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O-Zone: What's next

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Joseph from Jacksonville

It’s SAD watching this team play. What’s even sadder is there’s no clear plan on how to fix this team. What’s the front office going to do if they’re still here?

There’s no such thing as a “clear” offseason plan to fix an NFL team unless the team is gifted a Hall-of-Fame quarterback in his prime, which rarely happens. You identify needs, and address them the best you can in free agency and the draft – ideally the draft. The Jaguars’ offseason will undoubtedly focus on addressing quarterback, offensive line and wide receiver – and perhaps tight end. There will be some departures on defense, but a lot of players will return. The good news is the team is not devoid of talent, particularly on defense. There is some heavier lifting to be done on offense – some strikingly heavy lifting, in fact. Stay tuned.

Clayton from Gambier, OH

Can't do anything offensively with this line ...

It ain’t easy.

Bill from Jacksonville

The issues on this team, especially the offense, go well beyond injuries, John. Well beyond. I hope the front office can see that. Unfortunately, I don't think they do. Thanks for reading!

Injuries being a major issue this season doesn’t mean there won’t be issues to address in the offseason. The two concepts can coexist. Even if the injuries hadn’t hurt this team, there was going to be offseason work to be done offensively. But every team has issues every offseason. Your email implies the Jaguars won’t address them. That’s an incorrect implication.

Ben from Jacksonville

We could put Tom Brady back there and it wouldn't help. Our offensive line is horrible and we have zero weapons to throw to. Also, can we please fire A.J Cann now? Wow, is he horrible... Sheesh.

Tom Brady would help – and don’t assume the offensive line will be horrible moving forward. The team right now is playing without left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell and center Brandon Linder. They will return next season. That’s not a horrible base from which to build.

Rob from Orange Park, FL

I guess that answered the question of whether we would have won if running back Leonard Fournette hadn't got kicked out of that other game. Can't score with or without him in the red zone.

Fournette not scoring from the 1 against the Titans Thursday obviously had nothing to do with whether he would have scored against the Bills a couple of weeks back. But no … Fournette’s not a cure-all for the Jaguars’ offense.

Al from Wayne, NJ

In retrospect, the firing of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett looks like a mistake. What offense can function when the top three offensive linemen are on injured reserve? We are playing guys who were cut midseason for not being able to play on the New York Giants, who have the worst offensive line in football. What I am trying to say is, it doesn’t matter who is playing on offense anymore. With a decimated line, nothing works.

Fair.

Richard from Irvine, CA

I know the offensive line is bad, but it sure feels like Fournette missed a lot of holes out there Thursday. Does he lack the vision to be a top running back in the league?

Fournette so far in his career has been far better at running through people and grinding out an extra yard or two with his toughness than he has been at making people miss. Missability and making those sorts of above-the-Xs-and-Os plays haven’t been his strengths yet. While Fournette is very good and critical to the offense, that’s one reason he can’t yet be considered an elite back.

Pradeep from Bangalore, India

Hey John, is it possible to use couple of our defense players on offense for few snaps? Like the Texans used J.J. Watt couple of seasons ago?

Yes. It’s possible. It’s gimmicky and not usually a game-changer for a franchise, but yeah … it’s possible.

Sonny from Orlando, FL

Do you think next year’s backup quarterback is on the roster today?

We’ll see. I doubt quarterback Blake Bortles will be on the roster, though that remains a possibility. If so, he almost certainly will be a backup. A more likely scenario involves Cody Kessler. There seems a good chance he will be on the roster. If the Jaguars draft a quarterback, perhaps Kessler could start temporarily until the drafted player is ready to start. If the Jaguars sign a veteran quarterback, it seems likely Kessler could be the backup.

Shannon from Jacksonville

Get Nick Foles. Is this even a possibility?

Sure. How much?

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison might be something special John.

That might alter the narrative that all players from the Jaguars’ 2018 NFL Draft class are horrible, but yes … rookie safety Ronnie Harrison does look he has the chance to turn into a very good player. That pretty much has been the feeling all season.

Scott from Atlanta, GA

What confuses me about this upcoming offseason: The appearance that BB5 is gone. Blake is exactly who we all thought he was when he got his extension. What changed? The offense got injured and we just proved he wasn't a "franchise" guy. Everyone knew that. I don't know what changed. The Bills game he was horrid, but he didn't do bad against the Eagles or Colts Part 1. So what changed? Why change direction drastically? Why not draft a rookie and let Bortles see if he can hold the rookie off for a bit, no?

When it’s time to move on from a starting quarterback, it’s usually time to move on. The Jaguars by benching Bortles for Cody Kessler signified that it’s time to move on. Perhaps Bortles will return. It’s not out of the question. But it’s doubtful.

Cliff from Orange Park, FL

True or false: if the defense played all season the way it played against the Colts, the Jags would be 8-4 or better and Hackett would still be the offensive coordinator and Bortles the quarterback now and for the foreseeable future.

If the Jaguars’ defense had played all season as it did against the Colts the Jaguars would be 12-0 and having the greatest defensive season in NFL history. That’s because the Jaguars shut out the Colts. The record is not the “fault” of the defense. The defense overall has been fine this season, with the major difference that it’s not playing with leads nearly as often as it did last season.

Don from Macclenny, FL

Someone asked if the Jags would look at Hunt and you answered no. If the question had been "Will ANY NFL team consider taking Hunt off of waivers?" wouldn't your answer be the same?

I don’t think a team will be interested in Hunt this season. I do expect he will play in the NFL again – quite possibly next season.

Rick from Panama City, FL

Does the hiring of administration and coaching staff figure into the salary cap? If not, does the hiring of McCarthy not seem feasible? Go Jags!

The hiring of administration and coaches do not figure into the salary cap. As far as former Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy is concerned, I don’t expect the Jaguars to part ways with Head Coach Doug Marrone – and I believe McCarthy will be a head coach somewhere in the NFL next season.

Greg from Section 122

Not to be contrary or mean but the repeated use of injuries as justification of our record is getting old. It's the NFL, you are going to get injuries. Let's just be honest we had a much less depth on our roster than we thought. Coupled with the fact we were very fortunate last year with some our wins, we over-achieved. Now we are back to reality. We can't be continuously successful in the NFL depending on defense. Eventually you have to be able score points because the other team will. Do you see a major retooling of the offense in the offseason given the fact we already are going be a new offensive coordinator? Eventually the Jags are going to have to accept it is a passing league and adapt. You can't win a horse race hoping your pony is faster. Hope that makes sense. Go get a QB Caldwell.

I’m not interested in “justifying” anything. I am interested in interpreting what has happened to the Jaguars this season as accurately as possible. The Jaguars were fifth in the NFL in points and sixth in the NFL in yards last season. They were ninth in the NFL in yards this season through four games and twice had scored 31 points. I understand that what has happened since makes people want to dismiss all that came before. That doesn’t change the fact that injuries were the major reason the offense went off the rails to the degree it did this season.

Kevin from Ponte Vedra, FL

Well, I guess the problem wasn't Hackett and Bortles! What now?

Now? Now, we dance.

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