issues are that a Top Three quarterback (Blake Bortles) didn't turn into a franchise player – and they had a chance at a Most Valuable Player quarterback (Patrick Mahomes), instead selecting a running back (Leonard Fournette) who has struggled a lot in two seasons. That's enough to say the drafting must be better. It's not enough to say it never has been good.
Tim from Peoria, IL
O, before you reply with a quick "sometimes it's time to move on," think outside the box and consider this possibility. The focus this offseason will be quarterback; rightfully, some of this past season falls on Bortles. I think last year's demise was injuries, dropped passes, penalties, lack of offensive weapons, quarterback play and coaching. How different would next year look with Bortles versus Foles if the focus of the team was building a reliable modern-day offense around the quarterback regardless of who it is. I think the financially smart decision would be keep Bortles and build around him. Let new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo work his magic on him. I think people are not realizing how similar Bortles' and Foles' styles really are with Bortles being a younger, cheaper and more athletic option for at least the starting spot in 2019. I'm not suggesting Blake is an above-average quarterback, but more implying Foles would be an expensive marginally better option than what we already have ... thoughts?
Coordinators don't "work magic," and there's no reason to think Bortles under DeFilippo would be significantly different than Bortles under former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Either way, this is a discussion about a decision that's really not a decision anymore. Sometimes, it's time to move on.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, I'm not looking for names, but have you ever witnessed a head coach, or any assistant coach that did stand out as someone who you felt was lacking at the job based on others you've seen? Do any of those types ever make it to the level of the NFL? I would think not overall.
It's rare, but it happens.
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
Aren't certain aspects of pass interference reviewable? I don't think all cases of it should be reviewable, but often you can objectively see if a defender hits a player before the ball gets there. I mean, they already let you challenge whether a ball was deflected (and therefore whether a called pass interference can be revoked). How hard could it be to make some other parts of a PI/Non-PI reviewable, and do you foresee any changes.
I anticipate a lot of discussion in league circles this offseason about this issue, discussions that could lead to rules changes. I also anticipate the Competition Committee will be extremely reluctant to insert a lot of extra layers and voices that would further extend replay, so I think the likely offseason discussion will be very unlikely to produce major change.
Jose from Orlando, FL
Take every penny we would use to sign Nick Foles with and give it to Le'Veon Bell, trade Leonard Fournette and other capital and move up and select Haskins. Get your quarterback and get your running back.
Tank from Mechanicsville, VA
Mighty O, is quarterback the most important position by a wide margin or not? Is it not time to stop messing around and do everything we can to go get the best quarterback available in free agency and whatever we can to get the best quarterback in the draft? If not, why not? Cost? Find the money. We don't need both? Really? Foles and Haskins would be the best possible solutions. Go for both and only get one? OK. At least we tried. If we do not do everything we can to get both, then I never wish to hear any more talk from anyone about how the quarterback is the most important position.
Quarterback unquestionably is the most important position. But if you acquire Foles, you likely will need to negotiate a contract beforehand. That's true if he's an unrestricted free agent, and it's likely true if you're trading for him with Philadelphia. Foles during that negotiation likely will want assurances – including financial assurances – that he's the quarterback for at least two seasons and that the team won't be drafting a first-round quarterback to immediately take his place.
Dave from Dallas, TX
Hey Mr. O: Major League Baseball has a rule that players found guilty of performance-enhancing drug misuse are suspended during the season and for the postseason. If the NFL had the same rule, Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman would not have played. Given his massive influence for the Patriots, it is unfair that he did play. Do you think that the NFL should adopt the MLB model?
I actually think the NFL's policies are pretty fair – and pretty punitive. The suspension Edelman served cost him four games – or a quarter of the regular season. He then returned after serving his punishment. Was that enough? Should Edelman have missed the postseason? Perhaps, but the NFL rules are collectively bargained rules by owners and players. I doubt the severity of suspensions is going to change dramatically any time soon.
Fred from Naples, FL
In your analysis of the offense you list Cam Robinson as a free agent. I didn't realize this. I though Cann was our only free agent starter. Is he a restricted free agent?
Cam Robinson isn't a free agent; Corey Robinson is a free agent.
Andrew from Mattoon
I'm bored … can I have a condescending reply?