O-Zone: One cool guy

JACKSONVILLE – It’s Look-Ahead Wednesday, but it’s the bye week and the Jaguars named Nick Foles the starting quarterback Tuesday, so we’ll kinda look forward and kinda look back all at the same time. Or sort of. Whatever.

We’ll answer questions. That’s all.

Let’s get to it …

Mark from Archer, FL

Wow, Zone … What happened to Marrone waiting until the Sunday of the bye week to decide on a starting quarterback? Do you think the front office had any influence in who the starting quarterback should be and that maybe they urged Marrone to make the announcement sooner rather than later?

Head Coach Doug Marrone announced Foles as the starting quarterback over Gardner Minshew II Tuesday. This indeed was after Marrone had said two days before – after Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans in London – that he likely would wait until the weekend to make and announce his decision. Marrone’s explanation was he initially set Sunday as a target to give himself as much time as possible to make the decision. He said once he began working through the decision Tuesday he decided quickly. Once he had decided, he believed there was no reason to delay the announcement. I see no reason to doubt that explanation. As far as the front office influencing the decision, that did not happen. The front office also did not influence the timing. It was Marrone’s decision to make, and he opted to start Foles because he believes Foles gives the Jaguars the best chance to win. Period.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Glad to see Foles to get the nod. This is his time of year. Hoping he brings some of that magic!

That’s the hope.

Richard from Virginia Beach, VA

While I agree Foles gives us the best chance to win now and make one final playoff push, do you see a scenario if we lose the next couple games and Nick Foles doesn't play well that the coaching staff goes back to Minshew to possibly groom him as the quarterback of the future?

I would guess Foles would have to play disastrously poorly for that to happen. When I say disastrously, I mean that he would have to look incapable of winning or playing well consistently, meaning he would have to look different than he did the last two seasons for Philadelphia. I would be stunned if he looked that bad.

John from Jacksonville

If Jaguars Owner Shad Khan doesn't understand why the games don't sell out consistently, then he should read what the actual fans of the Jags consistently say: "Why would I pay for a game where the same on-the-field-product produces minimal results?" There was one superstar on this team, and unfortunately he was traded. I think most would rather save the money, enjoy the AC, and tune in to Red Zone once we realize it’s more of the same. Fans of this team are impatient, as 95 percent of the seasons of this franchise have been bad. None of the off the field stuff matters: Get out of "rebuilding" mode, and the fans will come.

Fair.

Dave from Chorley, UK

Do you see the offensive line being more a focus this offseason? They just appear too damn inconsistent at letting the quarterbacks do their job. Sacks are going to happen but A.J. Cann, from my layman’s eyes, was the cause of the sack which got Foles Injured. Surely $80-plus million on a quarterback would warrant a better job on the protection.

I do believe the offensive line will be a focus this offseason, but it’s not as if it hasn’t been a focus past offseasons. The Jaguars selected right tackle Jawaan Taylor in Round 2 this past offseason, signed left guard Andrew Norwell as a free agent in the 2018 offseason and selected left tackle Cam Robinson in Round 2 in the 2017 offseason. That’s three starters acquired with significant draft/free-agent equity in three years, so that’s a pretty intense focus.

David from Orlando, FL

Big O: I thought one of our most successful defensive plays to pressure the quarterback last year was when defensive ends Calais Campbell or Yannick Ngakoue pushed up the field and the other would loop to the inside and crash the pocket. Offensive lines didn’t have an answer for it. Why did they ditch that play?

The Jaguars have not ditched stunting as a way to pressure the quarterback.

John from Jacksonville

Not to dwell on the Texans game, but here is one perfect example of not playing smart. There were six seconds on the clock before halftime. The Jags needed a short completion to give Josh Lambo a chance for three points. The defenders were nowhere in the middle of the field. A quick strike in a cross pattern and either running straight for out of bounds or into a defender and falling down to call timeout would have been very doable. Instead, Minshew held the ball for four seconds looking for an open receiver on the sideline where all the defenders were. An opportunity lost.

You’re right. Rookie quarterbacks do rookie things, and it takes time to be an experienced NFL quarterback able to respond correctly in all situations.

Thomas from St. Johns, FL

John, I will not join in the official bashing, but just saying it is unfortunate that we are seeing some very incompetent work by the strippers. You referenced a couple of the more atrocious calls of the London game. After three quarters of a century viewing and covering football, I have a thought. (wow) My thought/question: With the proliferation of "review/challenge" in games, are officials not as focused as in days past, because they subconsciously think a challenge will deem the necessity of making a correct tough call less since review will usually make a determination that "the call on the field stands?

I think the strippers’ work this season has been quite competent. Or so I’m told.

Ryan from Reality

So, we've reached the bye week, which is a pretty good time to analyze the team. We've won four games against bad teams and we've lost five games against good teams. It would seem that the 2019 Jaguars just don't measure up against playoff-caliber opponents. What is holding this team back? Do we not have enough talent on the roster? Are the players on the roster just not executing well enough? Or are our game-plan/play-calling strategies not good enough?

The Jaguars are an average team that played a rookie quarterback for all but 11 plays of the first nine games. They were a missed two-point conversion in Houston and a play or two against New Orleans/Carolina from being over .500. Are there deficiencies? Sure. The team could be better at tight end. The line could be run blocking better. As for the game-plan/play-calling strategies, I won’t call them perfect. But consider: Defensive coordinator Todd Wash entered the season believing he had the best cover corner in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo entered the season having planned the offense around Foles. Ramsey played three games and Foles played 11 plays. To have adapted to that and reach 4-5 is to have coached well. But really, this conversation must center around the first sentence. They played a rookie quarterback for all but 11 plays and are 4-5. That may not be great, but it sure isn’t bad.

Rick from Jacksonville

I am curious about the high-snap failed field goal - does that go on Lambo's record as a miss?

No, because kicker Josh Lambo didn’t kick the ball. It was recorded as a fumble by holder Logan Cooke.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

When Foles first went down I thought our season was done. Never would have dreamt that Minshew would come in and win games for this team and provide the fans with exciting football thus far. The Jags aren't out of it yet and the remaining schedule has very winnable games. I guess what I'm getting at is this season could have been a lot worse. There were many seasons in the past decade where we were basically eliminated from playoff contention at this point in the season. This team has been in every game other than Chiefs and Texans until the end.

That’s the optimist’s view of the Jaguars’ season and it has merit. Had you told most Jaguars fans when Foles was injured that the team would be 4-5 when he returned, they would have taken it. I imagined 3-6 was the most likely scenario – and at best 5-4. The Jaguars came very close to that best-case scenario. Now, the Jaguars have a quarterback who has proven himself in this situation before. That’s not as ideal as 5-4 or 6-3, but it’s not hopeless.

Kyan from Iowa

One knock on Foles was that he couldn't perform at a high level for 16 games. Well, now they can bring him back for seven more regular season games followed by Playoff Nick. Sounds like the plan is coming together.

Playoff Nick is cool. Fans would like him.

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