O-Zone: So. Much. Fun.

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s do it …

Matt from Green Cove Springs, FL

While I’m not shocked it happened, it’s frustrating to see how many people turned on Minshew after having a (we knew it was coming) rookie game. I saw one article saying he’s another Case Keenum – and meant that as a compliment. And of course the fans are already fanning that Minshew Mania has worn off. Give the kid a chance to learn from his mistakes before we burn him at the stake for being a rookie starting his fifth game.

Part of the dynamic of the NFL is the urge to analyze one game as if it defines a player’s career. Football doesn’t work that way, but the sport’s once-a-week nature gives fans, media and other observers wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-y too much time between games – and many spend that time assuming what they saw the previous Sunday is the only thing said player or said team ever has done. Here’s the reality: Anyone writing off Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II based on a difficult game against New Orleans Sunday is categorically ignorant about the NFL, and the same is true of anyone claiming to have a specific idea of what his future holds. One poor game does not define his career in the same sense that four good ones did not ensure placement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A young quarterback’s development takes place over time, and always – ALWAYS – has ups, downs, good stretches and rough ones. The competitiveness and balance of the league ensures this, and we saw evidence Sunday. The Saints utilized an effective game plan against Minshew, and he struggled against it. The Jaguars now will adapt their game plan to counter the game plan used by New Orleans, because teams undoubtedly will use at least some version of it until Minshew and the Jaguars prove they can counter it. Minshew absolutely was going to have a game like he did Sunday. It doesn’t prove anything except that he’s a young quarterback in the NFL. What he does in the coming weeks will provide far more insight about his eventual success or failure – the uneducated observer’s vehement beliefs notwithstanding.

Chris from Orlando, FL

LMAO when will we do something other than that same Cover 3 defense? Someone needs to be fired for these horrible play calls.

It’s always coaching in the NFL, even when a defense allows 13 points and one touchdown.

Greg from Satsuma, FL

Does Jalen Ramsey still get paid every week for a fake hurt back?

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has a legitimate back injury that is very serious. Players who love winning and their teammates as much as Ramsey does don’t miss games voluntarily. And yes, Ramsey is still being paid despite the injury.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

That was pretty resilient. I hope their resiliency will get them back to winning.

You’re right. The only way resiliency matters in the NFL is if you win.

Sean from Jacksonville

John, I’m lost at this point. What is this team? How do we move forward? Is this season salvageable?

What is this team? It’s a team starting a rookie sixth-round quarterback that has lost to the four teams (Kansas City, Houston, Carolina and New Orleans) on its schedule with winning records and beaten the two teams (Tennessee and Denver) on its schedule with losing records. It’s a team that is precisely where logic said it would be at this point, and a team that can be .500 at the season’s midway point if it beats two teams with losing records over the next two weeks. If the Jaguars win their next two games, the season can be salvaged. If not, then things get tough. Things are urgent now.

Adam from St. Johns, FL

John, I have a theory regarding fan attendance. Cover the stadium, and you’ll see more fans attend. I’ve always noticed when the Jags are good and weather is decent, you’ll see few of the other team’s fans (see 2017). However, when the team is average to below average, and it’s hotter than you-know-what, the Jag fan doesn’t show up and the visiting teams fans come out in force. Owner Shad Khan and the city should drop the lot J plan (won’t happen, I know) and cover the stadium (Roman style). The heat is awful. The heat is more awful when the team isn’t good. The team hasn’t been good over 25 years more often than not.

You’re right that the team and city won’t drop the Lot J project. Nor should it, because that project is key to the franchise’s long-term viability because it involves development around the stadium. But I do believe covering the stadium in some capacity is on the horizon – distant though that horizon still may be.

Brandon from Jacksonville

Any insight as to why Demario Davis was not ejected for the hit on Geoff Swaim?

You’re referencing New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis’ hit on Jaguars tight end Geoff Swaim, a violent hit for which Davis was penalized for a hit on a defenseless receiver. While the hit at first viewing seemed intentionally vicious, closer review seems to show that Davis hit Swaim on the head with his shoulder rather than helmet. I can only imagine that’s what caused Davis not to be ejected, though it will be interesting to see what level of fine – if any – the NFL levies upon Davis for the play.

Dane from Shreveport, LA

We seemed to have a complete game (offense/defense/special teams) against the Titans. Can we do it again this year? Unrealized potential can only hold interest for us fans for so long.

Yes. We’ll see. True.

David from Jacksonville

You win some, you lose some, but can we please get some shade? Felt like it was 120 degrees in the stadium. Can someone ask Shad to watch a 1 o’clock game from Section 122?

You’ll get no pushback from here about the conditions at TIAA Bank Field for afternoon home games in September and October. The Jaguars well understand that heat is a major issue. I imagine it will be addressed in the long-term, but it’s an expensive and difficult issue that will take time to solve.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

How can our O-Line play so poorly when the head coach played and coached it?

Because although it’s always coaching in the NFL, there does come a point when players must play – and where the experience and knowhow of the coaches stops being an overriding factor. That point is kickoff.

Kevin from Charlotte, NC

I know we need to start winning soon and people will say that Minshew "lost" the game on Sunday but if that is a bad game from him compared to Blake's bad game I still feel that is a step in the right direction for a rookie. One interception instead of the usual 3+ for Bortles is an improvement.

Former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw three or more interceptions three times with the Jaguars, so it’s not really fair to call three-plus interceptions “usual” for him, but you’re point is fair. Minshew thus far has done an adequate job of avoiding debilitating stretches of disastrous mistakes. Still, it’s fair to point out that he fumbled three times a week ago and nearly had three and perhaps four turnovers Sunday, so this is an area Minshew needs to watch carefully.

Ben from Algona

Zone, I know it's not always coaching, but you'd hope Flaherty would have mentioned to Will Richardson at some point the importance of not tackling blitzing linebackers ten yards away from the play. It's probably something a position coach should cover enough until he is certain the player understands that concept. You know ... if coaching mattered. 

It's always coaching in the NFL, but it would have been weird if Pat Flaherty mentioned this to Richardson. He coached the Jaguars’ offensive line – last season. George Warhop is the Jaguars’ offensive line coach.

David from Broward County, FL

Ramsey's routine, whatever it is, is now officially boring, something I never thought I would say about him. Thoughts?

Yawn.

Eric from Columbus, IN

If we could run the ball, we wouldn’t be counting on a sixth-round pick to throw over the middle of the field to score points. It all comes back of our lack of ability to be the team our picks and money have been spent around trying to be ... a run-first team.

The Jaguars could have run better Sunday, but they weren’t atrocious in this area. Few teams in the NFL can line up and run every week without at least some threat of the passing game to pull defenders out of the box.

Mr. NFL from Unfortunately Jacksonville

Like Trent Green said “I loved attacking zone defenses because of all the available spaces” ... welcome to the NFL, Minshew - you finally got game planned. Same old, boring, anemic offense.

Speaking of boring …

Joe from San Antonio, TX

Are we having fun yet?

Yes! Because Mr. NFL fortunately still lives in Jacksonville! Whee!

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