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O-Zone: Fan club

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Matt from Murfreesboro, TN

I hear people keep questioning the arm strength of Minshew. The game in Denver they kept commenting on how strong the winds were; in my experience, if a quarterback with a "weak arm" is going to struggle it will be in windy conditions. Having a cannon of arm is nice, but if you can throw routes on time with anticipation, it takes the arm-strength factor out of the game quite a bit. Thanks, O.

I'm not sure how many more times or ways I can say it, but I have seen nothing from Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II in the first five games of the regular season to make me think he's not going to be really good. That includes his arm strength, his supposed weakness entering the NFL. While I suppose there are people still questioning it, and while it's true he can't blister the ball through defensive backs who know where's going with the ball the way quarterbacks such as Dan Marino could … guess what? You don't have to play quarterback that way to be good in the NFL. Minshew can read defenses, understands the offense and is more than accurate enough to make up for whatever he lacks in arm strength. And in his five regular-season games, there have been few occasions where arm strength was even a noticeable issue. He has thrown one interception – in a Week 1 loss to Kansas City that wasn't his fault – and has made plenty of deep throws to the sides of the field that required NFL-level velocity. His arm strength is fine. He's good. Enjoy it.

Jozy from Jacksonville

Hey, John: Hope you're doing well. My question is did Gardner show you anything during camp, practices or film that would have given you foresight into the quarterback he is currently playing like? Go Jags.

No. No one knew this was coming. Not teammates. Not coaches. Not the front office. Not even Minshew himself. Not even me, and I know all.

Scott from Jacksonville

There was one play that convinced me Gardner had "good enough" arm strength - the deep out to [wide receiver] Dede Westbrook in the last minute against Denver. That ball was 30 yards in the air, into a stiff wind, and right after Minshew had his leg rolled up on. It was so perfect, Dede had time to turn upfield after making the catch before hitting sideline. I'm still giddy.

The Stache's arm is fine. And while he is on the injury report as of Thursday with a groin injury, all reports are that that injury is fine, too. Thank goodness.

Steve from Nashville, TN

I bought seven tickets in Section 240 for my friends and I want to see Gardner Minshew II defeat the Saints.

You and your friends shan't be alone.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

I'm requesting an official clarification on whether "Chark" is pronounced with a hard or soft "ch" sound. The nickname implications are huge.

Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.'s last name is pronounced with a hard "ch." Sorry.

John from Jacksonville

Sometimes it's time to move on. With regards to Ramsey, I don't think we need the history of his request for a trade including all of the illnesses, games missed, dinner choices, etc. He's another player on the roster. Can we just use his name going forward without all the asterisks? If a trade happens or a contract extension is made, then we can discuss it. Until then, he's just another good player that we hope plays and contributes to another Jags win. Don't take this suggestion are still the KOAF.

It seems your question is asking that I not go over Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey's recent off-field drama when writing about him. While I understand that many readers are tired of reading about it and know all-too well the blow-by-blow, remember: Not every reader of this website reads every day and not every reader knows every detail of the Ramsey saga – the sickness, the injury, the trade request, all the other stuff, etc. So, while I appreciate the suggestion, I expect I'll continue to write and report about Ramsey as I have been, which is to present the story in such a way that people with all levels of knowledge can at least attempt to somewhat grasp what's going on. And yes … I am the king of all funk.

Dave from Mania

Zone, did I look at that right? The Jags currently have the No. 1 running back and receiver for yards in the AFC. What's up with that?

The Jaguars are a good offense. Get used to it.

Billy from Orange Park, FL

There's a surefire way to minimize quarterback fumbles. BETTER BLOCKING!!! (Notice the all caps?) Great teams (and good ones, too) don't struggle with blocking, tackling, gap control and dropped passes. Seems like most games the Jags have issues with one or more of these issues. Sure would like to see them put it all together once in a while.

You have an unrealistic standard for what makes a "good team." I've covered many, many good teams in the NFL. All have had various issues come up on a weekly basis. Good teams find ways to win while dealing with those issues, and great ones typically get a high level of play from their quarterback while dealing with said issues. Even great teams aren't usually perfect. The league is too balanced and the players are too good for that.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

If they would just play good clean football, they'd probably win a lot more than they would lose.


Chris from Houston, TX

With tight end James O'Shaughnessy going down with a season ending injury, do you foresee Josh Oliver filling his shoes of Minshew's check-down, reliable option at the position? It's never a good time to lose a player who has been playing well but it seems like Oliver has been trending to play within the next week or two.

Oliver has practiced the last three weeks after not practicing since early training camp. Because of the seriousness of his hamstring injury, he has needed more time to play his way into game shape. When that happens, the hope is that he will be a productive option as a receiving tight end. That's why he was drafted.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL

When a team has penalty issues and the coaches and players repeatedly say they need to "clean that up" — what specific actions do they take to clean them up?

Play better to correct the penalties that occur because players are getting beat, and play smarter to prevent the avoidable – and silly – penalties.

Robert from Jacksonville

No. 91 isn't going to get a big contract out of us. Do you think he gets a big contract out of anyone at this point? What happened? Has he ever been both this bad against the run and unable to get to the QB?

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had two sacks last Sunday in a loss to Carolina. As for the idea that he's not playing well, that's more perception than reality. He has played in four games this season and has only been healthy in about two of them; a hamstring issue caused him to miss one game and slowed him considerably in a couple of others. He's pretty much the same player he always has been when healthy, and I expect by season's end his sacks totals will reflect that.

Scott from San Antonio, TX

They don't have to be the '17 Jaguars defense (though it would be nice) with this offense, just half to three quarters would work the way the offense is playing.


Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

You were right. Ramsey is not a distraction to this team, which is evident with the camaraderie the Jags are displaying even after a tough loss. Ramsey has also faded from the national media hoopla which is quite welcome as well.


Mark from Prescott, AZ

John, how has Cam Robinson looked so far this year?

Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson so far this season has looked like what he is – a young player returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament who is working to get back from that, and who's also still working to reach his potential. He has struggled at times and has been good at times.

Dana from Jacksonville

I just read the column and noticed my question was taken WAY out of context. In fact, I think the column was titled after my question. I am obsessed with Gardner Minshew! No hate in my game. STRONG, ROCKET-ARMED MINSHEW!

Taking questions out of context and twisting them just enough to create a clever title is fun. Senior writers like it.

John from Jacksonville

My guess is cute Chris from Nashville is a Titans fan.

No, he's a John Oehser fan. Then again, aside from Dana, who isn't?

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