O-Zone: No joke

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Thomas from Blacksburg, VA

Do you think it's smart to try to fight a 295-pound NFL defensive end without a helmet on? Especially when said defensive end is holding that helmet in his hand?

Was what Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph did Thursday smart? No. Does not being smart justify Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett’s bizarrely violent response? No. The NFL on Friday suspended Garrett for at least the rest of the regular season for removing Rudolph’s helmet and swinging it at Rudolph’s head during an altercation near the end of the Browns’ victory over Pittsburgh in Cleveland Thursday. Given the circumstance, that seems the appropriate punishment and I can’t imagine a reasonable argument the other way.

Moshe from Mexico, Mexico

Can Myles Garrett be jailed for what he did to Rudolph?

Probably not, though I see your point. And this certainly will be a topic in the coming days.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Rudolph was askin' for it ... just sayin'.

To a point, but Rudolph’s actions didn’t remotely merit Garrett’s response.

ABC from ABCTown

If you watched the Steelers-Browns game, you see that we are not the only team that lacks discipline.

Fair.

Chris from Nashville, TN

Hypothetical situation: Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles plays well enough to retain his starting job next season. Some team with a need for a young quarterback offers draft equity for Gardner Minshew II. What would it take for the Jags to deal him?

My first thought on this is I doubt the Jaguars will lean toward trading Minshew. There are enough positives about having a young, capable backup quarterback – particularly considering this team’s quarterbacking history and Foles’ injury history – that keeping Minshew has to be very enticing. For that reason, I would be surprised if the Jaguars would trade him anywhere for less than a first-round draft selection. I’m not sure any team would trade a first-round selection to the Jaguars based on Minshew’s eight games; while he played impressively, I think teams would still have reservations about how Minshew’s style would translate into their own offense. In that sense, I would be surprised to see Minshew traded. But mostly I would be surprised to see him traded because I think the Jaguars very much want him part of their future, even if the exacts “whats” and “whens” aren’t yet known.

ABC from ABCTown

If you look at our current injury report you may think that it paid off that our starters had such little playing time in preseason.

Nice try. But that would mean that someone whose job it is to consider all facts, to do so in a thoughtful manner after discussions with qualified people and to come to a well-thought out decision could possibly do all that and come to a better decision than someone who thought about it after seeing it on Twitter and tweeted a reaction. We all know this could never happen.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

O: I honestly don’t get it. People are talking about Foles as if he’s going to save the season, or the franchise, or both. Why should we believe he’s better than Minshew? Isn’t he basically an unknown?

Skepticism here makes sense, and I will say this: This strikes me as one of the more unusual situations I can remember in the NFL. I’m not sure there is a precedent for it in the following sense. You’re talking about a team entering its 10th game of the season with a potential franchise quarterback – but having no idea what that franchise quarterback will look like that over a full game(s). Quarterbacks that are critical franchise have been lost for extended times before, of course, but usually those quarterbacks have played multiple games or multiple seasons with that team. Has any veteran quarterback ever signed with a team with so much fanfare and then been lost for so long so early in the season only to return that season? Perhaps, but not often. For all those reasons, this is an incredibly intriguing game Sunday. It was easy to forget when Foles was out for eight weeks that the Jaguars liked him enough to make him the franchise quarterback. They believe in him and believe he will make a significant difference. We’ll see.

Fred from Jacksonville

I don’t remember seeing you answer this, but who’s your midseason MVP? (For the Jaguars; I don’t care about the rest of the NFL). Offensive Player of the Year? Defensive Player of the Year? Comeback Player of the Year?

I’ll go with Minshew as the MVP; while I believe the Jaguars had to go with Foles moving forward, I also don’t think they would be in playoff contention if Minshew hadn’t played as well as he did. Let’s go with running back Leonard Fournette as Offensive Player of the Year and defensive end Josh Allen as Defensive Player of the Year. And Fournette as Comeback Player of the Year.

Tom from Orlando, FL

This Colts game scares me, O-Zone. It seems a lot of people are assuming the Jaguars win. I’m not feeling it.

I see less to “assume” about this game than any Jaguars game in recent memory. Is Foles really, really good? Can the clutch gene he showed with the Philadelphia Eagles the past two seasons translate to the Jaguars? If so, then the Jaguars might be really good – and that might mean a huge victory in a huge game Sunday. But Foles has been inconsistent enough throughout his career that it’s fair to wonder how he’ll play in the coming weeks, and it’s fair to worry about his injury history – and about the Jaguars’ offense around him. As the game draws closer, I find myself leaning more and more toward Foles being good and making a big difference in this offense – particularly in the red zone. The belief around this team certainly is that that’s going to be the case.

Jay from London, UK

Increasing the number of regular-season games appears to be a red line for the players ... Can this line be crossed? How about restricting the number of games the players are eligible to play in and giving these backups some bread!!

The players are indeed balking at adding more games, but I don’t get the idea they’re balking to the degree that they will never give on this issue. It has become the ultimate negotiating chip because it’s so evident that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s owners want the scheduling flexibility – and more importantly – the revenue from an extra game. I expect the players to eventually give on this issue. As for restricting the number of games players are eligible to play, this was kicked around a lot a while back. It’s an idea that sounds very good when discussed in the abstract. When faced with the reality of benching key players in critical games, I’m not sure how good the idea will sound to fans, players, teams and … well, anyone.

Strnbker from Dothan, AL

Culligan girl? Hottie hiding behind cool O-Zone wearing the killer shades? You still in denial?

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Dmoney from Jacksonville

I think a lot of people would feel more optimistic about the rest of the season if they change their perspective. Most arguments I have been hearing: Minshew played amazing (most) of the time stepping for NF7 (Foles). He showed poise, accuracy and most importantly the ability to lead men. It's not a question whether he will start in this league; it is a matter of when. People need to realize though, that if Gardner was able to perform and be efficient with this cast, is it really out of the realm of possibility that Foles will be even BETTER with the same cast? People have been acting like NF7 lost his job, and was benched. It's not that situation at all. He deserves the opportunity and has a good chance of actually being the better option. I love both quarterbacks, stop whining and try being more positive.

There are no guarantees in life or the NFL, so no one can guarantee how the Jaguars will fare in the final seven games. But there is a high, high, high percentage chance that right now – in mid-November of 2019 – Foles is clearly better quarterback than Minshew.

Fred from Naples, FL

Fournette goes on record saying the Jaguars are not as talented as last year? Really? I wonder what his teammates feel about that statement?

That he’s right? Look, the Jaguars since last season have lost weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith, safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. They have shown this season they can play well and win without those players, and they have added some talent since then, but someone arguing that the Jaguars aren’t quite as talented as last season would have a compelling argument.

James from St. Augustine, FL

You’re a joke.

I’m not laughing.

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