O-Zone: Weekly staple

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mike from Cortland, NY

Remember a month ago when we thought the Jags had a "very good problem" in having two good quarterbacks? That was adorable.

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone replaced starting quarterback Nick Foles with rookie Gardner Minshew II in a 28-11 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at TIAA Bank Field Sunday. Such a move is usually pivotal, and the Jaguars’ quarterback discussion now indeed has a different feel than six weeks ago when Foles was on injured reserve with a broken clavicle and Jacksonville – and much of the NFL – was in the throes of Minshew Mania. Marrone said he would wait until speaking with Foles and Minshew before announcing about the starters. I will be surprised if he doesn’t choose Minshew and I will be surprised if it doesn’t stay that way through the end of the regular season provided Minshew remains healthy. Foles simply didn’t give the offense or the team any lift and didn’t look like the same quarterback he did in training camp. Perhaps there was a health-related reason, or perhaps the lack of a serviceable tight end – or struggling protection – was the reason, but the bottom line was the offense was anemic in recent weeks. Will Minshew be a major improvement? That remains to be seen. He still must adapt to what defenses were effectively doing against him in late October. I will be fascinated to see his development on that front in the next month. But no … the Jaguars’ quarterback situation doesn’t look as rosy as it did a month ago. The thought here is Minshew currently is a better option than Foles, and that he will get a chance to prove that. It remains to be seen if he’s the answer moving forward.

Joe from 223

This is not on the players. They played their hearts out but outcoached again. Fire all of them.

Yes, because it’s always coaching in the NFL. Even when your starting quarterback commits three turnovers on the game’s first three possessions. Always.

Steven from Jacksonville

In the second half, the Bucs have a third-and-4 near midfield. The Jags are in a zone defense with cornerbacks 12 yards off the line of scrimmage. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston completes an uncontested six-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Godwin for the first down. Even Mark Schlereth, the FOX TV analyst, asks "What are they thinking there?" But it's not the coaches right, John?

Wow, if Mark Schlereth said it, considering his in-depth knowledge of the Jaguars’ defensive personnel and considering his knowledge of how well the cornerbacks cover in man coverage … well, by golly, I take back everything I ever said.

Jon from Palm Bay, FL

I must have missed it, but why is Cooke handling kickoffs?

Punter Logan Cooke has been handling kickoffs in recent weeks because kicker Josh Lambo was dealing with a groin injury starting in October.

Eric from Columbus, IN

O, two years in a row this team collapses. Is it coaching or the makeup of the team? They started 3-1 last year and 4-4 this year, then the wheels come off out of nowhere. I’ve never seen anything like it but it’s now a two-year trend. What do you think it is?

The Jaguars collapsed last season largely because of a rash of injuries, then gradually declining quarterback play – among a slew of other reasons. The Jaguars collapsed this season largely because of a defense that couldn’t stop the run and an offense that couldn’t score in the red zone or convert on third down well enough to counter that struggling run defense. Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers didn’t feel like the same team as the one that lost three consecutive games after a 4-4 start. Those three losses were defined by the aforementioned inability to stop the run. Sunday’s loss felt like a team that couldn’t overcome a miserable first half that featured three turnovers by Foles. Is that a trend or just a couple of different bad finishes to once promising seasons? I’m not sure the difference matters because neither is remotely good enough.

Greg from Satsuma, FL

Why does the team have no fullback on the roster like Greg Jones years ago to block for running back Leonard Fournette. wouldn't it help the running game a lot?

The Jaguars like many teams don’t carry a “true fullback,” but they have tight ends play the blocking-back role when needed. It’s a philosophical decision. It works if the tight ends do a good job blocking in those situations. It doesn’t work as well when they don’t.

Folkston Fan from Folkston, GA

O, really like enjoy the whole thing with the "much-ballyhooed" first email thing. Very creative. Just wanted to send encouragement your way.

You’re wrong. I suck. Ask anyone.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, in spite of the loss, with Minshew in the game, it is exciting and there is hope. Is it just me, or did the players seem to feel that also?

Humans typically respond to urgency with change, and that’s often the case with a quarterback change. It seemed to spark the Jaguars Sunday. That will carry forward if Minshew plays well. It won’t if he does not.

Bill from the Bridge, MA

At first, I was thinking this may be Marrone’s last game. Then comes in the ‘Stach. Wow! He’s our guy. He even made the special teams and run defense better. He may be the greatest ever? What do you think Funk?

I do not think Minshew is the greatest ever.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

This team was .500 and competing for the division title. They've completely fallen apart. With the way they've played over the last few weeks, it's hard to imagine how they won any games this year. Have they quit? Is it every man playing for himself to put good individual tape out there for next year? It doesn't look good altogether.

NFL players in my experience rarely quit. But do they lose focus? Do they stop playing for the team first? Do they do too much or get fragmented when they believe a season is over? Yes, that happens. I can’t say that happened Sunday, though. Sunday looked like a team with its defensive talent depleted by injuries and other player departures, and a team that turned the ball over far too often early. That’s not winning football, and that made Sunday look like a mess on some fronts, but it’s not “quitting.”

Bill from Section 127

Funk, Not sure we could have beaten the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, or Washington Redskins today. We might very well be the worst team in football. There is no denying that we are headed for another Top 5 pick, and it is really hard to see the fan base buying tickets next year if the current regime is making that selection.

Owner Shad Khan has a lot of deciding to do in the coming weeks. The first thing he must decide is if he believes the people making decisions and coaching the players are the right people. While short-term fan interest indeed can depend on those decisions, the decision shouldn’t depend on that.

Dan from Las Vegas, NV

According to you Wash is good defensive coordinator, I believe he was decent when the defense was stacked with talent across every position. I'm sorry but with that talent even probably you will be considered great DC. Second what will be the excuse this week, let me guess Jack was out and that crippled the defense LOL

I do believe Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash is a good coordinator. Many Jaguars fans disagree. That’s OK. I’ve been right while in the minority before. One more trip around that merry go-round won’t be that difficult.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, do you think Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen has a realistic chance to break the rookie sack record of 14.5?

I think it’s a long shot. Allen currently has nine sacks. While he is playing at a high level, and while I believe he is the key to the Jaguars’ future defensively, I think getting five-and-a-half sacks in four games is a huge ask. It’s not that he can’t do it as much as the facts that sacks often come when defenses know opponents are in passing situations. That requires getting a lead and/or stopping the run. The Jaguars have done neither effectively enough this season.

Ed from Danvers, MA

If they need to fire someone for the sake of firing someone, then why not fire the Culligan girl? She hasn't been around much lately anyway.

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Limo Bob from Neptune Beach, FL

Do you think not having a O-Zone on Monday’s for the rest of the season might be wise?

No way. Too many people dislike me. I wouldn’t want to lose the pleasure of knowing what it does to their day to read this drivel.

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