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O-Zone: Jealous mind

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Max from Wycoff, NJ

Hey, John: Hope you're doing well. As I'm looking at the schedule at our next four games, I see four pretty winnable games. The Miami Dolphins at home, at the Cincinnati Bengals, at the Houston Texans and home against the Detroit Lions. Am I crazy to think we have a pretty good shot at starting 4-2, maybe even 5-1???

Sure, there's a chance. But remember: Though this team has played well enough to win two games, it has in no way shown itself to be anything close to dominant. They've trailed far more often than they've led this season and they've had to rally – often – to get back in both games. Though all their games are "winnable," they must play well to win every game.

Kay from Jacksonville

I miss Yann. Seeing him get a strip sack in another team's uniform hurts, and there's no doubt in my mind we'd have beat the Titans with him on the field. I'm over Ramsey.... but it will be awhile before I'm over losing Yann. Here's hoping we maintain a better relationship with our stars going forward.

Your feelings about former Jaguars players are understandable, and the Jaguars share them – to a degree. They wanted to re-sign former defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in the 2019 offseason and made him an offer at the time to extend his contract. He didn't like the offer, after which his relationship with the team deteriorated. We may never know the "truth" about what happened; when two sides see something differently, "truth" often proves elusive. But there always must be a limit to what a team will pay a player, particularly when that player is not a quarterback. While the Jaguars wanted to pay Ngakoue very well, he wanted more and he didn't like hearing that he wasn't getting it. Will his new team, the Minnesota Vikings, pay him what he wants? Will the market ever match his views on his worth? I hope for his sake it does. We'll see. But remember: When a player's perceived worth doesn't match the market and you offer the market, it can be tough to maintain a relationship.

Nick from Palm Coast, FL

Does Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook get a GAME check to ride the bench or a practice-squad check each Sunday. Seems like a lot of money spent to keep someone as a backup in case of !!!

Westbrook has been inactive the first two games – and yes, inactive players get a game check. It's not particularly expensive. He's on a rookie contract.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

When do you expect we see Josh Allen get going? So far he really has not been that elite, disruptive force we expected to see and the Jags need him to be.

Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen is playing fine. He had multiple pressures in Week 1 against Indianapolis and had a big hit on Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill just after he released a pass in Week 2. He hasn't gotten sacks. They will come, but they're not going to come in bunches if the Jaguars trail throughout most of their games. This feels like a conversation we're going to have often about Allen, so remember: sacks are a difficult measure of a defensive player, even a "pass rusher." Sacks typically come when offenses are in bad down-and-distance situations and trailing. The Jaguars' opponents haven't been in those situations very often this season. Until that changes, I wouldn't look for huge sacks numbers from any Jaguars player – even Allen.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Oh, no. Gale Sayers. RIP. He was truly poetry in motion. The man could anything on a football field.

Indeed. This was a sad one. Former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers was one of my mother's favorite players. I watched Brian's Song. I had his autobiography, I Am Third. And he was as beautiful to watch as any running back who ever played. RIP to a true legend.

Shanghai Steve from Jacksonville

Zone... Doug Marrone is "– very good at communicating with players." *Except Jalen Ramsey. *Except Yannick. *Except Fournette, Harrison... Shoot - Telvin.... Barry Church... And not a good communicator to a star-studded defense that got us to an AFC championship game and then fell apart because (insert each of their individual excuses here). Shouldn't a good communicator be able to hold a championship team together despite what may be happening in the front office or outside the locker room?

Throw in all the asterisks* you like, Steve. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone is indeed a very good communicator, and what happened between the Jaguars and former cornerback Jalen Ramsey wasn't about Marrone. What happened between the Jaguars and Ngakoue wasn't about him, either. I'm not going to bother breaking down every player you list; suffice to say some situations don't "lend themselves to communication." As for a head coach being able to hold a championship team together despite what's happening in the front office or outside the locker room … I mean … you are kidding, right?

Snake from New York City

It is clear the beauty and sophistication of both Allegiant Stadium and SoFi Stadium will have a profound impact on every fan's game-day experience. Also, there is no doubt that these stadiums will provide year-round sports and entertainment destinations. Could Jacksonville ever construct something as complex as these futuristic beasts and provide what modern fans will come to expect?

I don't expect Jacksonville to build a stadium on the scale of those futuristic beasts. I don't know that such beasts are necessary – and I doubt one is feasible in this market. But the market absolutely is capable of having perfectly functional, respectable NFL stadium. I do expect major changes to the Jaguars' stadium situation – either a new stadium or massive renovations – to be a topic in the foreseeable future, and I expect whatever happens on that front to combine with the Jaguars' vision for Lot J to create a fan experience that makes sense for this market.

Josh from Lakewood

There seems to be some confusion on the matter, so I want to get everyone on the same page before Thursday's game. "Minshew Magic" is what Gardner does. "Minshew Mania" is the fans' due and proper response to Minshew Magic. They are not, in fact, interchangeable.


Terry from Cordele, GA

This is a different team, a different feel, a different attitude. Clearly our ability to convert on third down is one of the major factors – of not the major factor – for the increased scoring. If you could list other factors what would they be?

Proficiency in the red zone. Improved offensive-line play. Better running offense.

Morgan from Jacksonville

Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins both had their talents maximized under Jay Gruden and then when he left, they digressed. Minshew has looked really good, but my fear is he will join Dalton and Cousins if/when Gruden gets another crack at head coach. I know we have 14 games left before we have to make any decisions in the draft, but how much do we have to put on Gruden making this offense go?

Gruden absolutely appears to have been a positive influence in two games as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator. If the Jaguars' offense continues to perform at this level, I would guess he will – and should – get another opportunity to be a head coach. But I don't know that Cousins has been all that different since leaving Washington for Minnesota; from the eye test, he looks pretty much the same. As far as the question, I just can't answer it yet. It's too early. Let's wait until, say, October before worrying about the impact Gruden leaving might have next offseason.

Chris from Mandarin

Hindsight is 20/20, but given the fact that Ngakoue was not planning to play here again, and ended up getting traded by the Jaguars, the $17.6 million that was due to be paid to him could just as well been paid to Calais Campbell. If they had been objective enough while looking at the situation, and realized that Ngakoue was a lost cause, Campbell could have finished up his contract here in a year that the Jaguars really need him – whether he gets 6.5 sacks or 14.5. If the Jaguars had known when he was originally signed that he would have had 6.5 sacks per season each year, they still would have signed him given the fact that this was around his average amount in Arizona. We really needed this guy this year.

The Jaguars never viewed the Ngakoue unobjectively, and they absolutely knew there was a chance – a very good chance – that he wouldn't play for the Jaguars in 2020. This was absolutely true when they traded Campbell. One decision wasn't going to have much influence on the other.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, could you please share Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's official and accurate opinion of your beard?

We're no longer speaking. Not my choice. His jealousy is pathetic.