O-Zone: Excuse me

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Michael from Orlando, FL

If the defense gets its collective head screwed back on straight, 4-6 to 5-5 feels possible while The 'Stache covers down for Foles. Too optimistic?

The knee-jerk reaction to your question is four or five victories in the first 10 games does feel too optimistic. Rookie quarterbacks – and backups-turned-starters – typically have frustrating stops and starts that result in winnable games lost, and the defense did nothing Sunday to make anyone believe it can carry a young quarterback for an extended time. But once the knee stops jerking, it’s possible to see your point. Yes, the Jaguars were overwhelmed defensively Sunday – but the Chiefs’ offense overwhelms even the best defenses. And while Gardner Minshew II obviously is a rookie, he showed enough poise in a difficult situation that it’s possible he could complement the defense – provided the defense is what we thought and not what we saw Sunday. Head Coach Doug Marrone certainly believes in Minshew’s potential, and Marrone isn’t given to hyperbole in these situations. Losing starter Nick Foles for an extended period was a worst-case scenario, and there’s every chance it could be a catastrophic event in NFL terms; that’s the reality of losing a starting quarterback in Week 1. But Minshew played well enough Sunday that it’s worth considering that the Jaguars might stay afloat in Foles’ absence. That’s something. Heck, it’s all there is for this team right now.

Jaginator from (formerly of Section 124)

I’m NOT the relic who thinks players should never celebrate a touchdown. I don’t get mad when they jaw at opponents, or hold out for more money, or get a speeding ticket. I don’t even get mad when they’re on my lawn. But I’m quickly tiring of our players (especially, our defense) getting taken to the woodshed – and then deciding that it’s time to puff their chest out and start fights. Make a play. Stop somebody. Then, maybe, open your mouth.

One fer not doing that anymore. It’s tiresome.

Travis from North Dakota

Had Minshew gotten hurt, who would play quarterback after him? Do teams that only carry two quarterbacks on the roster normally have a plan in place for that situation or do they just throw someone in?

Teams have a plan. That Jaguars’ plan historically has been wide receiver Marqise Lee, though teams don’t always reveal the identity of the player before they’re forced into the situation. Teams spend minimal time on the issue. If you’re playing your third quarterback, your plan usually isn’t going to result in many victories.

CMO from San Jose, CA

John, is this going to be like last year: Another cocky defense during the week that can't back up their cockiness on the field?

We’ll see. Sunday was a miserable start. It doesn’t have to define the season. But the lack of discipline, lack of recognition and lack of ability to cover that we saw Sunday was troubling.

Barb from Atlantic Beach, FL

John, I think we can all agree that it's not ALWAYS coaching, but the guys collecting checks for supposedly getting players in the right scheme, mentally ready to play, and responsible for reminding them to keep their composure should at least be held a little bit accountable for doing so.

And they are. That’s why NFL coaches to a ridiculous extent change jobs every offseason. At the same time, coaches can game plan and coach players as much as they want. If the players insist on not running what’s called, it’s difficult for the scheme to work.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Man, I know we don't want bad character guys on our team, but it is going to suck when the Pats come here for the AFC Championship game and we have to play against Tom Brady with Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown on the outside. Why is it the ultimate character team always takes these chances on guys like this? Why not us, zone? Why wouldn't we want to sign arguably the most talented player in the league at a position of need when he magically became available? We have the cap room. We need him more than they do.

The Patriots indeed take chances on players such as Brown, and they get more opportunities than many teams because a player wanting to win a Super Bowl naturally is drawn to a franchise that has won so many. But your last sentence is a debatable one: “We need him more than they do.” Do the Jaguars really need that? The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t want it and Brown was the league’s best receiver playing for them for a half decade. The Oakland Raiders didn’t want him, either. That’s close to a pattern.

Charles from Savannah, GA

The Patriots always beat other teams to the punch when acquiring talented players like Antonio Brown. Why not entertain the idea of Antonio Brown in a Jaguar uniform?

Were you not watching television in recent weeks? Or Twitter?

Allen from St. Clairsville, OH

Never seen Myles Jack so upset. Did the refs miss something? Seems like NFL should review plays before an ejection too see the entire picture that led to a swing. Your thoughts?

The referees did miss something on the play leading to the fight for which Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack was ejected Sunday. Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins during the play ran directly over Jack, who shouldn’t have been called for illegal contact considering Watkins initiated the contact. There also undoubtedly was something “untoward” said or done to lead Jack to react as he did. All of that said, you still can’t react as he did. The Jaguars have reacted this way too often in recent seasons. They play on the edge, which is fine. Unless you can’t keep from going over the edge. Which evidence suggests they cannot. Or at least have not, which is the same thing.

Charles from Savannah, GA

Did the Jaguars find their franchise quarterback in Minshew?

Too soon, Charles. Too soon.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

We really missed linebacker Telvin Smith yesterday. That was one of the most embarrassing defensive performances in years for the Jags.

The Jaguars’ defense struggled mightily against the Chiefs, and it was an embarrassing performance. While there’s obviously no way to prove it, I would attribute little if any of the performance to Smith no longer being with the team.

Ken from Jacksonville

How hot is Doug Marrone's chair getting?

We’re not there yet.

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

Should there have been a penalty called on the play in which Foles got injured for falling with all of your weight on the quarterback?

I thought so. When officials were emphasizing the rule two years ago, it certainly would have been called because they were overemphasizing it to the extent that anything close was being called. They seem to be calling it more realistically now and not calling it when something happens to make it unavoidable. As I saw it, it would been tricky for Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones to avoid falling on Foles. That’s debatable, but it could be interpreted that way. It didn’t make much difference. The outcome for Foles and the Jaguars wouldn’t have been better for the short- or long-term with a 15-yard penalty.

Snidely from Disappointmentville

So, what are the team needs for the 2020 draft...?

Cute. We’re not there. Yet.

Allyn from Orange Park, FL

I was a high school linebacker in the early 70's. Who do I talk to about coming down to the stadium and teaching our defensive players how to tackle?

The Jaguars’ tackling was bad Sunday. This is not uncommon early in the season around the NFL because teams simply do not practice it nearly enough in training camp or the preseason. The perceived risk of injury is too high. Perhaps it’s worse this season because so many teams – including the Jaguars – played starters so sparingly in the preseason, but it’s not a new issue.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Yes, Gardner Minshew III did indeed look good. So did our receivers and running back. But isn’t the real story of the offense the O-line? With two players who had never started an NFL game, pass protection and run blocking were pretty good. I confess I’ve moaned about lack of depth on the O-line, but it isn’t as much of an issue as I (and many others) feared.

Fair.

Nicholas from Mogadishu, Somalia

I get the fact that punching is grounds for ejection. Do you think the NFL should or will start ejecting players for cheap shots to the back that starts a fight? Seems like there isn’t much more potential from a blindside hit causing whip lash (soft tissue injury) than a punch to a helmet and shoulder pads.

The players that throws the punch is the one penalized, and the player who starts incident with something chippy often isn’t penalized at all. It’s an age-old thing, and it doesn’t excuse Jack for being ejected.

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