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O-Zone: So lucky

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

KC from South Florida

As someone who doesn't really follow college football, can you please explain the appeal of hiring someone like Urban Meyer? Also, what are the concerns about him that has some people turned off?

We'll start here in what is essentially the first O-Zone of the 2021 offseason because where else is there to start? Urban Meyer reportedly is a leading candidate to replace Doug Marrone, who as of Monday is no longer the Jaguars' head coach after four seasons in the role. Many legitimate outlets are reporting Meyer as a strong possibility for the position, so there's no reason to think that's not the case. What is the appeal of Meyer? That's easy: He has been wildly and consistently successful throughout his coaching career, having won two national titles at the University of Florida (2006, 2008) and another at Ohio State (2014). He is the biggest name and by far the biggest "rock star" hire in this coaching cycle – and because of the Jaguars' holding the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, this is a very enticing position capable of luring a high-profile candidate. It is in that sense a chance to change the profile and trajectory of the franchise, perhaps the best chance for that to happen in a long time. What are the concerns? His past, mostly. He left Florida and Ohio State for health reasons, and there was off-field controversy during his tenure at Ohio State. There's also the concern that Meyer never has coached at the professional level. That's a legitimate concern, though not one that necessarily makes Meyer a bad hire. Bottom line: There is risk to a potential Meyer hire. It is not a guaranteed home run. But it absolutely has potential to be a franchise-changing hire – and to therefore be a grand slam. And remember, there is no such thing in NFL coaching than a risk-free hire. All NFL head-coaching hires are boom or bust. Period.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

If this franchise is stupid enough to hire Urban Cut-Bait-and-Run Meyer, then they are definitely stupid enough to draft someone not named Trevor Lawrence.

Wow. Someone's got opinions – and that's great because everyone's entitled to them. I'm not a Florida fan, so I don't share your resentment toward Meyer. I do know Meyer coached Florida to two national titles in six seasons and he coached Ohio State to a national title in seven-season tenure. Six- and seven-year tenures aren't incredibly long stints, but a lot of NFL head-coaching tenures are a lot shorter. If Meyer wins a Super Bowl and stays "just" six or seven seasons … well, that might be construed as a decent little run. Maybe?

_Fred from Naples, FL     _

Hey, Zone … I think we all know that Florida tight end Kyle Pitts will be long gone before we choose our second selection of the first round. In your opinion, what would it take for the Jags to move up from, let's say 22, to No. 7 to select Pitts?

Too much.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

Do you really think Urban Meyer is a good pick considering his health issues? If college games could cause that kind of stress/fatigue I can only imagine what the pro game would do to him????

The theory regarding Meyer is he hates losing enough that it causes him undue stress, and that that has negatively impacted his health. If that theory is true, then yes … it's a concern. It's extremely unlikely that the Jaguars would go 13-3 or 14-2 in Meyer's first season – and it's possible he could be successful and never lose fewer than three or four games. Even the most successful NFL coaches have multiple seasons of five and six losses. Can he handle that? It seems logical to assume that that will be a major part of Meyer's decision – if he indeed is the leading candidate for the position.

Steve from Sunroom Couch

Dear John, did your seat feel a bit warm Monday?

No. Why would it? I'm awesome.

Nelson from Los Angeles, California

Justin Fields played lights out in a record-breaking Sugar Bowl performance against Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers. If Fields turns in another great performance against Alabama, does he then become part of the No. pick conversation?

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields will be part of the conversation about the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, particularly if he has a good game against Alabama. I don't expect him to be the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Mac from Jacksonville Beach, FL

How to I put this delicately ... Urban Meyer has been universally loathed in North Florida for quite some time now. Florida fans still hate him with a fiery passion. Is this just another example of a billionaire being totally out of touch with his fan base? Hire Eric Bieniemy.

So, one not fer Urban, evidently …

Diego from South of tierra del fuego.

Is it not the right time for "Urban Renewal - Chapter 2" in Jax? Let Urban Meyer pick his general manager. Jags desperately need a winner to lead them. Diego is all in for his hire.

… and one fer Urban.

Ivan from Jacksonville

Mr. Khan, please choose for Tony Dungy as our new head coach. I'm certain he will keep our new quarterback, build the team around him, bring the fans to the stadium and have a winning season!

Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts from 2002-2008, a time during which I was the team's senior writer. He told me numerous times during his time there that that would be his last coaching job. I have joked with him at times since that I was waiting to see him return to coaching, telling him there was no way he could really stay out of it. But it's only a joke. He won't coach again. The profession is worse for it, but that's his decision.

Steve from Nashville, TN

What is the deadline for players to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft?

January 18.

Cory from North Bay

Just to give us some hope for the future, I wish Khan would do the unprecedented thing and announce that the first pick in the draft will be Lawrence – once he officially declares. This way, we don't need to worry and we can have a good four-to-five months.

I get the instinct here, but that's unlikely – and probably not all that wise. Whoever is making decisions around the Jaguars moving forward likely will want to do their due diligence and study the quarterbacks available to be sure that Lawrence is the correct choice with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. My guess – and the guess of most people – is that Lawrence eventually will be the correct choice, but doing due diligence isn't only OK. It's the responsible thing.           

Andrew from Charlottetown

Hey O, despite the calls for Doug Marrone's job at every turn, he was a consummate professional during his four-plus years in Duval. I believe he will find a coordinator job for next season but for now I hope he is enjoying a bologna sandwich. He has earned it.

Indeed. Marrone was put in a lot of difficult positions in recent seasons. He absolutely handled them with class and always kept his situation in perspective. Credit to him.

Reuben from Pikesville MD

Let's be clear: 1-15 is the third worst season in NFL history. That goes beyond blaming getting the salary cap in order or poor options at quarterback. Marrone says he is a good football coach; the record says otherwise. He could have had Aaron Rodgers and lost 14 games. Who keeps rolling out a quarterback who hasn't won in three years?

Someone without a better option.

Jim from Neptune Beach, FL

As much as I see the big move getting Lawrence in the draft, with the salary cap likely moving down next year, and the Jags having the most cap space, it seems to me that it will be a great year for us. Remember how the team improved when we picked up Calais Campbell? I have to believe there will be more of those type of free agents available this coming this year, difference making free agents. Is it too early to look at the availability lists?

No. I haven't looked extensively yet. I've been covering the 2020 season. The season is over now. The future is what matters and now those discussions will begin.

James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

O-man, Friday's Clemson game almost looked like he was already playing with the Jags. No offensive line. Receivers that couldn't get open – and a defense that couldn't stop a cold. Welcome to Jacksonville, kid.

Clever.

Skeeter from Hogtown

If Urban comes do you think he'll bring Tebow?

No, but clever. There's a lot of clever in the inbox these days. Lucky me.

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