O-Zone: Still here

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Christian from Orlando, FL:
I am very happy with Tom and the attitude and direction he brings. I think Doug Marrone will have a much better handle on head-coaching duties than Gus did, at the very least. However, I can't stand how little due diligence seems to have been done. An outside firm was hired and a handful of coaches were interviewed, but the man in charge wasn't there for anything. He simply gave two names and said pick one? Anything that was done without Coughlin in the room was a waste of time and effort, in my opinion. How can Khan be so sure that this was the right direction for the franchise?
John: Your concern is understandable, but things in this case aren't as they seem for a couple of reasons. First, the Jaguars interviewed five head-coaching candidates; that's a standard, reasonable number. Also, your question implies that Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin had little knowledge about Marrone. Coughlin is legendarily diligent in preparation and had an entire offseason and season off this past year, during which he worked to stay close to the game and gather information on coaches, players, etc. If Coughlin offered Marrone as one of the two candidates who was right for the job, it's safe to say he didn't do so without careful consideration and research.
Matt from Orange Park, FL:
Hard to starboard! Ship righted. Titanic just got upgraded to a Win Craft. You heard it here first: Jags win Super Bowl LIV in Miami!
John: How many consecutive titles will that make?
Glen from Riverside:
I hear people saying Tom Coughlin is taking a big part of David Caldwell's job. I tend to think Caldwell will continue in the same position and responsibilities, while Coughlin steps in and does more of Shad Khan's job. What is your feel for this?
John: Coughlin's duties as executive vice president of football operations will resemble those of Jaguars general manager David Caldwell far more than those of owner Shad Khan. Coughlin and Caldwell both primarily will deal with football operations – and Coughlin and Caldwell both will be heavily involved with shaping the direction of the team and building the roster. Khan certainly has interest in those areas, but he doesn't delve into the details on a daily basis.
Austin from Orlando, FL:
What a difference a couple of years make. I remember when everybody said Wayne would sell the team to someone that would move it to L.A. Instead, both St. Louis and San Diego lost their teams while Wayne sold it to a guy committed to keeping it in Jacksonville. Can we get a one fer Khan and a one fer the Weavers?
John: One fer Khan. One fer the Weavers. #DTWD
Jeremy from Dodge City, KS:
O, if I could make a quick statement to all the fans out there: Tom Coughlin believes in Blake Bortles. It's time to stop doubting Bortles and get behind – and believe in – him as our quarterback!!! I'm thinking at least playoffs ... at least!
John: Coughlin has been in his position for less than a week, and he pretty much started in the building on a full-time basis Friday. Coughlin and Marrone on Thursday both said Bortles is the quarterback. They will dive deep, deep into personnel and roster evaluation in the coming months, and they will certainly look at every position on the Jaguars – and all players available in free agency and the draft. That includes quarterback. What direction the Jaguars go at all of those positions remains to be seen. I don't think there's any question Bortles will have a chance to be the Jaguars' starting quarterback next season. I think there's a good chance he will be the starting quarterback. But to say it's a guarantee he's the Week 1 starter? No. Not yet.
Kyan from Le Mars:
Ben Roethlisberger in his third season had fewer yards, fewer touchdowns and more interceptions than Blake Bortles in his third season. I know you can't assume that Blake will be as successful as Big Ben, but hopefully Doug can put him in a better situation and he can be a franchise quarterback. He is young; he just needs to grow. As Aaron Rodgers would say R-E-L-A-X.
John: I suspect Bortles will have every chance to be the Jaguars' starting quarterback next season.
Pradeep from Bangalore, India:
Hi John, with increased criticism on Blake Bortles by fans and media, I still believe he for sure will be the improved quarterback the Jaguars are hoping for. He has always displayed great leadership qualities when we lost so many games. Plus, he is always humble and willing to learn. We just need to be patient for one more year.
John: I imagine we'll see improvement from Bortles because I believe he is aware what he needs to do to improve in the offseason – and I believe he feels an urgency to do so. I believe he worked last offseason, but now realizes that the work needs to involve basics and fundamentals with his personal quarterbacks coaches in California. He has shown the benefits of offseason work before. We'll see if he can make similar strides this offseason.
Scot from Aurora, IL:
If the OTTO position is to go away, would it make sense to move Poz to the strong-side linebacker position to make room for my guy, Myles Jack, at the middle-linebacker position? I only ask because his ceiling is supposedly absurd in its height.
John: I wouldn't rule it out.
John from Cape May, NJ:
I mentioned this idea a few months ago during the darkest moments of the season, and with the recent news of Chargers moving to L.A. – combined with the fact that Shad Khan wants to win now – and throw in the fact that Philip Rivers has publicly stated he does not want to play in LA – could the Jags pull the trigger on a deal? Considering Rivers had a down season, where I believe he led the league in picks, he would be a prime buy-low candidate. If all it took was a second-round pick, and perhaps a later-round pick in the 2018 draft, I think that's a deal you make. The time to win is now, and Rivers would give us a much better chance than Blake ever will.
John: It's fine for Rivers to not want to play in Los Angeles. And it's true he didn't have his best season this past season. I like Rivers as a quarterback very much and I think he would improve most teams' quarterback situations, including the Jaguars. But as tempting as it may be for fans to think of trading for Rivers … well, considering he's still an elite quarterback – and considering how tough it is to find elite quarterbacks – I'll believe the Chargers are trading Rivers when I see it.
Hugo from Albuquerque, NM:
John, now that the new regime has officially said the word "winning" what can be done if this team still doesn't win after having said that magic word?
John: Panic, chaos … you know, the normal responses.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
In my estimation, Doug Marrone and Mike Smith were the best candidates for the Jags' head-coaching job, so I was pleased with the Marrone hiring. I am even more pleased as I have seen the hirings made by other teams ... a lot of young, inexperienced coaches (in terms of head coaching). I am also surprised Smith didn't land one of those jobs and chose to extend with the Bucs. Do you think that was his choice, or do you think teams weren't as interested in him as previously thought? I assumed he would be one of the first coaches to be hired.
John: I thought Marrone and Smith felt very similar in several ways, with the most important way being that both had proven they knew how to win in the NFL. Marrone's record wasn't as impressive as Smith's, but he had a winning record in his second and final season, so the grade was "incomplete" and certainly not failure. There are a limited number of head-coaching jobs open in every offseason and more candidates than can be hired. That means some qualified candidates aren't going to get jobs. I figure Smith will get a head-coaching job next offseason. We'll see.
Michael from Middleburg, FL:
Coughlin is not a god, a genie or even a miracle worker. Let's wait until he does something to improve the Jags before anyone appoints him one.
John: Fair point.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
What is the minimum number of times that Coughlin/Caldwell/Marrone must say "winning" in order for the Jags to have a winning season? There has to be some research on this.
John: I have some calls out on this. I'll report back when I hear more.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
I don't think this new structure will work. I think Tom still wants to coach. He went out in New York kicking and screaming and Dave has been reduced to a high-paid scout.
John: Ladies and gentlemen … Jerell!!

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