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O-Zone: That time of year

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL

I think the way this season has gone should raise a lot of questions about Khan's football knowledge. You often talk about how the national media doesn't know as much about this team as the people who follow it more closely. By this logic, nobody should know more about them than the people in the building (Khan/Caldwell/Marrone). But all three of them thought this team could compete this year when nobody outside of the team thought this would be the case. If Caldwell and Marrone knew what was coming this season (and it's hard to believe they didn't, especially based on your logic), then they somehow convinced Khan this team could be good. That doesn't bode well for the future of the Jags with Khan at the helm. This was a completely wasted season because he didn't realize this team would be bad when almost everyone else did.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan's football knowledge isn't on the level of his football front-office people and coaches. That's why he doesn't coach or run the office. Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell were tasked with running the team this season. They both liked the team and believed (hoped, anyway) it could be competitive in a season in which it would be young while building through the draft – and while having had to make offseason moves to reset the salary cap. They believed a young defense would play aggressively and – while not dominant – well enough to complement an improving young offense. For the young offense to be improving, it needed quarterback Gardner Minshew II to take a step forward and build on the strengths he showed last season. The last part didn't happen, and other things also went wrong. Losing defensive line depth/experience early didn't help. Injuries defensively didn't help. Inexperience didn't help. The overall talent on defense didn't help. Caldwell was dismissed late in the season and we'll see what happens with the coaching staff. As far as Khan's football knowledge … trust me, the fact that he doesn't know as much as front-office people and coaches doesn't make him less knowledgeable about football than the vast majority of NFL owners. Owners own. Good ones hire football personnel people manage the team and coaches to coach it. In all but the rarest of cases, that's how it works.

Shanghai Stevie from Jacksonville

Zone … So you said "It (the bad call) had to (cost Jets D coach his job)" but he had "a lot of success" but "that call obviously…" This seems quite opposite your usual tone. I expected to hear you say, "He didn't deserve to be fired" and "the players just didn't execute." Why do you feel differently about the Jags coaches?

To be fair, I probably don't know enough about the New York Jets' situation to have accurately said his decision to blitz on the final play of a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday "had to cost" defensive coordinator Gregg Williams his job. But from afar, it seemed that call in that situation didn't put the players in the best position to win. And it seemed a pretty blatant situation. I haven't seen such a situation around the Jaguars.

Michael from Phoenix, AZ

Zone: James Robinson has been fabulous and is absolutely the Jaguars' feel-good story of the year (the only one?). But he is also an undrafted rookie with 12 games under his belt. Can we stop comparing him to Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor, Curtis Martin and Emmitt Smith just yet?

Fair – although it's also fair to point out that there's something about Robinson that makes you think he might be really, really good for a while.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

If I recall, the last time a team took the "draft a QB until you find one" approach in a single draft was the Washington Football Team, when they took RG3 and Kirk Cousins in the same draft. How did that work out for them?

That was 2012. The Washington Football Team selected Robert Griffin III No. 2 overall. They also selected Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. The team made the playoffs that season. Griffith's career was derailed by a knee injury and Cousins played well enough to get a mega-contract from the Minnesota Vikings – though not well enough for the WFT to re-sign him. So, how did it work out? OK, I suppose. Not great.

Richard from Duval

Why can't the Jaguars definitely commit to staying in Jacksonville? I know Shad had invested a lot, but they are demanding much more and still cannot definitively commit to staying in Jacksonville. I don't get it, and it's very distressing.

Khan wants the Jaguars to be in Jacksonville. He has said this repeatedly and shown in his actions that that's the case for nearly a decade. That's what he and the team are constantly working toward – from staging the games in London to increase local revenue to now pushing and preparing for major investment, development and renovation around and to TIAA Bank Field. It's all part of it. The Jacksonville market also presents challenges financially that make it difficult to make an NFL franchise work here. It requires outside-the-box thinking, which is a point Khan repeatedly has made for a decade. If Khan and the city can work together on those challenges, and if Khan and the city can work together to make outside-the-box thinking work, I have no doubt that Khan will keep the Jaguars here for the long haul. It's what he wants. It's what he has wanted for a decade. But he needs help to make it happen.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

If Shad Khan had addressed the quarterback position, Lot J wouldn't even be an issue?


Jonathan from Jacksonville

To the players and coaches, winning is the most important thing. To fans and observers – and quite possibly to the Jaguars' next general manager – improving draft position might take precedent." How about Shad Khan? You think he prefers to be the losingest owner in the NFL or would he prefer better draft position to benefit future years?

I'm sure on some level Khan – like many Jaguars fans – understands the importance of an early draft selection. I'm sure on some level Khan understands the absurdity of mandating that his team loses.

Robert from Oneota

Kliff Kingsbury of Arizona, Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team, Joe Judge of the New York Giants. All doing a fine job of getting their teams turned around and competitive, winning games. It is all about Coaching.

Yep, Robert. Whatever your profession, walk away and send your resume the 32 NFL teams. Because you, my friend, "nailed" this one. Losing 11 consecutive games has nothing to do with the players, and nothing to do with youth, inexperience, injuries and not having front-line quarterback play. It's all coaching. Always has been. Always will be.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

What do you attribute the massive defensive improvement to, when the starters are second- and third-string players (or worse) from the beginning of the season? It's definitely encouraging going into next season, but playing this much better against seemingly better offenses is still a bit puzzling, in the best way.

It's coaching.

Chris from Mandarin

John, it seems like you've finally cracked. Is your eye twitching? Are your fingers shaking. This seems likely at some of the responses you've given lately.

Examples, please. I acknowledge nothing without examples.

Logan from Wichita, KS

I feel like I propose this every year around draft time ... which for us is always way before the season ends unfortunately. Why don't we trade back in the draft? Do we need a franchise quarterback? Yes. Will adding a quarterback to this bad roster result in eight-plus wins in 2021? HELL NO! This is a bad, bad, bad roster. Trading back and getting #1 picks for next year and some extra 2nd or 3rd round picks this year, also wont get us to 8+ wins in 2021... BUT it will give us hope for 2023 that maybe, just maybe, we can be 4 years ahead of schedule for our once a decade playoff run. Thoughts?

Your criticism of the roster, while passionate, is perhaps not entirely accurate. But say, for argument's sake, you were correct. If there's a quarterback available when the Jaguars select early in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft, they must take him. They have been deficient at the position for too long. That must change.

Pat from Duval

Will Tre Herndon replace DJ Hayden as our Nickel corner in 2021?

It's possible. Hayden played well at nickel for the Jaguars the past two seasons after signing as an unrestricted free agent following the 2017 season, but he missed all but five games this season with injuries. The Jaguars like Herndon at the nickel. All decisions such as this will depend on who is hired as general manager, but Herndon certainly could be a candidate to play nickel moving forward.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington



Jim from Neptune Beach, FL