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O-Zone: Tough day

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

*Eric from Columbus                *

So, the defense with less talent (agreeable by all before the season) gets hammered and fired for underperforming and miscommunicating. Yet Press takes the far superior unit and underperforms, has as many if not more communication issues and still has job. You defended this in your prior O-Zone. Do you really believe the defensive staff deserves more of the blame than the offensive staff?

I don't know what "defending" means. I know I have written and said that Head Coach Doug Pederson believed that the Jaguars' offensive struggles this season were about turnovers and other self-inflicted mistakes and not about play-calling or game-planning. This is Pederson's offensive scheme. He has hired and trusts offensive coordinator Press Taylor to run it. That's why Taylor remains the offensive coordinator. Pederson also hired defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell in the 2022 offseason. Pederson as of this week no longer believed Caldwell to be the best person to run the defense. Is that "fair?" I have no idea. I know fair often has little to do with coaching changes in the NFL. Being good or deserving or capable often doesn't, either. Pederson decided the coaches who stayed were good fits and the coaches who were dismissed were no longer good fits. That's a pretty common story around the NFL every offseason, fair or not.

Brian McD from Broken dreams boulevard

I seriously pray we get the missing pieces to put us out of our own way and up into the elite. Be sweet if we could hire Belichick for defensive coordinator. That'd be one heck of a start.

Former New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has six Super Bowl championships as a head coach. I don't expect him to be a defensive coordinator for the Jaguars or any other team.

Don from Marshall, NC

You should never get a second chance with a quarterback like Trevor Lawrence. It's my opinion he is elite and he does things others can't do. He does not need a conscious or a coach. He needs to do the things that great quarterbacks do. Get the ball down the field. It's the quarterback who wins championships and it will be that way with Trevor if we can keep these rocket-science coaches away from him. The offense would be better without these coaches. Just tired of the same BS excuses. You had your chance with Trevor and you ruined him. You busted him up just like they did with Andrew Luck. Free Trevor!

While Don doesn't remain "all in" on a lot of things, he remains "all in" on Lawrence …

Brian from Carlisle, PA

O, Why all the doom and gloom? I know fans are going to fan. I truly believe we have the quarterback and we have a stud defensive end in Josh Allen. I am a true believer in things are going to happen for a reason. That reason may not be known yet. My hunch is by the end of next season we will be able to confirm that reason.

… while Brian – bless his heart – remains "all in."

Dave from Jacksonville

I have heard multiple times on Jaguars media that Trevor did not play well over the last month of the season due in large point to multiple injuries and lack of practice time. I agree with this assessment. So why in the heck did the coaching staff keep throwing him out there? The answer may be Trevor's ego, and the staff felt he was a better option than CJ. I completely disagree with that assessment. I believe Trevor's poor play led directly to one or two losses at the end of year that would have been wins had CJ played. That is a tremendous failure in judgment.

That coaches played Lawrence when Lawrence was injured late in the season had nothing to do with ego. It had everything to do with Lawrence being the starting quarterback and the coaches believing he gave them the better chance to win. Would the Jaguars have won one or two of those games with backup C.J. Beathard playing? You feel passionately the answer is yes. So there's that, I guess.

Stan from Braselton

TL is an average NFL QB. He is not a Patrick Mahones, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow or Lamar Jackson. The Texans have a real elite in C.J. Stroud. The Jags need to begin a new search for that QB Pot of Gold.

I don't expect the Jaguars to start searching for a starting quarterback this offseason.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - An unsung hero is a long snapper. Ours has been recognized as the best. Sincere congrats to him?

Jaguars long snapper Ross Matiscik indeed has been named not only to the Pro Bowl Games but to the Associated Press All-Pro team as a first-team selection. That is the definition of being recognized as the best. Congratulations to him. Well-deserved.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: With our documented O and D line needs, would you re-sign wide receiver Calvin Ridley giving up a second-round draft pick and a big chunk of the cap? I say nay.

I wouldn't have a problem with the Jaguars re-signing Ridley and sending the second-round selection to the Atlanta Falcons. While the Jaguars absolutely could use a second-round selection, and while Ridley was perhaps not as productive in 2023 as many Jaguars fans hoped, he was a 1,000-yard receiver with eight touchdown receptions. He did this after being out of football for nearly two years. I don't have a sense for how much of a "chunk of the cap" that would mean. That could sway the decision.

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck were both first overall picks and generational talents. How do you compare Lawrence to them after their first three seasons?

Not as advanced. That doesn't mean he won't advance to that level eventually. It means he hasn't done so yet.

Marlin from Greenway Palms, Florida

Hi Zone, With the Detroit Lions on the schedule at Detroit in 2024, I will ask the inevitable: what do you think the odds are of the Jaguars playing on Thanksgiving Day? Low? or Zero?

This seems like a real possibility. The Jaguars never have played on Thanksgiving Day, and having the Jaguars play the Lions on that day next season makes sense. I have no idea how to set odds on the NFL schedule. Either the game works out as making sense there or it doesn't.

Paul from Jacksonville

Whether or not Press is a great offensive coordinator is up for fan debate, it seems there's no debate from Doug. I don't know if agree or disagree, but I am pro consistency. I'd like to keep the playbook, the terminology, the rapport between quarterback and offensive coordinator. Changing this stuff every year has got to be detrimental to Trevor's development and stunts the offense's ability grow together.

Changing offensive coordinators and systems can set quarterbacks of all experience levels back. That's sometimes particularly true for young quarterbacks. Lawrence ideally would not switch offenses entering a fourth NFL season and I see no reason that would happen.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I do not understand the Press Taylor angst amongst Jaguars fans. Even if he was fired and replaced, how would it change anything if it is Doug Pederson's offense, game plan, and he is listening to/approving every play call?

It wouldn't.

Rich from Dacula, GA

I know you probably won't print this but I have a real problem with the NFL putting the Kansas City Chiefs-Miami Dolphins game on Peacock. What kind of pressure did NBC put on them to get this done? Yes, they have put on local television in those teams' markets, but what if you're a fan not living there? I have DirecTV and then had to subscribe to YouTube to get Jag games this year and now they want me to payout more money for a subscription service? I'm 78 and I guess I'm just not with all this streaming crap. I could always go to a bar if they have it and spend more money. It's getting harder to be a fan when what you see is "it's all about the money," especially after a disappointing season.

Why wouldn't I post this? Chiefs-Dolphins Saturday night indeed was available only on Peacock outside local markets. I wasn't a fan of the decision. I don't make such decisions. I don't know what pressure NBC put on the league. I do know networks and streaming services pay mind-blowing amounts of money to the NFL. When people pay mind-blowing money, they often want things in return. NBC wanted a playoff game for Peacock. That this would happen is perhaps as unsurprising as it is annoying. And it's very definitely a sign of our times.        

Ken from Jacksonville

Sitting here watching NFL GameDay knowing the Jags blew an amazing opportunity. This sucks.