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O-Zone: Friendship ring

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

Do you think Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II is fighting a negative perception from observers because of where he was drafted? I think the team knows what it has. I think he is the franchise quarterback. What's not to like?

Minshew undoubtedly is perceived differently by many observers as a sixth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft than he would have been had he been drafted earlier. At the same time, much of what caused Minshew to be selected late – arm strength, height – still concerns many trying to project if he will be a franchise quarterback and long-term starter. So, in that sense, the current discussion about Minshew is an extension of one going on since before he was drafted. I don't know that the team "knows" what it has in him yet. There were legitimate questions about Minshew entering the season, and those questions don't get answered in one game. While Minshew's 19-of-20 passing performance for 173 and three touchdowns against Indianapolis means he played well, he also had a couple of instances when field vision and pocket presence were concerning. He also checked down a lot, as indicated by very few passes going downfield. None of that is to say Minshew won't prove himself to be the long-term answer this season. The question won't get answered with one game, but Sunday was a good sign.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. Minshew/Jags and over the middle: better, worse, the same, too early to tell? What does your expert eye tell you?

Too early to tell. The question about Minshew over the middle is about being tall enough to consistently see that part of the field – and making the throws to the intermediate part of that area of the field that need velocity. He didn't do that much against Indianapolis because he didn't need to do it much. Stay tuned.

Jim from Neptune Beach, FL

The top five QB ratings in order for Week 1: Lamar Jackson of Baltimore, Russell Wilson of Seattle, Minshew, Aaron Rogers of Green Bay, Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City. I know it's just one week, but ...

What? What, Jim? WHAT???

Josh from Yulee, FL

Wow! Even Pete Prisco of CBS Sports is downing the Jags after a Week 1 victory against the Colts. Saying, and I quote, "The Jags won a game they probably shouldn't have won." As a competitor, these things are what motivates you. It's all mental. GO JAGS!!!!!!

The Jaguars were outgained by more than 200 yards, won the turnover battle 2-0 and needed a goal-line stand – and a missed point-blank field goal – to beat the Colts. I thought while watching the game that the Jaguars were the better team by game's end, but can I see the argument that they won a game they shouldn't have won? Yeah, I can.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, seems like this defense is tackling really well. Last year I recall lots of bad angles, poor efforts, and generally just bad tackling. But against the Colts, by the end of the game I was confident that if a defensive player was in the vicinity of the ball carrier, the tackle would happen. Am I off base here? Did the team do a lot of live tackling in preseason camp?

You are not off base. No, it did not.

Biff from Jacksonville

I love the great feeling after the Week 1 victory. Folks liking Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack again. Folks good with the offensive line. Folks coming off that ridiculous "Tank for Trevor" merry-go-round. But I still have this aching feeling those folks are just waiting for misery. Do they really love this team? Got me thinking about a John Prine song lyric: "You know what they say/They pledge their love forever/Then they add a day." They probably feel the same about a guy named "O".

No one has pledged love to this guy named "O," Biff – though many readers/fans/observers understandably like a lot about the Jaguars this week. It stands to reason many fans are cautious with those positive feelings. The Jaguars have lost a lot in recent seasons and they're therefore hard to trust. My sense for Sunday is the Jaguars will play better in Nashville, Tenn., than they have the last two seasons but fall short because the game is on the road – and because the Titans are good. And yes, Biff … fans will be angry if that happens. And they will blame "O." But you know what? "That's the way that the world goes 'round/You're up one day and the next you're down/It's half an inch of water and you think you're gonna drown/That's the way that the world goes 'round."

Bryce from Waterloo, IA

Hey, John. The Jaguars' young corners will have their hands full going up against Titans wide receivers AJ Brown and Corey Davis, but the most important challenge is slowing down Titans running back Derrick Henry. With Jack playing outside and Joe Schobert manning the middle, the Jaguars defense has a better chance of taking away some of Henry's long runs. If the Jaguars can get strong linebacker play and keep him under 100 yards, they should be in position to be 2-0.

Thank you, Bryce …

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Depth on this defense is nonexistent. It will ultimately be our undoing and be the reason people keep their jobs again next year.

… and thank you as well, Sam.

Richard from Jacksonville

Similar to Gardner, Tony Romo was a shortish late round/UDFA quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys only won 10-plus games three out of the eight years Romo was the primary starter, and never made it to a Super Bowl. My question to you, John, is that if you knew Gardner was set to have a similar career, would you go forward with him as your franchise quarterback or would you risk moving on for the unknown?

If I knew Minshew was going to be as good as Romo, I absolutely would move forward with Minshew. Romo was good enough to lead teams to playoffs and he was good enough to play in Super Bowls (even though he didn't). When he played, the Cowboys didn't worry about the position from year to year and they know they were getting good enough play there to contend for the postseason. Making or not making the Super Bowl is not solely because of the quarterback – conventional wisdom notwithstanding.

Dave from Orange Park, FL

Johnnie O: Titans running back Derrick Henry has played eight games against the Jags, and except for two games (238 yards/four touchdowns in 2018 and 159 yards/two TDs last year) he never has broken 100 yards, averaged 3.2 a carry and only scored three touchdowns. Can this Jaguars defense bottle him up on Sunday?

Yes, and I believe the Jaguars' defense will fare better against Henry Sunday because I don't believe the Jaguars will have the defensive breakdowns they had against Tennessee the last two seasons. I also believe the game mattering in the standings will mean the Jaguars playing more together for the entire game against the Titans than was the case the last two seasons. The interior of the defensive line also is fresher and healthier – and perhaps deeper – early in this season than was the case late in the past two seasons. The Jaguars in their two losses at Tennessee the past two seasons felt like a team that knew the season was over. I don't expect them to feel that way Sunday.

Mr. NFL from Unfortunately Jacksonville

Well, well, well... it looks like little Johnny has a friend in Montana named Dan. I'm still here, laughing at the subpar mediocrity that only the Jaguars could deliver to so-called fans. Jags fans and little Johnny are all giddy because of one lucky win. I'm sure winning four-to-five games is really going to make the year for such underachieving fans and local writers … perhaps living in a perpetual purgatory until the move to London is all that makes Duval residents giddy. Congrats on your ONE win... now, how about a parade?

First, I don't get giddy when the Jaguars win and I don't get depressed when they lose – though I do like seeing Jaguars fans happy with the former and wish for their sake there was less of the latter. Also: I don't have friends in Montana – at least not that I know of. I do have friends, though. He lives here in Jacksonville. I think. I wish he would text me back. When I went to where he lived the last time and calmly pressed his doorbell for an hour like always, the guy who eventually answered said from behind the chain lock that I needed to go home. Like right then. So, he was nice. Before I left, he said from behind the door: "What do you use to color your hair?" I said: "Nothing. I look this good naturally."