JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Reese from Lutherville, MD
Gardner Minshew looks more and more like he's just a guy. When the game was still in question in the third quarter, he did nothing above the Xs and Os to push his team when they needed him the most. I was all in on guys like David Garrard, Blaine Gabbert (initially) and Blake Bortles – with the scars to prove it. Gardner just feels like more of the same but with better facial hair. What say you?
I say I'm not ready to give up on Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II. Just as good performances in Week 1 and 2 didn't cement him as the franchise quarterback, the up-and-down performances of the last two weeks don't mean he's not the answer moving forward; I have said and written that more than once in recent days, and I believe it. But you're right that Minshew didn't play well in the critical third quarter against Cincinnati Sunday. And he continues to struggle when teams play soft zone. There are times he looks lost when defenses contain him in the pocket, and it feels as if he struggles to see the middle of the field – and that his arm strength doesn't allow him to make certain very necessary throws. Those are all real things that he must overcome. At the same time, he has moments like late in the first half and late in the game Sunday that give you hope that he can be productive. I think Minshew is a definite upgrade compared to Bortles and Gabbert. I didn't cover Garrard, so I don't have a great feel for the comparison. But I do think Minshew is more than facial hair. I know this because my beard is "awesome."
Spazman from Jacksonville
What bothered me most about the loss to the Bengals was Marrone's cavalier attitude towards it in the postgame interview. It wasn't the vintage Marrone taking the blame because "he has to do a better job of coaching." Maybe he's seeing the handwriting on the wall already and starting to prepare his resume for next season.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone wasn't cavalier about the loss. I understand fans' frustration and tendency to pick such things apart, but he cared. It's his life and livelihood. This matters to him. It's his singular focus. To think otherwise is to completely misinterpret the situation.
Red from the Ozone Comments Section
Hi, John. Well, looks like it's another Groundhog Day the movie season for longsuffering Jaguar fans. Bengals get their first win at the expense of the Jags. Will the Texans get their first win next weekend?
It's too early to tell, of course. But if the Jaguars can't get pressure on quarterback Deshaun Watson, and if they struggle in coverage as they have in recent weeks … #BabeIgotyoubabe
Damien from Jacksonville
Not that I'm complaining, but why wasn't the Myles Jack interception pass interference? I thought defenders had to turn around?
Not in the NFL. In the NFL, you can be facing the receiver if you don't make contact.
Rob from St. Augustine, FL
What's the difference in accepting or declining an interference call after a catch? Wouldn't it be a first down at the same spot either way? Saw this late in the first quarter.
The primary difference is that the quarterback and the wide receiver get credit for a completion and a reception when you decline the penalty. There is no real difference in terms of the gain or the play's effect on the game.
A.J. from Scottsdale, AZ
Does this season feel like 2018 but with roles reversed? In 2018, our offense was struggling and we relied on our defense to win us games. We also noticed a lack of depth on the offensive line. This year our defense is struggling and we are relying on our offense to win us games. Might be too early to say but we definitely lack depth all over the defense to fill in the spots of linebacker Myles Jack, cornerback CJ Henderson and cornerback DJ Hayden.
I don't know that it's too early to say.
Jordan from 414
Did we rush to anointing Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen as a great one too early or is this defense's deficiencies just too much even for a great young player to overcome?
TouchDown from Festus
The Jags haven't made a "jag" move in weeks?! When can we expect to trade Josh Allen to the Kansas City Chiefs or Baltimore Ravens for a fourth-rounder?
That would be silly. Allen is a very good young player who appears to be a core player moving forward and who appears to be a team-first player who wants to be here. You don't let players like that get away.
Dave from Chorley, UK
Hello O, you don't agree with always blaming the coaches; I get that. In most sports they seem to always take the rap and usually are not given time to turn things around. A lot of our coaches have had ample time to put a winning product on the field, with little results. It's getting to the point where this franchise is heartbreaking to watch. It feels like we have players here that are wasted and would be given a better chance of winning elsewhere. When do we start to admit that maybe coaching is the issue?
When they're not getting the most out of the players.
Bill from Jupiter, FL
Do you think there is enough veteran leadership in the locker room such as defensive tackle Abry Jones to tell these kids that what they're doing just isn't good enough? Going young has its drawbacks and that's one of them.
I wouldn't say there is an ideal amount of veteran leadership on the Jaguars. I also don't know that a lack of it is what's ailing the Jaguars right now.
Matt from Houston, TX
I see quite a few plays where Gardner seems hesitant or indecisive in the pocket. When he has perfect blocking, he's accurate; but when there is a smidge of pressure I seem him panic more than anything else. How do you see his demeanor in the pocket this season? Stella's got to get his groove back.
I don't think it's fair to say Minshew "panics." That implies he is running from pressure that isn't there or leaving the pocket too early, and I don't get that impression.
KC from South Florida
A quarter of the way through the season, what would you say are the Jaguars' three positions of strength and three positions of need? Also, with what we've seen so far, what do you think this team's ceiling is for this season?
Strengths: Running back, wide receiver and offensive line – with a nod to weak-side linebacker. Weaknesses: safety, cornerback and defensive tackle – with a nod to anything else on defense except weak-side linebacker. Ceiling: Five or six victories.
Zach from Elkhorn
Is it fair to say now that this team got too young too quick to open up cap space just like the Gus era? The team just looks out of their weight class.
Maybe, but considering the state of the cap entering last offseason I'm not sure they had much choice.
Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA
How does this Jags team win now? Run and throw to running back James Robinson, and throw to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.? Longer drives could limit the vulnerability of the Jags defense.
You run and throw to Robinson and Chark because they are your best offensive players. If using them well allows you to convert third downs and keep drives alive – and therefore use close – that's a benefit. But this offense needs to score points. It can't yet worry about trying to consume time to help the defense.
Andrew from San Diego, CA
John, how can you not be a "fan" of this team? I mean you spend so much time with the personnel and players, aren't you empathetic to their struggles and appreciate their successes? Where is your competitive spirit? Don't you want to cover a winning team?
I have discussed this before, but I suppose it's worth restating: I'm not a "fan" of the team because covering a team requires objectivity. I don't have time on a Sunday afternoon, for example, to throw my pen into the wall and stomp around yelling in the press box every time a Jaguars defensive line fails to get pressure. I don't let losses fester and I try to look at the sport professionally and objectively. What I say or write would be even more tiresome and amateurish than already is the case if I wrote from a fan's perspective. That doesn't mean I'm not empathetic to the team's struggles. And I do enjoy their success. And yes … I would prefer covering a winning team. It's more fun. I get YELLED!!!! at less and people use fewer EXCLAMATION POINTS AND CAPITAL LETTERS!! when they write me. But I do the job the same whether the Jaguars win or lose, and my life doesn't go into a tailspin if they lose – though a compelling argument could made that it's already there.