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O-Zone: Spin cycle

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jessie from Kissimmee, FL

John, any idea why the team is hiring position coaches without an offensive coordinator? Seems backwards and unattractive to a new OC that wants their own staff.

You’re referring to the Jaguars reportedly hiring Terry Robiskie as running backs coach and George Warhop as offensive line coach despite reportedly not yet hiring an offensive coordinator. The Jaguars did this because a coaching staff is the head coach’s staff, not the coordinator’s staff. Are there situations in which a coordinator has say over position coaches? Yes, but it is not the only way – or even the best way. There admittedly is a perception these days that coordinators must run their own staffs. I suppose this perception has arisen from the recent trend of coordinators as rock stars, which I suppose arose from the over-analysis and heightened importance placed on All Things Coaching. Coordinators matter, but a head coach is perfectly capable of hiring a position coach and hiring a coordinator to work with that position coach – and many head coaches prefer to do so.

Bill from Jacksonville

Terry Robiskie as the new running backs coach? The Jaguars hired a life coach from the neighborhood for Leonard Fournette instead of a position coach. This team makes some strange ... truly strange decisions. Thanks. Go Jaguars ... I guess.

Robiskie has coached in the NFL 37 seasons, and twice has served as an interim head coach. He knows the NFL and is respected. He has coached wide receivers more than running backs, but he has been an offensive coordinator and a running backs coach, too. Is it a bit strange? I suppose. Is there any reason Robiskie shouldn’t be fine as running backs coach? Nah.

Paul from Orange Park, FL

Mike McCoy? Seriously?

The Jaguars reportedly are interviewing former San Diego Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy for offensive coordinator. This has drawn the ire of Jaguars fans because McCoy was dismissed as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos the past two seasons. It’s admittedly not the best aesthetic look. But remember: The Cardinals and Broncos the past two seasons weren’t flush with offensive talent, and being fired doesn’t make you a bad coordinator or coach. All three reported candidates for the coordinator position – John DeFilippo, Darrell Bevel and McCoy – have been fired. That doesn’t make them outliers among NFL coordinators; it makes them the norm.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Why are the jags interviewing McCoy? Did they not see the cards offense last year? Did they not see his as a HC with chargers? Come on jags if you know better you should at least try to do better! Jags gone Jags

Ladies and gentlemen … Jerell!

Marc from the Southside

On a scale of one to ten, how odd is it for the Jags to be filling position coaching roles prior to finding (and ostensibly consulting) an offensive coordinator? Do you get any sense that Head Coach Doug Marrone is not the man at the forefront of the selection process on these hires?

Not odd at all. Not at all.

Jon from Brentwood, UK

O-Zone, looks like others in the league disagree with the Jags’ leadership's views on Nate Hackett. Gonna be tough for him going from trying to concoct some form of successful offense using to Blake and the rest of the Jags’ O to being able to scheme around an elite quarterback! Do you expect to see Hackett getting plaudits at the end of next season for taking the Packers O all the way to the big one?

Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett indeed was hired to the same position by the Green Bay Packers despite being fired by the Jaguars last season. If the Packers’ offense succeeds next season, Hackett will receive plaudits. If it struggles, he will get criticized – and perhaps even fired. Then he most likely will coach somewhere else and someone else will coach the Packers’ offense. The same is true of whoever replaces Hackett as offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. It’s true of every other coach in the NFL. And while I liked Hackett, keeping him was no more a cure all than hiring any of the coordinators the Jaguars have considered will be a cure all. All seem capable. If they coach healthy, good players with good quarterback and offensive line play, they will have a good chance to succeed. If they don’t, they won’t. Let the game of musical chairs begin. Cue the music, Mr. Dee Jay.

Aaron from Riverside

So ... what’s on tap? It seems like this year will be sort of a wait-and-see-type of year? Cheers.

The NFL is a sport as opposed to scripted television. As such, all seasons are pretty much “wait-and-see” seasons.

Robert from Oneonta, NY

I like your analogy of musical chairs, apropos! Just remember sometimes there are not enough seats to go around. Here is my question: What can or should the Jacksonville Jaguars take away from this season’s playoffs?

That it’s better to be playing in them than watching.

David from Broward County

O-Man, I totally understand the logic of going into the 2018 season with Blake Bortles as our quarterback. What I can't understand and can't let go of is the colossally horrible decision to extend Bortles with guaranteed money for 2019. The Jags had picked up the 2018 fifth-year option, so they had him under contract. Let him prove that 2017 wasn’t a fluke. I bring this up cause now that Bortles flopped and failed in 2018, with Jags moving on from him, this dead-money cap hit really screws the Jags and seriously hampers what they can do in free agency. I basically see no consequences for the decision-makers on this move that not only looks bad now in hindsight but looked bad and totally unnecessary then. Help us understand.

There isn’t all that much to understand. The Jaguars entering 2018 believed that Bortles was the right fit for the right price for what they wanted to do offensively for the foreseeable future – i.e.., for a couple of seasons. They signed him to what essentially was a two-year contract that was very reasonable for NFL starting quarterbacks in a second contract. They didn’t believe they would release him after the 2018 season. As it turned out, they were wrong. As far as “consequences” for the decision-makers … well, the Jaguars didn’t part ways with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin or General Manager David Caldwell, so no … I suppose there weren’t. What other consequences were we seeking? Waterboarding? Verbal humiliation? There are only so many options.

Ken from Jacksonville

Why is it that the Jags are always one step behind the rest of the league?

They’re not.

Dave from the Office

Do you ever get tired of lying to the fans in the name of towing the company line?

That indeed would be tiring. Fortunately, the team doesn’t expect that, and I have no motivation to do it. It’s therefore not much of a concern.

Tom from Charleston, SC

Now that the Jaguars have been ignored by Gary Kubiak, it has brought up another question for the "O spin cycle.” Maybe if the Khan family wasn't so interested in real estate development (downtown Jax), wrestling, owning stadiums and soccer teams in England; they might find it easier to devote the efforts necessary to putting a viable product on the field. Over the last six years under Mr. Khan's ownership, the Jaguars have amassed an enviable record of 32-67. Yet Mr. Khan and Mr. Lamping have continued to try to sell the idea that sustainability is the only way to exist. Anyone that has ever run a business knows that if you don't present a quality product that you are doomed to fail. The fact that the team is now considering as offensive coordinator a coach that has been so successful that he has been unable to complete a season in his last two positions shows that the one thing that is sustainable about this franchise is it's mediocrity. Now John, how do you spin those facts.

You write boldly, and that’s admirable. What’s less admirable is your knowledge of what NFL owners (Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, in this case) and presidents (Jaguars President Mark Lamping, in this case) do. It’s OK that you don’t understand; this is why I’m here. NFL owners and presidents run the business side of the operations, which Khan and Lamping do well. They then hire football people to run the football operations. It’s absolutely correct to believe that the Jaguars overall haven’t been good enough on the field in Khan’s ownership. But it’s absolutely incorrect to believe that their other interests are the reasons for the that lack of success. Is that spinning? Perhaps. Is it the truth? Definitely. Either way, maybe you should hang out with Dave from the Office. He likes wasting time by reading things that annoy him, too.

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