JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from Jacksonville
Shouldn't we temper our enthusiasm a little on Jake Luton? The Texans are a pretty bad football team. Next up: Green Bay, where I hope Jake doesn't play like Tom Brady.
A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. First, because I don't do a deep dive into what readers/Twitters/commenters say immediately after Jaguars games (win or lose), I don't have a great feel for the enthusiasm Jaguars rookie quarterback Jake Luton has generated. I do know Luton played better than could have been expected in a 27-25 loss to the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field Sunday. He played with admirable poise and showed NFL arm strength; as Head Coach Doug Marrone said afterward, the sixth-round selection "checked a lot of boxes." He also came very close to throwing two or three more interceptions than the one he threw, but that's to be expected in an NFL debut. Luton's most impressive moment Sunday came during the 80-yard drive that ended with his 13-yard run that pulled the Jaguars to within the final margin with 1:30 remaining. He was poised and accurate on that drive, completing five of six passes for 67 yards. Given all that, I would call "hopeful optimism" a fair enthusiasm level. Any optimism causing people to think in terms of Luton being a franchise quarterback is over-the-top and premature. Let's let Luton lead the Jaguars to a few victories and play a few games with defensive coordinators having game video to study while preparing for him. If he improves and continues to play well with that happening, we can discuss an appropriate enthusiasm level.
Art from Fort Caroline
Luton showed promise – although it doesn't appear he throws a particularly easily catchable ball?
Luton did have some throws with some significant velocity Sunday, and I thought there were a few that came in a little too fast for the receivers. I also thought there were one or two passes on which the velocity allowed the ball to get there when a softer pass would not have worked. Young quarterbacks often learn to vary touch on different passes in different game situations. That's an area in which Luton can improve. It's better to have arm strength and learn touch than to not possess the arm strength at all.
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL
John: The missed delay of game penalty was huge! Not only did it give Houston seven points, but it affected going on fourth downs and decisions to go for two on touchdowns. Why would something total objective and so obvious to prove not be reviewable?
Your referencing a missed delay-of-game penalty on the Texans Sunday just before quarterback Deshaun Watson passed 77 yards for a touchdown to wide receiver Will Fuller – and you're darned right it was big. The play gave the Texans a 27-16 lead, a lead that shaped everything that happened thereafter. The delay was obvious because the play clock was at zero for three or four seconds before the ball was snapped; it was pretty much the most obvious delay penalty I ever have seen go uncalled – and Marrone was rightfully irate afterward. The call was not overturned because delay is not reviewable under NFL rules. The reason for that is the NFL's competition committee believed when implementing replay that the delay needed to be clear and obvious to be called – and that officials needed be able to look at the play clock, see it hit zero and then look to be able to see that the ball had not been snapped. The philosophy behind this was established during a time when the league was emphasizing having fewer penalties and game stoppages. The goal was to give offenses every chance not to have delay of game called. It essentially all was done for pace of game in a time when that was a priority. My sense is that might get changed and we might have discussion about changing this at some point because the league and its fans in recent seasons have veered more toward wanting to get every call right at all costs. Still, the league at its core still likes faster games. And delay probably doesn't come into play enough for the league to make it reviewable. At least not soon.
Art from Drexel Hill, PA
If the defensive coordinator doesn't stink, then the guy picking the players stinks. It's someone's fault.
Michael from Jacksonville
OK. Delay of game by two seconds? Why wouldn't the defensive line come off the ball and force the call? Isn't that what you do?
Defensive linemen typically are watching the ball or the offensive lineman in front of them in the seconds before the snap. They are rarely watching the play clock. Also: defensive linemen aren't coached to come off the ball when the play clock hits zero. That's because officials often let the clock go to zero and allow the play to begin within a half second or so. So, if the official hasn't called a delay penalty, a defensive lineman coming off the ball at zero often is going to get called for offsides.
Bill from Orange Park, FL
If we win, we lose. If we lose, we win.
Fred from Naples, FL
I keep reading about the Jags trying to trade up if they are in the No. 2 draft position to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1. Is there really that much of a difference between Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields to warrant giving up all that draft capital?
First, this is probably a moot point; if Lawrence is as good as draft analysts and NFL types believe there's likely no amount of draft capital that will convince a team needing a quarterback to trade out of the No. 1 spot. If recent history tells us anything it's that a special quarterback makes enough of a difference to negate many, many "normal" first-round selections. As far as the difference between Lawrence and Fields … I can't honestly say. I know each are said to be good. How much better one is than the other I haven't studied enough yet.
Kathy from Jacksonville
Is it ever a good idea to run the football on the two-point conversion?
Yes, when it works.
Charles from Port St. Lucie, FL
As far as auditions go, that was pretty good for Luton, yes? A few mistakes, but definitely showed a better arm that the mustache.
Sunday indeed was a good audition for Luton, and he did show better arm strength – and better ability to push the ball downfield and make throws across the field to the sideline than Gardner Minshew II. I expect Luton to continue to start for the short term if he plays anything close to how he played Sunday.
Sam from Nottingham, UK
I was pretty critical of Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell prioritizing linebacker Myles Jack's extension over cornerback Jalen Ramsey's last year; but I've got to say, he was right. Jack is exceptional and is THE most exciting piece of our defense at present. Question: Which ONE Jags player would you be focusing on extending next?
Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.
Rob from Pittsburgh, PA
Hey, zone what's happening? Do you think the Jags will grab a defensive tackle early in the draft to team up with DaVon Hamilton? I think that would help out defensive ends K'Lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen. #jags
I can't imagine a scenario in which defensive tackle is not a major priority for the Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft and 2021 NFL free agency. They will need multiple players there as opposed to one.
Logan from Wichita, KS
I don't care who the quarterback is. Draft Lawrence, Fields, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, a child; it doesn't matter!!! This team has at least 45 of 53 roster spots to fill before they are even capable of winning two games per season!!!! A No. 1 overall quarterback will not help this bust-filled high school team win. I can't tell what is worse: the level of talent on the roster or the brain power of the ownership and front office. I mean at least the players knows how to tie their shoes unlike the front office, which I can only assume require 100 assistants each and an audio "how to" book. Worthless Idiots!!!!
I understand your frustration, just as I understand your inherent need to be over the top and extreme in your takes. But the Jaguars easily could be 4-4 this season with better quarterback play; at the very least they would be far more competitive. They don't need to "fill 45 of 53 roster spots." They need to improve quarterback, tight end, defensive tackle and the secondary. That's a lot. It's not undoable.
Ralph from Ponte Vedra, FL
Luton's potential is greater than Gardner Minshew II's. Luton's pocket presence is greater than Minshew's. Luton's moustache is not greater than Minshew's.