O-Zone: Now's the time

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jon from Southampton, UK

Surely, there is a better quarterback out there than Minshew. Falcons quarterback Danny Etling looks better, for one. Gotta get busy when the cuts start.

This was a common refrain among O-Zone readers Thursday night – and rookie backup quarterback Gardner Minshew II indeed did little to inspire confidence in the preseason finale. I honestly don’t know entering the weekend what the Jaguars will do at backup quarterback. I’m confident Minshew will be on the roster, and I’m confident the Jaguars like a lot about him. But Head Coach Doug Marrone on Thursday after the game reiterated what he said during the week about Minshew – that he liked a lot about him at times and wanted at other times to see more from him in games. The dilemma with Minshew is he hasn’t played with the starters, and he could benefit greatly from better protection and from receivers making plays on the ball. I’ll say again what I said on this subject Thursday evening: I don’t think the Jaguars will be panicky about Minshew, and I don’t think they will look to bring in just any quarterback who happens to be available. But I do think they will watch the waiver wire closely and consider a third quarterback to go along with Minshew. I doubt that player would be the backup versus Kansas City in Week 1 because he wouldn’t be familiar with the offense, but it could be an option sometime after that. And stop calling me Shirley.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Thank God the preseason is finally over. I feel bad for Falcons fans; they had to endure FIVE of these games.

Fair.

David from Atlantic Beach, FL

What I learned from the preseason: Pray that none of our starters get hurt.

NFL teams typically pray that starters stay healthy, but the Jaguars have decent depth in spots: wide receiver, interior offensive line, defensive end, defensive tackle, cornerback. They wouldn’t be as good at those positions if depth had to play, but they have serviceable backups. I would even say the same is true at weak-side linebacker, with Najee Goode being a very good option behind Quincy Williams.

Drunk Fan from Jacksonville

The biggest question of the week. Should we sign (insert cut player’s name here)? It would be an upgrade from (insert backup player’s name here).

Yep.

Chris from Nashville, TN

The best part about being a Jags writer is that you can copy and paste each story from the year before. Just change the coach's names and viola: like black magic a "new" article appears.

This is incorrect, but thanks for weighing in. It’s always awesome to hear from people who know nothing about what they’re saying.

Jags Fan from 818 from Jacksonville

I'm sick! Watching Minshew was as bad as watching Chad Henne! I get he was wasn't playing with our starters, but neither were the Falcons. Just hoping our starters have stamina against K.C. Go Jags!

The starters will have stamina, and remember: A lot of the reserves that have Jaguars observers so concerned won’t be on the roster in the regular season. Marrone on Thursday alluded to something very true about depth – that a lot of times backups can play alongside starters and play well after not looking as good while playing with other backups. I get the idea that the Jaguars have quite a few reserves who will fill in fine if needed, though it certainly appears they would struggle if they had to play their entire third team against another team’s entire third team. The good news is that hardly ever happens.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

O-Zone: This team has not shown any aptitude for playing a decent game, let alone winning. First team included.

Wrong. The Jaguars’ defense held the Miami Dolphins to 10 yards and one first down in four series in the third preseason game of the 2019 preseason, and the Jaguars led that game 7-0 when the starters left. That was the only time the Jaguars’ starters played in four preseason games. I’m not saying the Dolphins are going to be great this season. I’m also not saying the Jaguars will be great this season – and I’m not saying that the results of that quarter mean the Jaguars would have won that game. And I’m not certainly saying what the Jaguars’ reserves did this preseason isn’t troubling. But to say the first-team has showed no aptitude for playing a decent game, let alone winning, is simply incorrect.

Red from the O-Zone Comments Section

Listening to Marrone's postgame comments to Jaguars analyst Jeff Lageman Thursday, it sounds as if the players at the bottom of the Jaguars’ 53-man roster should perhaps not sign a long-term apartment lease. He dropped hints that the team would be looking to improve the roster during the season. Might we see the Jaguars signing players off the waiver wire and other teams' practice squads over the next month or two? Frankly, with the way this team has looked in the preseason the harder decision appears to be who to keep instead of who to cut.

No player at the bottom of an NFL roster should sign a long-term apartment lease, because the bottom of NFL rosters are always in a constant churn. Yes, the Jaguars will sign players off the waiver wire and other teams’ rosters in the coming weeks, but that is the norm rather than the exception.

Renee from Duval

John, I am at the fourth preseason game. I have never left a game early. Not even preseason. Wait: Datone Jones just blocked a field goal. This game still sucks. I have endured 24 years of preseason. How much longer? I am disappointed that I’m leaving early but it is horrendous. Good Night. Go Jags.

This was obviously written in the fourth quarter Thursday, which means Renee was among the few and proud who stayed until the end. I was there, too. The difference is I was obligated, so kudos Renee. You did good work.

Jon from Southampton, UK

Cuts never been so easy...

Cuts are never easy emotionally because no one likes ending careers or crushing dreams. But the decisions that go into those cuts usually overly aren’t difficult – and I doubt all that many will be overly difficult for the Jaguars in the next few days.

Emiel from Texas

Usually the drop off is steep between your fifth and sixth offensive lineman, making the sub a liability and putting your quarterback at risk.

Sometimes, but not always.

Jorge from Edmonton, Alberta

There just isn’t that much talent disparity between each teams’ 2s and 3s, yet they have players open all over and we have guys nowhere near where they should be. Add in ridiculous amount of penalties and at what point do you seriously start questioning the coaching of this team?

I’ll start wondering about all the issues concerning so many angst-filled observers about the same time – when the regular season begins in nine days and the Jaguars’ starters and front-line players begin playing. Then again, you’re right that it is always coaching in the NFL. Even in the preseason.

Tom from Shanghai, China

I'm surprised you think Andrew Luck will get HoF consideration. Short career, no rings, no postseason awards, no statistical records broken and never considered to be on the same level as the greats of his generation. Not bashing the guy, but if this is it, he's nowhere near the HoF.

Luck made four Pro Bowls in seven seasons and was close to being the Most Valuable Player last season. People will discuss him for the Hall of Fame, which means he will get “consideration.” But I don’t think he will make it.

Richard from Lincoln, RI

It seems there are many Jaguar fans happy about Luck's retirement. Can you imagine how many fans from 31 teams that will be overjoyed when Tom Brady finally calls it quits?

Quite a few, I suppose.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. I don’t recall: Is this the first year with only one “cut day?” If so, have coaches expressed anything to you about how that might affect rosters? Do they look at anything differently?

This is the third year the league has had just one cutdown date; teams previously cut first to 75 players after Preseason Week 3 before cutting to 53 after Preseason Week 4. The change has had little-to-no effect on regular-season roster. The primary benefit for teams has been that they have more “marginal” players to play in the preseason finale, thereby allowing more front-line players and starters to be held out of that game. The benefit for the players is that the “marginal” players get one more preseason game to have a chance to put their skills on tape.

A.J. from Decatur, GA

Thank God the preseason is over, now time for some real football!

Hey, one fer real football.

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