ATLANTA, Ga. – Let's get to it …
Bill from Folkston, GA
Recent comments from you make me nervous. It seems you think there is a possibility of Marrone being retained. That is scary. If he is retained, I cannot see Caldwell being let go. I also cannot see any way that the things that have come to light happened in a vacuum. Caldwell and Marrone both had to have known about the fines and either bought off on them or decided not to do anything about them – even to the detriment of the team. If the atmosphere was so toxic that it was affecting the players' performance, and Marrone and Caldwell were not willing to go over Tom's head, that is bad. If the play was just because of the caliber of players that we have or the team not being properly prepared … well, that is on them also. I see no way Khan can keep the two of them without doing serious damage to the fan base's trust in him wanting to put a quality product on the field.
I'm sorry you're nervous. That can be nerve-wracking. I don't know what Khan will decide at season's end. I can tell you I don't have a vibe General Manager David Caldwell and/or Head Coach Doug Marrone definitely will be gone at season's end. As for your vacuum theory, it sort of misses the mark. While Marrone and Caldwell likely knew about most or all fines, it wasn't a case of Caldwell and Marrone "deciding" not to do anything. Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin had final say over football matters around the Jaguars. In the NFL structure, chain of command matters – particularly involving a personality such as Coughlin. It wasn't not bad to not go over Coughlin's head in that situation. It wasn't anything. It just wasn't done. Khan may well decide that your last point is correct – that the caliber of players of the preparation of those players wasn't good enough. If so, he could move a different direction from Marrone and/or Caldwell. But whatever he does, don't doubt him wanting to put a quality product on the field. Khan has spent huge money in free agency since buying the Jaguars to try to win. He hired Coughlin three years ago toward the same end. Whatever Khan decides at the end of the season, it will be about winning. It might not work. It doesn't always work in the NFL. But that's what it will be about.
Kevin from Jacksonville
If Shad Khan retains Marrone or Caldwell, I will not be renewing my season tickets. It is straight LUNACY that this is even a possibility. I am getting really sick of this franchise.
Tom from St. Johns, FL
This is not a smart-aleck question. I really want your insightful, honest answer. Is this offensive line really as horrible as it appears to fans and is it possible to elevate it to "just questionable" by 2020?
The Jaguars' offensive line isn't horrible. It's mysteriously inconsistent, and it absolutely would be possible to improve to "just questionable" by 2020. Center Brandon Linder is a very capable starter, and right tackle Jawaan Taylor has all the traits of a long-term starter. Left tackle Cam Robinson has been inconsistent this season, but some of that may be the aftereffects of a torn anterior cruciate ligament that cost him the last 13 games last season. It wouldn't be surprising if the Jaguars opted to upgrade both guard positions. You're supposed to be able to get starting guards easier than the other three line positions, so on that front the Jaguars shouldn't be in bad shape this offseason when addressing the offensive line.
Nick from Palatka, FL
Oh, mighty zone of the church of NFL prophecy. Will there be a replacement for TC as EVP of Football Ops or will the position just fade away?
Dan from Las Vegas, NV
Hi Zone, do you think is weird that nobody from the front office or the owner made any comments to challenge the statement NFLPA released early this week? I understand that there was some wrongdoing done, but it affected only two-to-three players out of the 90 they have on the rooster at the beginning of the year. If I was in their place, I would have filed lawsuit against them in order to protect the reputation of all employees who are working for the Jaguars.
Sometimes deeds are more important than words. Khan acted this week. As far as a lawsuit … based on what?
Abel from Jacksonville
How do you feel about the NFL turning too many of its players into spoiled, rich, entitled crybabies? It was so good back in the 60s and 70s when real men played football.
It's my experience that the spoiled, rich entitled crybabies are far outnumbered by comparatively decent – though admittedly, decent – people in the NFL. There are certainly cases when players are immature. In some of those cases, the players never have grown up because they have been told all their lives whatever they say or want is OK – and that nothing can ever be their fault. They therefore arrive in the NFL with an entitled sense of self. When that is compounded with millions, those players become difficult. When that is compounded by injuries of a mysterious – though sometimes rapidly curable – nature, then weirdness sometimes ensues. But these players are the high-profile outliers. The vast majority are not like this.
Andrew from 219
Lamar Jackson had bad games his rookie season, but the Baltimore Ravens committed to him and tailored their offense to his strengths. Why shouldn't the Jaguars do the same with Gardner Minshew II?
Perhaps they will.
KC from South Florida, FL
I, too, wouldn't be surprised if Khan retained both Caldwell and Marrone. But even if he does, something still has to change, right? After a season like this, you just can't bring the same people back and expect things to get better. Specifically, I'm talking about the defensive scheme and some position coaches.
Khan dismissed Coughlin. That's change on a significant level. This defensive scheme is fine. Does there need to be an adjustment/change after the season to fit personnel, direction? That's a legitimate question. Also, while it's tempting to focus on front office and coaching when discussing offseason changes, remember: the most significant changes involve players. Even if it is always coaching in the NFL.
Mike from Jacksonville
Donald Payne has had a few solid weeks in a row now for being thrown into the fire like he has been. Hope he stays around for some pretty solid depth at a depleted position.
Payne has performed admirably at middle linebacker since replacing Myles Jack after Jack was placed on injured reserve. I would say there's a good chance he can be a backup moving forward.
Hunter from New Hampshire
Hey O, been a Jags fan since the A-Rob, Hurns and Bortles Show and always knew this team had potential. After the 2017 season, I was expecting to see more from undrafted rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole, who grew into a special spot in my heart, how come he isn't playing and receiving as many snaps anymore when he clearly can still catch and make a difference on offense?
Cole is the Jaguars' fourth receiver. He typically plays when Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley or DJ Chark aren't available.
Jim from Neptune Beach, FL
Do you think TC's actions or the environment he fostered had anything to do with Telvin's retirement? And, what are the chances defensive end Calais Campbell could stay with the team another year by being cut, and then re-signing at a lower compensation to help the cap situation? or re-do his contract for a similar effect. He's such a presence on the team, both in the locker room and on the field.
Few people know exactly why Smith retired. I'm not one of those people. If a player opted to retire from football rather than be around Coughlin, it would say as much about that player's dedication to the sport as it would say about Coughlin. I'm not sure a team would want that player. I don't think Coughlin was why Smith retired.
Chris from Space City, TX
Minshew is a backup at best. No matter the "W" on Sunday or what happens the next two games, the Jaguars can't pass on a potential franchise quarterback for mediocre-to-poor play. We've seen too much of that lately. They must pick quarterback with their first pick of the draft, then linemen throughout. May want to throw in a tight end that can stay healthy and produce.
There's no guarantee that Minshew will start next season, and there's absolutely no guarantee they would pass on a franchise quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. As far as your draft approach of linemen, quarterback and tight end … yes, yes, a thousand times yes.