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O-Zone: Ah, yes

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Definitely think the team goes back to Foles once he's healthy. Minshew is holding down the fort for now, though.

Definitely think you're correct that the Jaguars will go back to quarterback Nick Foles as the starter when he's healthy. That can happen November 17 against Indianapolis, and Foles is expected to begin practicing Wednesday after being out since Week 1 with a broken clavicle. But rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II has done more than "hold down the fort." He is 3-3 as a backup, and just about any team in the NFL would take that from a rookie quarterback. That's what we should remember when analyzing Minshew's performance lately. No, he hasn't looked as good in the last two weeks as he did in his first four NFL starts. That was to be expected because the league often catches up with young players, particularly young quarterbacks. But he has performed mind-blowingly well for a sixth-round quarterback asked to play extensively in the first quarter of his first NFL game. He has allowed the Jaguars to survive so far this season and hold on to their playoff hopes. If the Jaguars go 1-1 in their next two games, he will very much have done his job. If they go 2-0, he will have succeeded beyond any reasonable expectations.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Will Foles start when he is healthy? I think they should play Foles if they are still in playoff contention and sort out quarterback in the offseason. What do you think they should do?

I thought two weeks ago they would have a lot of trouble going back to Foles. Now, I will be stunned if they don't.

Sascha from Cologne

I know it's not always coaching but these penalties are ridiculous.

No, Sascha … it is always coaching in the NFL; any observer can tell you that – and any loyal reader to this column will tell you I wholeheartedly believe that. But you're right: The Jaguars' penalties are ridiculous, particularly the frequency with which those ridiculous penalties come in situations that cost them field position and momentum.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I think they should use at least one of those first-round picks on offensive line. People up front are getting bull rushed a little too easily.

We're months away from talking draft, but I would be surprised if we're not talking offensive line when it's time to discuss such things.

Stormy from Wyoming

Taven is showing his speed off the snap. He just needs to work on finishing a tackle and he will be completing the package of being a disruptive defensive tackle. There is hope for our first-rounders.

Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan was disruptive Sunday. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue spoke after the game of liking watching Bryan play, and yes: He has made more of an impact this season – his second – than many observers expected. He still must be more consistent to live up to the "hope" for a first-round selection. But Bryan absolutely has shown improvement this season and that's a good start.

Levi from Bedford

Do my eyes deceive me, or was Taven Bryan in the backfield about all game?

Your eyes didn't deceive. He played well.

Chris from Space City, TX

What we've learned: The Bengals are a brutally awful team. They are competing with Dolphins for worst in the league. Not sure we learned much about the Jaguars playing a washed-up Dalton and the lowly Bungles. That the Jags struggled to put points on the board against this team is actually concerning.

Yes, the Jaguars should have scored more and they struggled too much in the red zone Sunday. But the Jaguars actually had little trouble moving offensively until they reached the red zone. Yes, the game was too tight in the fourth quarter, but let's not paint this game as a tragedy offensively.

Mike from Jacksonville

A win is a win, but the Bengals left a lot of plays on the field and the Jags still had ~100 penalty yards. This won't get the job done against better teams.


The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Minshew was jumpy in the pocket Sunday. That first field goal would have been a touchdown if he set his feet. The more he plays, the more he looks like a rookie.

Minshew II has been "jumpy" in the pocket pretty much all season. He made big plays darting and dashing in the pocket in his first few games starting. That hasn't worked as much lately. When the darting and dashing doesn't work, he looks jumpy. When it works … well, it's Minshew Mania.

Vince from Farmington, NM

I would like to know how many goal-line (fourth-and-?) situations we have run up the gut that were stuffed. Why wouldn't we spread the offense a little by running a naked bootleg at least. I'm so tired of seeing a scoring opportunity lost because we call the same darn play every time were in this position. Am I wrong?

You're not as much wrong as you are passionate. It's frustrating when a team is stuffed on fourth-and-short as the Jaguars were Sunday – and as they were in a two-point situation late in a loss at Houston in Week 2. But the Jaguars have picked up short-yardage situations this season. Just as the offensive line is starting to play better than people believe, the Jaguars aren't as bad in short-yardage as people believe.

George from Cowford

Good to see running back Leonard Fournette finding success in the run game, but what's up with the red zone? We had field goals within just yards of a touchdown.

The NFL is hard.

Glenn from Kabul

Well, then, John: Looks like Sexton got one right … Yannick for six! Go Jags.

My goodness, you're right: Brian Sexton did predict an interception returned for a touchdown by defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. I suppose sometimes the sun even shines on a dog's …

Ray from Jacksonville

Myles Jack should consider playing corner. He is better in coverage than at middle linebacker.


George from Drummonds, TN

Hey O: It's great that we beat a team that we should've beat. The defense looked good, Gardner didn't screw up and was quite productive. A .500 record looks possible – without injuries, of course – and Foles' return makes me feel optimistic. Glass half full?

Your glass is about right. The Jaguars have beaten their sub-.500 opponents and lost to their opponents with winning records this season. Considering they have been playing with a rookie sixth-round quarterback, and considering they lost their best defensive back, I think a lot of people would have taken 3-4 after seven games. The Jaguars now have a navigable schedule – home against the New York Jets and home against the Houston Texans in London – to get to 5-4 at the bye.  Time to navigate.

Mr. NFL from Unfortunately Jacksonville

So, here we go... being coached to play to the opponent's level. Coach Caveman, an ex-offensive lineman, is coaching his little Cavettes to stand around and WATCH as their QB is being sacked. Like the NFL Network said this morning, Ramsey left a LOSING organization led by inept coaches and executives. Who couldn't write about this team? Your cookie-cutter script must be easy to follow.

I know you are but what am I?

Fred from Belle Glade, FL

I may be looking too much into this, but wouldn't it be better to announce Nick Foles' return to the practice field until after the game on Sunday? This may put added and unnecessary pressure on Gardner Minshew to perform well now or be in danger of having Foles reclaim the starting quarterback position.

You're overthinking it. Foles is eligible to return to practice next week and he is healthy. That means he'll practice. He can't play until mid-November.

Eddie from Jacksonville

Telvin Smith update, what's going on?

Former Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith opted to not play football this season. He's therefore retired until he decides he's not retired. I don't expect him to play for the Jaguars again.

Eric from Duval

John — two glaring issues that are driving me absolutely insane: 1. Penalties. Once again eight-plus penalties for about 100 yards. I know, I know, it's not the coaching. 2. Third-and-10-plus and we allow a first down. I am baffled by these two consistent issues that we do not seem to be addressing. Care to shed any insight?

Coaches discuss penalties all the time. As far as allowing first downs on third-and-10, I don't sense that being a mammoth issue. Look: The Jaguars' defense is in a bit of a transition. A lot of the players that made the unit very good for three seasons are gone. I don't sense a unit that is as elite as seasons past. But the Jaguars have allowed 17 points or fewer in four of seven games this season. That's not horrible.

Andrew from Mattoon, IL

What was the name of that guy who left for the Rams? (Snaps fingers) Oh well, it wasn't important.

Winning is fun. People like it.

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