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O-Zone: Perfect fit

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nick from Annapolis, MD

I don't mean to pick on fans for being silly, but if Khan didn't care about winning, wouldn't the coaching search have been over a long time ago?

This indeed is critical to remember while discussing the Jaguars' ongoing and very extended head-coaching search – that Owner Shad Khan indeed could have ended this search long ago. In fact, if Khan didn't care about the Jaguars, he could have kept Urban Meyer as head coach. Dismissing Meyer after less than one full season in the position after 13 games was a phenomenally quick move, one that Khan made because he cared very much about the franchise's direction. Khan hasn't always made the right moves as the Jaguars' owner. The Jaguars' record during his tenure makes that clear, and the record makes the criticism he and the franchise are currently enduring fair and understandable. But Khan's a good man who cares about winning. His moves not working don't make that untrue.

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL

"There's nothing to indicate yet that the Jaguars won't get this right." Really??? How about the entirety of Khan's tenure? If there's nothing to indicate they won't get it right, there's even less to indicate that they actually will get it right.

I realize I have written this often, but it remains true: This skepticism and these feelings regarding Khan are understandable. The Jaguars have lost so much under Khan that fans naturally will believe that will continue – and they will do so until the franchise proves otherwise. When I say there's nothing to indicate yet that the Jaguars won't get this right, I'm discussing the current list of candidates being mentioned for the Jaguars' head coaching position. That list includes former Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson, former Indianapolis Colts/Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell and Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Rich Bisaccia. If the Jaguars hire a candidate from that list, all indications are they have every chance to "get it right."

Kelton from Belgrade, MT

With the endless search for the head coach, I worry that it will make it harder for whoever it is to assemble a good staff. The other teams are building their new staffs and we will be left with the leftovers.

It will make it harder. It won't make it impossible.

Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico

Aside from Baalke's track record building a roster, what most bothers me is I find it hard to believe he wasn't OK with – or at least aware of – Meyer's ridiculous antics and toxic ways, yet did nothing about it. Weren't we told at the time that he gave his "permission" for Meyer to stay behind in Cincinnati? Or was that a lie? Either way, he was the general manager and the "Meyer had final say on everything so nothing should be pinned on Baalke" line is a hard sell for me. I personally would have favored a clean slate with new general manager-head coach, though clearly that's not gonna happen. What are your thoughts on Baalke? Is he the right guy for us at this point? Do you see any way he can be successful after all this?

I don't know that criticisms of Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke's roster-building apply all that much to his tenure with the organization. He has been the general manager a little more than one year – and throughout most of that year, former Head Coach Urban Meyer indeed had final say over football matters. Does that mean "nothing should be pinned on Baalke?" That's hard to quantify. I do know it's disingenuous to argue that Baalke "gave Meyer permission" to stay in Columbus, Ohio, following a Thursday loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in late September. The thought of Meyer needing "permission" to do much of anything during his tenure as head coach is a little laughable. My thoughts on Baalke are that I like a lot of what I have heard him say about building a team and a roster. I think the Jaguars' 2021 draft has a chance to be productive – though I don't know that we'll ever know exactly how much "say" he had over the selections. I doubt he ever will be popular with man Jaguars fans because the fan base seems very entrenched in the idea that he is a problem. As far as the reports that some candidates don't want to work with him … I do know many people are saying it. I don't know the level of truth to it. But if the Jaguars hire the right head coach … yeah, there's a chance they can be successful with Baalke as general manager. All the belief to the contrary doesn't mean that's not true.

Nathan from Utah, US

"First, you can't hire Leftwich as the offensive coordinator because the Buccaneers would have no reason to allow that to happen." Could you explain this please?

Byron Leftwich is the Buccaneers' offensive coordinator. NFL teams can't hire him as offensive coordinator unless the Buccaneers release him from that contract. There's no indication they would be willing to do that.

_Ed from Jax       _

Last year, owner Shad Khan said he wanted a coach centric structure-dynamic. Has this changed for this year? How?

My understanding is that Khan still believes strongly that the Jaguars' football structure should remain "head coach-centric."

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

If the Jaguars are going to wait to interview O'Connell then they better be certain that he's the guy they want, because three NFL teams have already hired head coaches and the top remaining candidates very likely will be hired before the Jags can interview O'Connell. The Jaguars need to make a decision and start moving forward. They can only tread water for so long.


Steve from Nashville, TN

If Tom Brady retires with a year left on his contract does Tampa get a compensatory draft pick, and if yes, then how is that calculated?

No. Compensatory draft selections are awarded to teams based on the previous offseason's free-agency gains and losses. Retiring players aren't part of the formula.

Tom from Nocatee

Do the Jags have a contingent at the Senior Bowl?

Yes. The Jaguars have scouts and personnel officials at the Senior Bowl.

Vinny from Jacksonville

Whomever takes this job is going to have his hands full, the new coach is going to have to hit the ground running. Is it normal for a new coach to want to hire/bring in their coaching staff?


Zac from Austin, Tejas

I'm tired of people comparing us to the Bengals. The Bengals overall team comparison and the current Jaguars are not all that similar other than drafting a highly projected QB.

Fair. The Bengals have a talented young roster and they spent the last two or three seasons building a strong defense to complement what is now one of the NFL's most-talented offenses. The Jaguars have some serious roster building to do to reach that level.

Chris from Jax

Can you give us some insight into how the head coaching search is being conducted? Arguably this is the most important coaching search in Jags history since there's finally a franchise QB in place and his development would be severely impaired by another bad hire. There have been rumors, however, that Baalke is essentially handling the search by himself and that Shad Khan is not in Jax and only participating in the search via zoom.  If true, it's unbelievable that someone who cares as much about winning as you claim can't be bothered to be in town and to attend these interviews in person until a coach is hired.

Khan is in Jacksonville. Nothing I have heard leads me to believe that Khan is not at the forefront and leading the search.

Gary from High Springs

John have you ever thought about becoming a fireman?

No, my friend Randy "Moose" Wyse was/is a fireman. He's a one of the best people I know – kind, puts the needs of others before himself, etc. I knew if being that type of person was the prerequisite, it was not the profession for me.

David from Ada, OK

What if Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady all hang up their cleats the same season?

It would be one hell of a Hall of Fame class in five years.

Robbie from Jacksonville

Listening to sports pundits this week, the question came up who is the No. 1 Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback of all-time: Terry Bradshaw or Ben Roethlisberger. They went with Ben. How do you go against a four-time Super Bowl quarterback?

I didn't hear the discussion, but perhaps there's recency and statistical bias at play here. Fans who only have seen modern-era NFL believe that quarterbacks of the past – few of whom matched the statistics of modern-era quarterbacks – couldn't possibly be as good. This is incorrect.

James from Callahan, FL

We need Ted Lasso.