JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Marcus from Jacksonville
I don't know enough about either league to have an informed opinion on this, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts. I heard someone on the radio talking about the difference in the way Shad Khan treats the Jaguars and his Premier League team, Fulham. Khan has been much quicker to change leadership at Fulham than he has with the Jags, with the former having eight different managers in his seven years as owner. In the Premier League there is a system of promotion and relegation. If your record is bad, you get relegated to the Champions League, and the money you make in the Champions League is far less. In the NFL, the TV money is divided evenly among all the teams, so whether your record is 0-16 or 16-0, you're going to make at least that much money. Certainly, you can make more money as a winning team, but that $250 million is guaranteed no matter what. The theory is that Shad Khan is much quicker to change leadership at Fulham because their losing affects him more on the bottom line, while the Jags losing doesn't have such a significant impact. Is there any merit to this theory, or are the two things so different that they can't be compared?
There's no merit to the theory, though it is a convenient "take" for those who fervently want to believe that Khan cares more about money than winning. Those who believe this conveniently – or lazily – ignore the money and effort Khan has spent trying to improve what by any measure was an out-of-date NFL stadium when he purchased the Jaguars in 2012, and they also ignore the reality that Khan has spent in a big way on free agents. In short, Khan has done pretty much what an NFL owner can do: he has spent whenever and wherever possible with the idea of giving the team the best chance to win. Khan has been more measured in his moves at general manager and head coach with the Jaguars than he has with Fulham because he believes – rightly so – that the NFL is a league about continuity and long-term building. Snap-judgement, quick-trigger changes in leadership and coaching lead to a lack of direction and rarely produce desired results; such moves typically hurt in the long run. I don't know as much about the Premier League as I do the NFL, but my understanding is coaches are changed more in that sport than in the NFL because a coaching change can have a more pronounced and tangible effect. Here's something to remember: Khan wants to win with Fulham and he wants to win in the NFL. Both are competitive leagues. He hasn't achieved his desired results. But that doesn't mean the desire to win isn't real.
Renee from Jacksonville
John, so it comes out that Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II has stress fractures and a strained ligament of his thumb ON HIS THROWING HAND. Gardner was missing throws that he made with relative ease at the beginning of the season the last several games. If I could see it, the NFL world was seeing it. What is it with the NFL letting players play when obviously they are hurt and are going to give a subpar performance? Someone has to first think of the player and that leads to having the team doing better. Sigh … go Jags.
There's little – if anything – a team can do to know a player has a hurt hand if the player doesn't mention it. There's also little risk involved to the player from playing through such an injury, so I don't know that the team was negligent in not "thinking" of the player in this instance.
Rob from Orange Park, FL
Is there really something wrong with Minshew's hand? If so, is it his throwing hand? If so, when did it happen? Some of his throws in the last game reminded me of former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles' ball flight, so could that be the result of an injury?
Yes, though the extent is uncertain. Yes. A few weeks ago. Yes, the throws in the last game could have been the result of an injury.
Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL
If the Jaguars cleaned house after last season and the new general manager and head coach made the exact same moves with the exact same results, how different would this year feel?
For many observers? Very. Rightly or wrongly, that would change a lot of the perception around this season.
Sam from Orlando, FL
You seem to infer quite a bit that Tom Coughlin being Executive Vice President got us to this point. But he also got us competitive for the first time since 2007-2008. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell was abysmal before him and after him. At the very least, with Tom Coughlin, we had an identity and an agenda. You don't get to pick a quarterback in the top five, watch him fail, cut him and keep your job anywhere else except in Jacksonville. Coughlin had to go because of all the NFLPA stuff. No doubt. But Dave Caldwell absolutely had to go, too. They aren't making bumpers for cars. They are running a football team and failing.
Tom Coughlin was the executive vice president of football operations and therefore the final decision-maker on football decisions from 2017-2019. Caldwell was the general manager from 2013-2016 and is now again the general manager. A lot happened during all time periods that led to not only the 2017 season but to the Jaguars being in the situation they currently find themselves. I'm not inferring anything by this. How you interpret it is up to you.
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL
This summer I asked sarcastically "#freeJakeLuton? I now ask again but very seriously, with a 1-6 team and rumors of a hurt thumb, is it time to #freeJakeLuton?
Paul from Duval
Anyone associated with Jaguars – myself included – that doesn't identify this as a waste of time is deluded and has no appreciation of anything in life, literature, art, hope, love, loss, hate. Except for Shad Khan who gets free money to build the Landing. God, I hate this team.
It's sports, Paul. It's not life and death. But there are a lot of people who read this column every day and a lot of people who follow the team on a daily basis because they enjoy it. Hate what you want. Love what you want. But don't insult the readers of this column by making a blanket statement that by doing so – or by being interested in this team – they are wasting their time or somehow aren't as smart as the Mighty Paul from Duval.
Neil from Jacksonville
John, you mentioned soft zone recently. Is this a type of zone where there is a cushion given? Can you educate us on how soft zone differs from regular zone coverage? Thanks as always.
It's basically two-deep zone designed to take away long throws over the top and force quarterbacks to throw between safeties and cornerbacks – and over dropping linebackers.
David from the Island
If Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence doesn't want to get picked first in 2021, he could just play college ball another year and then get picked first in 2022. Waiting a year and missing out on millions of dollars doesn't make a lot of sense. Unless of course he has Yann's agent.
Roger from Houston, TX
Trevor Lawrence might be a bust. He's no Peyton Manning.
Any quarterback might be a bust until he gets into the NFL and proves otherwise. And sure … Lawrence might not be as good as Manning. But remember: Manning was the NFL Most Valuable Player five times and one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Maybe a guy can help turn a franchise around and not be a bust and not be quite as good as that.
John from Cape May Courthouse, NJ
I'm with you that's it's players not plays. If I were head coach and my quarterback was Tom Brady, I'd be picking out my bust for Canton. But how much responsibility, if any, do you put on coaches developing players? Or is it more a matter of either the player has got what it takes, or just doesn't?
Players certainly can be developed to some degree, but I would lean far more toward the player either having it or not than coaches having the ability to make so-so players great.
Sprinkle from Jacksonville
Hey, O. This is a tough time. Just wanted to thank you and all the great Jaguars fans who are still fanning. There's a lot of hope for America's underdog team in the near future, and this city will continue to support our guys to the bitter, bitter end. Looking forward to seeing this young team's fight for the remainder of this season. One more thing ... ahem ... DUUUUUUUUUVAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!!