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O-Zone: Personal taste

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it ...

Frankie from Midstate Office Supply

Coach Coughlin said he's willing to lace the gloves up with anybody that disagrees with his philosophy, yet he's unwilling to admit he made a mistake in doubling down on Blake Bortles after last season. This seems a little contradictory. Also, how can anyone debate Coughlin when he's doesn't give interviews even in a media-friendly market like Jax – unless it's for the Jay Fund, of course?

Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin’s point in this “discussion” isn’t in fact contradictory. The Jaguars believed they could win with Blake Bortles at quarterback this season if their running game was working, and if the offense remained relatively healthy. They believed this based on last season’s results. They also believed this through the first month of the season because they were 3-1 with the offense playing similarly to last season. Injuries mounted to an unexpected degree around Week 5, after which the offense and Bortles struggled mightily. As far as Coughlin not usually speaking to the local media, that has been his approach since returning to the team in his current position. He has talked at various times in the offseason, but not during the regular season. It wasn’t a big deal last season when the Jaguars were winning. It bothers people more now.

David from Chulota

Zone: We need that stud quarterback from the Alabama Crimson Tide, Tua Tagovailoa. Will he be eligible for the coming draft?

No. Tagovailoa will be eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Sam from Orlando, FL

I find it funny that lost in all this is that Indy has a pretty good pass defense. As do the Titans. If Blake played and put up Kessler numbers you would have wildly defended him. I think you really might be related to him. What say you John Louise Bortles?

If Bortles had played as Kessler did against the Colts Sunday and the Jaguars had won, I probably would have said pretty much the same thing I said about Kessler – that he played well enough to win but that he needed to more going forward. I’ve been clear on this for a while now: Bortles isn’t a franchise quarterback, but the Jaguars would of been fine this season with him at quarterback – very similar offensively to how they were last season – if they would of remained healthy offensively. They didn’t, and the season went awry from there – just like anyone paying attention would have predicted.

David from Broward County

O-Man, given that it seems clear that the Jaguars will be moving on from Bortles, do you think they can find a willing trade partner like the Houston Texans did with Cleveland when they traded Brock Osweiler – i.e., trading Bortles and a third- or fourth-round pick or multiple picks to a team in exchange for a sixth- or a seventh-round pick? Maybe the Oakland Raiders? Do you think the Jags would pursue such a strategy? This would save a huge dead money hit on their salary cap but would cost precious draft pick(s). Due to the contract extension given to Bortles, there are no real good options in parting ways with him, but it must be done.

I do not think the Jaguars will do this. To execute such a trade you need a team that’s willing and able to absorb salary-cap space to gain a draft selection. It’s difficult to find a team both willing and able. You also must be willing to part ways with premium draft selections. I doubt the Jaguars will want to do that, either. The Browns-Texans deal to move Osweiler to Cleveland was the only one of its kind in the salary-cap era. I suspect it will remain that way for a while.

Gordon from Jacksonville

I know in some ways this is a silly question, but do you think an 8-8 Jaguars team would sneak into the playoffs? I hate completely giving up hope.

I don’t want to take away your hope, so yes (but no).

Fred from Naples, FL

So now Telvin Smith is not part of our core for next year?

I believe Smith will be on the Jaguars’ roster next season. He has to play better next season than he has this much of this season to be part of the core moving forward after that.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Have you ever seen an offensive line so ravaged by injuries? It seems like an unusually high number of players that have gone down on the line. This is the primary reason for the team's record. Losing Lee, Seferian-Jenkins and Fournette didn't help, but with a healthy offensive line they could be around .500 with Fournette back.

The injuries to this offensive line this season have been extreme, though I imagine at some point in 24 seasons I have seen something close. And I do agree that the injuries to center Brandon Linder, left guard Andrew Norwell and a slew of left tackles have hurt. But those injuries really didn’t pile up until recently. Don’t underestimate the losses of wide receiver Marqise Lee, running backs Corey Grant and Leonard Fournette and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins as reasons for this team’s offensive struggles. Much of the Jaguars’ offense was built around those players. The fact that they have played a combined 15 games hasn’t helped.

Romeo from San Diego but 904 born

What has happened to wide receiver Keelan Cole? Lack of confidence, or bad pick in draft?

Cole struggled with drops and fumbles this season. After improving late last season as a rookie, he in fact has struggled to an unusual degree this season. Perhaps it’s a loss of confidence. That’s something that could be remedied in an offseason, and Cole – who is still on his rookie contract no doubt – will get a chance to remedy it. But this wasn’t a bad draft selection. Cole was an undrafted rookie who signed following the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jim from Acworth, GA

Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Derek Carr are all supposed to be elite quarterbacks and their teams all have equal or worse records than the Jags. Shouldn’t this show that Bortles may not be our biggest problem?

Sure.

Eric from Columbus, IN

O man, I know this is more of an after-season reflection story, but it feels like almost every pick and pick up last offseason has been as detrimental as 2016’s offseason was amazingly productive. Who that we signed/drafted last offseason has been as advertised or better ... so far?

Cornerback D.J. Hayden, safety Ronnie Harrison and linebacker Leon Jacobs.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

I think the concern over the defense was the first-possession scores they gave up during the losing streak. Yes, they’re statistically whatever … good. But they too often were unable to get stops when needed. I believe that’s playing above the Xs and Os, they did not do that often enough at critical junctures.

We’re in a different era of defense in the NFL. It’s not realistic to think a team is going to win a championship by holding all their opponents to double digits. This defense hasn’t been all-time great this season, but it has been good enough to be very much in playoff contention had the offense not slumped to a season-killing degree in the last two months.

Bleak Lobster from Celina, OH

Nice to see a game in which simple passes were being completed and stupid mistakes weren't being made. Now I'm actually looking forward to the next game to see how much better things can get with Fournette back. It's actually good to be a Jaguar again.

I agree. It was cool to watch the Jaguars’ games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a shame the Jaguars didn’t win those games. They would be in the playoff picture.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

If we get rid of Jackson, Dareus and Church do you think that we could keep Campbell? He is a player I don’t want to see go next year due to cap space.

Yes, if the Jaguars release Jackson, Dareus and safety Barry Church they would be able to retain end Calais Campbell. I wouldn’t be so quick to want to release Dareus, though. He’s an elite talent playing at a very high level. And he’s only 28.

Mark from Archer, FL

In a way, the Fournette suspension is a good thing. He will be very well-rested compared to every other player on both teams. That should give the Jags a huge advantage having a well-rested Fournette against a tired Titans defensive line. Do you think that is an advantage?

I suppose, but I doubt it will be enough to counter the advantage the Titans have of playing at home on a short week.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Remember, we can still finish the season .500. I’m not talking about 8-8. I’m talking about 1-1 against Tennessee. And to a lot of fans, that’s the record that matters most.

I like Hellman’s better than most mayonnaise.

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