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O-Zone: Urgent!

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Ron from Virginia Beach, VA

Have the Jaguars reached out to any potential available offensive coordinators? Seems like other teams have been busy getting their staff together. Salamat!

Your question implies the Jaguars haven’t been working to hire an offensive coordinator. In fact, they have been plenty busy in the past week and a half or so, reportedly interviewing former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken. They also reportedly have interest for the position in former Houston Texans and Denver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak, who served as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator from 1995-2005. 

Wiseman from Sageland

Please tell Jags management we don't want old washed-up Joe Blow Flacco; we want Nick Super Bowls Foles!

OK.

Bill from Eagan, MN

Doug Marrone has had an up-and-down tenure with the Jaguars, but the one constant has been the consistency of the defense. Do you think Doug should start calling the plays on offense and let Wash keep doing what he’s been doing with the defense? Also, who do you think the Jags should hire as an offensive coordinator?

Marrone has no desire to call plays offensively. He believes his job as head coach is to manage the big picture of the team and let coordinators call plays defensively and offensively. I see no reason the Jaguars should change defensive coordinators; Todd Wash, after all, has coordinated Top 10 defenses the past three seasons. As for who the Jaguars will hire as offensive coordinator, Bevell and Monken – and now, Kubiak – have been mentioned as possibilities. I have heard good things about all three. I have little doubt that all three could do the job providing the offense stays relatively healthy – and providing Jaguars players play better than they did at times this past season.

TD from Festus, MO

Yo J-shot: I know it's draft, draft, draft right now, but may I toss one out there that isn't a draft-related topic? Offensive coordinator … what are your thoughts as far as likely candidates, and of Kubiak in general?

I like what I’ve heard about Bevell and Monken, and I think Bevell fits philosophically what the Jaguars want to do in terms of being able to win running effectively. I thought the same was true of former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. I also think Kubiak fits well with what the Jaguars want to do. His offenses in Denver, Houston and Baltimore typically ran effectively and were effective in play-action passing. I always thought Kubiak did a nice job in Houston as head coach, and I always thought he was a bright head coach – bright enough to be the AFC Coach of the Year in 2011. He suddenly and mysteriously got a lot less bright in 2013, and was fired. He went to Baltimore in 2014, where he was offensive coordinator – and where he miraculously got smart again. He also was bright in Denver as head coach when the Broncos won a Super Bowl in 2015. I think the Jaguars would be smart to hire Kubiak, and I think he would fit well with what they want to do offensively.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Why is it the Jaguars seem to want to force the issue of being just a run-heavy team? Isn’t the goal to score as many points as possible? If you play in a lot of tight games and try to pull them out in the end you will lose your fair share as well. I really hope they step into the 2000s and leave the 70s where it’s at. 

The Jaguars aren’t trying to force the issue and “just” be a run-heavy team. They’re trying to build the best possible team in the best way with the players available at a given time. And no, the goal is not to score as many points as possible. The goal is to score more points than the opponents as often as possible.

Rob from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Is running back Corey Grant under contract next season? I think I remember you mentioning he may not return. I think Thomas Rawls seems more like a replacement for Grant – perhaps with more ability to block and run through tackles. Not a real threat to Leonard Fournette, but do you think they want him to know they could move on if they wanted to?

Grant is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 13. He missed the final 11 games of the 2018 regular season with a foot injury, and it would be surprising at this point if he returned. The Jaguars signed Rawls Tuesday, a move that has less to do with Fournette than having adequate depth at the running back position moving forward.

Marcus from Jacksonville

In your opinion, how viable is the “run-first” offensive mindset for the long-term success of a team? I know the Jags have dubbed this as their identity, and it worked for them last year, but is it sustainable for a winning franchise? I ask because we are seeing how a top-tier draft pick at running back can quickly become a bust, and with injuries aplenty and the shortest-career lifespan of any NFL position, running backs just don’t seem like a good option to build your team around. I also understand that the alternative requires finding a franchise quarterback who can consistently win, which is another “needle-in-a-haystack” challenge. Do you try to find a good game-managing quarterback and try to run to win, or do you bet the farm and go after the big fish at quarterback and succeed (or fail) with him?

The Jaguars identity as a run-first offense shouldn’t be confused as them wanting to be a team that only can run well – or that doesn’t value a franchise quarterback. The approach the past two seasons largely has been about tailoring an offense around its personnel. As the Jaguars improve at quarterback, receiver and tight end you’ll see the offense grow more dynamic.

Logan from Wichita, KS

This is the first glimmer of hope I have seen since Week 2! Kubiak as our OC?!?! YES, PLEASE!!! Heck, if we did that Bortles could possibly stay here. Play-action bootlegs are Bortles' best plays! We would finally have a decent offensive game plan every week unlike this past season where we had only two games game-planned on offense.

I like the idea of Kubiak, too. I admit I liked it slightly less when you said he liked it, but I still like it.

Dave from Duuvall

Dear O-Zone: I’m all for drafting Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State at No. 7 overall; he’s my top choice to finally become the Jaguars’ “franchise” quarterback. But if Haskins is gone, Daniel Jones of Duke would be next on the list for me. He’s got size, athleticism, arm talent, experience and he played for Coach Cutcliffe – the Manning “whisperer.” But if I’m the general manager, I’m picking Kyler Murray – and on Draft Day, I’m telling everybody he’s 5-feet-9.5, 195 pounds and he’s a “PLAYMAKER!” Then, we gonna do some of them RPO thangs!

All three of the quarterbacks you mention have potential, and my sense is all three will be in the conversation as Top 15 quarterbacks by the time of the 2019 NFL Draft in late April. I imagine sometime between now and then all three could take turns as the Best Quarterback in the Class, and I imagine they will all “rise and fall” to some degree. If I had to guess now, I think the Jaguars will like a couple of them enough to have a chance to get one at No. 7 overall. Which one? As of now, I’m still sticking with Haskins. I imagine that will change often between now and the draft.

Tom from Charleston, SC

What is happening with the coordinator/position coach search? There have been only two mentions to fill the offensive coordinator position and no reference for any of the position coaches. Is it that they are waiting for the Super Bowl to be played or that they can't find anyone interested in coming to Jacksonville? They have had longer than any other team to shop for a coordinator and the fact that they don't feel any urgency leads one to believe that it is the latter.

There have been three offensive coordinator candidates reported: Kubiak, Monken and Bevell. That doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the entire list – and just because there has been “no reference” for position coaches in no way means they’re not working on that issue, either. Remember: not everything about coaching searches becomes common knowledge. In fact, a lot about coaching searches never becomes publicly known. The fact that the public doesn’t know in no way indicates that the Jaguars have no urgency – and it in no way means they can’t find anyone interested. To suggest otherwise shows either unreasonable negativity or ignorance. I’ll assume in this case it’s the former.

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