Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Still the way

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JaguarsFan1995 from Jacksonville

John. Thanks for all your good work. I've been a fan since the very beginning, and still proudly own and wear my Mark Brunell jersey. All I want is a team led by a competent and respectable person, and Trent Baalke's reputation around the league and his record indicate he is neither. I said a few months ago that if Baalke stayed, I would go. With the word that Owner Shad Khan is "delaying" hiring of an EVP and keeping Baalke, I am gone. I wish you and the fans the best, but I doubt the best is what you will receive.

I have little to add and certainly don't take such sentiments lightly – and I did receive multiple emails along these lines following Khan's announcement Tuesday that he is pausing his search for an executive vice president of football operations. You certainly are entitled to your opinion and have the right to follow or not follow any team you choose. And I do understand some fans' feeling toward and perception of General Manager Trent Baalke based on what has been reported and tweeted in recent months. I don't know Baalke well enough to have much of an opinion of him personally. I will reiterate here what I have written multiple times in recent months – that I like a lot of what he has told me and others about his football philosophy. I also have no reason to think he will be a bad general manager, and it's difficult to get a real feel for his tenure as the Jaguars' general manager because of the presence in 2021 of then-Head Coach Urban Meyer. As far as the Jaguars being led by a "competent and respectable person," my sense is very much that this will be Head Coach Doug Pederson's team moving forward. Khan has talked a lot for the last year about wanting a Coach-centric organization, and that's the feeling right now. It's not my place to beg you not to go. I don't have that kind of power. I do get a good vibe from Peterson about the direction of the franchise, though. Hopefully you'll feel it and return.

Bill from Jacksonville

So now the Jaguars aren't hiring an EVP? It's rare that Shad Khan speaks as it is, and I've reached the point where I believe very little that's coming out of his mouth. What a joke.

Multiple emails have interpreted Khan's decision to not hire an EVP as a lie, and that's fine: People interpret how they interpret them. Khan, though, absolutely intended to hire an EVP, and said as much shortly after hiring Pederson. After seeing Pederson work – and his effect on the culture of the organization – he said Tuesday he had decided to not hire one immediately. Believe that or not. It's up to you.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Putting a hold on hiring an EVP tells me the chemistry between the general manager and head coach is good and they are in agreement about which players to re-sign and draft. That's a good thing in my opinion.

Pederson and Baalke both talked Tuesday at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine about the positive collaboration and communication between them. I didn't expect them to say there wasn't positive collaboration and communication, but the chemistry seemed legitimately positive. That's sure not a bad thing.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-Man, do you think that maybe – just maybe – that everyone with a Twitter account posting about Khan changing his mind on the EVP just might not know more than our owner? I personally see Khan changing his mind given Pederson's work thus far as a good sign, not a bad one.

That's a legitimate way to see it, if not a particularly popular one.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

I am not shocked that we didn't hire an EVP. Khan is full of it.

Hey, one not fer not hiring an EVP …

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

We all knew Shad was lying about the EVP. The worst owner in football keeps his hot streak going.

… and another not fer.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. I'm glad Shatley re-signed with the Jags. He's a top-notch reserve and a seamless insertion into the starting lineup. We never notice him. Seems like a good guy. Happy for him, the team and Jags fans.

The Jaguars indeed re-signed veteran center Tyler Shatley Monday, again extending the contract for one of the team's more reliable and underrated players in recent memory. NFL teams need players such as Shatley because he's a versatile and reliable reserve who can play multiple positions without an overwhelming amount of drop-off in performance. If you don't have such players, particularly along the offensive line, you either must pay veteran free agents from other systems or risk having your depth consist mostly of rookies and inexperience. Neither is ideal.

Micah from Chicago, IL

How significant is it that Tyler Shatley was re-signed before any of the other pending offensive linemen?

For Shatley? Very significant because it means he knows his future for the next two seasons or so. For the Jaguars, relatively significant because it means they addressed an important issue – interior offensive line depth. For those trying to project what else the Jaguars will do on the offensive line this offseason? I'm not sure it's significant at all because I don't sense Shatley's re-signing is about him playing guard or starting at center; his re-signing was making sure you had a reliable backup who could play the positions when necessary.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, I know you're a reporter. You report the news; you don't make the news. Does it just plain chap your behind that after spending weeks answering fan questions and saying that just because there haven't been any reports regarding the EVP hire doesn't mean it's not happening; and after weeks of saying you expected an imminent announcement of the identity of the new EVP, the team yanks the rug out and says they're not hiring an EVP? And now you'll be forced to put the best face on what can really only be seen as dishonesty from the ownership to slow the social media clown show that was getting national attention. This is embarrassing for everyone. And I know, I know, "if the Jaguars start winning blah blah blah…"

This unexpected and unwanted interest in my behind, though flattering and understandable, is unnecessary. My behind is just fine. Actually, it's "awesome." Ask anyone.

Jonathan from Jax

Great re-signing of Shatley. Good core player that provides quality depth, maybe more at multiple positions and will probably be the starting center after cap casualty Linder.

There's no guarantee center Brandon Linder will be a salary-cap casualty this offseason. And I would be surprised if that's the case. Not that I haven't been surprised before. It probably has happened. Memory fails.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Hope the Jaguars paid Shatley every shekel he could get. He is always there and often excels at it. Thanks Tyler!

Hey, one fer Shatley (and fer shekels) …

Kinzie from Asheville, NC

I just noticed that the Las Vegas Raiders are considered a home game, yet that is being played in Canton. Combined with our home game in London, we are now left with yet another year of seven home games at the Bank. I wonder how fans feel about having a Hall of Fame game now? Sorry if I let the cat out of the bag, the boo birds will surely come calling.

I don't know if any cats are in or out of bags, and I'm not completely sure I understand the point of your email. I do know that the Jaguars' Hall of Fame against the Raiders has no bearing on the number of regular-season games the Jaguars will play in Jacksonville in 2022. That's because the Hall of Fame Game is a preseason game. It also is an extra game added to the preseason schedule. The London home game does reduce the number of regular-season home games in Jacksonville for 2021 from eight to seven. That part was accurate.

Bill from Jacksonville, FL

John, after watching Trevor Lawrence's rookie season up close, do you feel any differently about the caliber of NFL player he'll ultimately become?

No. I thought entering the 2021 season Lawrence had the physical skills and the mental makeup needed to be an elite NFL quarterback. I still believe the same. That doesn't mean Lawrence necessarily will attain that status, but his rookie season in no way changed me thinking it's possible.

Paul from Lake City, FL

Pederson seems like he's going to be a major upgrade at coach, but I'm still concerned about Baalke's track record and reputation. No EVP for the foreseeable future does not have me feeling any better. I really hope I'm wrong, but after living through Khan's tenure as owner up to now, I'm not optimistic.

It's up to the Jaguars to earn your optimism. That's it. They must win.