O-Zone: Re-read

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Braddock from Jacksonville

The St. Louis Rams and the Detroit Lions only scored three points in a preseason game where they, too, sat a lot of players, so I'm not going to walk off a cliff. However, we crossed the 50 once and had double-digit penalties AGAIN and one of them negated a beautiful return by wide receiver Keelan Cole for a touchdown. It would be easy to say it's just the same old Jags by many fans. However, I'll keep it in perspective. Go Jags!

Too many Jaguars players who played Thursday didn’t play well enough to win. Many didn’t play well enough to make the team. Neither of those questions are open to debate. What is a question is how much it will matter come the regular season. The guess here is the answer is, “Not much.” I don’t know how the Jaguars will fare this season because much of how they fare will depend on questions that haven’t been answered yet – i.e., how new quarterback Nick Foles will play, how running back Leonard Fournette will play and whether he will stay healthy, how the team’s injury situation will play out. I do know that what happened Thursday in Baltimore doesn’t give me very much pause because what happens in a preseason opener with almost no front-line players in the game doesn’t have much to do with what will happen in the regular season.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, rather than Jaguars fans being upset that the third and fourth string couldn’t beat a starting NFL squad, perhaps Ravens fans should be upset that their starters could muster only one touchdown drive against a bunch of third and fourth stringers.

Fair.

Aiden from Jacksonville

It seems everyone is going nuts about the preseason loss - you get it. But, is the O-Line a concern for you in general?

Yes, because we haven’t had much of a chance to see the starting offensive line. Left tackle Cam Robinson remains on the physically unable to perform list, starting guard Andrew Norwell is out with an injury and projected starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor also is out with an injury. Right guard now also appears to be opening to competition. This is somewhat reminiscent of 2017, when there was a lot of uncertainty in preseason about the offensive line. That group played well that season. Perhaps history will repeat. Stay tuned.

Sean from Jacksonville

So ... Cam Robinson and Marqise Lee may not be ready for the start of the year? For the left-tackle position, I'm not overly concerned, but I believe the wide receiver group will miss Lee's presence.

I would be concerned about both if I’m a Jaguars fan, but I would be more concerned about Robinson’s absence for the short-term than that of Lee.

Mizzle from Duval

Unpopular opinion. Preseason games matter. Not in the context of wins and losses. Not as an indication of where the season is headed. It matters for evaluation purposes. I love the fact that coaches get to see depth players and guys that are 'on-the-bubble' in live game situations. O-zizzle, why do people have a hard time understanding the importance of playing these games? Sure, injuries happen. But injuries can happen at any time. Minicamp. Training camp. Practice. Hell, they can even happen in the locker room. With an axe.

What you wrote isn’t opinion. It’s truth. Just because many people don’t understand truth doesn’t make it untrue.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, maybe if the NFL positioned the preseason games as an opportunity to watch young players do their best to earn a spot in the NFL, like a drama per-se, vs. positing the preseason as a "game," everyone would have a better perspective of what is taking place on the field vs. watching as if it is a regular game. Do you ever see the NFL change how they position the marketing on preseason games to better align with what is actually taking place?

I expect the NFL will continue marketing anything the league produces with the idea of getting the most possible people viewing.

Jim from Jagsonville

I didn't enjoy watching our first preseason game, but I understand the reason for the decision. What should we expect from the next few preseason games? How much will we see our starters?

I am beginning to suspect that we might see much the same approach from Head Coach Doug Marrone in Preseason Week 2 as we saw in the preseason opener, meaning I doubt many starters or front-line players will play. Part of me can’t believe the starters wouldn’t play in the Week 3 dress rehearsal, but Marrone is very committed to this approach. I suspect I’ll have a better feel after Thursday’s Week 2 preseason game against Philadelphia.

Former Season-Ticket Holder from God’s Country

Big O, I know it’s only preseason but what I'm concerned about is now we can see what happened last year, starters get injured with no credible backups makes it easy to see how you go from 10-6 in 2017 to 5-11 in 2018! GO GATORS!!!

If the Jaguars play as many reserves and backups in the starting lineup as they did against the Baltimore Ravens Thursday, they will struggle to win games this season. The same can be said of just about every team in the National Football League.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington

True it false, Minshew had zero reps with the offense he started with last Thursday?

Sort of true and sort of false. Backup quarterback Gardner Minshew hadn’t worked with the first-team offense much in practice during 2019 Training Camp – if at all. But the offense that started Thursday around Minshew was sort of a combination of first- and second-team players. Either way, it was that combination against Baltimore’s first-team defense at the beginning of the game. That made it a tough situation in Minshew’s first NFL action of any kind.

Matt from Las Vegas, NV

MJD was a really great back in his time. As a second-round round pick. he should have been a first-rounder. Would you have drafted him top 15??

Former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is one of a litany of players in NFL history who probably would have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft if teams could go back in history and correct their drafts.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

With the combination of injuries and inconsistent quarterback play last year, the offense was abysmal. The defense was on the field far too much, and often playing from behind – usually an advantage for opposing offenses. So, the drop off from a stellar defense in 2017 to a pretty good defense in 2018 is understandable. My question concerns attitude. How much impact does poor offensive performance have on defensive players? I know these guys are pros, and usually won’t blast their own teammates in the media, but behind the scenes? Were there feelings of frustration, anger, resentment against the offensive unit? Could those feelings have demoralized defensive players to the point where their performance was affected?

First: The Jaguars’ defense ranked fifth in the NFL in total yards last season, so it might have been a touch better than “pretty good” … but that’s splitting hairs. As for your question, players’ emotions undoubtedly can be affected by what’s going on around them. I thought the Jaguars’ defense did an admirable job for the most part last season of playing at a high level despite getting little help at times from the offense. There were exceptions to this, but for the most part the defense played hard and kept its focus in pretty difficult circumstances.

Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville

Zone. In regards on your reply from Bill from Hawthorne Wood, Il., you stated HC Doug Marrone didn't approach the Ravens’ preseason game anything close to a real game or like a practice and not to win. That certainly showed with the players on the field. So, were they only playing as what was expected of them and nothing more? I was very disappointed in this excuse as to why we had a shut out! One would think if players are trying to make the team, there would have been emphasis to win!

When I wrote that Marrone didn’t approach the preseason opener like it was a real game, what I meant was that you don’t sit 30 players – most of them starters and front-line players – if you’re approaching it like a real game. I did not in any way mean that the players playing – or the coaches – weren’t doing their best to win.

Tim from Jacksonville

So, it sounds like you believe the Jags’ bunch of backup undrafted free agents are just as good as everybody else OL backups. That’s some weak sauce right there.

One of the great truths you learn from doing this sort of column for years is there is a huge difference between what people read and what is written.

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