O-Zone: Crystal ball

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Keith from Palatka, FL

Being a Jaguars fan is an exercise in futility and misery.

This is too often true. I could write in this answer that one game doesn’t make a season, and that’s true. But this morning we’re fresh off the Jaguars’ 40-26 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, which was as discouraging a regular-season opener as I can recall for this franchise. So, for this morning, let’s just say Sunday was indeed brutally difficult in terms of injury and defensive performance. A media member postulated perhaps it was the worst Week 1 loss in franchise history. Considering the loss of quarterback Nick Foles for an undetermined period and considering the dismal performance of a defense that was supposed to be a team strength … yes, Sunday was bad. It doesn’t mean the season is over. It doesn’t mean the Jaguars will lose to the Houston Texans Sunday. But this regular-season opener was as much of a gut-punch as I recall. And I’ve seen a few.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Where to start?!?!?! 1. Foles injury ends any hopes for the season. 2. Our safeties are TRASH. 3. Our defense is OVERHYPED TRASH. 4. Minshew held his own, but it means nothing. 4. Discipline DOES NOT EXIST.

OK.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

That's on the defense. They looked terrible. So many missed tackles and open receivers. Also, they seemed out of control and undisciplined.

We watched the same game. I anticipated the Chiefs would move effectively and score a lot Sunday. I didn’t anticipate their receivers and tight ends running wide open through the secondary essentially through the entire first quarter – and first half. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash spoke during the week of Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid’s ability to scheme well, particularly early in games. Reid was otherworldly on this front Sunday. Again: that wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the Jaguars never created a stop, or a turnover. Or a big play. I expected the game would depend on how the Jaguars handled big-play opportunities on defense. I didn’t anticipate they wouldn’t really get any.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

So, looking ahead to Week 2 we are saying "Hey, Gardner Minshew can win this game if the defense can improve." Who could have predicted that 24 hours ago?!

Life’s funny sometimes. Not for me. And not for the Jaguars Sunday. But sometimes.

David from Maplewood, NJ

John, did Minshew just go from "Why is this guy even on the team" to "Could this guy become THE guy?" I know no one wants to hear silver linings today, and nobody is more surprised than me, but his performance was more than gutty or slightly better than expected. That was one of the best rookie quarterbacks debuts I can think of. That wasn't all mop up, either. Some of his most impressive plays came with the game still very much still in question.

I would advise Jaguars fans to be “cautiously optimistic” regarding Minshew. He was impressive Sunday. He showed himself capable of managing a lot of situations in this league. He was poised. He made accurate throws. He didn’t make many costly errors. He looked like what the Jaguars hoped they were getting when they selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But the NFL is brutally tough on young quarterbacks – even ones with high football IQ such as Minshew. I believe based on Sunday he will perform far better than many Jaguars fans – and perhaps many around the Jaguars – first believed possible. But teams will game plan for him and force him to his weaknesses. Some of the flaws that caused him to be selected in Round 6 rather than Round 1 will show up. I hope the best for Minshew because I respect him and how he has handled his situation thus far. We’ll see.

Tommy from Wilmington, DE

The blame for the injury to Nick Foles lies squarely on the heads of Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. Why sign a quarterback $88 million and then let him get destroyed by starting two tackles with zero NFL starts? What did they think was going to happen, John? Owner Shad Khan should be livid. The Texans may have risked their draft future to protect their quarterback, but it was worth it. They allowed this to happen. Heck, they practically asked for it.

This is an easy take right now, and perhaps there is a shred of truth. But remember: The Jaguars were down to their third left tackle Sunday. Should they have anticipated backup Cedric Ogbuehi being out with a hamstring this week? Yes, because that was known. Should they have anticipated starting left tackle Cam Robinson hyperextending his right knee Thursday before the game? That’s a reach, but you can make an argument that Robinson was a worry because he was coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained last season. Could you make a stronger argument neither tackle got beat on the play, and the injury happened because defensive tackle Chris Jones beat right guard A.J. Cann? Yes, because that’s what happened – not that it fits your narrative. Look, Foles made a great play. He stood in against fierce pressure and made a great throw. If he had been less courageous he probably wouldn’t have gotten hurt. But this didn’t strike me as asking for the quarterback to be injured.

Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Go Minshew!!! Who’s out there to back him up?

Stay tuned.

Keith from Section 436 Since 1995

I said it last week and it's true: The Chiefs weren't fazed in the least by the heat. Going forward, can we stop with the Jaguars have the heat-advantage fantasy?

Just because the Chiefs won and played well doesn’t mean it’s never a factor. It wasn’t a factor Sunday. It has been in the past. Not everything in life is an absolute.

Bill from Jacksonville

Is it time to see if we can get Todd Bouman off the tractor again?

Well done. And stay tuned.

Captain Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: The most disappointing aspect of Sunday was the continuation from last year of the lack of discipline on our team. It is a mark of putting self-interest above team. It predominates in a few of our players, but their actions degrade the team – and in my opinion causes the refs to look more closely at the Jags because of their thuggish ways. Why can't Marrone get this under control?

I’ve addressed this often, and the answer doesn’t change. The Jaguars have fined players for these actions, and players know it hurts the team. It’s heat-of-the-moment stuff, but that’s obviously not an excuse – and it obviously continues to hurt the team. Fining has a limited effect because it doesn’t significantly hurt the players. The only thing to do is take away playing time, and doing that can hurt the overall team because it means taking the best players off the field. The bottom line is the players must be disciplined. They must be professional. So far, no good.

Keith from Section 436

Maybe not 0-16, but 2-14?

No.

Scott from Medford, NJ

At what point is the lack of discipline on Head Coach Doug Marrone? I know it’s not his fault, but it is his responsibility.

This is NFL reality. It’s not necessarily fair, but it’s how it is. If the Jaguars continue to be undisciplined, it will fall on Marrone. I don’t know that there’s much he can do differently, but it will fall on him.

Roger from Valdosta, GA

Result of taking no real hits in preseason. Sad!

The Jaguars played starters just one quarter in the preseason, so this inevitably was going to be the reaction with a loss Sunday. The defense played poorly, so was that because it didn’t play enough in the preseason? Maybe. The offense played better than expected and played the same amount? Did they play enough? Would they have fared even better with more preseason reps? Perhaps. What we saw Sunday was a defense that got out-schemed and outplayed by the league’s most-talented offense. Would they have fared better had they played more in the preseason? I suppose they should hope that’s the case.

Brian from Nocatee, FL

Am I alone thinking the offense may have looked better than the defense?

May have?

Andrew from Matton

Gardner Minshew - the next Kurt Warner?

You’re aiming too low. Think “Tom Brady.”

Jason from Rochester, NY

So, I'm confused. Isn't football supposed to be a physical sport? It seems like the officiating crew doesn't want these teams to make contact with each other...

There was a lot going on Sunday, much of which didn’t go right for the Jaguars. I didn’t notice officiating being off. Maybe it was. It didn’t stand out to me.

Renee from Duval

John, if you asked an NFL fan who was the quarterback for the famous undefeated Dolphins, most would answer Bob Griese. We both know that Griese was injured and Earl Morrall led the famed undefeated Dolphins to 16 of the 17 wins. Wouldn’t it be fitting that the Gardner Minshew II could get the Jags to the playoffs. Why not. Maybe all we need to do is believe. I believe. Do you, John? GO JAGS

And people accuse me of drinking the Kool-Aid. God bless you, Renee. And God Bless America.

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