O-Zone: A little pizazz

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Maybe I'm seeing something that isn't there. I generally try to give players the benefit of the doubt. But there seemed to be some frustration among the defensive players toward cornerback Jalen Ramsey this week. Defensive tackle Abry Jones said Jalen would be ready "If he decides to play." Cornerback D.J. Hayden seemed to be choosing his words carefully, then said it was good to see Jalen's "face." I think the defense is getting frustrated with what they feel like are antics from him, and they're ready for him to man up and do his job. Do you perceive tension developing between Ramsey and his teammates?

I don’t sense tension or frustration from teammates toward Ramsey as much as I sense indifference. I sense Ramsey’s teammates would like him on the field – and that they are as aware of the weird, lingering, meandering nature of the story as the rest of us. That doesn’t mean they’re distracted by it. It doesn’t mean they’re mad at Ramsey. It doesn’t mean they’re frustrated. I honestly don’t get the feeling they’re emotionally invested in the story either way. They understand Ramsey. They have been around him for the past few years. They know there’s going to be off-field stuff with Ramsey. They know there are going to be antics. It doesn’t bother them or not bother them. It’s there and it’s reality, and they understand it’s probably not going to change. They know they’re better with him on the field and they would like to see him on it, but they’re not going to get upset about it if it doesn’t happen.

Nathan Paying Rent in Utah, USA

Zone, does Gardner have bonus clauses in his contract? Like for instance: games started, consecutive games without an interception, consecutive games with multiple touchdowns thrown, having a hoodie sweatshirt with his name and facial likeness on it as a birthday gift for this fan? Pay the man!

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II was a sixth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he’s therefore playing on standard rookie contract. There are no special clauses or bonuses triggered with performance. He will be eligible to sign an extension following the 2021 season because that will be his third NFL season, which is when teams may begin negotiating extensions with drafted players.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

The locker room seems to be in a better position mentally than it has been for years. I can't see how the Ramsey drama won't eventually start to leak into the locker room. Guess my question is, you are on the inside. Do you see this eventually becoming a problem for the team and its chemistry?

Absolutely not.

Bough from Pomona Park

Now Daniel Jones looks like a rookie. Can't say the same about Minshew. Can you remind me where Jones was drafted?

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who was selected No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, has played well for a rookie most of the season. He was playing the New England Patriots on Thursday, and the Patriots are one of the NFL’s best defenses. Having a “rookie” game with a few errors in that sense wasn’t a shock. But no … Minshew hasn’t yet looked like a rookie.

James from Phoenix, AZ

I think an underrated part of our defense from 2017 that gets overlooked is the fact that Poz was in the middle of the defense in our base defense. Say what you want about the man, but he knew the run fits and could sniff out the right place to be in the run game and I think that is the reason our run defense has gotten progressively worse the last two years. Jack is a great cover linebacker and will continue to grow into the middle linebacker position, but his inability to read the run correctly has been a big liability. My question: What can we do to fix it in the short and long term? I know it’s a long shot, but any chance we bring Poz or another run-stuffing middle linebacker in that can be there for the run but we pull out for the nickel defense? Same type of thing we did in 2017 and we haven’t done since.

Former middle linebacker Paul Posluszny’s presence against the run indeed was underrated in 2017, and it was wrongly underestimated by many Jaguars observers for a long time. But Posluszny’s not going to return. He’s retired, and he plans to stay that way.

Ray from Tallahassee, FL

I just renamed my wifi network O-Zone. One fer John!

I’m honored and creeped out at the same time and I like it.

Antony from Columbia, SC

O, Minshew II does many things well, but the thing that stands out the most to me as a seemingly elite strength that seems to be "his thing" that many other quarterbacks don't do as much is the way he throws the go route. His ability to put the ball on the outside shoulder of the receiver on those routes when the defender is covering them very closely is amazing to me. He's not throwing it completely out in front of the receiver when he has a step on the cornerback, and he's not throwing a traditional "back-shoulder" throw, either. It seems to be something in-between, and it has been extremely effective.

Minshew has been good in a lot of areas, but his deep accuracy indeed has been exceptional.

Tom from Charleston, SC

After last year and the first five games of this year, it is becoming obvious that this team doesn't play well in gap and zone coverage. You continue to try to spin 2017 as proof that it is the right fit. 2017 was an anomaly and 2018 and 2019 are reality. You continue to point out that players are out of position. So tell us, are the players just not smart enough for this scheme or are they not talented enough? If the issues are so "fixable" explain why they are not being fixed? If Coughlin and Caldwell hadn't screwed the cap, there would have been money to keep the 2017 defense (that played much more man coverage) intact.

You’re right. The Jaguars were good defensively in 2018 and 2016, and they were very good defensively in 2017. As far how Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and General Manager David Caldwell “screwed up the cap” … well, lo and behold: That unit currently is missing linebacker Telvin Smith, linebacker Paul Posluszny, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and safety Barry Church from the 2017 team. Smith walked away from the NFL this past offseason and Posluszny retired after 2017. Church is out of the league. Ramsey has two years remaining on his contract, so even if money is the reason he’s not playing, it’s hard to call that “mismanagement.” Jackson also wasn’t the player in 2018 that he was in 2017 and he was released this past offseason. So, yes: the Jaguars essentially lost Gipson this season for cap reasons, and the loss of that one safety is proof positive that the Jaguars hurt their defense by mismanaging the salary cap and trying to fit players into a system that they have played so poorly that they only have ranked in the Top 10 in total defense for three consecutive seasons. Good eye.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

It’s always coaching in the NFL. The Colts played the exact same scheme as we did against the Kansas City Chiefs. Their defense just has a lot more talent than ours. Oh wait ... in reality, there are a number of different reasons for the different outcomes. But some of that definitely has to do with coaching. You can’t play man every play. We know this, but the Colts played man about 75 percent of the time after doing so for about a third of the time in their previous games. Our coaches should have been better.

You’re right. People absolutely believe that coaching always should have been better and can never believe that players sometimes don’t carry out assignments that otherwise could have worked. I couldn’t agree more.

Chris from Nashville, TN

I'll take a team that feels terrible and wins (if that exists) over a team that "feels good" and loses perpetually. How about stringing together a few wins before catching all these cute feelings?

You’re right. The Jaguars do have a different feeling this year than last year, and it absolutely matters that the players still believe in what’s going on. And you’re right that people who understand the NFL realize this difference is important. I’ve done a good job of pointing that out this week. Thanks for noticing this.

Chris from Nashville, TN

Just trying to bring a little pizazz, O! People like the snarky you. Keep up the bad work.

Shut up.

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