O-Zone: Walk this way

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mark from Archer, FL

John, I am sick of everyone saying the Houston Texans are the team to beat in the AFC South. The Jaguars outplayed the Texans in the first game; they should have won if not for a bad call by the coaches. But that is beside the point. The Jags are the most complete team in the AFC South and I think they are the front-runners to win the division.

First, the Texans are the favorites because they’re the defending division champions; they’re sort of the front-runners until they’re not. Second, what bad call? The two-point conversion at the end of the Jaguars’ Week 2 loss to the Texans? I understand that many people wanted to see quarterback Gardner Minshew II “given” the ball there rather than running back Leonard Fournette, whose two-point run may or may not have been an inch short. But it wasn’t like the Jaguars “called” a run there. They went to the line of scrimmage with multiple options. Minshew checked to the right call based on the defense. It didn’t work. There was a similar situation this past week when the Jaguars went to the line with multiple options and Minshew checked to the right call based on the defense. That play worked for an 81-yard run by Fournette. When a play works, the call was good. When it doesn’t, it’s bad. And it’s always coaching in the NFL. Always.

Andrew from Tyler

Funkmeister, who you got in a bareknuckle fight? Gene "The Icon" Frenette or Gardner "The Stache" Minshew?

Garry Smits.

Gordon from Jacksonville

If Minshew had been selected in the first round, we wouldn’t even be having a quarterback conversation. With his play so far, he would already be considered a franchise quarterback based on his poise, accuracy and ability to improvise on the run. He’s gonna have a clunker game at some point but I still think he should be given the opportunity to prove himself all the way to season’s end unless he’s completely atrocious. When a guy is 23 and already showing this much potential, there’s no way we should immediately throw him back to backup even if he stinks it up in a couple games. Just my thoughts.

First, you don’t deem a player a franchise quarterback after three starts – though Minshew unquestionably is showing signs of starting in this league on a long-term basis. Second, if Minshew had been selected in the first round, Nick Foles wouldn’t be on the roster; the Jaguars weren’t going to sign a big-time free agent quarterback and draft one in the first round in the same offseason. As far as what will happen upon Foles’ return, this will still play itself out. If Minshew plays as well in the next five games as he has in his first three, then yes … the Jaguars will have a difficult decision. But oh … what a glorious difficult decision it would be.

Brian from Cranford, ND

Let's slow down a bit on the Minshew train. He seems to have it all; the poise, the good looks, the presence, the wow factor and the charisma, but at the end of the day, he's no Shadrick.

Fair.

RAS from Jacksonville

Hey O, what does this tell you? First game offensive line allowed Foles to get hurt. Then, they protect Minshew but can't open holes for Fournette for two games. Last game the running backs do great and Minshew gets sacked four or five times. Can the offensive line make holes and protect the quarterback in the same game?

It tells me the Jaguars’ offensive line needs to be more consistent, something that could – and should – happen as the unit plays together more. Remember: This is a group that because of injury played together six plays in the preseason. It’s also a comparatively young unit, with rookie Jawaan Taylor at right tackle and with left tackle Cam Robinson having played only 19 regular-season games. Either way: Can the unit run block and pass protect in the same game? Stay tuned.

Bad Brad from the Wrong Side of Jax

Great O, there's a Carolina article that says Minshew is a rookie so he could easily fold under pressure. I might have thought that before I saw him play, but that's not a concern now. He might make a rookie mistake, sure. Obviously, the author of the article has not actually seen him play.

I don’t know what “Carolina article” means, but I do know I don’t worry about Minshew “folding under pressure” – whatever that means.

Scott from Rehoboth Beach, DE

O-man, is it possible the front office along with Jalen Ramsey's party could be keeping him off the field to avoid injury to get the best possible trade value before the deadline? He’s such an asset to this team. It's tough watching the best corner in the league sitting out games.

I don’t know everything there is to know about the Ramsey situation. That’s because only Ramsey can know all there is to know about his motivations, his back, its seriousness, his pain, the risk involved, etc. I do know that Owner Shad Khan does not want to trade Ramsey, which means there is very little chance Ramsey will be traded this season. Because of that, I don’t believe Ramsey is being held out of games to get the best possible trade vale. If anything, holding him out or him sitting out would have the opposite effect.

Don from Marshall, NC

Name one person who works harder at winning than Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin? He knows what he is doing and everyone needs to fall in line if they want to win. Go Jaguars!

A lot of people around the Jaguars and the NFL work hard at winning, and Coughlin certainly works as hard as anyone. Ramsey also works hard at winning, as do a lot of players and coaches. Coughlin’s ways appear to have rubbed Ramsey the wrong way, and without Ramsey being more specific about why I suppose we may never know exactly what he doesn’t like about Coughlin’s ways. I will say that in a sport that is as much about teamwork and players acknowledging there is a greater good that sometimes takes precedent over personal goals, I wonder if he will find a winning situation in which he truly is happy. It’s difficult for a football team to make all stars happy all the time. Sometimes players must acknowledge there is a team.

Rick from Jacksonville

So has Gardner reached the point of having outplayed his contract?

Pay the man.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, does "football smarts" also translate to just regular "smart?” Or do some players with football smarts not translate to smart off the field?

Very few football players are successful for long – i.e., four or more seasons – without football smarts or regular smarts. Even fewer quarterbacks succeed without both. Most smart football players I have known have at least some level of off-field intelligence.

Jaginator from (formerly of Section 124)

In a standard distribution, with a 32-team league, the “average” expectation at the quarter pole would be that 16 teams (not 13) have a record of 2-2. Although the sample size is too small to draw any statistically-relevant conclusions, the fact that there are only 13 teams sitting at 2-2 doesn’t in any way imply a surfeit of parity. In fact, it implies the opposite.

We were told there would be no math.

Chad from Nassauville

If I was trying to sit out and not play, saying I had back issues would be a great excuse. It seems tough to prove one way or the other. If I was trying to get traded, it would be the last excuse I would use. Real back issues seem to be one of the injuries that often plague a person for the remainder of their career. I would expect that to diminish trade value if it was a legitimate injury. I wouldn’t trade for someone until they could prove that it wasn’t an issue. For this reason, the Ramsey situation seems like a Catch-22 situation. The longer he is out the more it seems to hurt him. But if he plays and there is a health concern, it could also potentially hurt his value. Thinking this way, I could certainly see why he wouldn’t want to play unless he is absolutely 100 percent.

I don’t know at this point if there’s a way to accurately answer questions about Ramsey’s motivation or his thinking. It’s a mystery and I believe he likes it that way.

ABC from ABCTown

What do you think about letting Nick Foles start over the next two seasons with Gardner Minshew II as backup, then restructure his contract and let Minshew start with Foles as backup?

Two seasons is an eternity in the NFL. Heck, in this situation two weeks or months is an eternity.

Joe from Palm Coast, FL

Did you see the Washington Post story on our rookie quarterback on Thursday? After reading it I expect Minshew to walk on water any day now.

You’re late to the party. Minshew walked on water Wednesday.

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