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O-Zone: So much fun

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico

Dear KOAF, I think we're not fair with Minshew. He leads the eighth offense in average yards per drive (41). The problem is that the offense has the fifth-worst field position in the NFL to start every drive. It's fair to point at the defense as the main problem in this team. In your mind, which is the biggest weakness in this defense: players (defensive line, linebacker or secondary), defensive coordinator (schemes, lack of communication) or what else?

Fair or unfair, statistics aren't even close to the end-all measure when evaluating Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II. He likely will finish this season with impressive numbers if he continues to play as he has in the first five games. He's not throwing many interceptions because he often checks down rather than throw downfield. He also likely will have a lot of yards passing; defenses are playing soft zone early and prevent defense late because the Jaguars have been trailing big through much of the second half of recent games. More important than statistics is whether Minshew can throw receivers open and whether he has the arm strength to make throws into tight windows to get defenses out of that soft zone. This isn't the only discussion point with Minshew, but it's absolutely the primary discussion point. As far as the defense being the primary weakness … yes: absolutely. The secondary has struggled and the pass rush has struggled. Many readers will scream, "What about coaching?!! Fire defensive coordinator Todd Wash!!" Yell that as much as you want because it's always coaching in the NFL, but if you can't rush the passer and cover it's awfully hard to "coach 'em up." Either way, the reality is this: as poorly as the defense has played in recent weeks, the offense hasn't been significantly better. It struggled against Houston and Miami. It played better against Cincinnati but sputtered in the third quarter as the Bengals turned the game's momentum. When you lose four consecutive games, it's rarely one thing.

Dingus from Duval

What's the point of going back in draft position (and let's be real: our sixth-round selection is closer to the fifth round than the Titans' seventh-round selection is to the sixth) for a one-year rental in a noncompetitive season? Unless we re-sign this guy, it seems like a waste of draft position. So, are we going to re-sign this guy?

The Jaguars on Wednesday traded a sixth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft to the Tennessee Titans for linebacker Kamalei Correa and a seventh-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. The reason for the trade was simple: They wanted to upgrade at strong-side linebacker, so they acquired Correa and released Cassius Marsh Sr. the next day. Time will tell if they re-sign Correa; it's an impossible question to answer in real time. Was it worth it? Hell, I don't know. He's probably better than Marsh, who was struggling. You know what I hear all the time here in the O-Zone? The Jaguars are bad at "Position X." They should trade for someone. They MUST trade for someone. NOW!! You know what the Jaguars did Wednesday? They traded for somebody. Right then!!! We'll see how it plays out.

Nicholas from Rockville

Who? Seriously though, what are the expectations for the guy who only may be here for 11 more games?

For him to play well and improve the defense for those 11 games, then to see what happens after that.

Joseph from Sacramento, CA

This is probably a funny question. Um, does Jaguars Owner Shad Khan still hold those expectations of this year being a winning season as he stated that those were his expectations? Or was that just political (tell the fans what they want to here)" talk?

I don't know what Khan expects now at 1-4. I do believe entering the season he expected this team to win and show progress.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Do you think for the long-term success of the Jaguars it's better to win five-to-six games this season or only one?

If you believe Minshew isn't the long-term answer, it's better to win one.

Marcus from Jacksonville

John, you have stated over and over again there is no benefit to firing a coach or general manager in-season, especially this early in the season. I agree there is little to be gained on the field, but what about the perception of the team from the players and league-wide? The Jaguars, as an organization, are perennial losers and it could be argued that they are complacent given the fact that they have let coaches, general managers and mediocre players stick around for much longer than they should have in light of their records. The NFLPA recently recommended that players not go to Jacksonville, and even though Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin was the scapegoat of that debacle, the fact that an elite player still forfeited millions to leave tells the league that this is still not a place you want to be. On top of that, you have a reputation for paying mediocre players and not paying elite players who deserve to be paid. Perhaps firing your general manager and/or coach midseason sends a message to the rest of the league and the players in the locker room that we're not OK with losing, that we are changing the culture and Jacksonville is no longer a place where elite players can't wait to leave. Does that help them win this season? Probably not. But it does send a message to the locker room and the league. Maybe that's the best we can do right now.

Just to clarify: Coughlin wasn't a "scapegoat" for the NFLPA debacle. Scapegoat implies that someone was unfairly punished individually for something that was the responsibility of many. As far as firing a general manager and head coach, doing so at midseason sends no different a message to the rest of the NFL than doing it after the season. Doing it at midseason placates fans for a few days. Beyond that…

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

I wish fans would stop asking for midseason coaching changes! What would be the alternative, promoting offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to interim head coach? Fire defensive coordinator Todd Wash and throw a young defense into the unknown? The hardest part of the schedule is ahead. If I were the owner, I would stay the course and start making plans if I felt a change was necessary at the end of the year. Interim never works out for the best!


Chuck from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

With prices in today's free-agent market, is it even realistic to assume that the Jaguars might retain a core of high-performing players – or for that matter a franchise quarterback? The cost would be high, and only compromise the team at other positions. The best small-market team I know is the Tampa Bay Rays. They seem to know their limitations and sign them early to long-term contracts or make shrewd trades for young talent. They never attempt a large-dollar, long-term contract. Seems to work.

It's impossible to compare salary-cap machinations and contract philosophies across sports. What might work in baseball doesn't apply in the NFL or vice versa. The Jaguars under owner Shad Khan never have had an issue paying large-dollar long-term contracts when the contract made sense given the player's value. They haven't always paid the right players, but they haven't had an issue paying.

John from Jacksonville

I think Gruden needs to have more discussions with himself about abandoning the run game too early. He keeps doing this in games but then has the "I hate when that happens" reaction. Does he know he is calling the plays? Stay focused, Gruden, and please win that internal argument with yourself.


Genuinejag13 from Jacksonville

The Jags' defense seems to have played its best game with 95 [defensive tackle Abry Jones] and 90 [defensive tackle Taven Bryan] playing less snaps. Could this be the new norm?

Very possibly.

Bo from Charleston, SC

Sunday ... actually a pretty good day when you skip watching the Jaguars game. Guess you can't really make that choice since it's your job, but I'd bet you wish you could sometimes?

Are there ever Sundays I wish I weren't working? I suppose, but only in the sense that I imagine most people sometimes wish they were doing something else when working. But that's rare. I wish the Jaguars would win more because I like the Jaguars' coaches, players and front-office people and I like seeing them succeed. I wish they would win more because the fans have much more fun when they're winning and it's more fun writing for happy, excited readers than writing for angry readers. But overall … no, I rarely wish on Sundays I could skip the Jaguars' game. It's football. It's a great job and a fun job. Even when it's not.