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O-Zone: Early thoughts

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Munchie from London, UK

Zone, I appreciate that injuries have been a large part of what is going on, but there are rosters all over the league decimated by stars lost for the season. Yet, their rosters are built to sustain and even work through these issues. Our roster is so thin at so many spots there surely has to be some heat on General Manager David Caldwell. He is unable to come to agreements with big-time stars (historically with the help of former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin), but we cannot seem to build a roster with depth which can compete. This is a serious trend and one which it baffles me Khan is so passive on.

Injuries aren't why the Jaguars are struggling this season, though preseason COVID-19 opt-outs and surprise retirements certainly didn't help – particularly on the defensive line. Injuries did hurt this past Sunday in a loss to the Texans Houston; it's very difficult when the best players on all three levels of defense – cornerback CJ Henderson, linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Josh Allen – are out. But even then, I can't say for sure the Jaguars would have won had they played. The primary issues for the Jaguars currently are a lack of veteran difference-makers on defense – particularly on the line and in the secondary – and quarterback Gardner Minshew II's not driving the ball and making necessary throws on offense. Until he does that, the offense will be limited. And until the defense has more good players at all levels, the defense probably will struggle. Either way, I don't know if Owner Shad Khan will be "passive" on these issues. That remains to be seen.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

John, do you think it's time to replace Henderson with Sidney Jones IV? Despite Henderson's lone decent game, which was the first game of the year, the former second-round pick seems to have a greater impact. I just think maybe they overrated Henderson in the draft. Head Coach Doug Marrone says Sidney is a guy that might be able to help us down the road. Well, hello … you need help right now and this guy's obviously a player. What do you think?

I think the Jaguars will find a way to get Jones on the field soon. I also think his game Sunday in Houston was about equal in impact to Henderson's Week 1 performance against the Colts, so they've pretty much had the same impact. I don't think it's time to replace Henderson with Jones (you don't bench a first-round selection with Henderson's talent after five games), but I do think the Jaguars could play the two together. A logical way to do it would be to start Henderson opposite Jones and move outside corner Tre Herndon to nickel. I expect coaches to consider this.

David from Ada, OK

I love the fact that you are so severely criticized by fans of this team when you don't think everyone should be fired, and the coaches, owner and general manager should be fired twice. That's what America is all about: the freedom to hate the team you love in any way you see fit.

It's perhaps true that America's principles are deeper and further-reaching than that, but the freedom to hate the team you love in any way you see fit? Sure … that's in there, too, I suppose.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

KOAF, this quote is interesting: "I feel hurt that I'm not able to do my job and bring them all together to be consistent." It tells the owner, GM, players, organization and fans that he feels he is failing to do his job. Why is he still there then? Answer: Because this team doesn't seem to care about winning and changing the losing stench that has been accepted around here for far too long. The only thing the owner seems to be interested in is his Lot J project so he can line his pockets with more money. It's never been about winning!

The quote actually isn't all that interesting, nor is it a new thing. Nor is it particularly revealing. It's from what Marrone said Wednesday and he has said something like it multiple times after losses throughout his tenure. He wants to win. He feels great responsibility when he loses. He gets down about and tries to enunciate how he feels when the media asks him. The above quote reflects that – and his quotes after losses often read relatively the same way. As for Khan … yes, he cares very much about the Lot J project because the Lot J project needs to happen to keep the area around TIAA Bank Field – and TIAA Bank Field itself – at least somewhat on par with other facilities around the NFL. And it needs to happen to keep the Jaguars stable in Jacksonville. But Khan and the Jaguars want to win. They haven't done it enough, but that doesn't mean they don't care about it.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Why is it the Jags are trading for players giving away capital when they have nothing to play for? They need to keep the picks to have capital to get Trevor Lawrence. The new coach and front office need the capital.

The Jaguars traded a 2021 sixth-round selection to the Tennessee Titans for linebacker Kamelei Correa and a 2021 seventh-round selection Wednesday. Having or not having a sixth-round selection will have no bearing on whether the Jaguars could trade up to No. 1 overall next offseason. A trade of that magnitude would swing on a mind-blowing amount of premium draft capital. A sixth-round selection wouldn't tip the scales.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey John, this is not to offend Minshew. I really like the guy. But when I see guys like Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers or Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals playing, I just have the feeling our quarterback is not the long-term answer. There is a talented team with a lot of draft picks. Hopefully, the talent will not be wasted because of mediocre quarterback play for several years again. What do you think?

I think Minshew never will fare well when compared physically to quarterbacks such as Burrow or Herbert. They are prototypical quarterbacks, which is why they were selected in the Top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Minshew is not prototypical. If Minshew is to succeed, he must do so with knowledge of the game, field vision, savvy and smarts. The question is not whether he has these things. The question is whether those things are enough to overcome what he doesn't have and make him the long-term answer.

Cliff from Callahan, FL

If there were a defensive scheme that allowed success without requiring talent, every team would run it and they'd just sign street free agents. To say that this is all defensive coordinator Todd Wash's fault is silly.

No, Cliff. It's always coaching in the NFL.

Eric from Jacksonville

I thought in the offseason that the problem on defense, outside of being young, was going to be the depth. My concern was that so many starters would have to play a ton of time that by the end of the season they would be worn down or exhausted and we would actually see regression as the year went on as a result. Not sure that's what led to the injuries for Jack, Allen, and Henderson, guessing that was more of a fluke, but do you agree with that thought of them wearing down as the season goes on or do you think I'm overplaying that?

You're not overplaying it and it can particularly be a factor in defense. The Jaguars saw this as an issue on the interior of the defensive line this season and addressed it by trying to get bigger and deeper in the offseason. The COVID-19 opt out of defensive tackle Al Woods and surprise retirement of defensive lineman Rodney Gunter hurt in that area. That doesn't mean that the absence of Woods/Gunter explains 1-4 and a struggling defense, but it contributes to those things.

Adam from St. John's, FL

Thank you for the spelling lesson. At least you finally hold someone accountable for their actions. Here's to you and Shad Khan's wonderfully run franchise.

You closed your email with an emoji that unfortunately doesn't translate into the content management system. I mention it because it reveals not only character but your true feelings about me. And you're right, Alan. I am No. 1.

Stephen from Jacksonville

Why don't the Jags offensive line get behind our running backs and push the running back to get additional yards? Over the past weekend I watched five different games and each game assisted the running backs get extra yards including two touchdowns?

I've seen the Jaguars' offensive line do this.

John from Jacksonville

Hello - I need some KOAGF wisdom. When you wake up each day, which do you usually think to yourself? "Why?" or "Why not?"

I think to myself, "What is my friend Alan from St. John's thinking today? I hope he's well. If he's not, I will be sad."