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O-Zone: Out of character

MOBILE, Ala. – Let’s get to it …

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Who has the final call on personnel? General Manager David Caldwell or Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin? Did we really put our eggs in the Austin Seferian-Jenkins tight end basket because someone really thought we couldn't use a young, fresh-legged tight end? We take defensive tackle Taven Bryan with just glaring holes behind Seferian-Jenkins, running back Leonard Fournette and at wide receiver? How is no one fired? At the very least how was no one held accountable? Your job is to evaluate your roster and talent. Someone failed. Miserably.

Coughlin has final say over personnel … and yes … a couple of the things you mentioned seemed curious last offseason and eventually hurt the Jaguars. One error was going into the season with Seferian-Jenkins as the only front-line tight end; another was releasing veteran running back Chris Ivory and not replacing him with a draft selection or mid-range veteran. The “hole” entering preseason at wide receiver wasn’t glaring, though it became so when Marqise Lee was lost for the season in the preseason – and got worse when Keelan Cole regressed a month or so into the season. As has been covered often in this forum, no one was fired because Owner Shad Khan tried to maintain continuity and stability – and because he evidently believes that, despite a few misses, the people running the organization are as capable now as when the Jaguars made the AFC Championship Game. As for “accountability” beyond that, the people running the Jaguars realize what needs to happen. Public verbal humiliation or pelting them with rocks and garbage won’t further emphasize the point.

Crash from Section 148

Get Nick Foles and draft offense.

OK.

Screw the Rigged NFL

What a classic response as usual: “The refs are human and make mistakes, just get over it and move on. Who cares if it changes the outcome of the second or third biggest game of the year?” The NFL is rigged. These games involve thousands of cameras and millions of dollars. No acceptable reason for these games to be decided based on the horrible stupidity/corruption of a 60-year old guy instead of technology or common sense.

First, the NFL is not rigged. It’s just not. I understand the instinct to say “common sense” or technology will solve officiating issues – and it’s true that in the case of the Rams-Saints game Sunday, reviewing the late-game non-call on the would-be interference penalty would have solved the issue. Here’s the reason the NFL doesn’t make all plays reviewable: Where do you draw the line? The Rams-Saints play was blatant. But a call against Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye in last year’s AFC Championship was obviously not pass interference – in the view of Jaguars fans. Patriots fans saw it as obvious interference. That’s the situation with holding/interference as often as not. It’s opinion. Does technology solve that problem? Does common sense? However much technology you insert into the equation, you will have controversial calls as long as humans are involved in officiating.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL

Hypothetically, if the team were healthy, and the team won nine-to-10 games, would the quarterback decision this offseason be the same?

Likely not.

Sean from Jacksonville

Patrick Mahomes ... Sophomore slump next season? A better season?

I expect Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense to be very good next season. I expect Mahomes’ numbers might dip a touch because teams this offseason will game plan to take away Mahomes’ strengths. But I doubt they will dip enough to term it a sophomore slump. The Chiefs’ offense has too much talent and is too good to dip much.

Shane from Jacksonville

I just want to offer my congratulations to the members of the Jags’ front office. Congrats for passing on Mahomes to draft a running back, a running back who isn't that good, and keeping their jobs. It's so exciting that the same men who made that decision will be making the picks this year. Very, very exciting. I just can't wait to hear how much they love the pick and all the many things they like about the kid. I just can't wait.

The 2019 NFL Draft is April 25-27, so you’ll have to wait a few months.

Scott from Jacksonville

Hey, O-Man. Something has been bugging me for a long time, and I'd like to get it off my chest ... Einstein's "definition of insanity." Isn't doing something over and over again expecting a different result' a good way to describe PRACTICE?

There’s actually no evidence that Einstein actually said that, and that’s not the definition of insanity. But sure, practicing is doing the same thing over and over again.

Gerald from Jacksonville

I believe Steelers tight end Jesse James is a free agent this year. Do you think he would be an improvement and do the Jaguars have any interest?

I don’t expect we’ll know for certain what unrestricted free agents interest the Jaguars until the start of the new league year on March 13. James didn’t have a great receiving season in 2018, but if the Jaguars are looking for an affordable, experienced tight end he makes sense.

Bob from St. Mary’s, GA

Want a quarterback? Fix the line!

Fair!

Chris from Nashville, TN

"The NFL is not rigged. The NFL is not rigged. You’re right. Why would it be?" Well, to bring in capital from "big market" teams like LA and NE for one...

It doesn’t work that way. The risk would be too great. That won’t stop people who don’t understand this or who refuse to think logically from using the “rigged theory,” but hey … you keep being you.

Ed from Jacksonville

I find it interesting that some fans are freaking out about John DeFilippo because he was fired after 13 games, like that was the defining moment of his career. Mike Zimmer just completed his fifth season as head coach of the Vikings and has now had four different offensive coordinators. Not to mention he brings in Gary Kubiak to look over the shoulder of OC No. 4. Probably a good chance he is looking at Kubiak becoming OC No. 5 in his sixth year as head coach. So maybe the issue was not DeFilippo but a defensive-minded head coach tending to blame the OCs for lack of success? That just seems like a lot of coordinators to go through in a short time frame? What do you think O?

Fair.

Hunter from Jacksonville

Which was the better pick between Blake Bortles and Blaine Gabbert?

Bortles quarterbacked the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game, and he played at a high level for most of one season. That gives him the edge in this question.

Steve from Nashville, TN

I notice this will be Coach "Hop’s” seventh team and city in 23 years of NFL coaching, which for your average reader probably sounds like a lot but for NFL assistant coaches is par for the course. Does having an owner who shows support for EVP Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone through a disappointing season make it easier to attract assistant coaches to the team?

A little, perhaps. Where Khan’s track record with Coughlin, Marrone and former Head Coach Gus Bradley likely has the most impact is with future potential head coaches. I believe Marrone will and should be the head coach here for a long while. If that’s not the case, Khan certainly has shown throughout his tenure that he is genuine when he discusses believing in continuity.

DoyleMcpoyle from Philly

Brett Favre indicated he’d stick with Foles over Carson Wentz, even favorably comparing Foles to Tom Brady.

And?

Bryan from Portland, OR

Hey Funk! Hang in there and remember that everyone is entitled to their wrong opinion. Question re: wide receivers: How can they be evaluated accurately given the, ahem, “difficulties” of the rest of the offense? When the QB and O-line crumble, receivers rarely get opportunities to function.

It's more difficult to evaluate any player when everything around him is going awry. At the same time, it wasn’t hard to see that veteran Donte Moncrief at times could have made better plays on the ball, or that second-year veteran Keelan Cole was struggling with drops and fumbles, or that rookie DJ Chark Jr. has talent and needs more reps. Of the receivers, only second-year veteran Dede Westbrook played at a high level. That was evident no matter what else was going on around them.

Logan from Wichita, KS

As a constant "the-sky-is-falling" fan that gets good answers, eye rolls and mocked by you … I appreciate all you do for us Jags fans. You know the team, you know the game and there is a reason you have done the O-Zone so many days in a row for so long; you are the best! You make it entertaining and informative – even if you are wrong sometimes. Keep doin’ you O man!

I don’t even know who you are anymore.

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