O-Zone: One giddy guy

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

The ‘Stache looks good, especially against teams the Jags should beat. He clearly has talent. It seems the storyline will be if he can develop to play at that high level against better teams like the New Orleans Saints ... and how he does he do that if Foles plays? I’m guessing the drumbeat is even louder in your inbox.

Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II played well enough Sunday in a 29-15 victory over the New York Jets to once again make Foles-Minshew Topic No. 1 among Jaguars observers. I wrote and said throughout last week I believed the Jaguars would start Week 1 starter Nick Foles when Foles returns from his broken clavicle in mid-November. I also wrote and said that the two games remaining before that were important for Minshew, and that he still could earn the starting job – though I thought that was a long shot. Minshew played remarkably well Sunday – and showed remarkable poise and accuracy. He also created points with escapability in the first quarter when he avoided a rush and completed a 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Conley. He did it again with an eight-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. in the fourth quarter. It was Minshew’s best performance in his seven games as a starter, and Head Coach Doug Marrone said afterward he hasn’t decided on Foles-Minshew yet – because he doesn’t have to decide yet. Will Minshew start when Foles returns? I honestly don’t know, and I honestly believe Marrone doesn’t know. Either way, I’m far less certain that the Jaguars will return to a healthy Foles than I was 24 hours ago.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

Seeing how Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette didn't react to the Jets defender "clapping profusely" in his face told me that Fournette's personal transformation in 2019 is real.

Good eye.

Michael from Jacksonville

It seems like Minshew tries to go for the bigger play rather than checking it down for five-to-eight yards. Do you agree with this assessment? Sometimes you have to take what they give you. Doesn’t it seem like teams are playing him to go deeper 10 yards plus?

Minshew does seem to look down the field more than your typical rookie quarterback, but that’s a good thing far more than it is a bad thing. In fact, there may be no better sign that he could be a franchise quarterback at some point in the future. Some quarterbacks take years to learn to look downfield when under duress rather than check down – and many quarterbacks never learn. This tendency has caused Minshew to fumble a few times this season, and that’s not good. But that 70-yard touchdown pass to Conley in the first quarter came when Minshew was looking deep trying to make a play, and that play was very good.

Johnny from Tumbuk2

Does someone need to tell Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone that the cud chewing on the sideline is not his best look?

Does anyone really think he cares?

Ernst from The Glenn Kernan

Great win Sunday. Not trying to nitpick, but for the life of me I cannot figure out when we’re ahead toward the end of the game why not put Josh Dobbs in just a short of a preview so that once Foles returns teams can see Dobbs’ ability and we may be able to trade him? Go Jags.

The Jaguars were up by two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, and few – if any – NFL head coaches are going to put their backup quarterback in the game under those circumstances for a “preview” for other teams. That’s not the way coaches think; they’re trying to make sure they win the game. Besides, no team would trade for Dobbs or any quarterback based on such a small number of late-game snaps.

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Please sir, I want some more some more penalties and yellow flags. Please sir!

The Jaguars play the Houston Texans at Wembley Stadium in London next Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Check your local listings.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

What a great team effort that was Sunday. Seeing players who were thrust into bigger roles step up and play well was a welcome sight and says a lot about the coaching and mentality of this team. Whether we make it to the postseason or not, this team has a good feel and seems lit have a bright future.

Players and coaches talked early in the season about liking the feel of this team, and players and coaches talked often about its resilience. I wrote and talked about it a bit during that time, and some readers became irritated because the Jaguars weren’t winning at the time. Considering what the Jaguars have been through this season – the early loss of Foles and the ridiculousness of the Jalen Ramsey saga – I’m not sure they would be 4-4 and in contention without that resilience. Their task now is to win and take advantage of their situation.

Daniel from Jacksonville

It seems like safety Ronnie Harrison is spending less time trash-talking and more time actually making plays over the last few weeks. Do you think this is one of the benefits of having Jalen gone?

Perhaps, but it’s probably fairer to attribute it to a young player figuring out what it takes to play well at the highest level of football.

James from Socorro, NM

Giving up only 46 rushing yards with a makeshift linebacking corps? That's impressive.

Toto, we’re not in Carolina anymore.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

Mr. O, could we be getting more interceptions because opposing quarterbacks are more willing to throw in the direction where No. 20 would have been in coverage? I know sometimes they say good cover corners have fewer interceptions because quarterbacks tend not to even throw their way.

I attribute the Jaguars’ six interceptions in the last two games to the Jaguars putting their opponents in more obvious passing situations. Five of the interceptions have come in the fourth quarter with the Jaguars leading. Those are situations when quarterbacks feel pressured to make higher-risk throws than they would earlier in games when their teams are leading.

Jim from Daytona Beach, FL

Why isn’t clapping in the face of an opponent not taunting? Many people in Section 410 said taunting in unison.

I agree with the folks in Section 410.

Eloy from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Good win got the Jaguars! The offensive line continues to be a liability. Fournette leads the league in rushing, but this statistic is very deceiving. It is mainly because of a handful of long runs. This week’s game is an example of this. He had 76 yards rushing, but 66 yards came on one play. Eliminate this play and he had 10 yards rushing on 18 carries. Another problem with the offensive line is penalties. We lead the league in holding penalties. Every week penalties are going to be addressed but it never seems to get better. What is the issue with the offensive line? Is it lack of talent and not drafting good linemen or is it the coaching of the offensive line? This has been a weakness for a few years now. If the offensive line could consistently open holes and not commit penalties this could be a great team.

First, very few run offenses can hold up to the “if-you-eliminate-this-play” game because a lot of successful run offenses get a lot of their running yards on big plays. And big plays count. But however you measure it, the Jaguars’ offensive line has been improving in recent weeks, particularly run-blocking. A couple of factors were at play Sunday. One, the Jets under coordinator Gregg Williams are a very good run defense and they played well in that area Sunday. Second, the Jets’ defensive game plan was to take Fournette away and make Minshew beat them. Minshew did just that. It’s very difficult in the NFL to run when the opponent is focused on stopping the run. I won’t say the Jaguars’ offensive line has been great, but it has shown improvement in recent weeks.

Stephen from Glorieta, NM

O-man, it would seem that we have a new starting quarterback (or at least the controversy is alive) or one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Do "problems" get any better than this?

Not in the NFL.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

Scoreboard watching as we enter November is cool.

Fans like it. As well they should.

Eric from Jacksonville

I just watched the Marrone presser and he seemed down after a win at home and a two-game win streak. This concerns me for the locker-room morale with a long trip to London upcoming. Any thoughts?

Fear not. Marrone’s never giddy about anything. Jaguars players know this. Seeing him in the dumps after a victory won’t hurt their morale. They might be worried if they saw him happy.

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