JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
I am beginning to understand that selecting a head coach ain't all that easy. Each candidate has pros and cons. Getting the right one – especially after a history of getting the wrong ones – seems part due diligence and part luck. Of the former head coaches being discussed for the Jaguars' head-coaching vacancy, I think either Doug Pederson (two rings, one as a player and one as a head coach) or Jim Caldwell (two rings, one as an assistant and one as an offensive coordinator) would be significant upgrades. Of the coordinators, when I look at results on the field and the degree of player respect, I see Byron Leftwich as a strong candidate – albeit one with a relatively short coaching career. Pederson's and Caldwell's records speak for themselves. For Leftwich, other than tenure, do you see any other downside?
Selecting the right NFL head coach indeed is part due diligence and part good fortune – and that's true no matter a team's history of selecting head coaches. The good fortune comes in large part after the head coach is selected. Do the players the franchise select work out? Do they stay healthy? Does the team have the right quarterback? There simply are no guarantees when it comes to selecting the right head coach – and there's darned sure no tried-and-true "formula" or prerequisite. I like the idea of former Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson and former Indianapolis Colts/Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell because they have experience and because they seem like solid leaders with strong NFL reputations – traits that would inspire confidence and that likely would benefit this franchise. That's why I like the idea of those two – not because I believe hiring either would guarantee success. As for Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, everything I have heard from people who know him indicates he has the leadership skills, communication ability and other traits to be a successful head coach. The only way to know for sure if he will succeed is for him to be a head coach. The challenges of the role are unique. You must do it to prove you can do it.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
I know most of us fans are trying to think of a million different things to do with the No. 1 pick. I think the only choice seems to be to take the pick and choose between one of three players (Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchison or Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux.) Am I way off base?
Those are the three players most analysts believe merit the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, and I have yet to see a mock draft in which the Jaguars don't select one of those three players No. 1 overall. So, no … I don't think you're far off base. I'm starting to jump more into Draft Mode. I'll start fully immersing at the Senior Bowl in two weeks – and believe me: You'll want to check me out when I'm fully immersed. It's an impressive visual.
Chris from Mandarin
Wide receiver Allen Robinson has had multiple 1,000-yard seasons, just not with the Jaguars.
Michael from Middleburg, FL
Well, I guess it was never Belichick.
I assume you're referencing the New England Patriots losing to the Buffalo Bills this past weekend in the first round of the postseason – and, I guess many observers will interpret the Patriots losing that game as evidence that Bill Belichick shouldn't get "credit" for the Patriots' six Super Bowl victories with him as head coach for the last two decades. NFL observers love to draw overarching conclusions based on single games or single seasons. But however obsessed observers and fans may be for who is "responsible" for winning or losing in the NFL, this is far too much of a team league for one person to correctly get "credit" for anything. Belichick's Patriots teams lost in the postseason with quarterback Tom Brady just as they won in the postseason with Brady. Was Brady the biggest factor on those Patriots teams? Almost certainly. Does the loss to the Bills mean Belichick suddenly is a bad head coach? Of course not. Brady and Belichick both mattered. The Patriots wouldn't have won all those games without Belichick's structure and vision. They also wouldn't have done it without Brady.
Doug from Jacksonville
Frank from St. Augustine may have forgotten what offensive coordinator took the Blake Bortles-led Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game and one terrible call away from the Super Bowl.
That was Nate Hackett, now the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. I think he would do a nice job as the Jaguars' head coach. He can communicate and has big-time leadership ability. He knows the NFL and can set an organizational tone. One fer Hackett.
Shaun from Nottingham, UK
How important is the international fan base to the Jaguars and how aware do you think the players are of this?
The international fan base – i.e., the London market – is very important to the Jaguars, just as the local market is very important. I would guess some players are aware of this and some aren't. My experience is that many players aren't aware of much around an organization beyond their assignments and their income. That's to be expected because most players are in their early-to-mid-20s; if memory serves, a high-level awareness of one's surroundings comes later in life – if it ever comes at all.
Daniel from Johnston, IA
Your answer about a lateral move not being allowed (nor wanted probably) got me thinking. Could a team invent a position such as "Assistant Head Coach" and pitch it as a promotion to an offensive or defensive coordinator? Or perhaps offer an offensive line coach an offensive coordinator position? Or is it pretty much head coach and then all other coaching levels are equal?
It's the latter: head coach with all other coaching levels equal.
Billy from Orange Park and Section 412
How were the Jaguars able to interview Byron Leftwich and Nate Hackett when their seasons are not over?
The NFL this season implemented a rule that teams seeking head coaches could interview assistants from teams still in the playoffs, meaning the Jaguars were allowed to interview Leftwich and Hackett.
Peter from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
I do not understand your repeated suggestion that we are facing a multiple offseasons rebuild. Granted, there are some holes to fill but we also just picked five players in the top 65 last year. There is a fortune in cap space. The team that beat the Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins and should have beat the Cincinnati Bengals showed plenty of promise. Hire the right coach and spend some money this offseason on the holes and there is no reason that those performances cannot immediately become the norm and not the exception. The Bengals just did it in one offseason after two straight top-five picks. We are all scarred but you need an attitude improvement.
Perhaps you're right. That would be awesome.
WB3 from Yulrr
How do you see the '22 draft playing out for the Jags?
I expect the Jaguars to select either an offensive or defensive lineman No. 1 overall, then a wide receiver somewhere in the second or third round. Beyond that …
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Jonathan has never gone into a job interview where the salary was millions of dollars, and it shows. I'll tell them they can have the moon if I thought it would land me the job. It's up to them to discern whether or not that's plausible.
Mario from Oviedo, FL
Zone. What's with this infatuation fans and media have with the Jags picking someone without head coaching experience as the next Jaguars head coach? The organization can't afford that. They must target an experienced head coach as the new head coach. And if no previous head coach wants the job, then they should go for someone without the head coaching experience.
I agree with you that previous NFL head-coaching experience would be a positive for the Jaguars – particularly considering the state of the franchise for the past year. But, remember: There are no absolutes and few ideals when it comes to piecing together the formula for an NFL head coach. First-time head coaches and experienced head coaches succeed. And both fail. The decision ultimately must be about who among the candidates Owner Shad Khan sees as having the right combination of skills. And then he must hire and hope he's right. Fans (generally speaking) seem to like the idea of Leftwich as the next Jaguars head coach. All reports are that Leftwich possessions the leadership qualities and communication skills needed for the position; if that's the case, there's nothing wrong with the hire.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
You're still a joke.
And I'm still not laughing.