JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, is the Lot J failure the beginning of the end of the Jaguars in Jacksonville?
You're referencing the Lot J proposal, which – as most readers know by now – the City Council voted down Tuesday night; it received 12 of 19 votes, one short of passing. As I wrote Wednesday, the decision disappointed Jaguars leadership; Lot J represented a vision to revitalize the area around TIAA Bank Field and therefore was considered key to the franchise's long-term financial stability. Is the failure the beginning of the end of the Jaguars in Jacksonville? The team's leadership clearly isn't thinking that way. President Mark Lamping said immediately following the vote that three things must happen for the franchise to be stable – and therefore to be in Jacksonville – for the long term. One is winning. Another is solving the stadium issue, which means figuring how to get a renovation/new stadium accomplished. The third is revitalizing downtown Jacksonville. The Jaguars absolutely consider the third part key to the equation. They now will focus on other ways to make the third part happen, but something has to get done in that area – and the reality will remain that that solution has to involve public/private partnership. It simply must.
Donny from Lake Mary, FL, Section 35, Day 2
The national and local media pretty much all say the Jaguars' head-coaching job is Urban Meyer's "if he wants it —" giving the perception Meyer is calling all the shots and that the team is practically begging him to take it on. Based on Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's recent comments that the head coach and general manager will both report directly to him and not to each other to ensure complete transparency between the three of them, and that Mr. Khan will have final authority on important personnel decisions, I don't buy that perception about Meyer getting the job. If he wants total control of the roster with the general manager reporting to him, then I don't think he gets the job. I think the delay in announcing him being hired is as much about him accepting Khan's terms as him deciding if he wants to coach in the NFL – and specifically the Jags. I think Khan learned a lesson from hiring former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and giving him total control with no voice heard from the head coach and general manager. What are your thoughts?
I think most speculation about discussions between Khan and Meyer are mostly that – speculation. Observers and fans wondering about the "holdup" in the process mostly do so because we – media, observers, etc. – are spending hours thinking about this and glued to Twitter. We therefore get anxious and feel as if the process is taking forever. The college football season just ended Monday. Meyer was working for FOX Sports until that point. That means as of this morning (Thursday), he has had two full days to focus on the issue. Also: Khan reportedly interviewed five candidates last week, a process that ended Sunday. He has had three full days to consider all candidates. So far, none of this seems like a matter of either side dragging their feet. These things take time. As for the specifics of your question, I would expect Meyer to have pretty much close to full control of football operations if he accepts the position, though Khan certainly would have final say. I would expect Meyer to work with the GM, but that the relationship between the two would be such that there was little significant disagreement on key matters.
Sprinkle from Duval
Hey, Zone. Be honest with us. Does Lot J falling through jeopardize the Jaguars' presence in Jacksonville in any immediate way, shape or form? I know I'm not the only one upset by the outcome.
In any immediate way? No. The Jaguars are not looking for a new city. But at some point there must major stadium renovations/new stadium, and at some point there must be development in downtown Jacksonville that improves the Jaguars' local-revenue equation. The size of the market requires outside-the-box thinking on that front. Lot J was to be a significant move in that area. The need for such a move doesn't change just because of Tuesday's vote.
Jordan from Mandarin
Who is going to tell Trevor that Lot J isn't happening, you or Shadrick?
Morgan from Jacksonville
This feels like the beginning of the end. Honestly, why would Shad stay in a city that won't invest in the team and has zero imagination of what could be?
Tuesday's vote was disappointing. It's not the beginning of the end. That would be inaccurate.
Larry from Duncan, OK
Great and Powerful O, The death of Lot J should be the handwriting on the wall for Shad Khan to relocate out of TIAA Bank Field. There is plenty of land available to build a new stadium and entertainment area. New England has done it and Dallas has done it. Nashville has transformed itself with development. Khan needs to be in the driver's seat instead of relying on a bunch of politicians. Could you imagine if Jacksonville played a game inside Daytona Motor Speedway? Or is it London or bust?
Khan wants the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Specifically, he wants the Jaguars in a thriving downtown Jacksonville. If that weren't the case, why in the world would the Jaguars invest the time and money they have invested in downtown projects – and projects in and around TIAA Bank Field?
John from Jacksonville
I've always understood why the Jaguars have to play two games in England. Daily's Place was a small step in the right direction. Jacksonville's prime waterfront property is a grassy field next to the school-board building, the old Landing location is a grassy field, the old Shipyards site is a grassy field with toxic waste buried under it, there is a police station and jail across the street from Berkman Plaza that looks like an episode from "Life After People" and now Lot J is destined to be another grassy field. If I understand it correctly, there are 31 other owners deciding whether the Jaguars lease will be renewed. If we can't support a forward-thinking project like Lot J done what will happen with the stadium?
Keith from Palatka, FL
I was disappointed in the Lot J Development vote. In your opinion, do you think this was a mistake by the City Council?
I can't speak for City Council members because I frankly haven't dug nearly deep enough into the financials to know. I can only assume that all City Council members had done due diligence and honestly voted their conscience on what's best for the city. I personally very much wanted the deal to go through because I live downtown and work for the Jaguars. I also believe that developing the area around TIAA Bank Field would be good for the city of Jacksonville and therefore good for the long-term stability of the Jaguars. Having lived in Jacksonville for two decades before the Jaguars, I can't imagine thinking that the city doesn't benefit by the Jaguars being stable here. But again … I'm biased.
Mark from Richmond, VA
I'm really disappointed by the Lot J decision. I don't pay taxes down there so my disappointment doesn't mean much. I really do want to see development around the stadium because it's the only way the team stays in Jacksonville. It's the big leagues and it has to get done! Will the Shipyards be just as good as far as location? I only get down for a game or two a year so I'm not that familiar with the location of the shipyards. Also, is it a situation where Mr Khan says "Ok, St. Louis tax payers will have no problem paying for NFL football."
Khan has no intention of moving the Jaguars to St. Louis. Khan wants to make the NFL in Jacksonville – and specifically, downtown Jacksonville – work. The Shipyards, if done correctly, certainly would be good for downtown and good for the Jaguars in terms of local revenue.
_Matt from Fort Worth, TX _
Why would Khan NOT hire Louis Riddick as GM as opposed to say Trent Baalke?
There could be any number of reasons. Perhaps he sees Baalke as a better fit with a head coach. Perhaps he likes Baalke's experience in the front office and running a team. Perhaps he had a better feel for Baalke in the interview process. I have no idea the specifics, but those would be legitimate reasons.
Roy from Ridgewood
John, is John Dorsey a candidate for the Jaguars' position of General Manager?
John Dorsey is not among the candidates who reportedly have interviewed for the Jaguars' general-manager position.
KC from South Florida
How much longer will Shad Khan wait if he is indeed waiting on Urban Meyer to make a decision? If Meyer hasn't made up his mind by this weekend, Shad has to move on to the next guy, right?