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O-Zone: Three keys

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Eric Robbins from Columbus, IN

Baalke to be retained? I love Shad and what he has done for the city, but holy cow does he not get out of his own way with football operations. Maybe hire a coach and then decide if Baalke – who wouldn't be the GM if not for Caldwell getting fired – is worth retaining? Why say this now? Why limit our coaching options? No wonder we continue to be a joke. This makes no business sense.

You're referencing a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network that Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke will be retained and will be involved with the search for a new head coach. Baalke served as GM this past season after joining the Jaguars' director of player personnel in 2020. It's not entirely surprising that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan would retain Baalke. He historically is patient with general managers and head coaches and believes in continuity – and Baalke had success as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2016, particularly in the first three seasons of that tenure. It's also unsurprising that this news was met negatively by many Jaguars fans. The team has struggled in recent seasons, and little has gone right to inspire confidence. But remember: Head Coach Urban Meyer had say over decisions since January, which makes it difficult to know how much of last offseason was Baalke and how much was Meyer. My sense from last year's 2021 NFL Draft was that it was very Meyer influenced. Khan evidently believes Baalke can bring experience to the head-coaching search and help guide the transition moving forward. That's the hope and that appears to be the plan.

Jordan from Raleigh, NC

John! Say it isn't so! Retaining Baalke to lead the head coaching search? Look, I know Khan desires stability and Baalke shouldn't be punished for Urban's mistakes, but this sends the wrong message to the team and the fanbase, does it not? Even if Baalke is capable, I can't imagine starting fresh would mean hiring someone worse. It seems to me, it would be worth the gamble just to clear the air and reset. Am I crazy?

Khan's first responsibility is to hire the people he believes are best for their positions. Starting fresh for the sake of starting fresh – or just to send messages – isn't the best approach. And it historically isn't Khan's approach.

Eric from DUVAL

In response to Keith's Winston Churchill quote that made me want to run through a brick wall with my DTWD flag waving proudly, I would like to state that there are FAR more Jags fans who feel this way.  Even after a brutal decade of losing season after losing season, there are still fans (myself included) that operate on blind loyalty. Our names may not be known, but the passion we have for this organization will never die. Here's hoping Jaguars Owner Shad Khan gets it right this time ...

Here's hoping.

Sal from Austin, TX

Trevor Lawrence's best plays from Week 16? Who over there is deciding what stories to print? The Jaguars lost that game, and I know you're going to say that you're aware of that, but a fluff piece like that at this moment? Just everything over there from top to bottom for real.

I'm assuming you're referring to an video breaking down Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's best plays from Week 16. This seems to have upset you. Maybe I can explain a few things. First, it was a video and not a story. And while I know the Jaguars lost, I don't work for I work for I have no control over what produces regarding the Jaguars.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

First pick is pretty much sewn up at this point. Really tired of being cellar dwellers. Hope this is the last time picking anywhere close to first in at least the next decade. I'm waaaaay over this amount of losing.


Roscoe from Rhodesia

John. Last year then-Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said he "loved" the team. Record 1-15. This year, then-Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said he had the players to win. Likely record 2-15. It has been said on this site that this team would likely win four-to-six games this season and I felt like that was probable, too. How badly have the decision makers (at least four different sets of them) and observers (at least 30,000-50,000 of them) overestimated the quality of each team each year? This seems to be a perennial problem of talent judgement and team capability. How do we take off the teal-colored glasses and correctly adjust our view of what talent is on the team? It's difficult to say the talent "should have won more" or there were injuries or COVID when we haven't won but three games in two years. All teams face those issues. Help us to see that we are what our record says we are. Reality is depressing...

What are general managers and head coaches supposed to say going into seasons? That they hate their teams? That they have a bunch of players who are incompetent losers? As for how observers – this one included – projected the last two seasons … yes, a lot of us missed. I thought this season the Jaguars had a chance to win six or seven games. I probably thought the same last season. Those were the high-end projections. I was off. I don't predict things perfectly. If I did, I'd be Biff in "Back to the Future." As it stands, I'm O-Zone in Jacksonville. There are worse things, I suppose.

Gabe from Jacksonville

Keep pounding on the drum that things will get better. Everyone with eyes knows it won't get better. This organization is bad and I feel used and abused for drinking the Kool-Aid every year thinking things would ever get better. I'm out.


Tom from Jacksonville

Rudy Ford missed Zach Wilson entirely on the TD run. That is inexplicable unless he pulled up and let him go. I am not complaining because we get the first pick in the draft. It just looks "suspicious."

You're implying that Ford intentionally let Jets quarterback Zach Wilson score on a 52-yard touchdown run Sunday. Ford made a bad play. He took a wrong angle and then it appeared he pulled up because he thought Wilson might run out of bounds and he didn't want to incur a penalty. He didn't let Wilson score. C'mon.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

My back was a little tight Sunday, so I did some stretching and strained a glute. Now I can't walk well nor bend over. Things can always get worse.

Things always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always can get worse. Always.

Artis from Hampton, VA

John, with the season ending the way that it is, should we just shutdown Trevor for the year. Why risk getting him injured?

No. The Jaguars shouldn't sit Lawrence. He is the franchise quarterback. When the Jaguars play, so should Lawrence – so long as he is healthy.

Sean from Jacksonville

Logan Cooke too? Dang. That is all.

Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell on Monday announced that Jaguars punter Logan Cooke could miss Sunday's game because of a knee injury. Cooke has been one of the most consistent Jaguars players this season. So, yeah … dang.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Let's assume Deshaun Watson picks up where he left off on the playing field and stays out of trouble the rest of his career, would you trade Lawrence and the first overall pick for Deshaun?

_No.       _

Mark from Asheville, NC

Hey, John. Do you think there is a chance a new general manager and coach will come here and decide that TL is not their guy and try to rebuild the team with a new quarterback? Trevor seems like he has the Jaguars' attitude that winning is less important than having a few good plays and may be too far gone with a losing attitude.

No, I don't think there's a chance a new head coach and next season's general manager don't believe Lawrence is the guy. I doubt any knowledgeable football people would believe that – and I doubt anyone believing that would get the position(s). As for Lawrence thinking winning is less important than a few good plays … well, I suppose everyone can have an opinion. Baseless and ill-informed though it may be.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

I just don't care how much they lose. I'm a fan. Done waiting for a team. We have one. It's ours. I'm 70. Still got a few seasons. Go Jaguars.

Hang on, Jim.

Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico

Of course, it wasn't fair to automatically expect an amazing rookie campaign from TL, especially with his supporting cast, but it sure is a major disappointment for him to be the worst of the rookie quarterbacks. What makes you so confident in his future?

His talent, approach and mental makeup.