O-Zone: Mad respect

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Julie from Jacksonville

Trying to understand coach’s perspective. He made it sound like our guys played their best, but the Houston lines and Deshaun Watson are just too good. I have a hard time understanding that conclusion. I guess he is saying we just don’t have enough good players. The front office did well in the past draft. Let’s get some more talent so we can compete then, is what I am guessing coach said.

You’re referencing Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone’s postgame comments Sunday. While your interpretation of what he said is understandable, it misses what Marrone was trying to say. He was trying to make the point that the Jaguars’ pass rush – and indeed, the defense – didn’t play poorly Sunday. This was true, at least until Hyde gashed the defense for a couple of plays in the fourth quarter. But the Jaguars’ pressured quarterback Deshaun Watson well, particularly with the game in doubt in the first half. They gave great effort and got good pressure. They rushed well enough to get sacks at least five times. But Watson escaped and made plays. Marrone in praising Watson afterward wasn’t remotely trying to say Jaguars defenders weren’t good players capable of making plays. He was trying to say that Watson’s the type of player who can make plays even when the opponent is playing well. He’s special and he played that way Sunday. That was the gist of what Marrone was trying to say, not that the talent isn’t good enough.

Mo from Jacksonville

I think that guy that ran all over us once played for us. Huh … go figure a guy that is a top-end talent let go by our front office.

Running back Carlos Hyde had a nice game for the Texans Sunday. I’ll stop short of calling him a “top-end” talent, but to each his own. Either way, if you want to pick releasing Hyde last offseason as your proof the Jaguars’ front office “stinks” … sure, do that. The Jaguars in recent years, like most NFL front offices, have made some moves they might like to have back. Releasing Hyde this past offseason isn’t one of them.

Duke from Jacksonville

If the Jaguars’ all-time top 25 players not on the team was compiled today, would former cornerback Jalen Ramsey be on it?

Of course.

Jeff from Jacksonville

With the NFL looking to implement an extra week of games with the idea being eight at home, eight  away and one international, how do you see this working for the Jaguars? It seems as if their deal to substitute one home game for a London game would not get renewed since it would be unnecessary for the league and it seems the extra international game’s total revenue would be split between the two teams. This scenario looks like it would disrupt Shad Khan’s plan to keep overall stability for this team in Jacksonville.

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is an intelligent man. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him work a deal in which the team still played a “home” game in London each year in addition to the designated “international game.” I would be surprised if he doesn’t do something like this.

Snidely from Disappointmentville

Dear Bozone: Please warn Coach Marrone he will be sued by the Mustache Maniacs for hundreds of cases of Preparation H after he selects Foles to be the starter.

Wut!?

Fly in the Ointment

It’s the NFL, so it’s about the money. I would argue that Minshew hasn’t really had much impact because the team is only getting 55,000 people into the home games this season. The number is a decrease over last season, which I am sure is not lost on Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and Jaguars President Mark Lamping. For a city that does not want to lose more home games to London, we sure seem to be making their mind up for them.

Minshew has had an impact. There was a buzz with a substantial number of new ticket buyers for the New Orleans Saints home game, which was Minshew’s first start after the “mania” really took hold. The Jaguars lost that game, which negated some of the short-term buzz. As for the attendance thus far this season, remember: There was a significant boost in season-ticket sales last season after the run to the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season. There was a corresponding drop in season-ticket sales for this season following last season’s 5-11 finish. Also remember: two of the Jaguars’ home games this season – Week 1 and Week 3 – came before Minshew’s presence could really have much of an effect. Finally, the Week 1 game against Kansas City was played in brutal heat, and you can’t discount the effect of that level of heat on attendance in early-season games in Florida. But make no mistake: Winning is what will get people the most excited. If the Jaguars make the playoffs and generate excitement, attendance will rise. If it doesn’t, the task is astronomically more difficult.

Mark from Archer, FL

Being a Jags fan, the most frustrating thing to me when we play the Texans is knowing that the Jags passed on Watson. They chose to stick with Blake Bortles, who at that point in his career had shown he was not a franchise quarterback. Now we have to face Watson twice a year until he no longer plays with the Texans.

Fair.

Howard from Homestead, FL

The best part of the quarterback debate is that whomever we start, he’ll have the full support of the guy on the bench because they are both high-character guys. Agree?

Well, the best part of the quarterback debate is both Foles and Minshew are good players, which means the Jaguars have a chance to win with either player. But yes … both players are high-character guys and I don’t anticipate public discontent from either player whatever the decision.

Bill from Folkston, GA

Each week we get a list of players that the NFL deems has overstepped the rules and must be fined because of it. Do you think if the officials were fined and called out for extremely inconsistent and bad calls would it make a difference in officiating? I really do enjoy watching the NFL but the officiating has become so bad that the officials are deciding games in a lot of circumstances.

Criticizing officiating has become so commonplace that it has become conventional wisdom that officiating is poor. The reality is the NFL moves so fast, and there is so much physical contact on every play, that officials simply can’t call everything – just as no quarterback makes the right read on every play, and no positional player makes the right choice or play on every play. The officials are then left to use judgement, thus creating controversy. But for every call that the Jaguars and their fans believe was egregious against them, there is a call that went against the other team that was equally egregious. I thought a couple of calls against the Jaguars Sunday were incorrect. The pass interference against DJ Chark Jr. The unnecessary roughness on Calais Campbell. But I can promise you the Texans can make out a list of calls to send to the league that they believed equally egregious that went against them Sunday. And officiating hasn’t “become” bad. People have always criticized it. There are just so many more high-profile forums (read: Twitter) now for complaining that people have concluded that it’s some new trend – or that officiating is worse than before. This trend is not new, and officiating is not worse. It’s just impossible to please fans of both teams and impossible to get every judgement call “right” in a sport that moves as fast with as much constant contact as the NFL. That will remain a frustrating part of the league until humans no longer officiate games.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Enough of this Minshew Magic nonsense. Bring out the big gun in Foles! Minshew has shown he is a capable backup going forward.

Jerell has weighed in.

Brian from Jacksonville

Fair to say this probably hurt more because of how much we’ve come to love Minshew. That said, I was reminded that, during preseason, Foles asked the receivers where they liked the ball thrown. From a respect and motivation standpoint, how would you say the players perceive the two quarterbacks, and where might Nick have the advantage over Gardner if he starts? Beyond the obvious of experience.

Players respect Foles’ command of the offense, his leadership and his reputation for winning and performing in the clutch. He has a Super Bowl ring and a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award to his credit. Yes, there are questions about Foles. Ability to stay healthy. Ability to perform at a high level through 16 games. But that resume? Having gotten it done in the postseason in recent years? That resonates with players.

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