O-Zone: Changing lanes

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Don from Marshall, NC

The rest of the NFL better hope that Minshew lacks the arm strength to get the ball down the field because he does all the other stuff really, really good. It’s no secret that you cannot last long in the NFL if you live in the middle of the field. That seems to be the big thing. Go Jaguars!

Gardner Minshew II will make his first NFL start at quarterback for the Jaguars Sunday. While there is a lot of excitement around the Round 6 rookie – partly because of his persona and partly because he played well in three quarters in relief of starter Nick Foles last Sunday against Kansas City – there also are serious questions about him. Can he handle exotic blitzes and disguised looks? Can he make throws down the field and to the sideline with enough velocity that cornerbacks can’t break up the play? Can he consistently play with the poise, leadership and savvy he did against Kansas City? Coordinators will test Minshew in those areas until he proves himself, and they’re the key questions he must answer.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

The heat, ruff and tumble game reactions are going to happen when players are aggravated ... but why does it only happen to the Jaguars?

It doesn’t only happen to the Jaguars. Players get frustrated and fights often happen in those situations. We in this forum notice it more with the Jaguars because this is a … wait for it … Jaguars forum. But the Jaguars do draw more unsportsmanlike, out-of-control penalties than most teams. It’s a thing. It needs to stop being a thing.

Lynn from Jacksonville

At what point do we consider a new D-Coordinator? It was clear the zone scheme we were running was not going to stop the Chiefs, who essentially relied on blown assignments to turn crossing routes into touchdowns. Our team thrives in a press-man defense that allows our line time to rush the quarterback. I understand players blew assignments, but is it realistic to keep putting them in those situations and expecting anything different after two years? If you look at Denver's "No Fly Zone" of previous years when they had two stud defensive backs, they played press defense and let the defensive line pin their ears back and get to the quarterback. And for the most part that’s what made us successful in 2017. Any thoughts?

Your second sentence essentially renders your point pointless. “It was clear the zone scheme we were running was not going to stop the Chiefs who essentially relied on blown assignments to turn crossing routes into touchdowns.” It’s difficult for any scheme to work when the players blow assignments. Players must execute the defenses as they are called; it’s shockingly critical to the success of any play. I get that defensive coordinator Todd Wash took some blame in this area for Sunday, saying that he got too cute with the defense and tried too many new looks to fool Kansas City. That’s what coaches are supposed to say. Bottom line: run the defense and play your assignments. That would have solved a lot of problems Sunday.

Josiah from Fargo, ND

Hey, John. I have four scenarios for you. You're coaching the Jags. Minshew leads the team to a 8-1, 6-3, 4-5 or an 0-9 start. When Foles gets healthy what scenario/s would you put him back in?

I would start Foles if the Jaguars were 4-5 or 0-9 when he gets healthy. If they’re 8-1 or 6-3, I would play Minshew.  How could you not?

Jeff from Orange, CA

If Minshew wins some games and shows he has starter level talent and Foles comes back healthy and shows he's everything the team wants him to be, do you see the Jaguars flipping Gardner for an early draft pick if there is interest or do they keep him as a good backup?

My, what an optimistic web we weave.

Mike from Section 122 and Port Orange, FL

While the complaints are coming in, I will join in. When the will the team and the league curb the prima-donna attitudes and actions of the very talented athletes who want extreme levels of pay (Jalen Ramsey, the Brinks truck guy; and Yannick Ngakoue, who wants a new contract before the old one is finished) and play football for the team? They only want to be the center of attention and really don’t care if the team wins so long as they get what they want. Lack of discipline, taunting and dancing on the field instead going back to the huddle coming out and knocking the guy down again and again.

The league and team won’t curb the attitudes or actions. That ship, as they say, has sailed.

Darren from Fort Worth, TX

I still think we should talk about Todd Wash. I've been saying for the last couple years that he's really not that great of a defensive coordinator, but he has elite-level players that make the defense look good. Thoughts?

We talk about Wash a lot. Many fans agree with you. I see a coach who has coordinated a young defense that has finished in the top six in the NFL the past three seasons. The young defensive players have hurt the cause at times by not always playing sound in their assignments, particularly in the back seven. Wash also obviously has not been perfect – and he certainly admitted as much this week. I can’t say he’s the NFL’s best defensive coordinator. But what he does with the defense is sound, and I think a lot of the criticism he receives is unwarranted. But it’s understandable, because it’s always coaching in the NFL.

Logan from Wichita, KS

There has been insane growth in penalties and lack of focus by the defense since 2017 and there are a lot of fingers pointing. Marrone, front office, egos, swagger, success, failure, etc. After taking a step back, I think there is one factor that caused this explosion of bone-headedness on this team... Poz retiring. When Poz was our leader, sure we had egos, but it was kept in check. Players knew they were good, but they let their actions on the field do their talking mostly. We were respected on defense and we saw fewer penalties. I don’t blame Poz at all for leaving, but clearly his leadership being gone has caused chaos to reign in Jacksonville. Thoughts?

The Jaguars have missed former middle linebacker Paul Posluszny’s leadership and presence since he retired following the 2017 season. No question.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi, John: I'm not one for increasing the use of "official review" but when it comes to a player ejection, the player that instigated the action that resulted in the ejection should be ejected – a la Jalen Ramsey/A.J. Green. Just because it wasn't seen doesn't mean they should turn a blind eye on it.

Nah. We need fewer reviews and game stoppages, not more.

Kyle from Jacksonville

How many times is Todd Wash going to get out-schemed before this team admits that he's not a very good game coach? This past week is not an isolated incident.

Wash has been a good enough game coach for this defense to be one of the NFL’s best for the past three seasons. Three top six NFL defenses in three years and more good defensive performances than bad during that span were not isolated incidents, either.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

How long before Gardner Minshew II goes back to looking like a rookie drafted in the sixth round, as opposed to the poised, efficient player we saw against the Kansas City chiefs? Surely history suggests that we shouldn’t get our hopes up.

History suggests that, but Minshew showed some poise, accuracy and decision-making Sunday that at least gives you hope that maybe, maybe, maybe he can defy history. And stop calling me Shirley.

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL

I recall Boselli was traded to the Texans, but he never played a down over there. How does that happen? The Texans must have known. Was there a bigger picture plan I forgot about?

You forgot more than the big picture; you also forgot the details. Former left tackle Tony Boselli wasn’t traded to the Houston Texans; the Jaguars made him available in the 2002 expansion draft, and the Texans selected him. The Texans knew Boselli had had shoulder surgery, but no one – Boselli included – knew quite the extent of the injuries at the time. Boselli tried to return, but never was able to get his shoulders healthy enough to return to the NFL. His last NFL game was with the Jaguars in 2001.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

Do we really need a press conference and article dedicated to "Mr. Blown Coverage?" He needs to shut up and do his job.

Text me your place of business when you get a chance. When I get to Round Rock, I’ll show up and tell you how to do your job.

Advertising