JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL
John: It may be a little early, but can you give us your opinion on how well the 2021 rookies played and what will be their role moving forward? I'm especially interested in what you think of Little and Cisco.
The Jaguars' 2021 rookie class: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence (Round 1), running back Travis Etienne Jr. (Round 1), cornerback Tyson Campbell (Round 2), offensive tackle Walker Little (Round 2), safety Andre Cisco (Round 3), defensive tackle Jay Tufele (Round 4), defensive end/linebacker Jordan Smith (Round 4), tight end Luke Farrell (Round 5) and wide receiver Jalen Camp (Round 6). Lawrence struggled as a rookie at times, but will be the franchise quarterback moving forward; he also continues to represent the best hope for the franchise's future. Etienne didn't play because of a Lisfranc injury. Campbell struggled early in the season, but played at an increasingly high level after that and should start moving forward. Little and Cisco played sparingly, but played well enough while starting late in the season that there's a good chance they will start next season. Tufele and Farrell played sparingly, and I would expect them to be rotational players next season. Smith played in the final two games of the season and played just 21 snaps. Camp was released before the season.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
What do they do about running back next season? I felt like James Robinson was one of the better backs in the league. However, I think it would be a risk going into next season assuming that both Robinson and Travis Etienne will be 100 percent recovered from their injuries. Or has sports medicine come so far that it isn't as much of a concern as it would have been 10-15 years ago?
I would expect the Jaguars – i.e., whoever is making the football decisions – to address running back either in the 2022 NFL Draft or in free agency. Robinson will be returning from an Achilles injury sustained in December. Etienne will be returning from the Lisfranc injury sustained in August. There's a chance one or both will be 100 percent entering the 2022 regular season. But the reality is both players sustained serious injuries – with both injuries particularly concerning for running backs. The hope is both will be 100 percent again – perhaps next season. But it will be difficult to enter the '22 season assuming that will be the case.
_Brian from Gainesville, FL _
Big, O, in considering your recent answer about the "good" chance former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I find myself frustrated that the Jaguars got a severely underperforming outside linebacker who likely won't sign a second contract and a running back who suffered an injury that may forever impact his ability to play football. That trade stunk. I guess the team had no other choice besides maybe trying to keep their player happy in the first place.
I guess. Or the Jaguars could have simply told Ramsey in 2019, "You'll play here or you'll play nowhere." That was an option. They opted to trade him.
Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico
If Byron Leftwich wasn't a great offensive coordinator, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Tom Brady - being a 20-year veteran of the NFL and the undisputed quarterback GOAT - would probably have realized this and Leftwich wouldn't be the Buccaneers' offensive coordinator. Instead, Brady endorses him by all accounts. I personally would love Byron to take the reins here as the Jaguars' head coach. I remember him as an example of having an amazing football intellect and incredible toughness unfortunately paired with limited abilities and his weird release. As a coach, he wouldn't need those physical traits, just the good stuff which he clearly still possesses and has developed even further. Can I get a 'one fer Byron'?
I have no idea if Leftwich is a great, good or horrible offensive coordinator. I assume he's at least decent for the reasons you cite. I do know that him being a good, great or horrible coordinator has little to do with whether he will succeed as a head coach. Either way, sure … one fer Leftwich.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Two questions: Do you think Byron Leftwich would be a good coach and No. 2 why?
I have no reason to believe he wouldn't be a good head coach because he appears to possess strong leadership and communication ability. Those traits matter for an NFL head coach far more than anything to do with Xs and Os.
Bill from Jacksonville, FL
John, when will Jaguars fans hear from Shad Khan? The season ended more than a week ago, and you'd think the team doesn't even have an owner. Shad hasn't even released the standard statement saying, "We're disappointed with the season, we'll be better, we're getting right to work blah, blah, blah." Nothing. This is odd.
Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is searching for a head coach and trying to determine how football decisions will be made moving forward. I expect he will speak publicly when that process is finished.
Ryan from Fremont, OH
Since it's obviously always coaching in the NFL (sarcasm), the general-manager position must not be all that important. If it were, though, shouldn't more emphasis be put on making sure we have the right person making the call on the future of the Jaguars? At least maybe have some interviews in order to feel confident we have the best possible option out there.
Trent Baalke is the Jaguars' general manager. If that remains the case moving forward – and there's no indication from the Jaguars that that won't be the case – it's safe to assume believes he's "the right person making the call on the future of the Jaguars." I don't expect Khan to interview "potential" general managers while the Jaguars have a general manager.
Matt from Houston, TX
Do you think Calais would be down to come back to Jacksonville? He was so disruptive for us when he was here. On defense and special teams.
Former Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell has played the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He was a great player for three seasons with the Jaguars – one of the most impactful players in franchise history. But he's 35 and nearing the end of his career. He's not the same player he was when he was here from 2017-2019 – and if he continues playing, I expect he will do so with a franchise perceived to be closer to contending for a Super Bowl.
Ryan from DUUUVAL
File this one in the "hopeful" column. From 1989 through 2000, the New England Patriots finished fourth or fifth in their division nine times. Then they got the right quarterback and the right head coach and proceeded to win their division *18 TIMES* in the next two decades. Let's assume we already have the right quarterback; we just have to pick the right coach and this past terrible decade can all just become a distant dream! DUUUUUUVAL!!!!
Bless you, Ryan.
Al from Orange Park, FL
In the crapshoot that is the NFL Draft, I don't really see where sixth- and seventh-round picks have a whole lot of value. Every year, there are a whole lot of undrafted free agents that make teams and contribute and a whole lot of sixth- and seventh-round picks that don't. Or, am I way off base here??
Sixth- and seventh-round selections have value; it's minimal compared to early-round selections. A primary value of sixth- and seventh-round selections is teams don't have to fight other teams for those players in undrafted free agency. Just how valuable are they? Each selection gives you a chance of hitting on a player, so they're certainly valuable in that sense. If you don't select good players, they're worthless. Like any draft selection, I suppose.
Matty from St. Augustine, FL
I see some of the sarcastic snark in many of your comments that many will miss. I am loving it! Your passiveness to be polite and try to help people understand from as insider and informed point of view has its limits. I for one appreciate the POV you share, while others call it not true because they don't know better. People need to appreciate a page where they can vent and still have their questions answered. YAY One for KOAF!
David from Middleburg, FL
Could Jags hire Leftwich and Todd Bowles as DC
Bowles is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Joining the Jaguars as a defensive coordinator would be a lateral move. Not only do the Buccaneers not have to allow this, I'm not sure why such a move would be attractive to Bowles.
Jonathan from Mechanicsville
I mostly disagree regarding potential coaches telling the owner just what he wants to hear. These coaches are coming from a place of success and financial stability. I would imagine these coaches want a good fit for them.