JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Stu from Vancouver, British Columbia
Coordinators/coaches, as you say, are only as good as the players available to them. However, coordinators/coaches must have an impact, even through their man management, their schemes and their coaching. The best manage to push their teams ahead of their talent level, even by a small amount that may not be noticeable to the average fan. Do you think Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash has that ability to do that? Is this for instance, the 32ndbest defense in terms of talent, but he has managed to push it to the 28thfor example? When we had a Top 5 defense, was his impact moving it from, say, a Top 10 defense, into that greater sphere?
I suppose I'm not smart enough to break down the degrees and rankings in as much detail as your question demands. I think Wash is a fine coordinator. He knows football. When he had good players, his defenses were good. When he had great players, his defenses were great. When the Jaguars' talent has been largely young and inexperienced, his defenses haven't been as good. When NFL teams have players who can stop the run, then rush the quarterback and cover, defenses tend to be good. When they don't, they struggle. I've never said Wash is among the NFL's top all-time coordinators. I don't know where he ranks among the game's current coordinators. I do know the Jaguars are thin at defensive tackle and are struggling to pressure the quarterback – and that their secondary is painfully young. I don't believe Wash is what ails the defense. I also believe Wash is blamed way too much by fans for talent shortcomings beyond his control. I'm in the minority in that thinking. That's OK. Popularity is overrated.
Sean from Jacksonville
What team will get Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook and what will we get in return? To be a healthy scratch this long should tell you something other than it being COVID-19-related.
Westbrook being a healthy scratch in four of five games so far this season isn't COVID-19-related, and it does tell you something. It tells you the Jaguars believe he is their sixth-best option at wide receiver behind DJ Chark Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Keelan Cole, Chris Conley and Collin Johnson. I suppose there's a chance the Jaguars could trade Westbrook before the NFL's November 3 trade deadline. I haven't the foggiest idea who might be interested in trading for him. What could the Jaguars get? A sixth- or seventh-round selection … somewhere in that range.
Trevor from Jacksonville
Do you see Dede Westbrook playing on game day any time soon?
Not unless one of the receivers who have been active in most games this season is injured. This is not a conspiracy against Westbrook. It's a case of the Jaguars having a lot of good receivers.
John from Jagtown
Zone, I'm all in: 3-4 at the bye, followed by a happy inbox for two weeks. I'm buying!
John is "all in."
Ryhan from Solihill, UK
If the draft goes New York Jets/New York Giants at picks No. 1 and No. 2 and the Jags are at No. 3, do you think Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence gets picked up by the Jets or Giants after they got their first-round quarterbacks in the last two seasons or so? If one did pick Trevor, would it be worthwhile the Jaguars trading, say, a fourth-round pick for Sam Darnold/Daniel Jones instead of drafting a different quarterback in this draft?
This answer will come with the caveat that much likely will change on this front before the 2021 NFL Draft. The NFL changes dramatically each week and it will change often in the final three months of the season. But IF the Giants or Jets are selecting No. 1 – and if Lawrence indeed is the best quarterback prospect – I would expect the Giants or Jets to select him. I would expect any team with the No. 1 selection to select the best quarterback in this year's draft, particularly considering Lawrence's once-in-a-generation reputation. I don't know what the Jaguars would do at No. 3 because there's much unknown about the quarterback prospects beyond Lawrence. Give this one some time, Ryhan. More than six months remain before the draft. We'll have time to discuss.
Don from Marshall, NC
There is lots of talent on this team. They have good coaches. They have young legs. Maybe, just maybe, they turn it around. They have showed they can play at a high level. They have the whole world telling them that they have no chance. When things are going bad, that's when the players need the most support. Never over till it's over and Go Jaguars!
Don remains "all in."
Nick from Palatka, FL
Zone, I really think the Jags are going to win Sunday ... Why???
Because Nick remains, "All in."
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, I guess I'm in the minority that doesn't want everyone fired just yet given the youth on our team and expectation that it will take time for them to develop and make us competitive. If it were up to you, what would you need to see in order to make a coaching/GM change?
A lack of potential from the young players and a lack of evidence that things are moving in the right direction.
Ray from Alexandria, VA
With the salary cap expected to decrease by about $25 million next season, are the Jaguars in a perfect position to sign some quality free agents during the offseason? My guess would be that some teams are going to have to cut a high-caliber player or two because of the unforeseen drop in revenue. Combined with our load of draft picks, and if we can hit a home run with a few of them, that should put us in a sweet spot for at least the next few years.
The NFL's salary cap indeed is expected to drop enough that many teams will have to adjust by releasing a few more veteran players. I don't expect the market to be flooded with core/franchise players, but will there be a few more players who can make a real impact – as opposed to overrated "fringe" players? Yes, there will be more of those. And yes … the Jaguars' cap situation should benefit them.
Mike from BillMurrayHill
Hi, John, Let's just say hypothesize that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan fires Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell at the end of the season. Who then does he turn and lean on for solid information on their replacements? I know it's a long way off, please, just humor me.
This is a fair question. It's very likely that Shad and Tony Khan have short lists of general-manager and head-coaching candidates at the ready at all times, just as I'm sure Shad Khan has short lists for potential replacements at key positions in any business he operates. The Khans have been in the NFL nearly a decade and are far more knowledgeable about potential candidates than they were, say, nine offseasons ago. They would rely on that experience and their knowledge of league circles to start the process, then rely on the interview process after that.
Marcus from Jacksonville
By saying that Tom Coughlin was a scapegoat in the NFLPA-versus-Jaguars debacle, I wasn't saying he was innocent. Instead, I was using your logic, which you so regularly and sarcastically use to educate us lowly fans. It's never one thing or one person in the NFL. It's not coaching. It's not the front office. It's not the players. All aspects play a part in the team's success, so blame can't be assigned to one person. To say that Tom Coughlin was the only one to blame in that situation is to go against everything you've ever said in regards to how the NFL works. In this case, however, you have taken the side of the team in thinking that all those failures were magically sent packing in Coughlin's suitcase. So, in a very real way, a problem was solved by firing someone, but I guess it only works when that person is already fired by the team. If they are still employed, they're not fair game yet.
I'm sorry you feel lowly, Marcus – and if reading the O-Zone has educated you on the NFL, let me take this time to offer an un-sarcastic, "You're very welcome." And you're right that it's usually not one thing or one person in the NFL, and many aspects typically play into a team's success or failure. But in the case of the NFLPA "debacle" in which the Jaguars were accused of excessive finings and punishment of players, is it fair to assume that the person in charge of final football decisions was responsible for said punishments and said run-ins with the NFLPA? Yeah … in this specific case, that's hardly a reach.
Stuart from Smally, OH
O-Zone, You are a great writer, you're funny damnit and people love you!
You got the wrong guy.