JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Chris from Nashville, TN
Do you think the change at quarterback will result in a significant shift in targets to wide receivers and tight ends from what we have seen the past eight games with Gardner Minshew II? Dede Westbrook appeared to be the WR1 early in the season, but DJ Chark Jr. has emerged as the better receiver statistically. It sure would be nice to see a little more utilization of our tight end in the passing game as well.
I expect to some shifts in how receivers and tight ends are used moving forward, because different quarterbacks have different comfort levels with different plays, reads and receivers – and I particularly expect to see wide receiver Chris Conley more involved in the offense. Quarterback Nick Foles appeared to have a high level of trust in Conley in organized team activities, minicamp and training camp; that makes sense considering the two are close from their days in Kansas City. Look for that to continue. Chark having emerged as the Jaguars’ best receiver statistically also makes sense because he is better-suited than Westbrook to be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL; he is longer and more physically imposing. I don’t expect to see Foles go away from Chark as the No. 1 receiver because I think Chark will fill that role no matter the quarterback. As far as utilizing the tight end more … yes, absolutely. That must be a priority because the lack of a threat in the middle of the field has been a defining factor in the offense for the last month and a half since James O’Shaughnessy was lost for the season. I expect the coaches to work hard to get the position more involved. That should be a focus during the bye. I don’t know that there are many good options for improvement beyond rookie tight end Josh Oliver, but an effort almost certainly will be made. Something must get done.
Jon from Ocala, FL
Hi O, just wondering if we are allowed to root for Minshew and Foles? Because from the sound of it, it's one or the other. I thought if you are a fan of the Jags, you can root for whoever is quarterback to win!
I’m not sure how to explain this, other than there are people so utterly convinced they are right and everyone who disagrees with them must be wrong that there can be no middle ground – even when it comes to something such as an NFL team that would seem to be designed to bring people together. I do have an idea that if Foles wins a game or two, then pretty much all Jaguars fans – including the Minshew supporters – will be rooting for him. If he loses a game or two, there won’t be many Foles fans left. That’s sort of how these things work.
Chris from Mandarin
Cover for the stadium is pointed to often as something that would increase fan attendance, particularly early in the season for the Jaguars. I just want to point out that since Miami installed their coverage on the stadium in South Florida that their attendance figures have fallen from 67,000 in 2017, to 65,000 in 2018 to 62,000 this season. This shows that the stadium amenities really have no effect and the only thing that can spark attendance is creative, aggressive marketing and winning with one of those things having far more impact than the other.
Statistics are cool. People like them. People also like presenting them without context. What your scenario doesn’t mention is that Miami hasn’t played particularly well during those seasons, and the Dolphins are currently going through one of the worst – and weirdest – seasons in their franchise’s history. Do you think maybe – just maybe – that has something do with attendance dropping a few thousand per game over that span? Yes, the Jaguars must win because winning more than anything spurs interest, enthusiasm and attendance. But the heat in Jacksonville in September and October is a real thing. To think it doesn’t influence people’s decision to sit outside on a Sunday afternoon during that time is to ignore reality.
Nate from Granby
Who do you think is the biggest obstacle to Tony Boselli getting into the Hall of Fame? (Besides the voters.) Also, how many more years does he have as a modern era finalist?
The voters aren’t an obstacle to former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli getting into the Hall of Fame. He has a lot of support, and there are many voters who have voted for him the past few years. We know this because he continually is in the Top 10 when the voters vote. There are also other voters for Boselli who simply have voted for five other qualified candidates on a given year. There are probably other voters who won’t vote for Boselli because logic tells us not every voter is in his corner. But the main thing keeping from Boselli from the Hall of Fame is career longevity. He was one of the best left tackles in the NFL’s golden age of left tackles. He was a dominant player by any measure. But he played just six and a half seasons. While there are enshrinees with shorter career, that is the main argument against him getting elected. It’s not a ridiculous argument, though I still believe Boselli will get in sometime in the next few years.
Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL
I would question the "win-games-and-they-will-come" excuse for Jax fans. In 2017 they were Bills' fans everywhere. My impression was that many season-ticket holders decided to sell to the highest bidder rather than support a good team playing its first home playoff game in years. Same thing happens when teams with really loyal fans like the Pittsburgh Steelers play here. Do NFL teams keep stats on percentage of season tickets are resold? My guess is we would rank very high in that category.
I suppose we have different definitions of “everywhere.” I was at the Buffalo Bills playoff game following the 2017 season. I have spoken to many people who were in the stands. While there were indeed Bills fans there, they were not “everywhere” and it was not an overwhelming amount compared to, say, the number of Jaguars fans at the following week’s playoff game in Pittsburgh. As for the Steelers fans who buy tickets in Jacksonville when they play here, that’s everywhere around the country. And it happens when any historical franchise – i.e., the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, etc. – plays in most road markets. This is the digital era. People can buy and sell tickets from fans and brokers online. Some people buying them are going to be from out of market and fans of other teams. Jacksonville is not alone in this. Not even remotely.
David from Maplewood, NJ
John, The awesome player store … NICE!
If only it existed.
Chris from Delray Beach, FL
If things should go poorly and the team gets mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, do you bring Minshew back in to finish out the year and get more experience? Also, how does Foles' contract impact the team's ability to trade him if there is interest in the off-season?
It's more likely that Foles would play out the season in your scenario. The only way I would see that not happening is if he plays disastrously. Otherwise, I think you play him because you signed him with the idea that he will be the quarterback for the next two or three seasons at least. And while trading Foles next offseason wouldn’t be ideal in terms of the salary cap, my understanding is it’s doable if circumstances dictate. I don’t see that happening if Foles plays well. Now, if he plays poorly …
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, people keep talking about how Foles has proven great in the postseason and is a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. Couple things: first, didn’t the Jaguars just sign and then cut another SB MVP? Also, wasn’t the team Foles played for loaded with All-Pro offensive linemen, receivers, great defense and perhaps the best tight end in the league to go along with really innovative, exciting coaching? By comparison, the Jaguars line stinks, the defense beyond the line stinks, the team has no tight ends left on the active roster since they’re all on IR, and the coaches are whatever the opposing of innovative is (boring cold washcloths maybe).
What? You’re comparing signing a linebacker off the street (Malcolm Smith) who was a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player a half decade before he signed to signing a quarterback as an unrestricted free agent who was a Super Bowl MVP a year and a half prior? And we’re really saying that everything beyond the Jaguars’ defensive line stinks? You’re better than this, Brian. I promise.
Sean from Jacksonville
Simple explanations? Nah. C'est la vie? Yep.
I get emails like this sometimes.