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O-Zone: Splendid isolation

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Jupiter, FL

I know there is always a lot of second guessing about why we didn't take this or that quarterback in previous years and instead stuck with whoever was already the starter, but I think it's safe to say Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone will not – or at least, should not – be faulted for giving Minshew a legitimate chance to be the future. The fans love him and want to win with him. If any if these other first rounders go on to be the next Patrick Mahomes … oh well. At least for next season, most Jags fans can live with that possibility. Gardner is our quarterback.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's job isn't to do what's popular with fans, or to make decisions that fans won't "fault him for" with for the short term. His job is to make decisions that will strengthen the roster in the long term – and within that description, his job is to find the best possible player at quarterback. Remember, too: While fans may "understand" an incorrect decision on this front for a while, they aren't typically understanding for very long. Nor should they be. I currently expect the Jaguars to start Minshew at quarterback next season. He played well enough at times last season that that approach wouldn't be ridiculous. At the same time, I expect the Jaguars to have a legitimate option other than Minshew next season. That might be a rookie quarterback if Round 1 falls that way. Or it might be a veteran quarterback if the draft doesn't produce a legitimate option. Yes, Minshew is currently the Jaguars' quarterback. But Caldwell and Marrone must make sure that's the best approach. No matter what's popular.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Minshew was far from perfect last year. Yet when Gardner played, the entire team – offense and defense – seemed to respond in an incredibly positive way. His teammates apparently felt that if Gardner played, there was always a chance. Fans, broadcaster, and media felt that way. My question: does the front office consider those intangibles when planning for the quarterback position? Or is it all analytics and no consideration of emotional impact?

The team takes everything into consideration when evaluating quarterback – and yes, intangibles such as leadership and how players respond to the player playing the position are factors. The issue isn't Minshew's ability to lead or the team's belief in him; it's whether he's the best option at quarterback. We'll get an idea Thursday how the Jaguars feel about that.

Don from Marshall, NC

Every quarterback in the universe has been rumored to be on the way to Duval one way or another. Minshew just ran Nick Foles out of town and I am putting my money on the kid. Dollar to a doughnut the Jaguars draft a wide receiver with the first pick if their guy is there. Minshew overlooked again and again and again. The dude has serious skills with no choke. It's going to be fun to watch him make fools out of all his critics.

Hey … one fer Minshew!

Greg from Pleasant Valley

John where is the love for Minshew? He had better first year stats than all of the Jaguars' three first-round quarterbacks. He had better stats than the first-round quarterbacks in his draft class. Several mock drafts and some readers are talking about the Jaguars drafting a quarterback early. I don't get it. Minshew may not have the physical skills of the other Jaguar first-round quarterbacks but he has a better mind. And his skills seem adequate. Maybe we should try giving the brain a chance.

Hey … one fer the brain!

Garrett from Jesup, GA

I don't think anyone is talking about how difficult it would have been for a new coach and/or general manager this offseason. With the pandemic going around it seems that staying constant at both positions may have been better than switching up like most fans, myself included, wanted. Your thoughts, O?

A new head coach and/or general manager would have made the offseason – and probably the season – extremely difficult. A new general manager would have functioned and transitioned normally until the COVID-19 restrictions, then would have had to deal with communicating remotely with what likely would have been largely a new staff. That would have been doable, but tricky. A new coach would have faced far greater obstacles, with the very real possibility that he wouldn't meet face-to-face with many players until training camp. I suppose that's doable, but it's more than tricky. It's a monster task.

Vinate from Jacksonville

Hey, I know a lot of people are high on Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson but after studying some cornerbacks in this year's draft, I believe Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell should be our guy. He is long, fast, super athletic and plays physical.


ZJ from Denver

ESPN just released an article predicting win totals for NFL teams. The Jags and Redskins are last with 4.5 wins and I can't say I disagree with them. Do you agree? If not, why? Then what can we do during the draft to bump that win total to at least 8?

I don't agree. I think the Jaguars can win six or seven games, because I don't think they're going to be worse than they were last season when they won six. Can they get to eight? I think that will be difficult, but one thing that will help is continuing to improve the middle of the defense. I don't think stopping the run is the end-all to winning in the NFL. I do think the quickest way for the Jaguars to be more competitive is to stop the run better than they did during the four or five games in the second half of the season in which deficiencies in that area left them uncompetitive.

Tom from Section My Couch and the Mean Streets of Nocatee

Is the Sbarro at the Avenues Mall open? Asking for a friend.

I don't want to talk about it.

Micah from Chicago, IL

John, I saw Caldwell express concern about communication with other teams on trades in the later rounds when time is shorter. I'm confused. Aren't they using phones/email to communicate with trade partners even when the draft isn't virtual? What do you think might go wrong next week? Plus we've already seen trades get scuttled in the past with communication issues. How might next week be different?

Yes, general managers use phones when the draft isn't virtual; the draft moves too quickly to rely much on email. But in a normal draft, a general manager is surrounded by scouts and personnel people in the same room to quickly communicate regarding trade value – and to assist in making calls to other personnel officials around the league. Doing that virtually potentially could be trickier and take a few more seconds. With only five minutes between selections, that could get difficult.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Matt Jones over Aaron Rodgers isn't the biggest draft flub in Jaguars history because Jags were not looking quarterback at all that year. They were looking for weapons for a promising young quarterback they had drafted early in the first round the previous year. The worst draft flub in Jaguars history was Taven Bryan over Lamar Jackson.

The Jaguars weren't looking at quarterback at all in 2018, either.

David from Orlando, FL

Johnny-O. Many people have the opinion that the Jaguars will select a defensive end sometime during the draft. If you had to guess, what percentage chance would you give that it happens?

The Jaguars have 12 selections in the draft, so most positions will be addressed at some point. Defensive end? Eighty-three-point-four percent. No, 85.34 percent.

Drew from Redding, CA

If by some miracle Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown falls to us at No. 9 and we select him, then we see South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw slip to No. 14-to-15 or more, should we jump up to get him to and really solidify the defensive line. Or is that overkill?

It feels like overkill, and not something the Jaguars will do. They have too many needs at other positions and the difference in grade between Kinlaw and the other options in range probably isn't enough to merit trading away draft equity or ignoring other positions.

Robert from Lake City, FL

KOAF. In my nightmares, we get to Pick No. 9 and three quarterbacks and Ohio State edge Chase Young, Okudah, Clemson linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons, Brown and Kinlaw are all of the board. What do you think the Jags would do?

Take their favorite wide receiver.

Justin from New York City

Can you do two O-Zones a day? I am getting so bored stuck at home, and this (and looking at every mock draft published) is the biggest highlight of my day.

Isolation takes a different toll on different people. It apparently has affected Justin more than most.