O-Zone: Whining and complaining

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tom from Charleston, SC

Someone once told me "perception is reality." The perception with all that has happened around the Jaguars recently is we have an owner more involved and interested in profiting from his development projects than putting a winning team on the field. The Jaguars, as it feels, are a pawn to his game of developing downtown for a smooth multimillion-dollar gain. It has been said he wants to see how Dave and Doug do without Tom. Wanting to see how Doug fares without Tom makes sense. But Dave had "final say" prior to the arrival of Tom. That appears to show Dave was not performing up to expectations for years, necessitating a babysitter; Doug has yet to have a year without outside interference. Either way, responsibility for the Jaguars' failure belong to Khan. His failure to oversee the operation at every level falls squarely on Khan's lap. Please don't tell me Tom was hired for that purpose. It was Khan's responsibility to hold him in check. The time has come for Khan to step away from developing Jacksonville and concentrate on creating a team that makes the area proud. That is the perception and "perception is reality." Your thoughts?

First, your premise is incorrect. Perception is not reality; someone telling you that's the case doesn't make it true. Someone once told me burlap was a nice material for undergarments. This was incorrect, and I chose not to irritate myself walking around the rest of my days believing that person. As far as your thoughts on Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, here's the reality: he is far from alone as an owner who hires people to run football operations, then trusts them to do the job with minimal interference. And the narrative that Khan should focus on building the football team and concentrate less on developing Jacksonville – though commonly believed – is uninformed. Khan focusing less on developing Jacksonville would help the football team not one iota, because there is little throughout the course of a given workday that Khan could do to help winning. Is he supposed to scout? Sit in on offensive game-planning? Hang out in Head Coach Doug Marrone's office on Thursday morning and draw up exotic blitz schemes? Readjust the draft board while General Manager David Caldwell's getting a run in? Khan not only wouldn't be contributing were he doing these things, he likely would be counterproductive – and he absolutely realizes this. I also don't know if you're reading Khan's motivations correctly. While you say the Jaguars are a pawn in his multimillion-dollar gain, the reality is Khan's focus on developing downtown is to make the Jaguars work financially in a challengingly small market. People tend to roll their eyes at this but it's absolutely the case. Finally, Tom Coughlin was hired as executive vice president of football operations to run the football team. That's how the NFL works. That's the reality, whatever your definition. I can't control people's feelings about this. I can tell you this is how it is.

Cliff from Orange Park, FL

The Tennessee Titans appear to be the team we intended to be. Am I wrong?

No.

Stephen from 139

John, What are the CBA offseason rules for the players with regards to team contact? I know everything is voluntary and the team can't require anything, but can a player use the facility? Can they meet (if they want) with the position/head coach? What about utilizing the training staff? I guess another way to phrase this, if a player wants to "hang" with the team and resources, can he?

The Collective Bargaining Agreement allows players to use the team's facility for training and rehabilitation throughout the offseason. They may not talk football with coaches until the offseason program begins in April. Preventing players from talking football with coaches is an unfortunate part of the rule, and I have spoken with players who don't like that part because it prevents them from perhaps consulting with a coach while studying alone in the offseason. At the same time, it's a necessary part of the rule because – believe it or not – some coaches or football officials might be tempted to bend rules if not definitively stated. I can't think of any specific examples, but it has been known to happen.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Hey, John: "Pay the Yan" sounds great until you consider the ramifications. If paying Yannick enough that he signs a long-term deal means another season of safety Jarrod Wilson and linebacker Quincy Williams in the starting lineup, then count me out. No way does Yannick and his eight sacks and over-pursuit on run plays make up for all the blown coverages by those two. Trade him, release him … whatever. But too many upgrades are needed on this defense to invest it in one player. What say you?

I say the Jaguars need to explore every possibility of reaching a contract extension with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue that makes sense – i.e., in the $19-20 million range. Too far beyond that? We'll see.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

What is the biggest part of Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan's game that needs to improve? (Outside of consistency)

Ability to get off blocks and make instinctive plays. (But consistency is the biggest issue).

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

Can the team offer employment to a player after their playing days as an incentive to play for less of a salary when the team has a salary-cap problem? If a player accepted that kind of offer, it would not count against the salary cap like other members of the executive staff, correct?

No. Teams cannot do this. It's circumvention of the salary cap, and it would lead to penalties from the league if discovered.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

Would quarterback Gardner Minshew II look good on a real team?

I understand the question, and I understand the frustration of Jaguars fans. But let's not forget: The Jaguars went 6-10 this past season and have the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. That means they were far from being the NFL's worst team. I'm not writing this to imply their 2019 season was remotely good enough. I am saying it's incorrect to paint this franchise as it stands currently as the NFL's worst situation.

Abel from Jacksonville

Do you think the Cincinnati Bengals would trade their first pick for Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles and the Jaguars' two first-round picks?

I realize I'm going to get many questions about trading to No. 1 overall with the Bengals, likely with the idea of trading for Louisiana State quarterback Joe Burrow. I doubt the Bengals would make the trade because they need a quarterback. If Burrow is good enough for the Jaguars to trade the equity you suggest, why would the Bengals make the trade?

Ken from Fort Lauderdale, FL

Would you provide your thoughts and insight on whether Bryan has played to expectation and whether you believe he was worthy of a pick so high? Similarly, do you think he still has a lot of upside?

No, Bryan in two NFL seasons hasn't played to the expectations of a late-first-round selection. So far, he has not been worthy of the selection. Now, it's also true that he hasn't been a bust to the degree many fans believe. He was a late first-round selection and not a Top 10 selection – and late first-round selections are in no way can't-miss prospects. As for his upside, he played very well in the regular-season finale against Indianapolis. Perhaps that's a good sign of what's to come.

Chris from Roseville, CA

Would Boselli have a better chance to get the gold jacket if the Jaguars were playing better and might he already be in if we followed up 2017 with similar years? It seems like a lot of Jaguars buzz and media attention could only help his case, but as you pointed out with the Minshew and Josh Allen ROY snubs, it seems to be part of playing in Jacksonville to get overlooked.

The Jaguars playing better the last couple of years couldn't have hurt former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli's Pro Hall of Fame chances, but I get no feeling it would have helped. I've spoken with many voters in recent years. Those who doubt Boselli's credentials aren't anti-Jacksonville. They're concerned about the length of his career – and many simply favor other candidates.

Dave from North Kingstown, RI

O: What's the plan for coverage at the Senior Bowl? And who will be heading down for the Jags to scout? Let's get 2020 going!!!

We'll talk ball. Scouts. Yes!!

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

You can whine all you want about players. New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has a bunch of no name guys on defense year after year and they are almost very effective when needed to help the team win.

You're right. It's never players. It's always coaching in the NFL. I believe I've been very consistent on this over the years.

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