O-Zone: Stay tuned

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tony from Lilburn

Okay, now that I've vented loudly and profanely after hearing that Tom and Dave will be back, is there something you can offer to engender some optimism that the front office will be able to pick wisely in the upcoming draft given its subpar draft record in the Caldwell era?

This probably will be a topic for the foreseeable future – understandably so considering the Jaguars’ first-round selections the past six seasons. First-round selections are the most-scrutinized; selections such as defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., quarterback Blake Bortles, left tackle Luke Joeckel and running back Leonard Fournette have left Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell less-than-beloved by many Jaguars observers. And it was the retention of Caldwell that seemed to draw the most ire among a section of fans when Owner Shad Khan on Sunday announced that Caldwell, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone all will return for 2019. We’ll dig deep into the reasons for Khan’s decision in coming days, but he clearly believed circumstances beyond the trio’s control caused much of the issues this season. And he clearly believed the trio that got the Jaguars to within minutes of the Super Bowl following the 2017 season can get this team back to the postseason. Such a decision isn’t going to be popular following a 5-11 season, but Khan’s belief is stability and the group’s ability was more important than making a popular selection. As for your question of whether I can offer something to engender optimism that the Jaguars/Caldwell/Coughlin will make a good decision … I can’t. The only things that will change that perception are time and better performances from early selections. And winning, of course. That cures all.

Morgan from Mandarin

This is the first time I have disagreed with and been incredibly disappointed by a Shad Khan decision.

Fair.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

It felt watching Sunday’s game like I was watching a boxing match and someone needed to throw in the towel for the offensive line.

Fair.

Blake from Minot, ND

Oofda

No doubt.

Bill from Springfield, VA

Zone, season finally over. Looking forward to draft. My concern is our lack of depth across the board as well as offensive line, quarterback and lack of a No. 1 receiver. What did I miss? Happy New Year to you; may 2019 be a winning season.

Depth is a rare thing in the NFL. The Jaguars’ honestly had as much as most teams defensively, and injuries early on burned through whatever depth there was defensively. It’s realistically going to take time for the Jaguars to have a “No. 1 receiver.” I doubt they select the position in the first round and you usually don’t find turn-key No. 1 receivers in free agency or the later rounds of the draft. As far as quarterback, that’s the top priority. Obviously.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Truly grateful that I don't have to watch this offensive football team anymore.

Fair.

More interested than the Jags

Are we required to pay them? Sure looked like more than a few mailed this game in … with exception of the defensive line and the punter, most everyone else sure looked the part. Does Carlos Hyde know he is supposed to run North/South? New nickname is sideways!

Fair.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

Wow. I honestly don't know how to feel after Sunday’s game, or even after the season for that matter. And I know you won't be any help as you're not into telling others how to feel. Oh, well. It's over. We went 5-11 and the offense was in shambles for the last half of the season or so. I guess it's time to move onto the offseason toward the new year. Sometimes it's just time (to move over on).

You don’t need me to tell you how to feel. You’re already feeling it. You’re tired, disappointed, confused, angry, mad, disgusted, disbelieving … I know this because the people around this team have been feeling it for the last couple of months. You don’t need me to tell you what to do next, either. Be disappointed. Let the season fade into the review a bit. Sometimes, it’s indeed time to move on. Now’s that time.

Paul from Gainesville, FL

It was an ugly tree anyway.

At least it’s out of its misery.

Austin from Jacksonville

What happened to the discipline? I had a bad feeling after the Vikings preseason game with Yannick pelvic thrusting after a sack in a preseason game...

Discipline turned out to be a major issue this season, and the culture of the locker room was a major topic in the waning weeks of the regular season. Notably, it was enough of an issue Sunday to compete with the return of Coughlin/Marrone/Caldwell as the most significant story of the day. Running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon spent the game on the bench, notably disinterested in the game and rarely leaving the bench – even when the Jaguars were on offense. Fournette was deactivated for the game and Yeldon – while dressed – was clearly was going to be used only in an emergency. This behavior, though ill-advised for a player about to become an unrestricted free agent, was at least partly understandable for Yeldon; he clearly realizes he’s not returning to Jacksonville and therefore had little interest in the game. Whatever. Fournette’s behavior was infinitely more disturbing and damning. This is a player with two years remaining on his contract who has had off-field and availability issues throughout his two seasons in Jacksonville. He has yet to show he is an elite player and has yet to live up to his status as the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. For him to show a lack of interest in the team shows a lack of maturity that won’t endear him to the Jaguars – or any other organization, for that matter. It’s hard to imagine a general manager/head coach researching Fournette or watching Sunday’s game and wanting him on their team. Marrone on Sunday was asked about the culture of the team. He said he wasn’t aware enough of Yeldon’s actions to comment, but he was clear that the culture of the team needs to change – and it’s clear that will be a major priority moving forward.

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

On a scale of 1-10, 1 meaning he's gone and 10 meaning he's here, what is your opinion on Leonard Fournette?

Three.

Dustin from Orlando, FL

Coughlin blasted Fournette and Yeldon for not being more engaged and enthusiastic on the sideline. Seriously!?!? I haven’t been enthusiastic about this team in months. Maybe they, and the fans, would be more engaged if Coughlin has put a product worth watching on the field. Does he really expect them to be excited for this offense?

I can understand you not being engaged. It’s up to the team to win and keep fans engaged. But to defend the behavior of Fournette and Yeldon Sunday is a bit silly – no matter how angry or disengaged you may be.

Scott from Wichita, KS

The Yeldon thing has caught me by surprise. What was up with that?

It’s tricky interpreting Yeldon’s actions because he doesn’t speak much to the media, but it appeared Yeldon knew he wasn’t going to play Sunday – meaning he was dressed only in case the Jaguars needed him in an emergency. He behaved as such. It wasn’t a great look, but it wasn’t remotely as big of an issue as Fournette.

Jordan from Jacksonville

Yeldon deserved so much better than that. He deserved snaps and he deserved not to be called out by Tom Coughlin on the way out. He worked his butt off this season. So, guess what Tom, the fans are disappointed you assembled such a horrible offense.

Your disappointment and anger toward the Jaguars’ offense is fair, but your question implies that Yeldon wanted snaps or had any desire to be anywhere around the Jaguars on Sunday. I would be shocked if that is the case.

Mike

I've been a fan since the first game. I spend lots of money at games and on merchandise. Doug is supposedly a disciplined coach. We led everyone in personal fouls. The front office who assembled this offense is supposed to fix it in one off season. I feel like next season is already wasted. To say the least, I'm not happy with Shad, Dave, or Doug. Confidence is down in Tom. This was the absolute worst season I can remember. And regardless of what Shad says, apparently he is OK with the status quo. This organization is really pushing it with its fans. This is not a good time to be a Jags fan.

Khan is well aware that fans won’t be pleased with Sunday’s decision. His job is not to worry about the immediate reaction of fans. His job is to worry about what’s best for the long-term interest of the franchise. When a team finishes 5-11 and fails to meet enormous expectations, the reaction to keeping leadership in place won’t be all smiles. Only time and the Jaguars’ future performances will make the smiles of Jaguars fans return. Stay tuned.

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