O-Zone: A place to start

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Adam from St. Johns, FL

With all the talk about the offensive line and the talk about the bad plays versus others, not one quarterback had time to throw and they couldn't run when they wanted to. So, just how did they perform better than we think? I know we're fans and stupid, but come on. When are these guys going to be expected to perform instead of having excuses made for them? Coach Marrone hasn't yet said they weren't good enough last year and that's what's got everyone confused. Does this team like to win, or just constantly not understand what we see game in, game out? Again: I know we're fans and are stupid like you like to point out, but seriously, this has become ridiculous. Call it like it is, they sucked last year.

I guess I don't quite know what's expected here, Alan – at least realistically. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has said multiple times this offseason that the offensive line must improve from how it played last season, and he has said he believes the personnel in place is capable of doing that. Do we really expect the head coach to go beyond that and publicly criticize players on the team? What coach would do that? Toward what end? And of course the Jaguars want to win. Just because they have made different decisions than you might make doesn't make that not true, though I sense perhaps you know that. And while I have pointed out that fans may not understand how the team approaches something, I've never written that they were stupid. Fans aren't supposed to agree with everything the team does. And they're not supposed to understand everything to the level that people who run teams do. If fans did understand the game to that level, there would be no reason for forums such as this. What I have done – and what I will continue to do – is answer readers' questions to the best of my availability. The readers, as you well know, won't always like the answer. And they may not even like the writer, likeable and knowledgeable though he may be.

Pat from Duval

With a deep Jaguars cornerback rookie class, what are the chances of Tre Herndon remaining a starter? He looked really good at some points last year.

It would be really surprising if Jaguars rookie CJ Henderson didn't start at one cornerback position this season. It would be as surprising if Herndon didn't start on the other side; he played better than any cornerback on the team last season and the team expects him to start.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

What percentage of "arm talent" is actually technique rather than physical ability?

Twenty-three.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL

I think the more specific question Gabe was trying to ask, would be, what's the difference between the Mike and Jack inside LB positions?

This refers to the ongoing 3-4/4-3 defense discussion here in the O-Zone, and answers on this remain topic somewhat theoretical until the Jaguars actually discuss more details of their plans for next season. But in a standard 3-4, the two inside linebackers are typically middle and weak-side backers. Newly-signed middle linebacker Joe Schobert would play the middle and Jack would play the weak side. But remember: The Jaguars' defense in 2020 is going to essentially be the same scheme as years past with the personnel perhaps dictating that different packages are played from it. That's how the team is approaching it, outside discussion notwithstanding,

John from Jacksonville

Your work reminds me of the great saying, "Some people have a way with words ... some people not have way." Shoot, I forgot to put that in the form of a question!

I studied with the Maharishi for many years, and really didn't learn that much. But one thing he taught me I'll never forget: "Always …" No, wait … "Never …" No, wait … it was "ALWAYS carry a litter bag in your car. It doesn't take up much room. And if it gets full, you can toss it out the window."

Alan from Jacksonville

I see the salary info for Mike Glennon finally showed up on Spotrac and I was pleased to see we are only paying him slightly more than the league minimum with a one-year salary plus roster bonus of $1.16 million. As a group, Jags quarterbacks account for only $2.4 million a year. I guess that's a good thing ... right?

It is if quarterback Gardner Minshew II is good.

Todd from Summerville

I just read your comment "When you work with words, words are your work." I heard this quote from Don Knotts on The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. NICE!

I attribute the quote to my former editor at the Florida Times-Union Nico Van Thyn. But he probably heard it from someone who probably heard from someone who probably heard it from Knotts. There are far worse people from whom to hear things.

Taylor from Columbia, MD

Nick Foles was doomed to fail. In order to be a long-term Jaguars starting quarterback you must have a name starting with G, B, or M: Steve Beuerlein, Mark Brunell, David Garrard, Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles, Gardner Minshew.

You're reaching a bit with Stevie B, but I feel you.

John from Cape May Courthouse

Here's a scenario for you, John: the 2020 season has just ended and the Jags finish with the same record they had in 2019, 6-10. Minshew has the exact same statistics in 2020 as he did in 2019, in terms of yards, touchdowns, turnovers, completion percentage, etc. Minshew, in this scenario, still has the same struggles in 2020 as he did in 2019. Lack of red-zone production, struggles on third down, pocket awareness, reading defenses, lack of first half scoring and the offense going long stretches of games without scoring. In this scenario, do the Jags continue with Minshew in 2021 or do they look to draft a quarterback in the first round in the 2021 draft?

Minshew showed many signs of being very good in 2019, but he also had areas upon which he clearly needed to improve to be a franchise – i.e., consistent winning – NFL quarterback. If he stays the same next season and your scenario occurs, the Jaguars probably will be much more inclined to select a quarterback early in the 2021 NFL Draft than they were in 2020.

Sean from Jacksonville

I hope you don't mind if I only glance at the Jaguars for a little while as a former "loves-his-teammates" player starts contract negotiations. Free entertainment is usually good.

No problem.

KC from Orlando, FL

Hey John, I have always wondered, are NFL players on the same pay schedule as the average Joe? Meaning, do they get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month? Or do they weekly after every game? What about in the offseason?

NFL players get paid their salary by the week, per game. This is how it is because players get released and acquired throughout the season, so paying them on another schedule would make no sense. They don't earn a salary in the offseason, though veteran players often receive workout and reporting bonuses and players often receive bonuses upon signing. Veterans and rookies also receive a per diem when they participate in the offseason program, minicamp and training vamp.

Diego from South of Tierra Del Diego – than you, Larry Merchamt

Jack Del Rio was head coach of Jags for almost nine seasons. He had three winning seasons and two .500 seasons. While not great, still better than anyone else except Tom Coughlin. He also had less talent to work with because of salary cap issues TC left behind. You cannot convince Diego that the coaches following him are nearly as good.

Del Rio was by any measure the second-most successful head coach in Jaguars history, and he deserves to be remembered as such. It also felt in 2011 like it was time to move forward. Both things can be true, and it's hardly unusual in the NFL for a successful era to run its course.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Conventional wisdom is that the Jaguars are not likely to be a playoff team this year because they have so many young players, and the learning curve in the NFL is steep. Logical. But there is precedent for youthful success. The 2012 Seahawks averaged 25.8 years old and had success, then won the Super Bowl in 2013 with essentially the same roster. The '92 Cowboys averaged 26.4 years old and won a Super Bowl. So, of all the young players likely to be on the roster, which are the most critical in terms of needing to perform above their age and experience level?

Start with Minshew, and move quickly to defensive end Josh Allen. There are others, but those are key. And you probably would be in the right ballpark if you just talked about Minshew.

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