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O-Zone: Pay the man

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Southampton, UK

Two points away from 3-1; three points away from 1-3. Which feels like it would be more fitting for this team?

Your question deserves an answer, so I'll say the Jaguars feel more like a 3-1 team than a 1-3 team right now. That's the answer because they have played well enough to win three games, and it's also the answer because they were two inches short of winning in Houston in Week 2 after outplaying the Texans for the final three quarters. But here's the way I look at this team after a month: They very much deserve their current record. They have split with the two 2-2 teams (Tennessee, Houston) they have played, they beat the 0-4 team (Denver) they played on the road and they were blown out at home by the 4-0 team (Kansas City) they played. They easily could have won in Houston and they just as easily could have lost in Denver, so they split the two close games they played – which seems fair. When you think about September, the Jaguars were good quite a bit and struggled quite a bit. A .500 record seems right as we enter the second quarter.

Josiah from Fargo, ND

Here is something to consider this week. The Panthers have the No. 1 pass defense, they're No. 1 in sacks, it's in Carolina and quarterback Gardner Minshew II has a knee injury. This is probably Gardner's toughest test yet.

Yes, it is.

Neil from Gilbert, AZ

Zone, for me the striking difference between what we're seeing out of Minshew and what we saw regularly from former quarterback Blake Bortles is the lack of back-breaking turnovers. Minshew's decision-making seems impressive for a rookie quarterback.

Yes, it does.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

If the 2019 NFL Draft was re-done, based on what we have seen so far on the field in 2019, where would you see Gardner Minshew going in the draft? Certainly higher than the sixth round, right?


Bryan from Tampa, FL

This ascending Panthers team could be Minshew's toughest challenge yet. You keep cautioning the fans that rookies have down games and make inexperienced mistakes. Is this the week Minshew gets brought back to Earth?

I expect Minshew to face his most difficult challenge yet Sunday, but here's the thing: Most rookie quarterbacks' back-to-earth games stem from being overwhelmed by the moment or from not being able to process what defenses are doing to take away their strengths/force them to their weaknesses. I don't anticipate Minshew being overwhelmed by the moment, and his awareness and preparation should minimize defenses being able to render him helpless with schemes. I don't know that Minshew will keep churning out no-interception, multiple-touchdown games each week, but I don't think his difficult games will be bad on a disastrous scale.

Rob from Orange Park, FL

The front office needs to go. Having quarterback Nick Foles fake that injury just so they could get Minshew on the field is just wrong. They need to admit they made a mistake with the Foles signing.

I'll pass this along.

Ton from Charleston, SC

"At the same time, Robinson's behavior was in keeping with more than a few such incidents with this team. It has to stop eventually. And the beat goes on." Actually, if they haven't learned to control their immature behavior over the past two years I doubt if they ever will. The locker room is on cruise control.

I don't think cruise control means what you think it means. The Jaguars have played well and played hard with a lot of camaraderie and urgency the past three games. The team may not be as disciplined as is ideal, but it's not on "cruise control."

Nathan from California

I know you won't post this, but remember when I asked if Gardner Minshew would start a game for the Jaguars this year? You responded with a smirky, "why would you say that?" Because John, I based the question off his history, and ability to beat out Nick Foles. Now it seems fate has shown its hand. I know you think we are all just ignorant fans. Well, at least we are not just ignorant. Zone, does this mania mean that the Gardner led Jaguars will be flexed into prime time? Or are we not there yet, either?

Congratulations on being right. The first victory is always the sweetest.

Greg from Ratsuma

Could Ramsey spend the rest of the year on the injury report and not play? Has the front office sat down with him and try to work things out?

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has a back injury and couldn't play last week. It was a legitimate injury despite understandable suspicion among the public to the contrary. I don't know if he will play this Sunday because backs are tricky to figure, but I in no way expect this issue to linger through the entire season. Ramsey is a football player. He wants to play football. NFL careers are limited, and he won't want to give up 12 or more opportunities to play even if he continues to say he wants to be traded.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL

I'm tired of hearing about Ramsey, but I do have a question. Do you feel a leader like defensive end Calais Campbell at some point talks to Jalen about being a distraction to what could be a pretty good team and essentially let him know he's being a child?

I doubt it, but Ramsey isn't a distraction to the players in the locker room. He's only a distraction those who write about, talk about and follow the team.

Clayton from Gambier, OH

Maybe Jalen Ramsey, if healthy next week, will come back to replace Tre Herndon.

That would be a positive.

Big on Blake from Philly

John, the Jags have three of the top 25 rookies at the quarter mark – and if you can believe it, that doesn't include second-round steal/right tackle Jawaan Taylor. And tight end Josh Oliver has yet to see game action. I'd say this year's rookie class has been an overall success.

You're referencing Daniel Jeremiah's Top 25 2019 NFL rookies on The sample size on the rookie class remains small, but yes: It appears the people drafting players around the Jaguars might actually have some idea what they're doing after all.

Cliff from Callahan, FL

If Minshew were to continue his astonishing play and develop into The Man, would it be possible to trade Foles for a less-expensive backup? If I understand the cap rules (unlikely) his signing bonus would accelerate into the current year, but can the receiving team take the cap hit along with the contract as part of the deal?

Why would the receiving team do that?

John from Jacksonville

In a game like the Jags/Kansas City game, who is awarded the win and loss from a quarterback perspective? Does it go on the starter's record, the backup quarterback who played a majority of the game, or is there another factor involved?

A quarterback's record in the NFL isn't quite as prominent a statistic as, say, a baseball pitcher's record – but when people do cite this statistic, a quarterback's won/lost record is typically based on the starter. When quarterback won/loss record is cited, most people will say Minshew is 2-1 as a starter and Foles is 0-1 as a starter. It's not really all that fair. But you know what? A lot of things in life aren't fair.

ABC from ABCTown

Hi, O. How likely is it, that Ramsey stays until the end of this season and how likely is it that he even signs a new contract with the jags?

Very. Not as much.

Cliff from Las Vegas, NV

Coach Marrone recently said that Gardner Minshew was making him look at preseason differently. What changes do you think will come from that? He appears to have flipped his opinion of preseason quite a bit since his arrival here. I do understand why, but still kind of weird.

I imagine from listening to Marrone on this topic that he'll try to get players – especially quarterbacks – more time with first-team players when trying to evaluate them in the preseason. I imagine this will prove difficult because I doubt Marrone or many other coaches will want to move more toward exposing key players to injuries in the preseason. It's an annual dilemma, and it's not going to get easier.

David from Chuluota, FL

O – Besides trading him, if Jalen Ramsey continues to not practice/play, do the Jags have any recourse to discourage him from sitting out the rest of the year?

Financially? No. But here's Ramsey's incentive to play: He helps his market value by playing at a high level and hurts it if he's perceived as sitting out uninjured. Again, that's not what this is, but that's the incentive for Ramsey to play.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Z: Is this Minshew guy really getting paid less than the senior writer this year?

No, and near as I can tell no one else is, either.

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