JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Kyan from Le Mars, IA
It seems like whenever Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot gets solid playing time he performs well. It just doesn't seem like he gets solid playing time very often or much love. Why is that?
Smoot indeed has performed well at times this season. He had a really good game – four quarterback hits and a sack – when he played 40 snaps against the Houston Texans in Week 5. He didn't have as good a game – one quarterback hit – when he played 64 snaps against the Detroit Lions in Week 6. He was OK – a hit and a half-sack – when he played 44 snaps against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 7. Smoot is a good player who has worked hard to improved in recent seasons. I suspect he will play somewhere between 55-to-75 percent of the Jaguars' defensive snaps in the coming weeks. I don't suspect he will be a dynamic difference-maker, and I suspect he will get a lot of effort sacks and be productive if he continues to get snaps as he has in recent weeks.
Stephen from Wallingford, CT
If we put together a team of all the players the Jags let go and they played the current team, who do you think would win and what's the final score?
The current team would win, at least in part because of the fundamental reason that there wouldn't be enough players to fill all the positions on the "let-go" team.
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL
It still hurts to see former Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis performing and blocking well for the Green Bay Packers. He seemed like such a great guy and great leader and I still regret that the Jags couldn't find a way for him to finish his career here. I feel like guys like he and former Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell (talented, respected older leaders) are such a vital part of an NFL roster. Older guys who still perform well and work hard and lead by example are so crucial for younger players to be around and crucial to building a positive team culture. It feels as if General Manager David Caldwell has made too many decisions to roll the dice gambling on one of his draft picks rather than keep the proven veteran leader. You should strive to have reliable proven veterans at most positions and have younger players at a few spots and for depth. He gets rid of all our good players and we are supposed to just relish in how many draft picks we have? All those draft picks are question marks. We need proven players, and you have to find a way to retain your best players. In retaining talent, he scores a zero. In quarterback drafting and in free-agent quarterback signing, his score is even lower. His job is to put talent on the roster. The talent level on our roster is a direct reflection of our general manager's ability to do his job. Go Jags.
The Jaguars did have a decent veteran/young-player mix from about 2017-2019. They felt they had to trim older players this offseason to get the salary cap in order moving forward. That was a task Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone had to get done this offseason, and that task should benefit them in coming offseasons. But there's little question the Jaguars are too young this season. That's not all that true on offense, where quarterback play has been a bigger issue than experienced, veteran playmakers. But it's absolutely the case on defense, where the team lacks playmaking veterans on the line and in the secondary. It's an issue.
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
Is there any indication that - in the event that Cam Robinson and the team don't agree to a new contract - Will Richardson could be the answer at left tackle, or at this point is it likely too optimistic to consider him more than a depth player?
This is to be determined, but Richardson – a third-year veteran right now hasn't played enough at tackle in the NFL to know for sure if he could be a long-term starter there.
Zach from Wisconsin
It wouldn't matter if Gardner Minshew II was playing like a Top 10 QB. The odds are he'd still have to lead the offense to 30 or more points a game to compensate for the atrocious defense. Few quarterbacks can do that – let alone a second-year veteran.
You're correct that the Jaguars' defense has been bad this season and it must play better; defense matters. But you're not correct that it wouldn't matter if Minshew was playing like a Top 10 quarterback. That would matter. Quarterbacking always matters in the NFL. And remember: a big part of the question about Minshew isn't whether he is the quarterback this season, it's whether he can be a franchise quarterback moving forward. He didn't show that enough in the first seven games.
Dan from Varma, Bulgaria
Hey, Zone: Disregard Red. He obviously has man crush on Minshew and doesn't understand much football. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had pretty much the same team last year except few players and the difference is the quarterback play this year. Red: Do you think the Bucs will have the same success with Minshew under center? -- Since you are such a football expert or man expert:). Thanks Zone!
Never, ever, ever disregard Red. He is a visionary.
Steve from Sunroom Couch
Dear, John. How do you think the game will go Sunday? I'm going with Luton gets sacked five times, three interceptions and a 37-13 Texans victory.
I think you're underestimating the Jaguars' ability to protect rookie quarterback Jake Luton Sunday, and you're underestimating the Jaguars' offensive line's ability to block for rookie running back James Robinson. Let's go with two sacks, an interception and two touchdown passes – and the Texans win, 28-21.
Steve from Nashville, TN
Assuming the Jets have the number one pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and the Jaguars have the second pick, do we have enough "draft capital" to trade up to that overall first pick - assuming we would not be the only team trying to do so?
Not if the New York Jets really want the player they consider the draft's best player. Remember: if a team wants a player enough to trade three or four first-round draft selections for the No. 1 selection, who's to say the team holding that selection wouldn't want the player enough to turn down all those selections and take the player? In other words, if the Jaguars like Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence enough to give up four first-round selections, then why wouldn't the Jets like him enough to turn the selections down to take Lawrence?
Al from Orange Park, FL
John, do you think Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson has any shot at Rookie of the Year? Especially since he's not a quarterback?
I think his chances are hurt because he plays on a team with a bad record, and because Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is having a good season. But yes … if things break right and he continues to play well, then Robinson has a chance to be Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Sam from Nottingham, UK
If we do draft a quarterback of the ilk of Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields or Brigham Young quarterback Zach Wilson, do you foresee they'd come straight in – like Burrow – or sit and learn a year like Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson/Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes? Gut feel says that Minshew might still have a starting role to play next season, and that he wouldn't give the job up easily.
This entirely depends on the quarterback. A player such as Burrow was ready to play as a rookie – and the Bengals' quarterback situation was such they needed Burrow to play. Mahomes wasn't as ready and the Chiefs had a veteran quarterback in Alex Smith, which meant they didn't need Mahomes to play immediately. Does Minshew still have a starting role after this season. I just don't know yet. I tend to doubt it. But we'll see.
Nick from Palatka, FL
Whoooaaa! The hornet's nest has officially been kicked again! Nice to enjoy some real competition for a change. Keep it up, O!
You go, girl.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, on Sunday we get to see a kid's dream come true with is first NFL start. What's not cool about that?
Well, some visitors to and participators in this forum perchance might argue it would be cooler if the Jaguars were 6-1 with an elite quarterback and headed to the playoffs. But within the context of this season, and this reality … yeah, it's cool.
Bill from Jupiter, FL
Only because I haven't been paying attention, I haven't really heard a UF game.
Come on Gators, get up and go …