JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Charles from Riverside
Hello, John. I saw this earlier in the week: "Minshew completed 24 of his 49 attempts of 20 or more yards for 818 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. No quarterback taking at least 20 percent of his team's snaps had a higher passer rating on such throws than Minshew's 129.0." Looks decent for a quarterback that supposedly has no arm strength"?
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II as a rookie last season threw the deep ball effectively and accurately, with impressive touch. Nothing I saw makes me think he can't carry this forward and do it consistently. He should flourish on that front in offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's West Coast scheme, particularly if the Jaguars run well enough to get Minshew into play-action opportunities. Remember, though: touch and accuracy on the deep ball really don't have that much to do with arm strength. Where arm strength becomes a factor in the NFL is the ability to throw deep outs to the sidelines and to get the ball between defenders on intermediate-to-moderately-long throws. I admit I haven't gone back and studied this in depth, but it seemed Minshew had issues with that at times as a rookie and improved on it late. We'll see where it goes.
John from Jacksonville
What's a phone booth?
Don't worry about it.
Nathan from Orange Park, FL
We haven't heard much from Yann lately. What gives?
What gives with Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue may not be known for some time. He has not signed the franchise tag the Jaguars placed upon him, and I wouldn't expect him to do so until at least some time in training camp. The Jaguars did not receive any significant trade offers for him this offseason, and Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell made it pretty clear after the 2020 NFL Draft that he expected Ngakoue's options to be playing for the Jaguars in 2020 or not playing at all. Ngakoue has been quieter on social media regarding this issue than he was before the draft. I have no reason to believe that means Ngakoue currently believes he's playing for the Jaguars next season. He made clear before the draft he didn't want or plan to do that. Still, I continue to believe there's a better than even chance that Ngakoue will play for the Jaguars next season. Whether he actually will do so – and whether he will do so happily – only time will tell.
Garrett from Edgetown
So, I just read the final comment from Sunday's O-Zone. The one by the gentleman from St. Augustine, and now everything tastes like copper. Am I OK? Zone, I'm scared; please send help.
Your fears will not ease here. You are now destined for a life of unwarranted, unavoidable fear and heartache. Welcome to my life, Garrett.
Sam from Orlando, FL
Minshew looks like he has muscles that Blake Bortles could have only dreamed of while partying at Lynches or any of the other Jacksonville Beach bars. The amount of work Gardner Minshew is putting in can only be considered elite. We deserve him to be our answer at quarterback. We've suffered enough.
Bortles worked in the offseason while with the Jaguars; he wasn't good enough during the season. And the whole "Beach Bar" thing as a reason for Bortles' lack of success doesn't add up; a lot of young players – and a lot of young quarterbacks – do more than sit at home 24/7 lifting weights and studying tape. As for Minshew … he appears to be in good shape, and he looks quite muscular – at least from what the world can tell from the most important minute-long video in history. That will have little or nothing to do with whether he will be the Jaguars' answer at quarterback. Here's hoping, though. That would be great.
Sean from Jacksonville
Michael DiRocco once said "Oehser? Oh, sure. He writes lyrics for the hard of hearing."
Bob from Sumter, SC
You know what would be kind of amusing? Quarterback Jared Goff breaks a finger on his throwing hand (not a major injury, just enough so he can't play) during the first game of the season. Then, The Greatest Cornerback In The World gets to watch Bortles start a bunch of games. The Rams go 5-11 and the Jaguars get a top ten pick in next year's draft. It would be amusing in a petty and vindictive kind of way but still amusing.
Bortles is currently a free agent. How that will affect love of teammates or the potential 2020 season of the Los Angeles Rams I do not know.
Johnny from Oxford, UK
The O-Zone, some might simply say... more fun, and scoolin in one place, then a lifetime of edumacation, yup!
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
You wrote recently that the Jaguars couldn't move Myles Jack to the weak side until now. Explain.
The Jaguars in theory could have moved Jack to the weak side before this offseason, but there have been legitimate reasons they have played Jack where they have played him in his career. They put him at strong-side linebacker as a rookie because Paul Posluszny was in the middle and Telvin Smith was on the weak side. They moved him to the middle after that because strong-side backer is a part-time position and because Smith was still on the weak side. They theoretically could have moved him to weak side last offseason, but Smith didn't officially leave the Jaguars and the NFL until after the 2019 NFL Draft. That made it tricky to find a middle linebacker to replace Jack had they moved him to the weak side.
David from Honesty
I hate you.
I get it.
Jason from Jacksonville
Alright O-Man, I get it. It's always players and never coaches, also all the Jaguar players (linebacker Myles Jack, guard Andrew Norwell, etc.) were better last year than the fans think, yet somehow the Jags still stunk up the place. I guess I, and probably a lot of other fans are just wondering who is to blame for another rough season. I guess we can just blame Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin for everything since he's gone now and you don't need to worry about bumping into him in the hallway.
I'll explain this again. It is, after all, the middle of a pandemic and we have a bit of time for review for those in the back of the class. I've never said it's always players and never coaches in the NFL. I have said and written often that fans and observers blame coaches as a default for all that ails teams when the reality is often far different – and that NFL teams are far too quick-trigger and reactionary when it comes to hiring and firing coaches. I have seen far too many coaches who were "awful" with one team go on to have success with another to believe differently, and I have seen too many coaches were brilliant at one stop suddenly become stupid at another to believe that victories and losses and even on-field success always defines a coach. I realize that coaches will get hired and fired based on those things because that's the reality of the NFL. I understand that fans and observers are going to base their opinion on victories and losses and on-field success, and that's fine. But it doesn't mean I'm going to write or say or believe that a coach who was capable and successful one season suddenly forgot how to coach. As far as players such as Jack and Norwell and the others … people ask questions and I answer. Jack wasn't nearly as bad as people think last season, and Norwell wasn't, either. It doesn't mean they were good enough. It doesn't mean they were All-Pros. It simply means that when people ask questions about the Jaguars, I'm going to answer them the best I can based on what I see and what I know from talking to people. I don't "blame" people for things in the O-Zone. If you want people to blame in capital letters and exclamation points without explanations or perspective, then read something else; there are plenty of people who write about the Jaguars with different approaches. These writers can be found with a few quick google searches. They have varying degrees of expertise and credibility, which is what makes the internet a wonderful and diverse place. Read this column if you want; I can't control it if you don't. Either way, I don't write worried about who I will see the next day in the hallway. The only person I worry about seeing is Shadrick, and I can't discuss the wheres or whys of that. Not for seven years. And fans can blame who they want for whatever they want based on what they see and what they know – and what they choose to read and believe. That's the beauty of it all.