O-Zone: Plan B

OAKLAND, Calif. – Let's get to it …

Brett from Canton, MS

I understand everything in the NFL is got have it now, gotta know now, but aren't we passing judgement on Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II a bit quickly? I have seen many articles recently stating he is not the franchise quarterback because of this or that. The guy is a rookie sixth-rounder. Name me a rookie sixth-rounder who has come in and looked like a franchise quarterback. There are none I can think of so let's take a breath and let this guy have a shot to improve. Who knows? Some decent offensive line play and a serviceable tight end might help, too.

Fair, but let's be clear: both sides of The Great Minshew Debate are fair. From this writer's view, it appears defenses have figured out how to defend Minshew by defending the edges of the field and keeping him in the pocket. He has looked at times in recent starts like a so-called "dink-and-dunk" quarterback who is too dependent on scrambling to buy time and creating production out of chaos. This is entertaining, as is Minshew, but I wonder if it can translate into consistent NFL success. Mostly, it appears he needs to stay in the pocket and win from there more. At the same time, you're correct that the offensive line has caused him to leave the pocket too soon and he has gotten little help from tight ends in terms of working the middle of the field. We realistically won't have the answer to all questions about Minshew before season's end. I am sure he can play in the NFL a long time. At what level? That will remain unanswered for a while.

Adam from Wescosville, PA

I really don't see how the Jaguars can avoid taking a quarterback in the first round. If we get it wrong, are we in for five years of bad football? Is there any hope?

Missing on a first-round quarterback doesn't guarantee five years of bad football. It does give you a strong push in that direction.

Greg from Satsuma, FL

I don't see that they can keep Tom; since he has been the top man the team has got worse. Ramsey would still be on the team and the two quarterback signings were bad. Your thoughts?

My main thought is it's a bit simplistic to say former cornerback Jalen Ramsey would be on the team if not for Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. I find it very hard to believe something wouldn't have happened to upset him with or without Coughlin's presence, just as I find it hard to believe something won't happen to upset him with his new team, the Los Angeles Rams. His seems easily upset-able. As far as signing quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Nick Foles … no, neither have worked out for the Jaguars. Owner Shad Khan has said in the past he is afforded the opportunity to see "behind the curtain" around the Jaguars, which means he knows circumstances that the media and general public don't. Where will the circumstances lead Khan at season's end? Only he knows.

Daniel from Urbandale

Is it a foregone conclusion that what happens to the management will include all three: Coughlin, General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Marrone? Is there not a scenario where perhaps Caldwell goes but Coughlin and/or Marrone both stay? Or that Coughlin stays but the other two go?

There are no foregone conclusions.

Dave from Waunakee, WI

Players are professional athletes. This is their job. In the offseason, where do they go to improve at their job? What training exists at each position outside of the organization that can improve C-rated players to "B" and "B" players to "A." Does the organization identify these development opportunities for each player as part of the year-end review process?

This is often misunderstood because NFL offseasons aren't quite so extensive as many observers believe. The season ends anywhere from late December to early February. NFL offseason conditioning programs being in mid-April. Players get a few weeks off in late June and July. Yes, there are training centers around the country and many are position-specific, but training and development is most often done with teams and around the facility. Besides, while there is some benefit to quarterback and receiver training facilities and the like, I wonder how much good a defensive-tackle-centric facility is doing the player. Are you blessed with enough size, strength and quickness to play the position? You are? Great. Go throw offensive linemen around. If a player isn't blessed with those things, all the technique work in the world isn't going to make a tangible difference.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

You said linemen, linemen, linemen as where the Jags should use their 2020 Rounds 1 and 2 picks. (OR at least that's how I interpreted your answer) You have also stated the importance of a QB1 and TE1. To a lesser extent, you have also cited major roster deficiencies in the secondary. Do you really feel like it's linemen or bust in Rounds 1 and 2? Is there a scenario where a need like QB1, WR1, TE1, or CB1 overtakes the linemen or bust mentality? If so, under what scenario do you NOT take linemen, linemen, linemen with the Jags first three picks?

It's quite possible the Jaguars won't select linemen with their first three selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. The point of my answer was building the lines must be the top priority.

Nicholas from Djibouti

You know what is worse than fans booing? It's when they sit in "The Bank" too numb and depressed to even bother with a boo. When fans hit the fifth stage of the Kubler-Ross grief model they come to accept that the end is nigh, there is no hope for a better outcome. At the start of the season fans are in denial that the team is giving up big plays and winnable games, then we move to anger as we see other teams perform so much better and consistent and our players either not living up to their potential or worse, jumping ship to a new team, then around week six-to-eight we start bargaining with the "if we can win out the rest of the season with one or two losses we can still salvage something", then we move to depression around week 12 when we are barely on the "in the hunt" category, and then finally acceptance when we get officially eliminated from the playoffs with close to a quarter of the season remaining. John, we need you so we can vent, so you can lift us up at the end of the season and off season, just so we can go through the process again. Fans gonna fan with emotions, but darn this sucks.

I don't think there's any confusion about this. These last two seasons have been a weird version of bad because to varying degrees there was hope early in both seasons. The Jaguars were 3-1 in 2018 before injuries wrecked what could have been a competitive team. The Jaguars were 4-4 this season and had the look of a team that could fight for at least .500 before the defense was exposed. Whatever the paths, the destinations in both seasons were brutal. So, yeah … it sucks.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

We haven't won out west since 2004? My goodness that's pathetic.

It ain't good.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, when Myles Jack was drafted in 2016, I was thrilled in us getting the "steal" of the draft. I watched about half a dozen games when he played at UCLA and was impressed by his athleticism and range. Unfortunately, in his Jaguar tenure he has been mispositioned: SAM and MIKE. He has done the best he could, but he is not a natural MIKE. It seems he is a second late at times having to think about positioning before each play. The two games I thought he was outstanding and simply reacted were the 2017 playoff games versus the Steelers and the Patriots. I would hope that whoever is coaching next year realizes that Myles is a WLL or a hybrid S/LB. More importantly Myles needs to understand that himself. Go Jags!!

A lot of things likely will be on the table next offseason. I suspect this will be among them.

Rob from Jacksonville

Let's assume Kahn cleans house. Is a new staff allotted additional time with players in order to assess and be fully prepared for the draft/free agency? Or is that why we have tape?

That's why there's tape. Teams with new coaching staffs get two extra weeks at the beginning of the offseason program. That's after the start of free agency and before the draft, but realistically what teams see on tape is going to dictate their drafts strategy more than a few weeks around players in the offseason program.

George from Drummonds, TN

Even with the best-laid plans...

Yep.

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