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O-Zone: Easy choice

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Adam from St. Johns, FL

This defense is just not good enough. Not to mention the coaching blunders – squib-kick disaster. You're not supposed to lose if you score 30 points. Again, there were defensive players – defensive end Calais Campbell – that were worth keeping. Cut 'em all and blame the coach. Do you think this defense is good enough?

First: I'm not sure it's true in today's NFL that you're "supposed to win" if you score 30. While I understand the premise, the rules have skewed so much in favor of quarterbacks and offenses that I expect many teams this season will lose scoring 30. Think of it: Nearly every NFL team has a legitimate starting quarterback and there are a mind-blowing number of "great" ones. This is unprecedented. Are we to believe there are suddenly that many great quarterbacks being born or maybe – just maybe – are the rules such that it's far easier (maybe too easy) to score and put up huge passing numbers? Ah, but I digress. To answer your very legitimate question, Alan … Even considering the rant that began this answer, the Jaguars' defense this season hasn't been good enough early in games. Not even close. It has been much better late in games. That's the hope for this defense – that it has made a lot of big plays late. That's a good sign, but no … overall the defense has not yet been good enough. As far as the offseason moves the Jaguars made, it bears repeating: The Jaguars were trying to improve the team and give themselves the best chance to win this season while getting the salary cap in order moving forward. That was the objective. You couldn't get the cap in order without parting ways with some players.

Tyler from Pittsburgh, PA

I am seeing a lot of questions about Minshew's arm strength and size. I know he has not garnered (ha) the accolades that Russell Wilson has, but I see a lot similarities between the two. What is your take on this? I realize he is not on Wilson's level, but that has always been a knock on Wilson as well – at least his size. Here's hoping that Minshew is our guy going forward and the first two games of this season has shown that this team has grit and I love it. GO JAGS!!

You're right that Wilson's arm strength has been considered a negative. Here's the thing about Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II: He's never going to have a strong arm. He doesn't "drive" the ball. He's not tall and he's not going to have a growth spurt. None of that's going to change no matter how much we discuss it. He has shown in the first two games of the season he's good enough to be a starting NFL quarterback. I believe at this point he will be the Jaguars' quarterback for the foreseeable future. Through this season and beyond. How good can he be? Can he be elite? I don't know. But he's the best quarterback this team has had in the decade I've been back in Jacksonville and he has a chance to get better. We'll see where that takes him and the team.

RG from Middle Earth

What does "starting faster" look like for the Jags? Not throwing a pick on the opening drive? Testing the secondary deep more often?

Not throwing a pick? Definitely. Testing the secondary? Not necessarily. But the offense hasn't been a huge issue early this season, even early in games. Now, the defense …

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do players get any time off during the short week or do they make it up after the game?

Players are at the facility every day during a short week. There is very little of anything close to a real "practice," though there are multiple walkthroughs and run-throughs to prepare as well as possible in just three days.

John from Cape May Courthouse

Going into the season there were three things I needed to see from Minshew before I was ready to believe. One, sustain offensive drives – i.e., convert third downs. Two, improve red-zone efficiency – i.e. finish drives with touchdowns. Third, quicker decision making in the pocket – i.e., not hold onto the ball for so long. The Jaguars currently lead the league in third down conversions, and are tied for second in red zone efficiency. All that's left is the quicker decision making.


Rob from St. Augustine, FL

I believe a lot of fans are confused regarding "not having a backup quarterback." I'm aware that Mike Glennon has been the No. 2 so far. But I was a little confused myself as to how he became the backup. If my memory serves me correctly, rookie Jake Luton outplayed Mike Glennon and "won" the job. And Glennon didn't make the 53. How'd he get re-signed and leapfrog Luton from cut down day to Week 1?

It was the opinion of many observers that Luton – including myself – looked better than Glennon in training camp, though the Jaguars never specifically said as much. Here's how to look at what happened. Luton is a rookie sixth-round selection with a lot of upside; had he been waived at cutdown day there was a good chance he would have been claimed and signed by another team. Glennon is veteran who has been around the league; there was a good chance he would go unsigned after being released and therefore the Jaguars would be able to re-sign him. That's what happened, and the Jaguars quickly re-signed him to the practice squad and shortly thereafter to the active roster. Glennon because of his experience has been active and the backup quarterback on game day. But if the Jaguars had to decide which quarterback to keep on the roster – Luton or Glennon – it likely would be Luton because of his long-term potential.

Greg from Valdosta, GA

With the amount of injuries this past weekend across the league, do you think some of this is due to the limited offseason and lack of preseason?

That's a theory. I'm skeptical because starting players typically take very few reps in the preseason and I don't realistically know how much playing a quarter in August influences how a running back is tackled and twisted in September. Could the lack of an offseason be a factor? Maybe, but remember: football is a violent, physical game. There are injuries every season. I'll wait a few weeks before determining exactly why there were more than normal in Week 2.

David from Ada, OK

During Sunday's game one of the commentators mentioned that it ought to be illegal for linebackers to wear numbers in the forties because the o-line doesn't know who to block. I have no idea what they were talking about. Can you explain and do you agree?

I heard this, too. It seems his point was that linebackers wearing a number in the 40s would confuse an offensive player who was unsure sure if he should block the player. The theory was that offensive players identify defensive players' positions based on numbers and perhaps wouldn't block a player wearing numbers in the 40s because that player was a defensive back. I thought about it for a second, the realized the categorical silliness of the theory. Defensive players are allowed to blitz. They're wearing the opposing jersey. If they rush the quarterback, block them. If they don't, don't.

Marcus from Jacksonville

I have no problems with the coaches sitting Dede Westbrook in favor of the other five receivers. However, do you think it might be time to put him in as the fifth receiver primarily to be a more reliable kick returner? Rookie Chris Claybrooks has looked shaky back there and was about one foot away from giving the Titans a gift on Sunday. Rookie wide receiver Collin Johnson has a lot of upside, but through two games he has one catch on four targets so it's not like he's been lighting the world on fire. Seems like we're going to be in some close games this year, so a reliable kick returner is important, and Dede at least gives you that. What do you think?

This is possible, but remember: Johnson has big-time size and is therefore a threat in the red zone. If that element gives you a touchdown once every few games, it's worth keeping him on the roster. We'll see where the Jaguars go on this. Game-day roster decisions depend on health and personnel needs everywhere on the roster, not just one position. The coaches would love to have Westbrook active on game day. If it makes sense given everything else on the roster on game day, I'm sure they will have him active. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if Westbrook is active for returns. Head Coach Doug Marrone is big on ball security. Westbrook's experience absolutely could be enough to justify such a move.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, you and Jerell make me laugh. I can't decide who's funnier.

I am.