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O-Zone: A bold prediction

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF, looking at the Jaguars' stat line and other clubs, it looks like there are far more lousy defensive ball clubs this year than there were last year. Do you think the lack of a preseason hurt defenses more than offenses, or is this season one of just better offense? Looking ahead to next year, besides the hope for a franchise quarterback, do we just need to go all-in on defense? With our current offense and an average defense, we would probably be wild-card contenders. What do you say, KOAF?

I think the lack of preseason contributed to this. I also think the rules promoting offense and player safety have made playing defense so difficult and skewed the game so toward offense that we must reassess how we judge defenses. This is not to say the Jaguars' defense is good this season. It's not. But there certainly is a reason that there are so many "bad defenses" in the NFL right now. Think of it: There are currently a mindblowing number of "great" NFL quarterbacks. There are also more rookie quarterbacks entering the NFL and playing at a high level more quickly than ever before. I suppose it's possible that the human race suddenly started producing more great quarterbacks, but it's more likely that it's just easier to play quarterback – and play offense – in the NFL than ever has been the case. And yes: I expect the Jaguars' offseason – aside from quarterback and tight end – to be heavy on defense.

Logan from Wichita, KS

It's that time of year again. The games already mean absolutely nothing for us because at one and whatever the playoffs are impossible since we are not in the NFC East. If Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and QB Prospect No. 3 are all off the board, what position do we go after? Or do we trade down for picks in 2022 since we can't win again until 2027 apparently anyway?

The Jaguars have some "going to do" in the second half of the season if they're going to get in position to not have one of the top three selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. Either way, I would be surprised if the Jaguars don't use their first selection in the draft on a quarterback.

Howard from Homestead, fl

This piped-in crowd noise is getting ridiculous. Am I really to believe that fans cheer just as loudly during instant replay and continue cheering just as loudly when the call goes against their team? Some of these teams just turn it on and leave it on with no regards to what is actually happening on the field. It's embarrassing.

I hadn't noticed it all that much, certainly not to the point of feeling embarrassed over something over which I had no say or control.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

John, thoughts on rookie defensive tackle Doug Costin's play so far? I haven't heard his name called much, but apparently Pro Football Focus has a solid grade on him, and a great grade for this past game.

Costin, an undrafted free agent from Miami of Ohio, has played well enough and impressed coaches enough to start against the Houston Texans last week. He also played well enough to make the team as an undrafted free agent – and for the team to keep him on the active roster all season for fear of losing him to another team. He played well against the Texans – very well, in fact. He will be out with a concussion this week, but I expect him to start over Taven Bryan moving forward when healthy.

Bryan from Reston, VA

O-Meister — If the delay-of-game rule is bad for the league or they don't want to enforce it for the sake of overall game day experience, that's fine, but remove or change the rule. As long as it's part of the rules, they should find a way to enforce it every single time.

I understand the sentiment. I also understand we live in an age where everything must be electronically decided and have an absolute. I also know that you can't allow teams an infinite time between plays, just as I know to call delay of game every time the clock hits exactly zero by having some electronic buzzer sound would get tedious very quickly. I expect this will annoy people on occasion and I expect it will be an issue once or twice a season. But I don't expect it will be annoying or issue enough for the rule to be changed – or for it to be a reviewable play.

Brandon from Louisville, KY

When it comes to passes being batted at the line, doesn't every QB have this? I've seen it in Tom Brady, Drew Brees and more. Why is it a significant topic of discussion for scouting quarterbacks?

Because everything is a topic of discussion when scouting quarterbacks.

Adam from Wescosville, PA

In reference to the reader who wrote in about choosing the wrong team, I would argue that we can't choose who we love, even NFL teams.


Greg from Boise, ID

So, is Gardner Minshew II having a sophomore slump, or do we know for sure what we have with him? It's really hard to tell what we have for sure with a player the first and second years, so does he get another year as the starter, or does General Manager David Caldwell draft one with the Jags' first pick and keep Minshew on the roster for a true quarterback competition, and would rookie quarterback Jake Luton be in on that as well, or would the new quarterback automatically be the No. 1?

It's hard to call Minshew's season this season a sophomore slump; he's playing similarly to how he played last season. He had a lot of encouraging and good moments last season mixed in with an equal number of concerning and inconsistent moments. Many of the issues that caused him to struggle this season were concerns entering the season and were the major questions he needed to answer. I haven't the foggiest idea who will be making the decisions about the Jaguars' future next season. Perhaps it will be Caldwell, but only Jaguars Owner Shad Khan knows that. I expect the Jaguars' first selection in the 2021 NFL Draft will be a quarterback. I don't know how soon that player would start, but he certainly would be drafted with the idea that he will be the quarterback sooner rather than later.

Jaginator from (formerly of) Section 124 -

They believed they could win with this roster." I seriously wonder how bad a roster would have to be for them to not believe they could win with it.


Royce from Jacksonville

GM Dave in eight seasons has failed at filling the most important position on the team quarterback, he has failed at creating a culture that players want to be a part of unless they are injured or grossly overpaid or both. Does doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome apply here?

Caldwell didn't make final decisions from 2017-2019. That always must be noted when discussing his "eight" seasons as general manager. We've discussed ad nauseum in this space that the early part of his career here was about building and that Tom Coughlin's impact as Executive Vice President of Football Operations for three seasons makes it difficult to fairly evaluate Caldwell. The people running the Jaguars – Caldwell included – entered this season believing they needed to win in 2020 to be part of the plan moving forward. I don't know what will happen after the season.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

Head Coach Doug Marrone now has been in charge of two seven-game losing streaks. Players or coaching?

Many, many things.

Jimsure from DBS

So the Packers are a two-touchdown favorite over us, this doesn't sound like a parity league at all. Next week may be even worse with the Steelers. Do you believe we will actually win another game this year?

Parity is an NFL myth and has been since I can remember. I do think the Jaguars will win again this season, though I can't say for sure which one.

Biff from Jacksonville

So, I was doing some research. The Packers lead the head-to-head series 4-2. The last time the teams played was on 9/11 in 2016, in Jacksonville, with Green Bay winning 27-23. The largest margin of victory was 10 points, a Packers 24-14 win in Jacksonville's inaugural season. The last Jaguars victory was a 2008 20-16 come-from-behind win in Green Bay. In that game, MJD scored on a two-yard run with just under two minutes to play. The interesting thing about this series is pattern of victories. The Packers won two, the Jaguars won two, then the Packers won two. Does this mean the Jaguars are going to win this weekend?

Sure, go with that.