O-Zone: Matter of time

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Swizz from the Low Country

Hey, Zone. I wonder how much of the talk surrounding the pending quarterback decision weighed in the back of Gardner Minshew II’s mind as he prepared for and played in recent games. Secondly, with the emphasis on winning and production from the offense, would it be safe to say that he was trying too hard to achieve both counts?

I got multiple versions of this question immediately after the Jaguars’ 26-3 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday. It’s an understandable topic, and it’s a theory/question I’ve heard kicked around elsewhere since. I don’t doubt at all that the pending quarterback decision between Nick Foles and Minshew played at least somewhat in Minshew’s mind – not only Sunday, but in recent weeks. He’s extremely poised and mature, but he’s also human. At some point, he would have to have considered on some level the bigness of his circumstance. How could he not? Did he try too hard because of that? Did that hurt his play Sunday? Perhaps. At the same time, he’s an NFL quarterback. Pressure, expectations and handling unusual circumstances while still playing at a high level comes with the territory. If you expect to play the position, and if you expect to start in the NFL on a long-term basis, you must perform under pressure. You’re going to face it far more often than not.

Rob from Jacksonville

This quarterback situation is a huge gift and we should be thrilled it’s playing out in front of us. I do not like parallels, but this shapes up to be the Jags’ version of Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers, or Joe Montana/Steve Young. We know the rookie can play; we know he is good. Let him grow and learn and take over somewhere down the road. We have two starting-level quarterbacks!!!!

Wow. Favre/Rodgers? Montana/Young? Go big or go home, I guess.

Gary from Wesley Chapel

O-Zone. Am I the only one who noticed Minshew was on the injury report last week with his throwing shoulder? I'm not mentioning this as an excuse or an argument to keep him as the starter; I think going back to Foles is the right move. But all through the game I was seeing that his accuracy was off. (In previous games his accuracy was outstanding.) At the end of the game, when the shoulder was getting tired, all hell broke loose. When Foles went down I think the general consensus was that if we could go 4-4 that would be good. We have, and now comes the time of year we paid Foles for. I see Minshew as a 'Fitzmagic'/Josh McCown/Brian Hoyer type of journeyman veteran backup who can come in and learn an offense quickly and give you a chance to win some games. What do you think?

I think going back to Foles is the right move. I think 4-4 was a remarkably good record under a sixth-round rookie backup quarterback. I think Minshew’s shoulder probably bothered him Sunday more than he might ever admit. And I think Minshew has a chance to be a better starting quarterback moving forward than you believe.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

Foles still hasn’t done anything!!

His two postseason appearances and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award over the past two seasons say different. A lot different.

Geoff from Scottsdale, AZ

"But what if the Jaguars win in Indianapolis and Tennessee the two weeks after the bye?" Oh John, to be as optimistic as you are.

So, you’re saying there’s a chance…

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, so now Jaguars Owner Shad Khan seems to have left open the possibility of two London Games a year. Ruh Roh...Go Jags!!

Khan will continue to look for ways to maximize local revenue to keep the Jaguars viable in Jacksonville. It’s a challenging NFL market because of size. He has been remarkably committed to making it work here, and I get no sense that that’s changing. His continued commitment to projects such as Lot J, Daily’s Place, etc. – all projects designed to keep the Jaguars competitive with the rest of the NFL in terms of local revenue – are evidence of that. The London game also is key to local revenue. What all that means in terms of London games moving forward remains to be seen.

Tom from Charleston, SC

I was somewhat upset by some of Shad Khan's remarks about Jacksonville and the people that reside there. I understand it is the optimum goal to have a full stadium for every game. Considering the record of the team since he took ownership, one could hardly blame the lack of attendance on the people of Jacksonville. Perhaps if he spent as much time in constructing a competitive team he would get the results he covets. I am sure that attendance in 2017 was much better than other years since 2000. His desire to develop downtown Jacksonville is admirable but that will do little to change attendance if the team remains as one of the worst in the NFL. I owned my own business for more than 20 years and if I learned one thing it is that sales are directly related to the quality of the product. Everything that Khan is doing is great for the city. However, building a winning team and presenting a quality product will go much further towards achieving his goal.

Many Jaguars fans were upset with Khan’s comments over the weekend. When he said there was a limited demand for football in Jacksonville, that was sure to upset people. This wasn’t significantly different than what he has said many times before in terms of the city selling out eight home games at ticket-prices that enable the Jaguars to match the rest of the league in terms of total revenue. It’s essentially a reset of an ongoing story – and one that I expect will continued to be a story around the franchise and the city. As a small NFL market there are monumental challenges, and Khan/the Jaguars have been incredibly innovative in addressing those challenges. But one part of your question misses the mark completely. That’s the whole “as-much-time-constructing-a-competitive-team” thing. The Jaguars spend as much time in this area as any team in the NFL, and Khan needing to “spend more time” in this area is a nonsensical comment. He hires football people to do this, and they do it. They haven’t been as successful as would be ideal, but it’s not through a lack of effort or commitment – and success on the field often is beyond the control of ownership. What ownership can control is commitment to making the business side of an organization work. On that front, the organization has been committed and extraordinarily innovative.

Andrew from Mattoon, IL

I would like to thank Mr. Khan on where we are and where our franchise is going. While none of us are happy where we are win wise, we are much better off than franchises with ownership issues (Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets) Mr. Khan gets it and he's willing to take decisive action to improve the product. There is no doubt that the effort is there. The results will come and more importantly they will stay.

Hey, one fer Shad!

Dave from Orlando, FL

Zone: If against the Houston Texans Minshew won the game, throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns, does Marrone go back to Foles? As it turns out, it seems Marrone was let off the hook on a tough decision.

If Minshew had thrown for 400 yards and four touchdowns with the Jaguars winning the game, I imagine Head Coach Doug Marrone would have stuck with Minshew. That would have meant Minshew had won three consecutive games and had the “hot hand.” Minshew not playing at that high a level undoubtedly played into going back to Foles. As Marrone likes to say, it’s a performance business. So performance matters.

Art from Drexel Hill

I saw Shad said that there's a limited amount of interest in football in Jacksonville. I disagree, people don't go to games to watch perennially losing teams. His record as an owner is 36-85, why would people pay to see that?

Fair.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

"The Jaguars have 11 snaps inside the 5-yard line and have run the ball six times (minus-0.33 yards per rush). Fournette has four carries for minus-6 yards." What do you attribute this to? For a team built on being able to run the ball, one rushing touchdown all season is not cool. I do not like it.

The line hasn’t blocked well enough in those situations. Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette’s history is that he’s a good red-zone short-yardage back. When he doesn’t score inside the two- or three-yard line, it’s not about a running back struggling.

James from Salt Lake City, UT

Hey O-Man: how many games does Foles have to lose before the quarterback controversy and booing gets hot and heavy?

Probably not many. Fans gonna fan. It’s what they do.

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