JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Robert from Ponte Vedra, FL
I've always been a fan of Jaguarsquarterback Gardner Minshew II. What I didn't know was he was fifth in Heisman Trophy balloting in his final season at Washington State. He received the Unitas Golden Arm Award. He was Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-Conference quarterback. He won 11 games his last season at Washington State and threw seven touchdowns against Arizona – a Pac-12 record. How did he fall to the sixth round?
Minshew slipped to the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft for the same reasons many productive college quarterbacks aren't selected early in the NFL Draft – a lack of prototypical size and arm strength. Also, because he transferred to Washington State for his final season and was very much "off the radar" until his final college season, he was perceived by many in the NFL as a college-only quarterback and one-year wonder. Remember: Many college quarterbacks put up eye-catching numbers and don't come close to being productive NFL quarterbacks. Remember, too: Many of the issues that caused Minshew to slip are ones that some around the NFL still believe remain issues. He still must show he can win from the pocket with "on-schedule" plays and still must show better consistency than he showed as a rookie. He hasn't yet proved the league wrong for allowing him to slip to Round 6. The Jaguars believe he has a chance to do so, and he'll have that chance starting in about a month.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Would you say that cutting wide receiver Andre Rison was the key to moving forward in 1996? He wasn't doing what he was supposed to within the offense, causing problems and turnovers, and his absence allowed Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell to get on the field more together. That allowedquarterback Mark Brunell to form that chemistry in the passing game with Smith and McCardell. I think they went on that win streak in 1996 after cutting Rison.
Streaks such as the Jaguars' in 1996 don't happen because of one moment or one player. Brunell matured and began making clutch plays late in games. A good, young team that went on to make three more consecutive playoff appearances began growing up. Defensive end Tony Brackens began developing into a game-changing player. But yes … releasing Rison following a loss in Pittsburgh was one of the turning points in that '96 season. It helped establish Brunell as a leader and allowed Smith to be on the field – and to subsequently emerge as one of the NFL's best receivers.
Steve from Nashville, TN
Is it possible the on-field temps for the early season games at the 'Bank could be even hotter without 50,000 bodies absorbing all those rays? They will just bounce off the empty seats and onto the field?
We all need football in the fall. Even Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Paul from St. Johns, FL
If the Jags win the Super Bowl this year, will the players who opted out of the 2020 season get a ring? And, can Yann opt out of the 2020 season, since the opt-out deadline has passed and he isn't under contract with a team?
Players from Super Bowl-winning teams typically vote on bonus shares and rings after the game, so players opting out could receive a ring – though I would be surprised if players voted that way. As for Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue … he has the option of not playing in 2020. If he doesn't sign the franchise tag, he won't play for the Jaguars or anyone else. But that wouldn't be "opting out" in the sense of COVID-19; that would simply be choosing not to play under the tag. And he obviously wouldn't get paid a stipend of any kind.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
College football is on the brink. How long until you admit that the NFL can't make this work? See ya next year, Zone.
It will be a while before I "admit" anything, Gary. I still believe the NFL has a very real chance at playing and completing this season, and there are many differences between college football and the NFL. Perhaps the biggest is that professional athletes have a much better chance than their college counterparts of living a socially distanced enough life away from the field, which in turn can enable the distancing and protocols in place at their training facilities to be adequate. The whole idea of the NFL's protocols and regulations is to have such a low number of positive cases inside facilities that the practice and playing fields are safe places – as opposed to places where the disease can spread. The fact that positive COVID cases among NFL teams have dropped in recent days is a good sign and I get every indication that the people running the NFL believe a season is going to take place. I hope college football finds a way to get played. I would feel bad for the college athletes who don't get a chance to play their seasons. But if they don't get that chance, I don't think it's any indication about what might happen to the NFL season.
Cliff from Orange Park, FL
In response to the concept of getting three thousand players and coaches to stay away from family for five months, I want to give a shout out to our sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen and their families for their sacrifices.
Yep. No doubt.
Jason from North Pole
Have you seen Gardner Minshew II's new look?? Now that Tom Coughlin is gone, is there a feeling that players can finally let down their hair?
I have seen Minshew's new look. I don't think Minshew or any other player will groom themselves differently because former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin no longer is in that position. Coughlin didn't love long hair. He didn't love my ill-advised ponytail in 1996. He likely would have preferred all his players with crewcuts and no facial hair. But he didn't care as much about grooming as he did work ethic and approach to the game. On that front, I doubt Coughlin ever disliked anything about Minshew. As for how he felt about me…
unhipcat from carslbad, ca
Oh, Hi John. Speaking of growlers, while restaurants were shut down for indoor dining, Yardhouse did take-out, and one could buy a growler of Elysian Space Dust IPA for $14. Alas, no longer … with "social distancing" dining now permitted. Thar got me thinking about my younger days when I "had beers … had one beer … having some beers with friends … have some beers … I drank beer with my friends … I had too many beers … I liked beer … I still like beer, but I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out … bright line between drinking beer which I gladly do … who drinks beer … who drank beer." That's about all I remember. What do you remember about your beer drinking days?
Saturday was great. Thanks for asking.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Is cornerback CJ Henderson the defensive MVP? Defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen is probably the best player on the team, but the defensive end/line can absorb his loss due to the depth with K'Lavon Chaisson, Ngakoue and Dawuane Smoot. I'm not sure what kind of situation the cornerback group would be in if Henderson couldn't play. The depth at cornerback will be a major factor especially if we don't get at least average play out of the safeties.
Henderson is a rookie who never has participated in an unpadded NFL practice; that makes it tough to considered him the Jaguars' defensive Most Valuable Player. Now, could you make the argument that Henderson is as important as any Jaguars defender? Absolutely. If he plays at a high level, the Jaguars could be in good shape at the position. If he doesn't, cornerback could be shaky.
Adam from Wescosville
And if you think your life is complete confusion....
… because you never win the game.
Ryan from Apopka, FL
Tell Mike that if he watches replays of the Morten Andersen missed field goal in '96 that you will see a one and only KOAF watering the grass during the timeout before said field goal. He is super quick so watch carefully.
That wasn't me. Honest. And I can prove this because I was under the goal post where then-Atlanta Falcons kicker Morton Anderson missed the 30-yard field goal that sent the Jaguars to the playoffs that season. Now, as for the whereabouts of longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette …
Ed from Jacksonville
Do you still consider yourself a practicing journalist? You just wrote that you can't be trusted. Do you joke about divorce with your wife and Frenette, too? Also, there are at least three Ed's that write to you. I'm the truest Jags fan and have the best sense of humor.