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O-Zone: Sudden insight

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Steve from AB

Little John, just watched the coaches presser, twice. Call me Pollyanna, but man … what breath of fresh air!

I won't call you Pollyanna, though I might call you late for dinner – and you're right: Listening to Jaguars coaches Friday in a press availability to introduce offensive coordinator Press Taylor and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell was refreshing. It's fair to remember there usually is enthusiasm during introductory press conferences – and goodness knows, Jaguars followers/fans have been given more than their share of January/February enthusiasm that turned out to be false/disappointing over the last decade. But Friday marked the second time we've heard from Doug Pederson as the Jaguars' head coach and each time has been encouraging because of his straightforward/bluster-less approach. He doesn't come across as full of arrogance or believing he invented something about football no one else is smart enough to have considered yet. Neither Taylor nor Caldwell gave that vibe, either, but it's Pederson's approach that is most encouraging. Will it necessarily mean success for this franchise in the coming seasons? No. Does he seem like someone who can lead professional football players? Absolutely, and that will give him a chance. And it's indeed refreshing.

Travis from High Springs

I understand why the NFL has certain rules, such as the Rooney rule. But why does Jaguars Owner Shad Kahn have to request permission from the league to hire an EVP? Seems like if he owns the team he shouldn't have to ask permission to change the way it's managed, as long as he's following the specified rules when hiring for the position. Just curious as to why the NFL has to give permission for that position to be put in place?

The NFL doesn't have to grant permission for a team to hire an executive vice president and a team needn't request permission to do so. But because it's a position for which teams must adhere to the Rooney Rule, a team must notify the league it is being created and then it must adhere to the rule.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

I know it probably doesn't matter now, but what grade would you give GM Caldwell? I feel like he did a great job at drafting talented players and even getting free agents ... the keeping of them is a little harder to gauge. Was that his fault? Or Tom Coughlin/Doug Marrone?

I'm not big into grades. I thought former Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell erred at the beginning of his tenure by cutting the roster too close to the bone – i.e., parting ways with too many still-capable veterans – in 2013 and 2014, then trusting that drafted players would develop without veterans around them to assist that process. That caused the beginning of the Caldwell/Head Coach Gus Bradley era to be mired in double-digit losing seasons – and that's a hard hole for a franchise to escape. I do believe Caldwell is unfairly criticized for the Jaguars' roster moves from 2017-2019, a time during which then-executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin – not Caldwell – had roster control. The main mistake Caldwell made in retrospect was selecting quarterback Blake Bortles No. 3 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Had the Jaguars had a franchise quarterback during Caldwell's tenure, many other roster-building errors wouldn't have been so damaging. It's impossible to give Caldwell a great grade because the franchise had just one winning season during his time here. As for fault, and not keeping free agents … so much went wrong on that front with cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue that it's hard to "blame" just one person.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

John, I didn't want to see a team mortgage off draft picks to earn a championship. Hope that doesn't become the new trend because I want to see teams earn it through the draft first and free agency second. And I'm aware that the two most important players on the Rams were homegrown.

I sort of agree, though I expect the Los Angeles Rams' success pushes some teams in the trade-for-broke direction. It worked for the Rams. We'll see how it goes for teams that follow.

Brent from Athens, GA

O, I believe we will see improvement in the Jags record when they start winning road games on a regular basis. Your thoughts?

I'll go ever further down that path because I'm pretty sure we will see improvement in the Jags' record when they start winning games on a regular basis.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

No-one is untradeable. However, Josh Allen is to me. To get you interested, what would you have to hear as a GM?

Top 10 selections.

Ovidio from Southbridge

Why not sign left tackle Cam Robinson back? Move Walker Little to right tackle. Move right tackle Jawaan Taylor to left guard. Keep center Brandon Linder and right guard Bartch where they are and boom … an offensive line. I could be a GM. Then we could grab a pass rusher opposite Josh Allen. We all know how great teams usually have a good quarterback and a good pass rush. That's how you win championships. Then every other draft pick we select wide receiver. What do you think? And tell Shad I'm available.

This is a plausible scenario for the Jaguars' offseason. It would mean moving pieces of the old offensive line and moving forward with old pieces in new places. That's a solution if you believe tweaking the offensive line is the right plan. There are those who believe an overhaul is needed to the tune of drafting a left tackle, signing a free agent – and perhaps signing another free agent. In that scenario, perhaps only Bartch would return in his current position. There are many scenarios possible with pretty much every position debatable – and some sort of interchangeable. I expect Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke are giving this manner serious thought, and I expect it's high on the offseason to-do list. I also expect it to be a major topic when the pair speak at the 2022 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in early March. Click on that.

Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, you're telling me that in addition to Coach Pederson's experience, that the Jaguars' coaching staff has 161 combined years of NFL coaching experience? As well as 80 combined years of experience playing in the NFL? Where do I sign up?! LET'S GO JAGUARS!!!!.

Nathan is "all in …"

Matty from st augustine fl

Our staff selection by Pederson looks gratifying on paper, for sure. I hope it translates to the field. West coast offense plus some aggressive defensive schemes seem likely. I'm on board and ready to get to it!! Also looks like a heavy dose of offensive ideas from some great offensive minds to help quarterback Trevor Lawrence get rolling quick. Solid start to an offseason with not much to cheer for. Dilly Dilly. Here's to changing and growing as a team!

… as is Matty.

David from Chuluota, FL

KOAF: In 2018, Pederson wrote a book, entitled "Fearless." In that book, he was making a point about playing to win when he criticized the Jaguars' play-calling in their 2017 AFC Championship Game. Specifically, Pederson said he was watching as the Jaguars took a knee at the end of the first half against the New England Patriots, and decided then and there he wouldn't follow that path. "I was there thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me right now.' It made me mad because Jacksonville had New England right where they wanted them. I was screaming at the TV in my office. When they knelt right before halftime, inside I was like, 'I'll never do that.' It fueled me. They could have least tried for a field goal. They took it out of their quarterback's hands, and they didn't give to their big back Leonard Fournette. I thought, 'If they lose this game, this is why.' Sure enough they would go on to lose the game." So, this passage suggests, when protecting a lead, Pederson would avoid playing it safe (playing not to lose) and remain aggressive (play to win). In other words, Pederson would have trusted Blake Bortles to win the game, not protected him from losing it. Thoughts? Also, do you know how much time was on the clock when the Jags took the knee before half?

Fifty-five seconds remained in the first half and the Jaguars had possession at their 25 after a New England touchdown when they took a knee. I wonder if Pederson's approach might have been different had he known the details of the Jaguars' offensive personnel, but there's no doubt Pederson has an aggressive mindset. I suspect he will build the Jaguars' offense and entire team into a more aggressive approach.

Andrew from Mattoon, IL

I have insightful thoughts about the team, and clever retorts to comments. Mostly with movie and pop culture references.

You're hired.