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O-Zone: Stability test

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, is there a specific timeframe in which the Jaguars need to cut players who they wish to depart the team?

Not really, though it’s usually done in the few weeks/days leading to free agency in March. Teams often release players before that date so they have a chance to be on the open market when most teams are pursuing players – the best time for free agents to procure deals. Something to remember: If a player’s contract is expiring and he is scheduled to become a free agent, that happens at the start of the league year – March 13 this offseason. The team doesn’t have to release a player in that situation; they just become free. If a player is under contract for 2019 – as would be the case with players such as defensive tackle Malik Jackson, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, right tackle Jermey Parnell, defensive end Calais Campbell, etc. – then a team must release the player to part ways. That can be done any time after the season.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

So, the culture change is going to come from the people that established the culture that needs changing?

That’s the challenge, yes.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

This is the most apathetic I’ve ever been with the Jags. Maybe rebuild after rebuild after rebuild has finally taken its toll. And what is with all the angst toward T.J. Yeldon? All he did was step up very reliably as the #2 RB. He brought production to the offense time and time again. Am I wrong? Did I miss something?

Your feelings are understandable. Losing stinks, and no one expected the Jaguars and their fans to have to endure 5-11 this season. As for Yeldon … yes, he played fine this season. I got the feeling in the final weeks – particularly after being de-activated for Week 16 – that he knew he wasn’t returning next season, and that for that reason he had little desire to play in Week 17. That’s not the most admirable reaction in the world – and his behavior Sunday wasn’t great – but it’s not the worst thing a player ever has done, either.

George from Jacksonville

The offensive line was a patchwork this season. I know we need help at the skill positions (quarterback, running back, receiver), but where are our needs for big guys next year?

The offensive line indeed was a patchwork this season, with four starting left tackles and three starting right tackles. The line as of Sunday was down to one Week 1 starter: right guard A.J. Cann. A possible positive: left tackle Cam Robinson (knee), left guard Andrew Norwell (ankle) and center Brandon Linder (knee) are under contract and should return next season. I expect right guard A.J. Cann will sign elsewhere next season, and that he will be a coveted player for another franchise in unrestricted free agency. The major unknown could be right tackle. Many assume the Jaguars will move on from Jermey Parnell. I wonder about that more and more as the season continues. His $6 million cap hit doesn’t preclude his return, so this will be one to watch in the offseason.

Craig from PVB

No one would have predicted the Jaguars being a whisker away from the Superbowl in 2017 and no one would have predicted the results of 2018. This is why we watch and enjoy being one of the few markets that has an NFL team. What will happen in 2019 no one knows, but I'll still be rooting for the Jags as I did until the end.

DTWD

Jordan from Jacksonville

Injuries are a reality, but they are a distraction from the reality that this team's offensive philosophy/acquisitions were inherently flawed. My fear is the injuries were so bad it allows decision makers to write off this season as bad luck. I believe this team wasn't making the playoffs even with a healthy offense this year.

Your premise is boldly stated, but the “reality” of the Jaguars’ offense realistically lies somewhere between being inherently flawed and wracked by injuries. This offense wasn’t perfect this season, but the reality remains the offense wasn’t perfect last season. But it was good enough to rank fifth in the NFL in points scored and sixth in total yards. The offense was having a similar season this season before Week 5, when left tackle Josh Wells, running back Corey Grant and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkin were injured and placed on injured reserve. The continued absence of running back Leonard Fournette for another few weeks and of wide receiver Marqise Lee for the entire season conspired to take the offense from Top 10 to bottom five. The offense wasn’t elite before the injuries, but the it was good enough to help a Top 10 defense contend. Still, your implication that the Jaguars’ decision-makers will stand pat because of the injuries is inherently incorrect. The Jaguars worked last offseason to improve the offense. That work will continue this offseason – and was going to continue whatever the results of this past season. I believe those efforts this offseason will include a change at quarterback. We’ll see.

Richard from Lincoln, Rhode Island

I was so happy when the Jags beat the Patriots in September and even happier to see it live. Since then, everyone up here keeps reminding me that that was the Jags’ Super Bowl this year. Sad to admit it, but they're right! Have a great New Year John.

OK.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I just took a looksy at the Jaguars' 2011 and 2012 drafts. Yikes. If anyone needs to be reminded of how far the roster has come, take a look at those drafts. Seems like picking names out of a hat would have produced at least the same results, but maybe better. I don't think the last few have been nearly as bad because there is legit all-pro talent here now, but looking back at some of the last few like 2015, I feel a little uneasy.

The Jaguars are unlikely to have any players from the 2015 draft class on the roster next season except perhaps tight end Ben Koyack. That does create a gap in development. The 2014 and 2016 class are far better, and more than make up for the lack of players remaining from the 2015 class.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL

The league's top six paid quarterbacks aren't in the playoffs?

Correct.

Ben from Memphis, TN

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes to let Blake Bortles go and try to sign Teddy Bridgewater or Nick Foles to a high-priced, one-year, prove-it deal if they will take it. If they play well, you can re-sign them; if not, you can let them walk and have no dead money on the quarterback position after the 2019 season. You can then look to draft a quarterback in the likely deeper 2020 draft class. That would allow the Jags to focus the 2019 draft on offensive line, tight end, wide receiver and running back and would likely make them more competitive in 2019 anyway compared to relying on a rookie quarterback. It might be hard for Head Coach Doug Marrone and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin to bank their potential last year on a rookie quarterback. Thoughts?

The Jaguars never have expressed much interest in Bridgewater, so something would have to change pretty drastically to have that happen. As far as signing Foles to a one-year, prove-it-deal … sure. I have no idea why he would agree to such a thing, but sure.

Justin from Duval

John, this offseason couldn’t come fast enough. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and let Tom do his thing. I’ve been a fan since the team’s inception, so I’ve witnessed all the ups and downs of our beloved Jaguars over the years. Almost all of our ups happened while Tom Coughlin was in control of this team. Everyone should take a chill pill and let him do his thing. I don’t think any team could have been successful with the amount of injuries to key positions that we had. We were 3-1 before everything started to take a turn for the worst. I fully support Shad’s decision to keep stability, and I will always be grateful that Tom came back home! DTWD

Hey … one fer Tom!

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Seeing teams that change head coaches and general managers seemingly every other year, I appreciate an owner that will stick to his convictions even when he knows it won't be popular among the fans. Sometimes good coaches have a bad year, and sometimes the same front office that misses on a Luke Joeckel hits on a Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue, Dede Westbrook, etc. Perhaps this team still would not have made the playoffs, but I can't help but think we would be at least three games better if not for all the injuries. In Shad We Trust. #DTWD

And one fer stability!

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