O-Zone: There will be no math

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bryan from Tampa, FL

John, there is a lot of pessimism around the team, but this is clearly fixable. The roster just needs one safety, two linebackers, at least one interior defensive lineman, probably two interior offensive linemen, a left tackle, a wide receiver, a tight end and potentially a quarterback. Oh – and that's if safety Ronnie Harrison and right tackle Jawaan Taylor progress next year. Good thing we have so much cap space.

Gallows humor is cool. Fans like it – and considering the Jaguars’ performances in recent weeks, it’s absolutely warranted. But while you’re right that the Jaguars need help in many areas, huge capital outlays selections may not be needed at all the positions you mention. You can address many of those positions by drafting well in non-premium rounds, by developing players from within and by doing some good work in second-tier free agency. Whatever the salary-cap situation, you don’t want the Jaguars depending on free agency too much to solve these issues. The time for a wide-swath quick fix with big free-agency money has passed. The Jaguars need some foundation fixing, and you mostly do that by drafting well. Whatever details in terms of the front office and coaching staff play out in the coming weeks, my sense is the Jaguars’ foundation will start being addressed in a major way.

Ken from Jacksonville

So, we signed Blake Bortles to a $54 million contract, followed by Nick Foles at $88 million. And neither one is the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. Someone needs to be held accountable for wasting owner Shad Khan’s money and that someone is Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom "get off my lawn" Coughlin.

It’s Khan’s money, so I suppose he’ll decide who’s responsible.

Holger from Zurich

This team is built the wrong way. A power running back and no blocking tight ends, an immobile quarterback and a shaky offensive line, pass rushers but no offense that can get a lead or defensive backs that can cover. The front office is to blame for that. Then there are discipline issues after issues with players fighting against each other, against other teams' players, penalties after penalties. The coaching staff is to blame for that. Both these things must change therefore the responsible people in these positions need to change.

You make many good points. Conventional wisdom would say change could be forthcoming. Conventional wisdom doesn’t matter in this case. Only Khan wisdom matters. And because it’s his money, he’ll decide what changes are made.

Sad Max from Jacksonville

We were never 4-8 in 1996.

Nope.

Jimsure from Daytona Beach Shores

O-Funkmeister: Unfortunately, it seems you are getting much more nasty comments about your abilities and feelings about the team lately. I hope fans start understanding it is players AND coaching in the NFL, not senior writers. Keep up the good, sarcastic work.

Fans believe what they want to believe. As for what fans understand … I learned long ago that only so much can be done about that. Fans want their teams to win. When they don’t, they get angry. Logic and understanding rarely enter the equation and that’s fine. Fans fan. It’s what they do.

Clifton from Washington, DC

You're making the same excuses for Foles as you did for Bortles. Lack of tight end or lack of pass protection or lack of a good running game. You either got the goods or you don't. It was clear to many that Foles was just a guy who happened to get hot at the right time – a.k.a., Joe Flacco. What an utter disaster this team has been for the better part of 15 years. The only thing we had going for us this season was the energy we got from Gardner Minshew II and wouldn't you know it, in typical Jags fashion, they crushed that energy by benching him.

I don’t mind people not reading carefully because I understand the world these days offers many distractions. But if you don’t read carefully, at least don’t accuse the writer of doing something he didn’t do. Making excuses? For Foles? Ah … it is to laugh.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Two things. In response to your typical answers recently. I’m glad I work for a company that thinks more of me than to forget about me the second I retire for “presumed” health reasons. (Which is how the jags painted it) 2. I don’t think Reggie Nelson is playing anywhere. Tashaun Gipson is. And he’s doing so at a high level. Our best safety SINCE Reggie Nelson, playing for a division rival.

“In response to your awesome answers recently.” /Fixed.

Chris from Space City, TX

The talk around this organization in mid-November was that we were in great shape with two really good quarterbacks. Reality is, this team does not have a viable starting quarterback. We would be foolish to put the franchise in the hands of Minshew. Defenses have already figured him out. Jags must draft quarterback with first pick. This lowly organization can’t afford to pass on the next Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Jackson.

Stay tuned.

Morgan from Oklahoma

I love Minshew and all that he brings but I honestly don’t know if he’s the guy. That pains me to say that, but I think we might have to look at the draft for someone. I know this is contingent on who is drafting/coaching next year. Your thoughts?

I think we have the same thoughts, and I don’t yet have a sense for how that will play out.

Dwight from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

The reality is this, John: Contrary to what you think and defend … yes, it is the coaches – and yes, it is the front office. The entire organization from top to bottom is misaligned. That is why we have been perennial bottom dwellers despite Top 10 picks for the last 25 years. The coaches have failed to game plan according to our players' strengths and weaknesses (and our opponents’ strengths and weaknesses), the front office has failed to bring in the “right fit” of talent on a consistent basis, and most importantly the leadership of the executives have perpetuated a losing culture. A complete lack of alignment on all three tiers. So, for those O-Zone readers wanting to know the “why?” This is why.

The Jaguars have lost too many games the past two seasons. They have lost too many games recently by too many points. When those things are true, organizations appear misaligned. Is it that simple? Is that extreme? No and no. Are there other factors? Is that defending? Maybe. I don’t know. Whatever.

Taylor from Orlando, FL

The smartest guys in the room should pay another quarterback $100 million this offseason and let defensive end Yannick Ngakoue walk. Clearly our problem is that we don’t put enough dead money into bad QBs rather than team players that do great. Smart!

I don’t believe the Jaguars should or will do this.

Josh from Atlanta, FL

John, the NFL is supposed to be filled with parody. Any team can beat any team on any given day. But not here. This team hasn’t been competitive for four weeks in a row. It’s embarrassing and I don’t know what to say. We are AWFUL.

I don’t know if the NFL is about parody or not, but the last month sure hasn’t been funny.

Mike from Section 122 and Port Orange, FL

Can one of the line coaches teach rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor how the pro’s hold and not get flagged? I think he had four drive-killing holds this game. Left tackle Cam Robinson is either too slow or just not talented enough. When he is not getting the quarterback killed, he is shuffling back before the snap so he has a chance with outside rush technique. Put someone else there they couldn’t do any worse!

Mike, it can always be worse.

James from Waycross, GA

Zone, I'm not a mathematician by trade, so hoping you can confirm that one first place finish in the division, and two last place finishes, are "just as much good as bad" regarding this trio of SVP, GM, and Coach?

My keen eye and sick mind make me sense that you’re attempting to use my words from earlier this season against me. I indeed wrote often that the Jaguars’ success in 2017 and failure in 2018 meant that the current regime – General Manager David Caldwell, Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone – had had as much success as failure during its tenure. I wrote this during the first half of the season when the Jaguars were hovering around .500, so by any measure my assessment at that time was correct. This season now appears on the fast track to failure. So, does that change the formula? Of course it does. Fortunately for you, you needn’t be a mathematician by trade to realize that.

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