JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from JACKSONVILLE
When people say "Leftwich is only successful because of Tom Brady," they're really saying "I did no research on Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich's coaching career." Good eye. It also seems others only think they did, Saints swept them with a gimmick QB this year, Brady was handed his only skunk game. Jameis Winston threw an almost record number of picks as a Buccaneers before that was cleaned up by Peyton. I could go on and on but hey some of us did do the research. I don't expect to see this question.
The first two sentences of your email were a question and answer from a recent O-Zone. You then followed these sentences with what you describe as a question but what appears to be more of a statement. And you do seem quite impressed with this statement – and perhaps yourself (and rightfully so, might I add). Remember: Pretty much any head-coaching candidate – whatever his level of experience, whatever his background – is going to have arguments for or against the candidacy. My eyes tend to glaze over when people argue over a head-coaching candidacy based on details of how a coordinator's offense performed in a particular season. This is because I've seen so many candidates who are "hot" simply because of how their respective offense or defense performed the previous season. Those sorts of statistics and rankings sway from year to year, and are often beyond the control of a coordinator. Can a candidate communicate? Can he lead? Can he set an organizational tone? Does he have vision? Will players believe in him? Can he assemble a staff? Can he be the face of the franchise? Can he deal with the unbelievable number of issues he will face daily throughout the offseason and season? Those determine success or failure of head coaches far more than where a coach's offense or defenses ranked the previous season.
Ben from Jacksonville
The Jags' No. 1 offseason priority should be protecting the quarterback. The team needs to build around quarterback Trevor Lawrence and do it with offensive linemen that know how to block (and not hold). All those holding penalties just show how undisciplined the team is. We have the quarterback. We've got the running backs. It's a miracle Lawrence still is able to move around. Please trade the first pick in the draft for at least a couple of stud offensive linemen. Can you please pass the word along?
A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. First, while the Jaguars upgrading the offensive line this offseason certainly is possible, it's incorrect to say that it's a miracle quarterback Trevor Lawrence "still is able to move around." The Jaguars allowed 32 sacks this past season; only eight NFL teams allowed fewer. As far as trading the first pick in the draft "for at least a couple of stud offensive lineman," you may be overestimating the value this offseason of the No. 1 overall selection. While the Jaguars likely would consider trading that selection, it remains to be seen if it's coveted enough for a team to give up anything for it – particularly equity so valuable as premier offensive linemen.
Unhipcat from carlsbad, ca
Hi, John. You know which NFL head coach was never a head coach before? All of them.
Andy Boy from Halifax
I know kicker and punter are a "what have you done for me lately" type of position – including in training camp – but right now do you foresee any changes to those positions?
I would be stunned if Logan Cooke isn't the Jaguars' punter next season; he has been one of the NFL's best players at his position and there's no reason to think that won't continue to be the case. I am less sure about Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright; he made some clutch placements this season but struggled for length on kickoffs. I wouldn't be surprised if there's competition in training camp there. Stay tuned.
David from Middleburg, FL
Do you think it would be a smart move to trade back (maybe get to No. 3) and draft a good wide receiver? We missed on so many Alabama receivers over the past three drafts.
Trading back might make sense. The Jaguars already have a franchise quarterback and there may not be any players truly "worthy" of the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Remember, though: if the Jaguars don't believe there's a player worthy of the top selection, it's reasonable to assume other franchises might agree. If that's the case, why would a team trade for the No. 1 selection?
Al from Orange Park, FL
A recent Florida Times Union article reported that a Jags player was arrested for alluding police. Do you think the penalty would be worse if he inferred? Or, heaven forbid, insinuated? Regardless of profession, it always saddens me when professionals aren't professional....
I try to not be hypercritical in this area. Mistakes happen – even when the writer knows what he's doing. I wrote a story in the late 1980s or early 1990s about a coach somewhere – I forget where and who – who had been arrested and/or charged with "lude" behavior. It was a brain fade on my part. The copy desk missed it and the error made the next day's newspaper. It was not my finest hour, though in retrospect I still probably had a better day than the coach.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL
Hi John, I like the idea of Jim Caldwell and I like the idea of Byron Leftwich. So why not both? Caldwell as EVP & Leftwich as HC?
I have no problem with that idea. Knowing what I know of former Indianapolis Colts/Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell, I have no doubt he could do the executive vice-president role well. I have no idea if he would want to do that job. He may very well still want to coach and still believe he can do that job well.
Brian Fullford from Jacksonville
Would it help if I bought Gary a "Best Kid on the Block"? #PourItForward
It damned sure can't hurt. #Payitforward #Strings
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL
I haven't heard Eric Bieniemy's name mentioned as a possibility for the Jags. Any insight as to why? He seems like the best candidate to me.
Jaguars Owner Shad Khan interviewed Kansas City Chiefs Head coach Eric Bieniemy last January before hiring head coach Urban Meyer. It's possible Khan learned what he wanted to know about Bieniemy at that point. Or it's possible he just prefers either Leftwich or Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nate Hackett or Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Or someone else.
Andrew from MATTOON, Illinois
Here's an idea. Sell the No. 1 pick for cash. Spend the money on beer and lottery tickets. Thoughts?
Shad Khan, hire this man!
Charles from Port St Lucie, FL
If you had to choose between Jonathan Ogden or JJ Watt, you take Ogden every time, right? Jags shouldn't over think this … if you think Evan Neal is the next Ogden, he's the no-brainer pick regardless of how you feel about the two edge guys.
First, I don't know that I would take former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden over defensive end J.J. Watt every time. Watt at his peak was a dominant defensive player – one of the best of the last two decades – and Ogden at his peak was one of the NFL's all-time great offensive linemen. Injuries diminished Watt's effectiveness in recent years, but would a team regret using the No. 1 selection on him were he available in this year's draft? I think not. For that matter, no team would regret selecting Ogden No. 1 overall, either. This answer probably doesn't actually answer much. I'll try to do better moving forward.
Don from Marshall, NC
It will be interesting watching Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence go through a year of NFL conditioning. He is already a tough guy, but I expect him to be bigger and stronger. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen really did a great job. Lawrence made it to the offseason healthy; that was important. The Colts are not the only team who will feel sorrow from this dude going forward. There is so much to look forward to and it really does not matter who the coach is. Just get the supporting players and get the heck out of the way. Go Jaguars!
Don is "all in."
Salvador from AUSTIN, TX
A team's logo is crucial. Pivotal, really. The current Jaguar on the team helmet is actually a holdover from that abomination from their previous uniform. That's a fact. The Jaguars should have thrown that away along with the rest of that trash. The first, true original Jaguar, the Jaguar of Fred Taylor, Tony Brackens, Donavin Darius, Tony Boselli and all of the Jaguars greats is something this organization can connect to from our not THAT distant past when the Jaguars had the squad. This isn't trivial, John. This outfit needs a reset top to bottom. By going back, this franchise can begin moving forward.
Salvador is not "all in."