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O-Zone: Peaking

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Kathy from Jacksonville

The reference to Urban Meyer giving second chances makes him sound more understanding and compassionate. Hopefully, this extends to players, too. I don't necessarily think "fans" would be included. Even though he extended the second chance to a hire, I'm glad that the organization also recognized the strong concern of others about the hire. I really hope Meyer is a person who gives second chances to change for the good. My concern lies with the "third, fourth, fifth ... etc. chances." I had hoped that general manager and Jaguars Owner Shad Khan would have had more input pre-hire, but glad they did post-hire. I believe the Jaguars need them, even though Meyer has been given a lot of authority in the decision making. He needs someone to "check" him.

You lost me a little in some spots, but I do know you're referencing the Jaguars' hire of Chris Doyle as director of sports performance this week – and his subsequent resignation. The resignation came after significant public reaction to the hiring because Doyle had left the University of Iowa last summer amid allegations of racist and bullying behavior. The hiring indeed was an example of Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer's willingness to give second chances in many situations where others might not – and in situations in which he will come under criticism for doing so. We've discussed this situation here in the O-Zone for several days; because Doyle has resigned and is no longer with the organization, there probably isn't much new ground to cover on the issue. But regarding one of your points, I anticipate there will be situations moving forward with the Jaguars when Meyer indeed offers players more than one chance. This has been his history; my conversations with people close to Meyer indicate that he tends not to want to give up on people – and that he often stays loyal to people even when people close to him might advise against it. Debate this as much as you want, but those close to Meyer consider this a defining – and often misunderstood – characteristic. As far as the input of Jaguars Owner Shad Khan in the Doyle hire, he was involved beforehand – and not just "post-hire." Meyer said he, Khan and General Manager Trent Baalke vetted the hire and were involved in the process. Meyer does have a lot of authority and is decidedly the voice and face of the franchise, but this was not a case of "going rogue." A hire was made after discussion and consideration to the reaction. It was determined that the situation would cause unnecessary distraction and a resignation was tendered and accepted. Now, the situation is in the Jaguars' past. Let's hope all can move forward.

Jared from O-Town

Hey, John-O! It's easier to get juice out of a grape than out of a raisin. The secondary didn't play well last season. Is it fair to say that Meyer assessed this less on the quality of the coaches and more on the overwhelming raisins-to-grapes ratio on the roster?

I don't know that Meyer has had time to delve into the Jaguars' roster enough to fully assess the level of raisins or grapes or whatever. His attention was very much focused on hiring the Jaguars' staff for the last month, and the process of self-scouting the roster began in the last week or so. Still, Meyer certainly has a general idea of how position groups played last season. Meyer retained nickels coach Joe Danna and cornerback coach Tim Walton from the previous staff. If he thought their coaching was an issue, he wouldn't have retained them.

Erock from Jtown

Our offensive line is pretty good. It's not a blow-up offensive line. I guess Urban hasn't read the comment section.

What's a comments section?

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John, A.J. Bouye is back on the market. He had a pretty tough year with injuries. Was wondering if he could find his way back to the Jags at a reduced price? Or is this a "don't look back" scenario?

The thought among the Jaguars' decision-makers who traded former Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye last offseason was that he wasn't the player in 2019 as he had been in 2017 and 2018; that was a major reason for the trade. I would expect Bouye – released recently by the Denver Broncos – to sign a low-level short-term contract somewhere or to be involved in the so-called second wave of free agency. I suppose he could eventually re-join the Jaguars. I don't know if that would be as a projected starter.

Mark from Gainesville, FL

Is Myer going to ask tebo to play?

Try again, Mark.

Dan from Somewhere in the Back

Somebody's Gotta Be Zone, the Jaguars had a clean slate. A fresh opportunity to show their fans and the league they were headed in the right direction. Urban Meyer was a home-run hire, laser-focused on assembling a coaching staff made up of the best and brightest minds in the world. It took less than a month for leadership to Jaguar this up as only they can. Hiring Chris Doyle, attempting to justify it, accepting his "resignation," and then fumbling the statement instantly and significantly damaged their credibility. Are we to truly believe that there were no alternatives and the team absolutely had to have Chris Doyle to give them a competitive edge? Tell us, Zone – was this decision as damaging as it seems?

It wasn't that there were "no alternatives." It was that Meyer thought he was the best alternative – and the best person for the job. And yes … Meyer did believe that Doyle's expertise in the area of sports performance could make a difference. He also believed Doyle was worth giving a second chance. I'm not sure how else to explain it because that's what it was. It was a big story. There was reaction. There was fallout. A situation got reversed. I don't expect it to have the lasting, devastating impact your email implies. My guess is the hiring of Meyer, the hiring of the rest of the coaching staff, the moves in free agency and even the selecting of a certain quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft will show fans and the league the Jaguars are headed in the right direction. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't expect I am.

Pradeep from Bangalore, India

Hi John, don't you feel that our special teams was our strength under coach Joe DeCamillis? I really feel that only for the sake of changing the coaches, Meyer has replaced him. Joe DeCamillis is a veteran and respected coach in the NFL, and he deserved to be with us.

Former Jaguars special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis is among the NFL's most-respected special teams coaches. I agree with you he did a fine job in Jacksonville the last four seasons. New Jaguars special teams coach Brian Schneider also is considered one of the best in the profession. New head coaches often want their own guys to do things their way – and it's often a matter of comfort and fit. Is that change for the sake of change? I suppose it could be interpreted that way. DeCamillis would have been a fine choice to continue as special teams coordinator. But there's nothing wrong with the Schneider hire, either. The only constant in the NFL is that there will be change, particularly when head coaches change.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Coach Meyer seemed more interested in yukkin' it up with his BCS Championship fraternity member Coach Sweeney at TL's pro day.

Meyer stood with Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney throughout quarterback Trevor Lawrence's Pro Day Friday. Was it strange that he spent time talking with the former head coach of a player he's considering selecting No. 1 overall? Maybe, just maybe, they were talking about Lawrence and not trading knock-knock jokes?

Rob from Middleburg, FL

This organization just can't get out of its own way. The hiring of Urban Meyer and his assistants just prove that.


Ryan from Detroit, MI

From the coaching hires, it looks like our offense is going to have a distinct Seahawks flavor to it. While I think that would work well with Trevor's skillset, and James Robinson too, we'll need a real speed-demon at X-receiver to take the top off the defense if we want to make it work. Who's the fastest WR currently on the roster? Do we need to add a go-route specialist, a la DeSean Jackson in his prime, or do you think we have the skillset in house already?

I expect the Jaguars to add a receiver to the mix of wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson. Chark can win on deep routes. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Jaguars add more speed to the group.

Sean from Jacksonville

If you get bored at 2am, a coaching-tree diagram would be peachy keen.

This is a non-starter. Two a.m. is when I'm at my best, and neither me – nor those around me – are ever bored then. It's what those close to me call "Peak Zone Time." It's worth a watch.