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O-Zone: Pure greatness

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Steve from Nashville, TN

You recently wrote that "Every NFL franchise is capable of success; their time will come eventually." For some fans, 2017 is a distant memory and a playoff appearance once a decade is not what we are expecting or deserve. Some NFL franchises (Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots) consistently excel and make the playoffs over long periods of time; they don't have to wait for their time to come. I am sure you will tell me these three teams all had first ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks leading the sustained success and Super Bowl titles.

Of course a playoff appearance once a decade is not acceptable. No owner – and no one associated with the NFL – would say different, and that very much includes Jaguars Owner Shad Khan. One thing to remember: When I wrote about teams waiting for their time, I was referencing decades as opposed to a few years. The Packers, Steelers and Patriots during their histories all have had loooong droughts of losing – the Steelers until their 1970s success, the Packers between their 1960s success and the current run that began in the mid-1990s and the Patriots for much of their history until the mid-1990s. That doesn't mean struggling teams are guaranteed future success, but it does mean even historic franchises can be susceptible to long periods of struggle. And I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond to the second part of your question. You cite the Patriots, Steelers and Packers as examples of sustained success – and correctly imply that that would be awesome as a fan to have that success. Then you also imply that I'm not supposed to cite the fact that those franchises had Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers at quarterback as a primary reason for that sustained success? Well … those quarterbacks were a primary reason. It's almost impossible to sustain success without a franchise quarterback. Having one doesn't guarantee success. But it gives you a chance. Not having one means you can succeed occasionally, but probably not for long stretches.

Ron from Tallahassee, FL

If the recent report of the team's interest in Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell is true, is that an example of the team's mismanagement of this coaching search? Why would they suddenly be interested in an entirely new candidate this late in the search? To me, it shows desperation and signals ineptitude by General Manager Trent Baalke and the Khans.

There indeed reports on Sunday of the Jaguars having interest in O'Connell – and the furor over the coaching search has reached a level that there will be some who consider it desperation. And if reports last week that the Jaguars were close to hiring Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich were true, then interest in O'Connell would indicate a change of direction. It's speculation to assume it's ineptitude because we don't know specifics. If the Jaguars get the right people in place and begin to win, it will have been a good search. If not, it will have been a bad search.

Ed from Jax

From your optic, would you say our current head coaching search process is typical of the NFL? How so or why not?

It does not appear typical. Because it has taken longer and has been surrounded by speculation/intrigue. That makes it different. It does not automatically make it a failure.

Tom from Jax

Golly. It's almost as if we should have fired Baalke and hired a search firm for the general manager and head coach so that we could have had a clean slate and a competent personnel team. If Baalke doesn't turn this thing around, his retention is going to be a dumber decision than hiring former Head Coach  Urban Meyer – which is just an insane thing to think about.

Whoever is coaching and selecting players moving forward for the Jaguars must win. They will be viewed as failures if they don't.

Diana from Jacksonville

The people the Jaguars are considering for head coach, such as Leftwich, are mediocre at best. Why don't they go after a very, very good head coach. Do you really think Leftwich could ever compete with Andy Reid???

Leftwich never has been an NFL head coach, which makes any statement that he is mediocre premature and unprovable. The Cincinnati Bengals are coached by Zac Taylor, who is in his second season. They beat the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. So, yeah … it's entirely conceivable that a young head coach such as Leftwich could compete with Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid.

John from Orange Park, FL

Hey, John. What do you make of the rumor that Byron Leftwich has delivered an ultimatum to the Jags to depose Trent Baalke and install a new GM of his choosing, reportedly Adrian Wilson of the Arizona Cardinals?

Rumors and unsubstantiated reports – as well as changing circumstances – have been the rule rather than the exception in recent days. Regarding this rumor, I don't have any reason to believe it's not true and I don't know it to be true. Perhaps someday we'll know for sure.

Jonathan from Jax

Is it possible that Khan doesn't truly want to win. I mean, I believe you have to try really hard to appear this stupid. Please spare me the successful in business line. He is abysmal as an owner. The worst in history and he is going to screw us again. Here's rooting for a new owner. Nobody cares about downtown Jax so spare me that argument too. We just want to win again.

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan wants to win. Period.

Ed from Jax

There have been multiple reports saying Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen has been interviewing for other defensive coordinator jobs. He's currently under contract with us. What gives?

NFL teams transitioning from one head coach to another have the right to block assistants currently under contract from interviewing with other teams. Teams also may allow assistants to interview. The Jaguars in this situation have opted to allow Cullen and other assistants to interview.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Dear John. It's me, not you. The last six months have been delightful, but I must move on. My light is out 'til July. 'Til then, Jim Bob.


John from Jacksonville

"Khan is more focused on getting the process right than completing the process quickly." Khan is the common denominator in all the problems this franchise has suffered; he lacks the necessary tools. This has nothing to do with getting it right, but everything to do with having to settle ... again. Many, including yourself, have said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is too hands on, but this franchise would be far better off with an owner like him. I honestly don't think this franchise will enjoy any sustained success with Khan as the owner. It hasn't so far and nothing has transpired to change that assumption.

I indeed have said and written that Jones is a "hands-on" owner; I don't know that I have written that he is too hands on because I don't particularly feel that way. As far as your feelings on Khan … they're fair. The Jaguars have lost too much in his tenure. They have left themselves open for any and all criticism. They are at a low point in franchise history. The way out – and the way to regain trust and faith – is to win. There is no other way.

Billy from Middleburg, FL

Can head coaches and general managers have incentive clauses in their contract?


Marc from Oceanway

Zone, regarding hiring a new head coach, you recently stated, "Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is more focused on getting the process right than completing the process quickly. That's as it should be." Do you not think there is a balance here of not doing things too slowly? Where do you see the balance here of taking enough time to make a good choice but not missing out on the best candidates?

I see this differently than many people around the NFL see it. That's because I don't believe there's any magic to hiring the first or second candidates – or the so-called "hot" candidates. I've seen too many "hot" candidates one offseason turn cold the next offseason – and too many hot candidates fail miserably as head coaches – to believe that hot candidates are necessarily the best candidates. There are many coaches capable of being really good head coaches not being mentioned or discussed, and I don't doubt that there are coaches who won't get hired who would succeed given the opportunity. That doesn't mean waiting guarantees a team will get it right. But it darned sure doesn't guarantee a team will get it wrong.

Tom from Frozen Banks of Fruit Cove

Great Wise Man once said, "Good things come to those who wait." John, was that dude you?

At this point, Jaguars fans deserve some great things.