O-Zone: Pure eloquence

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jordan from Jacksonville

The national media has been loving Minshew Mania, which is pretty fun as a Jags fan. But lost in the lore that makes up Gardner Minshew II is the fact that he has been a really good quarterback. He is poised, accurate, manipulates defenses, can scramble and just seems to have the "it" factor. I have been trying to just enjoy it all, but I can’t help but wonder: What could he become? Why not a franchise quarterback? Why not the next great quarterback to be drafted in the sixth round that pundits will talk about for years as the steal of the draft? We have been wandering this desert for so long in search of our guy and it has been nothing but disappointment and setbacks. Maybe it’s our time. Maybe Gardner is our guy.

You’re right people overlook how well Minshew has played while focusing on the demeanor and personality, but that’s OK. And it’s very understandable. This is a great story and the kid is unbelievably likeable; Minshew’s persona is unique enough it would almost seem odd if people focused more on the on-field stuff than the personality – especially with the story still being new to so many people. But you’re also right that the question of what he could become is the intriguing, important story to the Jaguars and their fans. If you look past the mustache, headband and other accessories you have a quarterback who has performed remarkably well in four games. He has shown a lot of what you want to see in a quarterback and shockingly few of the blemishes that typically derail young quarterbacks’ careers. So, what can be become? Can he become a franchise quarterback? The reality is he still must prove a lot. The sample size remains small. But he has done all the Jaguars have asked him to do, and so far we haven’t seen much he can’t do. The arrow is still up. So, why not Minshew? Fair question. Very fair.

Josh from Raleigh, NC

Mr. O, what position do you think we should look at for a possible trade or during the draft?

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

Just for fun you should republish all of the posts by the geniuses who said Gardner Minshew was a wasted draft pick. Might teach them a little humility.

It probably wouldn’t have that effect.

Todd from Frederick, MD

Hi, John. Minshew gets a lot of credit for being football smart: Reading defenses, understanding the offense, etc. The NFL has a lot of really smart quarterbacks that can do that, too, but don't seem to have "it." Do you believe the kid has "it?"

Minshew does seem to have “it,” but much of his “it” must be credited to his readiness and awareness – i.e., his football smarts. And while there are many quarterbacks with football smarts, don’t think for a second that all quarterbacks – even good ones – are created equal on this front. The degree to which people in the organization have praised Minshew’s football intelligence has been striking since his arrival. When they speak of it, they don’t add the phrase “for a rookie;” he’s football smart for any level of experience. What we have seen in the first four games is evidence these weren’t exaggerations. On this front, he’s off-the-charts good.

Scott from Rehoboth Beach, DE

Where are the nods for kicker Josh Lambo? He has been a machine for Jax since he walked through the doors. That game-winning field goal was clutch! Give the man some praises.

OK.

Max from Wyckoff, NJ

Mr. O, if cornerback Jalen Ramsey's contract is up after next year and he is just going to holdout or leave the Jaguars anyway, why don't the Jags just trade him and get value for him while we can? I get that Owner Shad Khan wants to try and work it out, but at this point either offer him a contract he can't turn down or trade him and get some picks and a starter? What do you think?

You don’t “just trade” him because he’s a valuable commodity and a star player; you must choose actions carefully when dealing with such commodities. Also: Ramsey essentially is under contract through 2020 with the Jaguars having the option to franchise him for one and possibly two seasons after that. That’s potentially nearly four seasons. What’s he going to do? Choose not to play the entire time? The scenario I just laid out is obviously an exaggeration, but the point is that for at least two seasons – and possible more – if Ramsey wants to play football he must play for the Jaguars. That’s an extreme scenario, but that’s the Jaguars’ leverage in this situation – and it’s certainly one reason the Jaguars don’t “just trade” Ramsey.

James from Jacksonville

O, what about Minshew as Joe Montana? Joe wasn't big, didn't run and I don't think Joe was noted for having a big arm. Am I right about that?

Slow down, James.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

Winning is cool, people like it. Continuing to give up 10-plus penalties for 100-plus yards a game is not cool - and it's hard to consistently win in the NFL if you keep doing it.

Penalties continue to be an issue. We saw a very positive sign on this front Sunday when running back Leonard Fournette acted quickly to prevent left tackle Cam Robinson from drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty late in the game that could have proved costly. 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.

Nate from St. Petersburg, FL

I'm not sure what this means, if anything, but I came across SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays Monday. Of the 13 games Sunday, the Jags had three of them (Fournette, safety Ronnie Harrison and Minshew). People are noticing this team because this team is making plays. Starting to become a great time to be a Jaguars fan again.

What a difference 10 days make.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone-D (that's a nod for Jalen): Fournette was looking to punish when he got to the second level last week, a la ‘17 … gotta love it. In hoping that we see a repeat in Week 5, how do you see our O-Line matching up with the Panthers’ defensive front? Thanks and Go Jags!!!

The Panthers are a very good pass-rushing front. Considering the Jaguars’ struggles in protection against the Broncos, that must be an area of emphasis this week. I don’t expect the Jaguars to run for 269 yards and to wear out the Panthers in the second half, but the Jaguars certainly showed last week they need to establish the run – or at least the threat of the run – to be effective.

Dan from Cape Coral, FL

Jeff Lageman famously once said about Freddy T., "Where did this guy come from? You cannot explain that! You can’t color commentate that. You can’t play by play that." It's been too long, but it's sure nice to have some unpredictable excitement again!

That wasn’t Jeff Lageman.

Earl from Middleburg, FL

Ofunkiest, since #74 Cam Robinson’s' inception to this team, I can’t for the life of me find one instance where he has shown ANY value to this team! If not being a turnstile, then injured, then penalty machine (which by the way nearly cost the Jaguars the game TWICE). Face the facts: he's costly at the most inopportune times, easily gets baited into costly temper tantrums. If Will Richardson weren’t so valuable on the interior I'd say sit Dumbo ‘til he gets his act together, or at least doesn't need to be restrained. What you got?

Your memory is short. While Robinson needed to improve after his 2017 rookie season, he without question played well more often than not that season – and he was an asset on a line that performed well most of the season. He did struggle at times in two games last season and has really struggled in two games this season, but remember: He’s coming off a season largely lost because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury. Though imperfect, he has some ability. It’s too early to write Robinson off just yet.

Mr. Padre from St. Mary’s, FL

I sure hope Cam Robinson doesn't demand a trade ... considering he was "disrespected" right on the field in front of everyone for getting hot-headed during the game. Or is it only disrespect if it comes from someone in a place of authority?

I’m honestly not sure I know anymore.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, sometimes you put together the perfect article that really says the things that need to be said and you say it in eloquent fashion. I'm not going to tell you which one of course, but job well done!

That wasn’t me.

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