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O-Zone: So deserving

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Why get rid of the offensive coordinator, but not the defensive coordinator?

This is sure to be a hot O-Zone topic for a few days, perhaps longer. The Jaguars on Monday parted ways with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, and the fact they did not do the same with defensive coordinator Todd Wash has many fans upset. I expect Head Coach Doug Marrone to speak about this relatively soon, and I anticipate his comments will provide at least a little perspective. Decisions like this are rarely about one thing, and they don't always come down to offensive or defensive rankings or points for or against. Head coaches see how the coordinators run meetings, and how they interact with staff and players – and they also have an intimate understanding of what coordinators are working with in terms of personnel. I imagine when Marrone speaks of this, he'll speak of some philosophical differences with DeFilippo – and the thought that after a season he saw a need for a different direction. I don't know that he will get much deeper, because it's not Marrone's style to discuss such things in detail publicly. As for why he opted to keep Wash, I doubt Marrone seriously considered any alternative. He has respected Wash since arriving with the Jaguars in 2015 – when Wash was defensive line coach and Marrone was offensive line coach. I get the idea Marrone saw Wash coach perfectly well from 2016-2018 when the Jaguars' defense had players playing at a high level and that Marrone didn't think the players were at remotely that level in 2019. Fans won't like that reasoning, of course, because it's always coaching in the NFL when teams struggle. Always.

Sean from Jacksonville

I see letting DeFilippo go bye-bye as a possible move to get a new offensive coordinator who can work more with Gardner Minshew II over Nick Foles. In any case, what type of offensive coordinator do you think they are looking for? A more-balanced kind of guy versus the run heavy, pass later coordinator?

I would think they would look for balance, and perhaps someone more experienced than DeFilippo. And while I think Minshew will enter the offseason as a starter, I don't think it's correct to link DeFilippo's departure with the quarterback situation.

Cliff from Orange Park, FL

Do you think there might have been a difference of opinion on quarterback between the offensive coordinator and head coach?

Not of great significance.

Chris from Jacksonville

Are the Jags actively trolling their fans at this point? First, they don't fire General Manager David Caldwell and now DeFilippo is fired instead of Wash. Makes no sense and leaves little hope or enthusiasm for the 2020 season.

I understand people's dissatisfaction with Caldwell; the Jaguars' record during his tenure hasn't inspired confidence. I understand far less people's dissatisfaction with Wash, who has a strong record as a coordinator in four seasons. But I don't expect fans to understand everything. Either way, Marrone wasn't "trolling" anyone with this decision. He's just trying to put together the best staff possible.

Mark from Archer, FL

Zone, I do not get it. So Marrone lets DeFilippo go. But so far he is keeping Wash? Of the two I would have kept DeFilippo and given him another season to show what he can do. Wash is a coach that it is just time to move on from.

Marrone does not agree with your premise.

J from Orange Park, FL

DeFilippo was brought in around the time Foles was signed assuming their familiarity with each other would yield great results, but that didn't happen. Now DeFilippo is gone. Does that mean Foles will be, too, if there's some other team willing to take him?

I think the Jaguars will try to trade Foles. I don't necessarily think DeFilippo's departure makes that any more likely.

Terry from Jacksonville

John, when are we getting a DC?

The Jaguars have a defensive coordinator.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Coaches and GM in a lame duck year. Free agents told to avoid the Jags by the NFLPA. Coaches leaving as quick as they can. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan does not know how to run a football team and it shows. An 8-8 record is the ceiling next year. I'm sick of being an NFL laughingstock.

Marrone and Caldwell have two years remaining on their contracts. The NFL Players Association warned players about the Jaguars when Tom Coughlin was the Executive Vice President of Football Operations, and he's not in that position anymore. Coaches change teams in the NFL all the time. The Jaguars are sick of losing, too.

Adam from St. Johns, FL

Has our general manager done a good enough job to deserve more time?

Apparently.

Chris from Outer Space, TX

How many players on the Rams do you want on the Jaguars?

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is really good. Can the Jaguars get the Rams to give him to them?

Rob from Orange Park, FL

What does "mutually agreed to part ways" mean in the NFL in regards to DeFilippo? Apparently, it is different than "fired," "accepted another position," or "retired."

It's a nice way of wording the situation. DeFilippo didn't accept another position and he didn't retire.

Stephen from Wallingford, CT

I just want to cite what was said about Myles Jack in his scouting profile where they have him pegged as a perennial Pro Bowler: 'I wouldn't get cute with him. I would stick him at WILL and just let him be a free running chaser. He has the speed to get to everything and his cover talent will set him apart." Seeing him a season removed from WILL and the disaster at MIKE. Maybe his draft profile was dead accurate. Do you see him making the return to OLB? Would like to see him and 2020 draft prospect Simmons on SAM and WILL.

Jack never has played weak-side linebacker in the NFL, and his two seasons at middle linebacker have not been a disaster. He played OK at the spot in 2018, and a lot of his issue in 2019 was trying to compensate for youth and inexperience around him – and struggling defensive-tackle play in front him. Still, I do believe the Jaguars will move him to the weak side next season and I believe he will benefit from the move.

Mark from Jacksonville

So, is there a difference in a coach being fired and mutually agreeing to part ways? I'm just trying to figure out if that was just a nice way of saying he was canned, or if there actually is a difference contractually speaking.

No, there's not an actual difference.

Al from Fruit Cove, FL

Hi, Zone. I wonder if there are any rules that would apply in a situation like this: The Jags want to keep a player like defensive end Calais Campbell, but he wants $20 million, which the Jags can't make work under the salary cap. So they sign him to a $10 million deal, and make an arrangement with a sponsor or two to sign Calais as a spokesman. The sponsors pay him $10 million, and the Jags give the sponsors seats, advertising, and other consideration worth that same $10 million (or more). Anything wrong with that?

There's a lot wrong with it. It's circumvention of the salary cap and it's not worth the risk to try to get away with it.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

John, this first round wide-receiver talk makes me nervous. The Green Bay Packers haven't drafted a wide receiver or tight end in the first round since ... 2002. The Kansas City Chiefs? 2012. San Francisco 49ers? Also 2012. The only team in the final four this year that has a wide receiver or tight end that they drafted in the first round on their roster is the Tennessee Titans, ironically, as they are clearly a run-first team. The 49ers are probably the best team in football and have drafted lineman with six of their last seven first-round picks. Offensive line, defensive line, quarterback and perhaps cornerback are the only position groups that should be drafted in the first round, barring a generational talent elsewhere.

Fair.

Bryce from Waterloo IA

Some fans forget that a cornerback can be a huge factor in stopping the run. The Jaguars didn't start giving up roughly 200 rush yards a week for several weeks solely because of the loss defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. Jalen Ramsey didn't just lock down wide receivers, he was also a great open-field tackler. I like the idea of a linebacker/defensive tackle at No. 9 and a cornerback at No. 20. Thoughts?

I like the idea of the Jaguars drafting defensive interior and offensive line early, and I think former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is a great lockdown corner. I just hope his back allows him to have an extended career in the NFL. He deserves all the success that comes his way.

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