JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Taylor from Columbia, MD
Something that struck me about that Albert Breer interview with Jaguars Media last week was his assertion that Urban Meyer won't be pointing fingers at players, and that the emphasis will be on coaches developing players. He even went so far as to say that Urban believes NFL players are inherently good and it's on coaches to develop them. It seems like Urban believes that it's always coaching in the NFL, or at least it's far more important than you believe.
Coaching matters very much in the NFL. It is particularly important for head coaches – and by extension, assistants – to set the tone and standard for an organization, and to ensure players understand that standard. When I say, "it's always coaching in the NFL," I'm usually talking about fans criticizing coaches for play-calling and fans who believe firing a defensive or offensive coordinator on a Monday will magically transform a team into greatness by the following Sunday. Here's the biggest way coaching matters in the NFL: If a group of players believes in what their coach is saying/teaching, those players likely will play as a unit and do things the right way, therefore giving the team a chance to win. If players don't believe in that coach, they're going to do things their own way. It's tough to win in football playing that way. If Meyer gets Jaguars players – and the franchise – moving in a singular direction, the team will have a chance to improve. (And if he and the Jaguars get quarterback right; because it really always is quarterbacking in the NFL).
Bill from Jacksonville, FL
I guess the Los Angeles Rams were absent the day the league went over the "draft-picks-are-gold" portion of Winning in the NFL 101. The next time they have a first-round pick will be 2024, and they haven't had one since 2016. Has it worked for them so far, and do you think this approach will work long term, John?
The Rams indeed have taken the unusual approach of trading their first-round selections, ramping up that approach in recent seasons by sending two first-round selections to the Jaguars for cornerback Jalen Ramsey (2020 and 2021) and two more to the Detroit Lions for quarterback Matt Stafford (2021 and 2022). The approach in one sense has worked. They have been in the postseason three of the last four seasons, making the Super Bowl following the 2018 season. The trades make sense for the Rams in one sense because they believe they will be selecting late in Round 1 most seasons, so the selections aren't as valuable as if they were a perennial loser. The Stafford trade also made sense because they feel they're a quarterback and a couple of pieces from the Super Bowl. Over the course of the next four or five seasons, logic says they will run into some cap issues and be an older roster than is ideal. But if they win the Super Bowl, it will have worked. If not …
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Do you remember that time when the Jags lost 15 games in a row?
Jared from O-Town
Hey John-O! In your response regarding the recent Stafford-Goff trade you mentioned that the draft picks were to compensate for Goff's incredibly high contract. Do you think this could affect future contract negotiations and contract structuring? The Lions can void the last two years after the 2022 season with zero dead cap. I'm no front-office pro here, but doesn't this look like the Rams are having to overcompensate after being a team willing to overpay a player, which in turn only contributes to raising the going rate for other players?
I think you're asking if the Rams overpaying quarterback Jared Goff could push other quarterback contracts and salaries higher. But quarterback salaries and contracts trend constantly higher every year. That's the case and would have continued to be the case with or without the Rams overpaying Goff.
Reuben from Pikesville
The "my-way-or-the-highway" way of management is obsolete. The studio in my company was managed by notoriously unpleasant people (in fact, that was a characteristic of the entire corporation's management). Those managers were released a few years ago because their style no longer contributed to successful collaboration. Talent with options chose to work elsewhere. I think the same could be said for former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. Former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been a good citizen with the Rams; he has not been anything other than a good team player. So, I have to disagree with your take.
Coughlin clearly handled some things incorrectly during his final stint with the Jaguars, and the team had no choice but to part ways with him at the end of 2019. My memory serves me well enough to remember that. But my memory also serves me well enough to remember Ramsey's on- and off-field behavior at the end of his time with the Jaguars. Was Coughlin's style outdated? Perhaps. Did that justify Ramsey's behavior? Perhaps your take is different than mine on that one.
Peter from Orange Park, FL
How much different do you expect the Jaguars' roster to look in 2021?
Significantly. Roster turnover is the NFL norm for all teams in all seasons. When you go 1-15, have 11 draft selections and hire a new head coach, it's even more the norm.
Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA
Hi Johnny-O. In his five-year career, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has had one double-digit-sack season. He's coming off two successive eight-sack seasons and averages barely nine sacks a year. Reports were he turned down a $19 million contract offer from the Jags after 2018. Unless his production magically doubles, he's going to have a lot of trouble getting another offer like that. He definitely won't get one this offseason, which realistically means he'll never see one, considering how infrequent massive third contracts are. That whole episode disappoints me.
The Jaguars tried to pay Ngakoue very well. He wanted to get paid better than that. He so far has not gotten paid what he wants. I hope for his sake he gets it. It's fair to wonder if that will happen.
Logan from Wichita, KS
The 25th overall pick feels like a crap shoot. What kind of return could we get in a trade for it? Is it possible a QB on someone's board drops and the value of the 25th jumps and we could get multiple picks and a 1 in 2022?
Most draft selections are a crapshoot. That's particularly true once you get past No. 20 overall or so. It's always possible that a quarterback could drop. Realistically, though, a quarterback slipping unexpectedly from the Top 10 would be selected somewhere in the teens – and therefore far before No. 25.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
You think you're pretty smart don't you. You've got all the answers, right?
I don't know.
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL
You say Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has spent money on the stadium when he wasn't obligated to do so. In Head Coach Urban Meyer's first day on the job, he mentioned that a lot of the facilities need to be upgraded. Spending money on the stadium and facilities is part of being the owner. Khan is obligated to spend on these facilities. According to Meyer, he hasn't been spending enough, your rose-colored opinions don't seem to mesh with the facts.
Khan absolutely is not obligated to spend money on TIAA Bank Field. It's a publicly owned stadium and he easily could have left things largely as they were when he purchased the team. Could he have spent more? Of course. You can always spend more. And I expect he will. And when/if he does, he will be doing something he is not obligated to do. If your opinion is that he should spend more, that's fine. And you're entitled to that opinion. But that does not mean he was obligated to do so.
Lombo from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Please comment on positives/negatives re hypothetical Deshaun Watson/Trevor Lawrence trade. Thanks.
You're referencing the rumors about the Jaguars potentially trading the No. 1 overall selection (Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, hypothetically) to the Houston Texans for quarterback Deshaun Watson. The positives for the Jaguars would be getting an experienced quarterback who has proven he can play at a high level in the NFL. As good as Lawrence eventually could be, he never has played in the NFL; as such, he is an unknown quantity. The negative for the Jaguars in obtaining Watson would be they would take on his contract and salary-cap hit, which would be substantially more – and therefore, more cumbersome – than it would be for Lawrence's rookie contract. The negative also is that you're passing on a chance at a potential franchise-defining player.
Shad from Lahore, Pakistan
John, you will write for the Jaguars... or you will write for no one.