JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jason from Jacksonville
Caldwell gets fired and Press Taylor gets praised. Doug has gotta be kidding us. The offense regressed to middle of the pack stats this year and failed the eye test. What's going on?
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson has made major changes to his staff in the last two days, with the most major being the dismissal of Mike Caldwell, the Jaguars' defensive coordinator the past two seasons. Pederson spoke to the media on Monday afternoon before the dismissals were announced, so he has offered no insight into "what's going on" with the moves. When he discussed offensive coordinator Press Taylor Monday, he said Taylor did a good job this past season and focused more on season-long issues such as turnovers, pre-snap penalties and other self-inflicted mistakes when discussing offensive struggles. Injuries were also an issue on offense throughout the season. Pederson's thoughts in this area aren't surprising. He called plays in the first half of games in 2022 and Taylor called them in the second halves, with Taylor taking the duties full time this season. Pederson throughout the season consistently said he was happy with Taylor's performance, which makes sense. The two game-planned and called plays together in 2022, and Pederson clearly believed Taylor's approach was essentially in lock step with his own. With Pederson being an offensive coach, it stands to reason that his input into plays and approach remains heavy – and it stands to reason he was therefore fine with the offensive approach this season.
Cary from Montreal, Quebec
Given the mass layoffs of defensive coaches, Doug was obviously not pleased with that side of the ball. My feeling is he'll look for an experienced coordinator this time around. What do you think? Also seems a bit odd how in the morning he said he was going to take time to evaluate everything, then at night the hammer fell. Just saying.
I wouldn't be surprised if Pederson went for an "experienced" defensive coordinator with this hire. Caldwell never had been a coordinator before taking the position with the Jaguars in 2022, and head coaches often go a different philosophical direction when making changes. As for the timing of the announcement … Pederson indeed said on Monday afternoon he was going to take time to evaluate everything just hours before announcing the changes. Apparently an NFL head coach wasn't completely forthright with the media on something. It's not particularly unusual. Coaches often want to be as low-key as possible around such dismissals. Not that low-key is possible in the NFL these days. But that likely was the intent.
Mark from Archer
Zone, I hope offensive coordinator Press Taylor is let go also. Too many games this season the offense was horrible, too. Putting it all on the defense is wrong.
I fully expect Taylor to be the Jaguars' offensive coordinator next season.
Oscar from Palm Coast, FL
Big O, we are starting to look like the Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles days, better start looking at quarterbacks too just in case.
As Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said Monday, this is going to be an offseason filled with opinions on him – and a lot of those opinions will be along these lines. I get it, and I expect this will be a near-daily O-Zone topic. But to say that Lawrence is similar to Gabbert and Bortles is pretty extreme – and the thought here is it's not accurate. Lawrence has had too many turnovers in three seasons. There's no question that's an issue. But he also had stretches of really good play. I thought he was making significant progress this season until he sustained a high-ankle sprain in Week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He struggled a lot after that. Time will tell on this topic, but I expect Lawrence to be the Jaguars' starter for a long time and I expect that to be the franchise's operating approach moving forward.
Frank from Jacksonville
Longest offseason of Trevor's career?
Carol from St Johns
Is there any possibility Shad will look at Trent's building of this roster? Please, please tell me yes!
I think Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is looking at everything from General Manager Trent Baalke to Pederson to the entire operation. That's the postseason norm, and the urgency of such things increases when a season ends the way this past Jaguars season ended.
Jerad from Needles
I hope we get Hard Knocks this offseason. Maybe when I see these players actually care with my own eyes I will believe it. How does a team go about being featured?
It draws the short straw.
_Chuck from OP South _
I would love to be proved wrong, but ever since we got Trevor, I said I saw Jeff George written all over him. He's that phenomenally gifted player who makes these amazing throws that most players can't make, but consistently makes that soul-crushing turnover that ensures a loss. We can't blame it on former Head Coach Urban Meyer or injury. He has done consistently and does not show any reason to believe it's going to get better.
This is fair. It's also fair to remember that interceptions/turnovers are an area in which quarterbacks can improve. Lawrence must improve here. He undoubtedly will get a chance to do so. It has become the storyline that will define his career. Stay tuned.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ
Zone. Apparently it is always about coaching.
Cliff from Callahan
I'm sorry, but the Jaguars have never looked like a "veteran, smart team" this year except in brief spurts during some games. They just never passed the eye test, the first half of the year they looked like an inconsistent, lucky team. The second half ... they just looked like a consistently bad team. I'm no coach, I'm not even going to pretend I know what's wrong, but it sure ain't working.
I wrote often that I thought the Jaguars looked like a smart, veteran team for the first three months of the season. I believed that because they were winning close games. They were playing good defense. They were forcing turnovers. They were 8-3. They were two-and-a-half games in first place. They were making clutch plays late. To me, that looked like a team that could win big late-season games and postseason games. You saw something different. The Jaguars lost five of their last six games. You were right. I was wrong. That's fine. Enjoy the win.
Sean from Jacksonville
What do you call a bunch of Jaguars fans in the basement? A whine cellar.
I snickered at this. But on a serious note, the Jaguars lost five of their last six games to miss the postseason. There were various reasons and happenings that contributed to the collapse. The Jaguars lost to a lot of good teams during that stretch. That stretch doesn't mean everything about the franchise sucks just as a five-game winning streak early in the season didn't mean everything was great. But the bottom line was a season of hope in a six-week span turned into a disaster. How in the world do we expect fans not to complain?
Josh from New Milford, CT
This team has brought nothing but pain and misery for more than half my life. I'm done with them. See you in August.
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL
You asked "if a player continues to make mistakes, is that on the coach?" I remember former Head Coach Gus Bradley after he was fired expressing some regret that he believed in players too much and didn't make changes when players consistently didn't follow their assignments. That feels like the situation here. Yes, these players are certainly responsible and hopefully a lot of them will be replaced this offseason. But if they "continue to make mistakes" a big portion of blame also needs to be placed on the coaches who keep putting them on the field and/or the general manager who signed them. If they consistently don't fill the correct gap or cover the right receiver, then they can't possibly give the team the best chance to win or shouldn't still be on the team.
James from Socorro, NM
Which season do you think was more surprising after recent division titles: losing seven straight in 2018, or finishing 1-5 in 2023?
I would go with the finish in 2023 as more surprising. That may because it's fresher in the memory. But while the 2018 team started 3-1, once it sustained a string of injuries and losses in Week 5, it never seemed close to contending. The 2023 team from this view seemed like a team that was maturing into a team that could win important, late-season games with a strong defense and timely offense. This view of the team now seems silly, but that was how I saw it. That it didn't end the season that way really surprised me.
Kathy from Jacksonville FL
Is this what "almost there" looks like or "almost not there?"