O-Zone: People pleaser

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Garrett from Jesup, GA

While I think the addition of middle linebacker Joe Schobert will make two positions better, with Myles Jack playing his more natural position on the weak side, I don't understand why something of this nature wasn't done last year. If it is that obvious Jack plays better as an outside linebacker – and it is to me and many others – why continue to try and play him as the Mike? The same decision-makers that put Jack at Mike are now praising the fact that he won't play Mike. How can fans continue to trust the organization when it continually flip-flops? Also, I asked a few weeks ago if we had any positions of strength; if we have no positions of strength after so many years under Dave Caldwell then how can you retain him? He has had more than ample time to build a roster that at least has some strengths.

I have received this question about Jack often; the answer remains simple: The Jaguars played Jack at the positions he played previously because doing so made the linebacker corps better overall at the time. Remember: Jack played the strong side as a rookie in 2016 because Paul Posluszny played the middle and Telvin Smith played the weak side. Jack moved to the middle for 2017 and 2018 because Smith was still on the weak side and you sure weren't going to play Smith in the middle or on the strong side because his size wouldn't allow it. Jack played the middle in 2019 because Smith didn't announce his plans to leave football until shortly after the 2019 NFL Draft. Could the Jaguars have moved Jack to the weak side last season? I suppose, but Smith's timing made it difficult to address middle well enough to justify the move. Also: Jack wasn't bad in the middle; no one thought that until 2019, when he struggled while trying to make up for youth around him. As far as positions of strength under General Manager David Caldwell … a lot of fans don't believe in him. That's well-documented and understandable considering the team's record through most of his time here. Owner Shad Khan clearly believes Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone can take the franchise in a positive direction with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin no longer making final football decisions. Like it or not, that's the answer to the question "how can you retain Caldwell?" We'll find out soon if Khan made the right decision. If the Jaguars show progress this season, the answer is yes. If not …

Mike from Navarre, OH

Our recent draft pick, Laviska Shenault Jr., reminds me a lot of Denard Robinson and his ability to be put in so many different roles to attack the defense. If I remember correctly, he was at one point referred to as an "offensive weapon" in some media circles. Do you think the Jaguars will use Shenault similarly to how they used Robinson, or does this not even apply with the radical changes since that time with the team? Do you feel Shenault will be more effective with his primary ability seeming to be receiving as opposed to running?

I expect Shenault to be more productive than Robinson in the short- and long-term. Shenault was selected early in Round 2 and Robinson was selected in Round 5, so Shenault better be more productive. Remember, too: Robinson was primarily a quarterback in college and had to learn new positions in the NFL. Shenault was an elite prospect as a college wide receiver and therefore has played the position he primarily will be asked to play in the NFL. The Jaguars hope Shenault can be effective as a weapon in addition to a clearly defined role. Robinson was asked to be a weapon with no defined role. Those are big differences.

Jason from Port Orange, FL

KOAGF: I'm real proud to be a Jaguars fan. [Running backs] Coach [Terry] Robiskie was great Friday at the march. Coach Marrone and [wide receiver] Chris Conley both demonstrated strong leadership. Conley's remarks were strong, direct and poignant in this tumultuous time. With this demonstration and the leadership shown by Shad Khan, perhaps the Jaguars organization can be an example to the NFL of how we work together to sustain this movement.

That's the plan.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Chris Conley has a future after football.

Yes.

Diego from South of tierra del Diego - thank you Larry Merchant

Tom Coughlin never had the title of general manager, although he was de facto general manager. Michael Huyghue handled most of the non-coaching matters such as player contracts and salary cap issues. This allowed TC to concentrate on coaching and the results bear this out.

While Huyghue in the early days of the Jaguars indeed handled player contracts and the salary cap, he did not have say in personnel matters; Coughlin had that. Either way: I can't thank you enough for your Jaguars history lesson, Diego. For a better understanding of how things really worked around the Jaguars in the early days, perhaps we should defer to someone whose job it was to be around the team every day during that time and to report about it for a large, metropolitan daily newspaper. Or perhaps we could do one better and defer to someone who wrote a book on the beginning of that era. If we could find such a person that would be "awesome."

Steve from Duval

I'm very proud of the Jaguars march and I wish I was in town to go. Great job.

Friday was a moving, emotional morning. It mattered. No one who participated will ever forget.

Al from Orange Park, FL

If Chris Thompson will only mean a lot to the offense 10 games out of 16 next season, I'll take that....

The Jaguars would like more out of him than that. His knowledge of Gruden's offense and ability to produce on third downs mean he could play a big role.

Howard from Homestead, FL

There's something I just don't understand about the fifth-year option. If a player is still on his rookie deal, and if he is playing at an even somewhat high level, wouldn't a team want to keep a first-round player "on the cheap" for as long as possible? Also, if a team exercises the fifth-year option, does that mean they can no longer cut him? It seems like teams would want to keep their options open with good, inexpensive players, such as Leonard Fournette. What am I missing?

Teams do want to keep players "on the cheap" for their fifth year, which is why many teams exercise that fifth-year option for first-round selections. But sometimes the fifth year isn't so cheap. Fournette, for instance, would have earned $8.43 million from the Jaguars in 2021 on the option. And no … exercising the option does not preclude a team from releasing the player between the fourth and fifth season. A team can still release the player with the notable exception being if the player is injured. If that's the case, a team is obligated to keep and pay the player.

Don from Marshall, NC

One minority owner in the NFL? Got a long way to go before we can say equality. Go Jaguars!

Well, yes.

Michael from Jacksonville

KOAGF, I've been watching games from last year and it seems to me that the offensive scheme wasn't geared to the players' strengths as much as it could've been. I am super excited to have offensive coordinator Jay Gruden designing and calling plays this year. In your esteemed opinion, would you say that my observation is true or was it more lack of NFL experience that our offense was so inconsistent last year? Thanks and GO JAGUARS.

I admit I never had a great feel for offensive coordinator John DeFilippo's approach last season. I think he would have liked to have use the tight end more, but the position was nowhere near talented enough last season to do so – particularly after James O'Shaughnessy sustained a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 5. Bottom line: It's difficult if not impossible to judge DeFilippo. His starting quarterback, Nick Foles, got hurt 11 plays into the season – and neither nor anyone else had the first clue before the season that Gardner Minshew II was going to end up starting 12 games. How do you build around a player's strengths in that situation? I, like you, am intrigued by how Gruden will approach the offense. He has a reputation for creating matchup advantages for his skill players. Once Gruden gets a feel for his players, how he uses them will be a huge storyline.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington

So, according to my calculations zero-to-six divisional wins may be possible? And keep up the good work my friend, as I work on my math, etc.

We aim to please.

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