JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Nick from Phoenix, AZ
O! I have a few, unfair questions. They are even more unfair because we haven't seen Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles play a full game. However, less funky minds want to know: Out of Foles and Gardner Minshew II, who do you think is more intelligent overall? More athletic? With the known variables – such as injury history, lack of experience, and/or intangibles such as leadership or grit, who would you roll with as QB1 next year (assuming a full offseason of preparation from players and coaches)? Sorry and thanks!
These are all legitimate questions, but you're correct that they are unfair – and ultimately, unanswerable. Still, because you asked: I have no idea who's more intelligent between the two. Though Minshew is off the charts smart when it comes to preparation and football intelligence, Foles' strength in these areas went into the Jaguars signing him. And Foles' experience gives him the edge in parlaying that intelligence into on-field results. Minshew is more athletic in terms of scrambling from pressure and running, but Foles has the ability to buy time and move intelligently in the pocket – and that can be as important as athleticism. As for your final question, now that we have moved away from Minshew Mania, I expect Foles to start next season. He is the better, more-experienced quarterback; I expect the next seven games to make that clear. That thought could change over the next seven weeks. Games matter.
Chris from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
What do you think of using the Wildcat with Gardner?
Nah. Play Foles, protect him and let him run the offense. It's why you signed him.
Mike from St. Augustine and Section 103
So, are we rooting for the Houston Texans or Baltimore Ravens? The AFC South may be out of reach, so root for the Texans and hope the Pittsburgh Steelers catch RG4 and the Ravens? Or, root for RG4 and hope the Texans drop a couple unsuspected games somewhere? And don't say root for the Jags and see what happens — we know that.
Seven games remain. Too much can happen to know with any confidence what outcomes ultimately will benefit the Jaguars. Best guess: don't count on the Jaguars catching the Texans and don't count on the Ravens losing enough for the Steelers to catch them. I suppose I would root for all teams not leading divisions right now to lose as much as possible. The best hope is a wild-card berth. But whether you want to hear it or not, the most important thing is for the Jaguars to win. If they don't, nothing else in this conversation matters.
Sascha from Cologne
Hey John, isn't a big part of lack of red-zone efficiency the involvement of reliable tight ends? Seems everyone is blaming LF27 or Minshew for that, but from my perspective tight ends are a very important part ... go Jags!
Good eye. Minshew II wasn't as good inside the opponents' 20-yard line in recent weeks as was necessary, and the line for the most part didn't do well enough clearing holes for running back Leonard Fournette. While Foles presence could help this area, the line must get Fournette in the end zone more consistently in short-yardage situations; if that doesn't happen, it's hard to see this team making the postseason. But in addition to the aforementioned factors, the lack of a tight end to high-point passes and out-physical opponents or to get free quickly in the end zone from a linebacker has been glaring. I don't know that that's getting added in the final seven games, but the absence has hurt.
John from Jacksonville
No, no, no. "Current regime" does not mean the addition of Tom Coughlin as the EVP, then everything before that gets washed away. The "current regime" began with General Manager David Caldwell in 2013, with the most cap room in the league, a ton of top 5 and 10 picks, and ONE winning season since, with most of the draft picks no longer on the team. There's no question that the more recent draft picks have been good, but fans have a right to fan with that span of results.
You're right. Fans have the right to fan. Always. And you're also right that the reason the 2017 season can be seen as the beginning of this regime isn't just because that's when Tom Coughlin took over as Executive Vice President of Football Operations. It's also because Doug Marrone took over as head coach, and therefore because of the presence of both the direction did change. I couldn't agree more.
Tom from Charleston, SC
I find it quite reveling that you can be so quick to point out when you think other people are "missing the point;" yet when someone shows (with facts) that you missed the point, their email goes directly to the circular file. CYA at all cost.
Reveling is cool. People who lock in on their arguments while refusing to see other points of view and not grasping that their emails don't always get answered like it.
Chris from Nashville, TN
People are struggling with understanding what is written today. Not sure how you would consider half of those listed as "consistently producing at a high level." Yes, LF is producing this season, but has he done it consistently? No. Chark may turn out to be good, or he could be lighting in a bottle. No need to get defensive, O; just saying time with tell. You may be right about this team turning the corner, my bet, along with the history of the franchise says otherwise. Keep towing that line, O man.
You're right. The Jaguars in recent offseasons have drafted well. Did they err in not selecting a quarterback such as Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft? Yeah, I think most would agree on that front. But beyond that, they by any measure have drafted well over the last four drafts. "Well" doesn't mean perfect. No team drafts perfectly. But they have drafted well. And while you're correct that Fournette hasn't been consistent, if you're arguing at this point that Chark doesn't look like he's going to be good, then we're just arguing for the sake of arguing. That's fine. But that's what it is. I couldn't agree more.
Wade from the Westside
Do you think the NFL will refine the whole roughing-the-passer parameters? It seems the mobile quarterbacks have an advantage as well as the "elite" quarterbacks. Minshew about had his legs taken out a few times without a flag; if anything close to that happened to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the offender would have been ejected. These calls are causing the game to lose its appeal. At the end of the day this is football and having different set of rules that apply to different teams and different quarterbacks is eroding the quality of the game.
I do believe the NFL must address this issue in the coming offseasons, and I believe it must be a case of emphasizing certain parts of the rule and constantly monitoring nuances than major rules changes. Whatever the league's actions, I don't believe they will prevent fans from believing that certain quarterbacks are favored over other quarterbacks.
Here's a crazy thought: once the quarterback leaves the pocket, all quarterback protection rules should cease. At that point, they are a runner, even if they throw the ball before reaching the line of scrimmage. It'll never happen, but it would be fun to see how many running quarterbacks change the way they play if they know they can be hit like anyone else.
Shane from Atlanta, GA
How could you forget Logan Cooke in the players you listed as great draft picks!?
I wasn't necessarily listing great players recently when pointing out recent Jaguars draft selections in a recent O-Zone answer. I was more trying to point out that the Jaguars had drafted comparatively well in the past few offseasons. I have been struck by how many people agree with me on this; I suppose it's just another example of this forum's readers being able to view reality through a reasonable, objective lens. But yes … punter Logan Cooke was a good draft selection.
Nick from Palatka, FL
Z: Just saw Foles' media session. What a class guy with a super mature personality. It's going to be so much fun watching him play, win or lose. I hope Gardner Minshew II realizes how fortunate he is to have such a resource to learn from.
Hey, one fer Foles!
Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You don't know the name of the punter the Jaguars picked ahead of Russell Wilson? How is that possible? Don't you cover this team? His name was Game Changer.
Bobby from the Neighborhood
So .... when picks play well, they are LUCKY, when picks get injured or don't work out, we FIRE EVERYONE. Well, that's pretty simple isn't it?
Welcome to the O-Zone. You'll feel quite welcome here.