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O-Zone: Clear and obvious

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, Minshew should return after this disaster from Luton right?

I received many versions of this question in the aftermath of the Jaguars' 27-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field Sunday, and the question is a logical one. Jake Luton, after playing good-to-OK in his first two NFL starts the last two weeks, had a disastrous game with four interceptions on Sunday. It was bad enough that Head Coach Doug Marrone said he considered playing backup Mike Glennon, and Marrone was the first to say starting quarterback moving forward obviously will be a topic this week. Minshew threw in practice last week and the thumb that kept him inactive the last three weeks appears to be getting close to healthy enough for him to play. I have written since Luton entered the starting lineup that I thought he would keep the job unless he faltered significantly. A four-interception game – even against a defense as talented as the Steelers – is a significant falter. For that reason, I figure there's a decent chance the Jaguars will return to Minshew. I can't say that that return will be accompanied by significantly better results, and it certainly doesn't change the team's need to draft a quarterback early in the 2021 NFL Draft. I can't see anything at this point changing that.

Zac from Austin, tejas

Would Minshew have made clutch plays here? Or costs us in his own way?

This is one of the fairer questions I've received about Minshew II lately, and I'll try to answer as fairly as possible. The answer is we just don't know. There have been times during his Jaguars career that Minshew has made clutch plays, and his knack for those plays is what made him an enticing story entering this season. He also had a lot of physical shortcomings that contributed to him really struggling as often as he played well as a rookie. Those struggles continued much of this season – and my thought is that those struggles aren't just about the injured thumb. My guess is that Minshew's mobility might have helped on one or two occasions Sunday. But considering the Steelers' pass rush, and considering the talent level and production of the Steelers' secondary, my guess is it wouldn't have helped much – and that Minshew would have made his share of mistakes. I doubt he would have thrown four interceptions as Luton did, though. Luton played poorly Sunday. There's no mystery around that.

Gero from Wenden

PLEASE let Minshew play again. At least we'll have some entertainment and swag if we lose.

We'll see.

Biff from Jacksonville

The last time I went to Steelers home game was in January 2018 ... #outnumbered

I think you're referencing the large number of Steelers fans at the game Sunday. This isn't unusual in any circumstance – or in any NFL stadium or city. The Steelers have been good for the better part of five decades; as a result, they have a national following. Their fans often can be seen in unusually large numbers at away games. When they play a team that's struggling, particularly one in a non-traditional market, their fans can compare to or outnumber home fans. Considering the Jaguars entered Sunday's game 1-8 – and considering the limited fans because of COVID-19 at all games – it's unsurprising that there were many Steelers fans at Sunday's game.

Jim from Jagsonville

So Minshew is coming back next week, right?

Who knows? Maybe. But let's not delude ourselves that Minshew would have made a dramatic difference Sunday. Can we not do that? Please?

Jerell from Columbia, SC

This is going to go down as one of the greatest seasons in franchise history. This sorry lot is going to get the Jags in prime position to fix a position that has never been fixed. I love it.

It's always good to hear from Jerell.

Nick from St. Augustine, FL

I thought Luton was tall and could see over the line?

He is. He can. That doesn't mean he never will get a pass tipped. It also doesn't mean he's destined to be a great NFL quarterback.

Mr. Makers Mark from Section 408

I do have hope for the future of this team and it's young players just by looking at the play of the special teams. Desire, want, and athleticism shows that these guys will contribute in the future to the offense and defense.


Scott from Rehoboth Beach, DE

This has to be the worst Jaguars team I've seen since our induction to the league O-man. I understand trying an onside kick and changing things up a little, so why not put in Mike Glennon after the half to see what he can do? Can't be any worse than Luton's overthrown balls and interceptions, can it?

Marrone said he considered playing Glennon, and it wouldn't have been surprising. But what would have been the point?

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Safe to say Jags fans are officially rooting for the Jets. The 2021 QB is not on the roster yet. This might be one of them drafts where we look at drafting two of them John.

Jaguars fans have been rooting for the New York Jets for well over a month, and I like your idea to draft two quarterbacks. Dumber things have happened.

Brian from Middleburg, FL

That was painful. Felt like a preseason game against a Pro Bowl team.

I didn't feel pain Sunday, but the result did feel like a foregone conclusion. You were seeing a young, outmanned team with an injured secondary and a rookie quarterback against a healthy, veteran team with a Hall-of-Fame quarterback and ferocious defense. That healthy, veteran team also was a motivated, focused team. I actually was impressed with the Jaguars' defensive effort and didn't think the team as a whole played poorly – with the obvious exception of Luton's interceptions.

Biff from Jacksonville

In your early Sunday O-Zone you answered an email related to franchise quarterback play. It's something you've talked about a lot with respect to how teams get better. Sunday was a prime example of how a franchise QB changes the success potential wasn't it? Big Ben threw dimes. Luton, as he has shown for a couple of weeks now, throws high. The Jaguars aren't set at the quarterback position. They have two nice backups but lack a game changer. It's unfortunate because the defense played above their level for a good chunk of the first 45 minutes.

Good eye.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

Oof. Was that the Jaguars' worst game this year? I know the Steelers are undefeated, but we just looked bad from beginning to end.

I actually didn't think it was close to the Jaguars' worst game. They played well for a quarter and into the second quarter, and were driving to tie the NFL's last unbeaten team when Luton threw his first interception. The defense played well enough against a Hall of Fame quarterback to keep the score 17-3 and the game got out of hand when Luton threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter. The Steelers are an elite team capable of winning the Super Bowl. Their force of will combined with Luton's interceptions defined this one.

Jeremy from Omaha ,NE

Luton likely isn't a franchise quarterback but he's the guy I'd give the experience to for the rest of the season. And an onside kick in the first quarter? What kind of clown call was that?

Head Coach Doug Marrone called for an onside kick after the Jaguars kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead on the game's first series. I liked the call. The Jaguars were playing a team with a high-powered, efficient offense – and they were doing so without their starting cornerbacks. It stood to reason that the Steelers were going to score a lot of points. Marrone tried to steal a possession to perhaps get an early double-digit lead. And remember: the Steelers entered the game unbeaten and the Jaguars entered it 1-8. What the hell was there to lose?

Greg from Jacksonville

Well, be careful what you wish for. We wanted to see our backups; with the rate of injuries we are getting that. Steelers fans are just the worst. So question: you still thinking this team is up to winning one more? Time is getting short and roster is getting thin.

I do believe the Jaguars can win one more game, but yes … time indeed is running short.

Steve from Nashville, TN

I am sure there are varying definitions out there for "franchise quarterback" - in your opinion has this team ever had one in its history?

No. Mark Brunell was close in the 1990s, making three Pro Bowls. But the Jaguars eventually moved on from Brunell. Teams do not move on from "franchise quarterbacks."

David from Eau Claire, WI

We definitely are drafting a quarterback with our first pick next year.

But of course.