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O-Zone: On my own

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Joe from right here

No question. All these people claiming Khan is a liar for not hiring an EVP must be amazing people that have never changed their minds. Me personally, I must be a big fat liar. I change my mind all the time. Well, my wife changes my mind all the time.

I'm still getting enough questions along these lines that I suppose it bears repeating, so here goes: Jaguars Owner Shad Khan strongly considered hiring an executive vice president of football operations this offseason. He said this publicly on February 6 when introducing Head Coach Doug Pederson, and that was his intent at the time. He issued a statement this past Tuesday saying he had paused the process because he liked what he saw from Pederson in his three-plus weeks as head coach in terms of improving the organization's culture. Khan has been accused of lying about this. He has been accused of just mentioning the EVP to "placate" fans upset the team is retaining Trent Baalke as general manager. I'll reiterate here what I wrote Thursday – that if Khan was placating the fans with the idea of an EVP, he would have … wait for it … hired an EVP. Instead, Khan saw Pederson's effect on the organization and decided he wanted to wait before adding an element to the leadership. He changed his mind. Maybe the decision will prove right. Maybe it will prove wrong. But that's what he did.

Nick from St. Augustine, FL

Hi John, I am curious if the head coach participates in discussions with the agent(s) of potential free agents? I assume having a person like Doug talking up what his ideas are could be ... valuable?

A head coach can be somewhat valuable in that role, though admittedly not nearly as valuable as if the head coach was able to talk directly to the player. That can't happen until after the start of the NFL's League Year and the coinciding beginning of the free-agency signing period. A lot of the real negotiating happens during the league's so-called "legal-tampering" period, which begins March 14 with the league year starting March 16. Teams may speak with agents during those two days, but they can't speak directly with the player. It's not an ideal system. But it's the system that's in place.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I don't know if senior writers have agents, but if they do, I hope yours negotiated a lucrative placation bonus!

What's a "bonus?"

Tom from Mandarin

I know that you work for Khan and it is your job to put spin on all that he does and make his continuous blunders appear to be smart moves. I also realize you are very good at heaping praise on the con man as well as yourself. You've been around long enough to know that no matter how much make-up you put on it, a pig is still a pig. No one buys in to the rhetoric that continues to flow from the ownership and your credibility has all but hit rock bottom for trying to glorify him. Fans will be fans and if they "leave" the team it will not be because they don't want to be supportive, it will be because they don't want to spend their money on an inferior product. What you need to understand is that the only way that fans can get through to Con that he can understand is through his wallet. Now spin that.

Your boldness notwithstanding, it's actually not my job to put spin on all that Khan does and make his moves appear smart. It's my job to inform fans and readers about what's going on with the Jaguars – and in this forum, it's my job to answer fans' questions as informatively and entertainingly as possible. As far as me "glorifying" Khan … fans ask questions and I answer. That's the job. How you interpret my answers and perceive my motivation … those things I can't control. That I understand completely and have for a long time.

Ed from Danvers MA

In his first year here as GM, Trent Baalke drafted potentially five starters. I'm inclined to give him a lot more rope.

Hey, one fer Baalke (and for rope) …

Al from Orange Park, FL

Let's not judge Baalke on "past history." There is such a thing as personal growth and learning from past mistakes. We hired the last head coach based upon his past history and how did that turn out?

… and another fer Baalke.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

It seems that a lot of the distrust from Jaguars fans stems from the lack of transparency Khan has when it comes to football operations. People can perceive no news as "nothing is happening." I see a lot of other teams that keep their fans in the loop about interviews they are conducting and other front office decisions. Do you think more transparency would make any difference? Or, will fans just fan regardless?

The Jaguars indeed remain officially "quiet" during head coaching searches compared to other teams. And I suppose that contributes to the perception that Khan isn't transparent. Here's the thing, though: Khan is transparent when speaking to the media. He was transparent about his intent to hire an EVP. He then changed his mind and was transparent about that, issuing a statement. Fans not liking what they hear Khan say does not equal a lack of transparency on his part. But nah … I doubt transparency would make fans "trust" more. The anger stems from losing. That's the root of it.

DJ from Conyers

If you were the general manager of any team, who would you want as your quarterback and why out of Trevor Lawrence, Joe Burrow, or Justin Herbert?

I would want Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the context of this question because I love how he plays, love his demeanor, love how his teammates follow him and love how he performs under pressure. I would want him because I have seen him do it and have seen him perform in clutch situations. I believe Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence can do these things, and I believe he can be as good as Burrow – perhaps better. I believe the same of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. But until we see those quarterbacks do what we have seen Burrow do, it's hard not to prefer Burrow.

Jonathan from Jax

If the Jags think what current players want in return for their services is fair or beneficial to the team, they will re-sign them. Not a hard concept. Now, let's see what the decision-makers deem as fair or beneficial. In the past, that meant overpaying for new blood and letting good core players walk. Hope that changes.


Terry from Thomasville, GA

Chances that Jax sign a FA OT or pursue a trade and then draft a pass rusher number 1?

My opinion (and this is only my opinion): Minimal.

JG from Silver Spring, MD

Another reason to re-sign existing players over free agents is the compensatory pick formula. Re-signing wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. will not offset any free agency losses but letting Chark walk and signing another WR has the potential to negatively impact the compensatory pick calculation. The Jaguars have not earned a compensatory pick since the 2010 draft. Every other NFL team has had at least one between then and now. The Ravens have earned over 20 compensatory picks in that time. By letting drafted players leave and replacing them with overpriced free agents, the Jaguars have in effect traded way many Rounds 3-7 draft picks over the years.

Letting existing players leave doesn't negatively affect the compensatory formula – and those types of losses actually "help" a team in the formula. But yes … signing free agents does hurt teams in the formula. Bottom line on the compensatory formula: the better you draft and develop, the more compensatory selections you'll like have because drafting well keeps you from having to participate as often in free agency – though by definition you're going to lose some players if you draft well.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

In this "down time" part of the offseason are you guys as busy as you normally are? And I mean the Jags media.

The offseason is not as busy for Jaguars Media as the regular season because there are no games, which typically leaves weekends free. There also aren't as many morning and afternoon shows, with Drive Time cut from three days a week to one and Happy Hour cut from three days a week to one. Beyond that, it's a bit slower but still comparatively busy.

Just Andrew from Cowford

Mr. O, do you think your boss goes back on promises he makes that you staunchly defend, just to make you look like an idiot, or is that coincidental?

I think Khan changes his mind sometimes, like people do. I can take care of looking like an idiot without him.