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O-Zone: Unsual Suspect

Weird All Over:

Has there ever been an NFL head coach fired immediately after winning Coach of the Year? You know what I'm referring to, right? D.C., NBA?

John: I don’t put much thought into the NFL’s Coach of the Year award, because it doesn’t translate into much in terms of how a coach’s career plays out over the long term – and because it’s usually given to the coach whose team most exceeded preseason expectations rather than the “best coach.” But no …. I don’t know of a case when an NFL head coach was fired within days of being named Coach of the Year as happened to former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey this past week. An NFL Coach of the Year almost always has led his team to the postseason – and wise NFL teams rarely part ways with coaches who have led their teams to such a lofty record. There are exceptions such as the Tennessee Titans parting ways with Mike Mularkey after a playoff season in 2017, but the exceptions are rare. It’s perhaps a touch more common in the NBA, where coaches seem to be hired and fired more on a whim because players have more power and pull around organizations. I doubt you will see it happen much in the NFL, but who knows? Impatience abounds in all sports and triggers get quicker all the time. I probably wouldn’t say “never” on this one.

Matt from Murray Hill:

Everybody knows #MylesJackWasntDown, but I can’t really blame the ref for the call. In hindsight it’s kind of amazing that he wasn’t down.

John: True. When measuring plays on which a quick whistle hurt the Jaguars last season, Jack’s in the AFC Championship Game was a frustrating combination of the most understandable and most harmful.

Stampie from Arlington:

Our defensive backs talk about kicking ass while Josh Norman talks about Dancing with the Stars. I'll take our back four.

John: Fair point.

Cliff from Callahan, FL:

Over the years, you've recommended many bands I've never heard of. I've often checked them out. I've always been profoundly disappointed. I guess I understand how Mrs. O-Zone feels ...

John: I feel safe saying it’s incorrect to say I’ve recommended “many bands,” because I frankly don’t care whether people like bands I like. I know I’ve mentioned bands I like or respect often when asked about music – and if your ear isn’t as fine-tuned or tasteful as mine … that’s a “you” problem not a “me” problem. As for Mrs. O-Zone’s state of perpetual disappointment … yeah, hers was an ill-chosen path. I won’t dispute that.

Ricky from Fairport, NY:

What's all the talk about DJ Chark taking the top off defenses when we also have three others with the speed to go deep?? Chark ran a 4.34 40 at the combine. But, so did Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief ran a 4.35. And, as you pointed out, Keelan Cole was no slouch with the long ball. Why is Chark's deep speed better than any of these veterans?

John: It’s not – and in truth, this is probably a case of people being enamored with the new and unimpressed with the familiar. Moncrief and Cole, in particular, have speed to be deep threats. But Chark ran past a lot of guys deep in college and there are highlights to prove it, so it’s a hot topic. YouTube is cool. A lot of analysts and other observers like it.

Gary from Centerville, OH:

Since you are the "Overlord of funk", who will you have present you for your induction into The Funk Hall of Fame (which just so happens to be in Dayton, Ohio)? Just make sure it's not Shadrick, as he may just take your statue with him.

John: In fairness, he’s probably the most logical choice.

Rhonda from Jacksonville:

I love it when you make fun of fans that think they are as smart as an NFL GM. That smug, professional, condescending, attitude. But you forget that when it came to Gene Smiff, we were almost all smarter. Don't be so smug, we need a tight end.

John: Yes, just like the Jaguars needed to change quarterbacks before the 2017 season. And revamp the offensive line. And cut Marqise Lee. And sign Josh Norman. And draft Tim Tebow. And sign DeMarco Murray. And … #smuglife

Nate from Fort Duval in York, PA:

On Wednesday's edition of Jaguars.com Live, Sexton asked for predictions on which draft pick would start first. Wouldn't that be the punter considering we most likely won't be carrying two punters?

John: Punters don’t start. They punt. #Smuglife

Mark from Archer, FL:

John, I am so annoyed with the whole issue of people complaining when you say that Blake Bortles led the Jags to the AFC Championship Game. The guy gets blamed when the Jags lose even though it was not always his fault. If I recall during the 2015 and 2016 season, he got the Jags in the lead only for the defense to allow the other team to score and take the lead back and win the game. But Bortles got a lot of the blame for them losing. Bottom line was that Bortles played good last year and without him we would not have gotten to the AFC Championship Game.

John: Here’s the thing to remember about Bortles being criticized. He doesn’t seem to let it bother him much, and the team doesn’t pay much attention to it. It does annoy Bortles’ teammates, and it seems to motivate them. Bottom line: While sometimes a bit extreme and over the top, the criticism doesn’t seem to hurt Bortles’ play. Credit to him for that.

Ricky from Fairport, NY:

One fer the Jaguars.com video production crew for putting together the Meet the 2018 Draft Class. Fun feature highlighting a good group of guys. If they are as good on the field as they seem off we are in good shape for years to come.

John: Thanks. I do a great job.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:

O-man, did you ever realize that if you took your regular O-Zone and posted the first half as one Zone, and then the second half as another Zone, you would get credit for doing twice as much work without actually doing any more work? You’re Welcome!

John: I realized this a couple of years back. I also realize I get no credit for anything around here. If you multiply nothing times two you get nothing, so what’s the point?

Tim from St. Johns, FL:

John, your recent answer to Dane regarding tight ends gives me a chance to ask a serious question I have had for years. In my dotage, I no longer watch sports as a profession, but just watch the ball, listen to the heads and dip my Oreo in my milk. But I have long been intrigued by a former Jaguars player. Please reveal your candid analysis of Marcedes Lewis. I always liked the play of the man and thought his attitude (as I perceived it since I never met him) was a benefit to the team. Just wanted to know. Sorta miss him already.

John: Lewis deserves a special place in the memory of Jaguars fans, and in the history of this team. Because he was a first-round selection who played in just one Pro Bowl, and because he never developed into the elite pass-catching threat that defines for many the modern tight end position, he was sometimes unfairly criticized. But not every first-round selection develops into a Hall of Famer. Some bust and some aren’t worth keeping for very long. Lewis was far from a bust and was one of the NFL’s best run-blocking tight ends for a long time. If every player selected late in the first round was as good as Lewis, teams selecting there would be very happy more often than not. And you were right to like him and think him a benefit to the team. He was a nice guy who played well for a long time for this team. One for Marcedes.

Attila from Dunakeszi, Hungary:

Hello, John! Can you please tell me what is the difference between a UDFA and a tryout player? I mean, none of them was drafted but all were signed later on to participate in the rookie camp, right? Were tryout players not eligible in the draft for some reason? Thanks!

John: Undrafted free agents are on the 90-man offseason roster. Tryout players are trying to get signed to the 90-man offseason roster. Tryouts in many cases were undrafted rookies and in other cases were young players who were released by teams last season or who have been out of the league.

SMHLOL from Jacksonville:

Which one of your friends is dumb enuf to try and steal Blake Bortles’ truck?

John: I don’t have irrefutable evidence, but I do know I kept texting Sexton to see why he was late for bowling that night and he kept texting back, “Not now, dude! Not now!”

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