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O-Zone: Petty theft

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Herndon, VA

With no chance to make the playoffs this season, is it time to start the second- and third-string players to see if there is any untapped talent? The starters have done what they could this year. Why not put the backups in and see how they perform?

This could happen at one or two positions, though not many. One reason is that the Jaguars coaches and players are trying to win, so they won't play players if they believe there are better options available. Also, remember: The Jaguars are already playing a slew of rookies: quarterback Jake Luton, running back James Robinson, cornerback CJ Henderson, defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson and cornerback Chris Claybrooks. There also many second-year players in the lineup. Putting other rookies in games "just to see what they can do" prevents other players from being able to do their jobs – especially if those players shouldn't be playing. Playing young players also is something that often takes care of itself: Many rookies – such as rookie wide receiver Collin Johnson – will get opportunities as part of rotations, and others will get chances when injuries arise. Remember, too: Coaches see practice every day. They know if there's anything there worth tapping.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

If the Jaguars stay the course and lose out, earning a top draft pick, do you think Head Coach Doug Marrone will be swept out with the front office? I really like this coaching staff, and we all saw what they could do in 2017 with decent veteran talent. Marrone, losses notwithstanding, really has done an impressive job to even have this roster close to competing.

I agree that Marrone and the staff have done well with this roster. I do not know what will happen to the staff or the front office after this season, and I also don't think Marrone knows this. Only Jaguars Owner Shad Khan knows; he likely won't announce – or perhaps know – this information until after the season.

Steve from the Sunroom Couch

Dear, John: What is the fate of General Manager David Caldwell and Marrone should they get let go by Khan at the end of the season?

They both would become employed in the NFL – likely not as a general manager or a head coach, but somewhere. And very quickly.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I don't want it to happen, because I genuinely think he is a good coach, and there is zero shame in losing to the Steelers this season. However, is starting 1-9 going to do this coach and GM in, in your opinion? We all know we can't get in Shad's head, but I hope it doesn't happen.

I don't expect Khan to make changes at head coach or general manager during this season. We will know what Khan plans to do after the season when Khan announces what he will do after the season.

Eric from Columbus, IN

Hard to praise a front office for letting go of players at the "right" times if they haven't developed any talent whatsoever to fill those voids ... beyond rookies. Letting go of players is fine – IF you have talent behind them. We don't, and that's a Dave problem.

You're right. The Jaguars didn't draft well enough at times from 2017-2019 when Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin was running the organization with Caldwell as general manager. And they weren't able to retain some key players from the 2016 NFL Draft for various reasons. And they haven't found a quarterback. Those are the primary issues that have led them to a 1-8 record this season. I couldn't agree more.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

If you're the general manager, do you give defensive end Dawuane Smoot a contract for next season or let him walk?

I don't know what Smoot wants to re-sign. That's the only way to answer the question.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

I know they are not tanking and want to win, but it is literally the worst thing that could ever happen to this franchise. It's pretty funny, but if I were owner, I would fire the coach for winning a game and endangering our draft position. I have this terrible feeling that we are going to win a game or two and end up getting pick three through five. We will most likely use that pick on a quarterback from Florida because Jaguars and you will likely defend another terrible Florida pick cause, you know, you're a Florida pick.

The idea of firing a coach for winning isn't funny; it's foolish and shows a complete misunderstanding of the NFL. The idea that I would "defend" a selection from the University of Florida because I went there also indicates you pay no attention to the O-Zone despite being a loyal reader. I never, ever, have written or indicated any allegiance to Florida players; I know this because I have no allegiance to Florida players. I barely watch Florida. I could name two players on the team – quarterback Kyle Trask and tight end Kyle Pitts. I'm not a "Gator" fan and I couldn't care less if the Jaguars selected a player from there or not.

Chiana from Munich, Germany

Hi, so I think I should expand on me seeing quarterback Jake Luton playing bad football. He is supposed to be a strong-armed quarterback and if you remove one busted coverage, he has 400 yards on 72 Throws. That is Blaine Gabbert level (roughly 5.6) in yards per attempt. Gardner Minshew has an average of seven (with a weaker arm). Also, Luton had the best two games by our defense and special teams and lost both. If defense and special teams had played half as well Weeks 2-8, we would be at worst 4-5.


Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hey KOAF, the Jags since 2012 (when Khan took over) are 39-98, about 8.5 seasons now and only one winning season. With that pathetic of a record why not concentrate on putting a winning team on the field instead of Lot J project? Winning puts butts in the seats more than having a place to hang out before the game. No one will waste their hard-earned money just to have fun pregame and then go watch a pathetic team. I know I'm not alone in my thinking here. You can talk about the long-term for the economic health of team but short term 25-year season-ticket holders like myself are bailing out.

The business side of the Jaguars focusing on Lot J has nothing to do with the football side of the Jaguars focusing on football. Khan focuses on Lot J because it's critical to the Jaguars being able to work financially in Jacksonville. Him focusing on that does not mean he is not focused on football or not doing enough to try to win.

Red from the O-Zone Comments Section

It has become quite clear to me, John. The 2020 Jags will find a way to win just enough games to miss out on drafting a franchise quarterback next spring. Why can't we have nice things?

They haven't won in two months. I think they will win another game or two this season, but I don't know that I would worry about it until it happens.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Yes, lose. If the extra point will tie the game, miss it on purpose. If you're leading let the other team score. Play well, have fun, just don't win. This is the NFL, making the playoffs once a decade despite the quarterback has gone on far, far, far too long here. The top two quarterbacks don't look to be "projects" or "have potential;" they look like they can play. If the Jags don't draft first or second, this season is a failure. Sucks for the staff and players but that is the reality. This is the NFL – a quarterback-driven league. Going twenty years without "the guy" is madness. Do what it takes to get the guy, this season that means losing.

I understand the sentiment. I hope you understand that the coaches and players coaching and playing for the Jaguars won't share the sentiment.

Nick from Palatka, FL

O-man, purveyor of all knowledge, I know James Robinson is rewriting the undrafted free agent running back record book, but do you know his standing among all previous rookie running backs?

Eric Dickerson holds the NFL record for rushing yards by a rookie – 1,808 for the Los Angeles Rams in 1983. Robinson is on pace for 1,224 yards rushing.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

John, I read a story that Jags fans are enlisting help from the other NFC North teams' fans to mass vote former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue into the Pro Bowl. I don't know if he will make it or not, but that is 100 percent a level of petty that I can stand behind! Go Jags!!

Petty's good. Nothing wrong with petty.