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O-Zone: Zowie

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tony from the Land of Confusion

You and others are saying that Blake would have been fine without the injuries on offense this season, but I'm not so sure. It was the things he did on his own that concerned me, like wobbling passes into the dirt or off people's helmets from a clean pocket or throwing layups into triple coverage. Doesn't matter at this point, though, so let's all just pull a John Henderson, welcome our new quarterback, and move on. #DTWD

I don’t know that Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles would have been “fine” without the injuries this season, and I’m not sure I’ve written or said that. I have written and said the Jaguars’ offense as a whole with Bortles starting would have been fine. That’s because I imagine Bortles would have been about the same this season as he was last season – inconsistent, but good enough to win with a functioning running game, healthy offensive line and good defense. That’s what he was last season and that’s where he was for four games this season – and there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t have been close to that the rest of this season. But you’re correct; the Jaguars now must move on. They used the above-referenced approached the past two seasons: It worked last season when they stayed relatively healthy; it didn’t work this season when they didn’t stay healthy. Could it work again? Sure, but my guess is the Jaguars will address quarterback in the draft, restructure the defense at least somewhat and try to address tight end, offensive line and wide receiver best they can. They’re probably at least a season from being a “dynamic” passing offense. But can they be better enough in the passing game next season to complement what should be an improved running game with the offensive line healthier? Can the defense still be good? Yes. Can that be enough to be more competitive? We’ll see.

Chuck from Spanish Fort, AL

Do league rules prohibit a franchise from purchasing a player’s contract from a non-NFL team –i.e., Jags buy Kyler Murray’s contract from the Oakland A’s?

It doesn’t work that way. Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray will have to be drafted into the NFL.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

They say a team takes the personality of its leader. This is Jalen Ramsey's team. Keep Marrone and trade Ramsey! Agree.

Keep both. There’s starting to be an odd narrative that cornerback Jalen Ramsey is a problem on this team. That’s a narrative being pushed by a lot of people who aren’t around the organization a lot. Ramsey had a really bad game a few weeks back in Indianapolis, and he had some bad body language in that game. He responded with a really good game the following week against Pittsburgh and he has been much better since. I don’t know that he’s ever going to be a player who “says all the right things in every situation” the way a player such as defensive end Calais Campbell does. But not every player has to be Campbell. It’s hard to say what the future holds for this organization. When you lose the way the Jaguars have lost this season, a lot of changes often get made. But franchises need to be very careful ridding themselves of players such as Ramsey. They’re rare, and they don’t come along very often.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Do you think the Jaguars regret not drafting Lamar Jackson yet? He’s more mobile than Bortles as well as more accurate. So, by the Jaguars’ reasoning for playing Bortles so long, Jackson likely would have given the Jaguars the best chance to win. It really feels like the team missed the mark on this one, regardless of injuries to the offensive line.

OK. We’ll see.

Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico

We must be realistic: this is a weak quarterback draft. Drafting a guy without talent caused years of pain (Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert....) However, there were some guys available in that drafts that could help us at that time (Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, J.J. Watt). Do you think that we are in the same situation this year?

It’s possible. The Jaguars must be careful not to draft a quarterback they don’t really love just because they feel they must draft a quarterback. It’s a tricky spot.

Hank from Toms River, NJ

Mr. O, aside from safety Barry Church, can we hold on to the rest of the defensive backs? Assuming we lose two defensive linemen at the end of the season.

Yes.

Jason from Jacksonville

So, I was looking at the upcoming free agent and rookie quarterbacks and there really aren't many viable options there. Not sure what we’re going to do?

Just because observers don’t see “viable options” in December doesn’t mean they’re not there or won’t be there. There will be options, and the odds are that a few of them will turn out to be viable. Figuring the best one is the organization’s task in the coming months.

Blake from Minot, SD

Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will likely do good things in this league. It’s really too bad the Jags decided to let him go. This season was not his fault.

Agreed.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

Dear Shad Khan, how much money would it take to get Nick Saban here? And are you willing to pay it?

I don’t pretend to answer for Khan, but I don’t know this option would be as awesome as your email implies. Saban is perhaps the greatest coach in college football history, but he already coached in the NFL once – with the Miami Dolphins. It didn’t go great. College and professional football are different, dramatically so. What works at one level doesn’t always work as well at another.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs. FL

It seems clear our quarterback for 2019 isn’t on the current roster. You usually avoid hypotheticals, but … if the Jaguars go after Teddy Bridgewater, he would likely command a high price. If that were the case, what is the better option financially: Blake Bortles being traded or being released?

Trading Bortles in the offseason is the Jaguars’ best option because the other team would assume Bortles’ contract and cap ramifications. That’s very unlikely.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

It may be the Jaguars’ purpose this season has been to serve as a warning to other teams. See kids this is what could happen to you!! You could end up playing like a Jaguar. I mean seriously when your performance is so bad, it serves as a cautionary tale on ESPN. That's bad. So what happens now? Are we looking at another "rebuild"?

What?

James from Houston, TX

So ... we’re gonna blow this all up and start from the ground up, yeah?

I don’t get the sense we’re there yet. I’m not saying it won’t happen, or that we’re not closer than we were last week, but I don’t get the sense we’re there. Yet.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

What makes anyone think grabbing a quarterback in Round 1 this year is a good idea? This is a crappy class for quarterbacks. Grab a wide receiver or offensive lineman in the first round and take a quarterback in the second. Next year's quarterback class will have WAY more talent. If this year's Round 2 pick doesn't work out, grab a guy in the first round next year or do both anyway to get good competition/depth. Grab a veteran on the cheap and look for serviceable play. No sense in bringing in a rookie to save the franchise when the pieces just aren't there for the rookie to succeed.

Realistically, it will be very difficult for the Jaguars give up on their starting quarterback one year and not draft one on the first round the following offseason. First, veterans on the “cheap” usually aren’t that cheap. Also, if you draft a quarterback in the second round next offseason and he doesn’t start immediately he will have less than a season to show if he’s the long-term answer. I doubt the Jaguars will take the approach this offseason that the pieces aren’t there to win next season. This team is 4-9, but at least four of those losses could have/should have been victories. This is a league with slim margins for errors in which teams’ fortunes often vary dramatically from one season to the next. My guess is the Jaguars will approach the offseason assuming their fortunes can swing back to the winning direction quickly.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, OK here we go. Short, sweet, and to the point. BB ... Mmh. Wide Receivers ... meh. O-Line … meh. Coaching Staff ... meh. What our long-suffering franchise needs is a Zowie!! Draft looks light in quarterbacks. We need to maybe overpay and get a veteran in Free agency. Draft we need O-Linemen. Go Jags.

Hey, one for Zowie!

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