LONDON – Let’s get to it …
Mike from Jacksonville
A lot of hype about tight end Josh Oliver and his pass-catching ability. I know he has been out all season due to injury, but it does not appear the Jags are involving him much in passing situations in the games he has played. Is this due to him getting acquainted with the playbook? I just don’t see why we are not utilizing him for what he was hyped up for?
I don’t know what “hype” means in this case. I do know the Jaguars like Oliver’s potential as a pass-receiving tight end, and that they think he’s going to be really good. This has been discussed quite a bit by people covering the Jaguars, so perhaps that’s the “hype.” Again, I don’t know. What I do know is Oliver is a rookie who had a handful of practices in July before sustaining a serious hamstring injury that kept him out of four preseason games and six regular-season games. He played 25 plays without a reception in his first game back from that injury in Cincinnati. He had a couple of targets and a reception this past week against the New York Jets in his second game back. He’s working his way back to full speed and the Jaguars are working a young, talented player into the receiving rotation. He is in the game and he is running routes. If the ball isn’t coming his way, it’s because rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II’s reads aren’t taking him Oliver’s way; sometimes that happens. I expect Oliver will contribute more as the season continues, and that he will be much better next season with a year of practice and a half season of games as his experience. Players are drafted for how they might help a team over a period of years, not games. That’s not hype. That’s how it works.
Roger from London, England
Hi, John. Really looking forward to Sunday's game, with 85,000-plus expected at Wembley Stadium making some noise! When the Jaguars travel to UK, does the full complement of supporting staff come over, or is it just a limited number? Will Mr. O himself be here? Thanks
Yes, the full complement of Jaguars support staff goes to London. And yes, they make me go, too.
ABC from ABCTOwn
I hope the Jags don't announce who is starting quarterback until the game. Then the opponent can't game plan.
You’re suggesting the Jaguars not announce a starting quarterback for their game against the Indianapolis Colts November 17 until game time. That’s the game Nick Foles will be eligible to return. Your scenario is unlikely, primarily because secrets that high-profile rarely stay secret in the NFL these days.
Marlin from Newberry, FL
Mr. O, The Jaguars are 4-4 heading to London to play Houston. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that the Jaguars would lose their starting quarterback in the first quarter of the first game, and the team's best player after three games, and would still be a .500 football team, I wouldn't have believed you. It has been an amazing season so far, and hopefully the good times will roll. I hope you and the team have a safe and successful trip over the pond. Ain't life grand?
Sure. It’s awesome.
Raymo from Jacksonville
Former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith was a free-agent signing. So was wide receiver Keenan McCardell. Right tackle Leon Searcy, too. Love me some Campbell, but there are others that have meant more.
Smith was a “street” free agent as opposed to an unrestricted free agent, but if you include Smith in the conversation then you’re correct that he was the best free-agent signing in franchise history. If you take Smith out of the equation, I’ll go with defensive end Calais Campbell with McCardell a hair behind.
Raymond from Jacksonville
John: Calais Campbell was a great free-agent signing, but the best in team history? What about Jimmy Smith? He was a so-called "street free agent,” so maybe that is the distinction.
Indeed it is.
Blake from Jacksonville
John, the Jaguars haven't had a legitimately good quarterback in almost 20 years. Now they may have two and a lot of people are treating it as if it is some sort of problem and want to rush into trading Foles. There's nothing forcing us to trade Foles (his back is fine) and you actually are allowed to have two good quarterbacks on the same team. Is it crazy to prefer keeping both guys around for a little while and enjoying the reality of having multiple good options at quarterback? Also, another benefit of keeping both on the roster for the time being is that neither of them is on another roster. I find myself enjoying watching other teams struggle to find a quarterback now.
Keeping both players through next season is absolutely an option. While Foles would be a monstrous salary-cap hit as a backup, the total salary being paid to both quarterbacks wouldn’t be that out of line with what many teams pay at the position.
Nick from Palatka, FL
Z: I know you are constantly hard at work in London getting us mere mooshes great stories, but if you did ever decide to take time for yourself what would be your favorite thing to do?
I can’t tell you.
Evan from Jacksonville
I read frequently that a reason the Jags could go back to Nick Foles is that he is more in command and familiar with the offense. I disagree, as he has only played half a game. Don't you think that real game experience in addition to pre-season and practice reps outweighs solely practice reps?
It's nice to know that you disagree, but if the Jaguars indeed go back to Foles his command of the offense and veteran experience would be huge reasons.
Nick from Palatka FL
Z: My rich uncle just died and stipulated in his will that I could have one of his two cars but not both. One is an eight-year old Bentley that's had a couple of accidents but is still very dependable. The other is a brand-new Nissan 370 Z, not nearly as expensive but very flashy, fun to drive, and nimble in traffic. I know whichever one I pick my family is going to rip me for passing up the other one. Can you help me out here?
Can I have one of the cars?
Chris from London, England
O, you say the Jags will reinstate Foles if they believe he gives them best chance of winning, but how would they ever get to that belief when they haven’t seen Foles play competitive games with this team. Minshew has proven he can win with this team with these playbooks and has also shown you can’t rely on what was seen in the preseason!!
The Jaguars signed Foles for a reason. It stands to reach they believe strongly in those reasons because they believed in them strongly enough to pay him franchise-changing money. Those beliefs certainly will factor strongly into the decision.
John from Cape May Courthouse
Your recent answers regarding the quarterback debate has me unsure which quarterback you would support moving forward once Foles is healthy. Well, I'm going to hold your feet to the fire, John. If Foles was healthy and physically able to perform for the upcoming game against the Texans, who starts? Minshew or Foles?
I would start Minshew. No … wait … Foles. What’s your favorite color? Green! No Blue!
Kevin from 904orida
Teams we beat have a total record of 7-24. Teams we lost to have a total record of 16-7. That we're not good against good teams with Minshew at quarterback I think should be taken into account when discussing Foles vs. Minshew. Minshew has kept us in games and won games for us. But Foles has won at the highest level. If the competition is close, you gotta go with Nick.
Hey, one fer Foles!
Brandon from Duuvalll!
John, is there a game that you think we would've won had we had Foles in there instead of Minshew? Maybe the Saints, but even great Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks have a game like that a couple times a season.
Maybe the Houston Texans game in Week 2. Maybe the Carolina Panthers game in Week 5. Or New Orleans Saints game in Week 6. All were close games that turned on a play or two. Who knows what would have been different with a different quarterback?
Mike from Atlanta, GA
I’m down in Colombia with my girlfriend. We rode horses in the Andes mountains today, went to a local professional soccer game last night and are going to Halloween parties this weekend around the city. Next week we have a two-day hike in and two days out of the jungle to visit an ancient lost city then we have a hotel on the Caribbean. What are you all up to?
We’re at your place, drinking.