Gardner Minshew

Can the 2020 Jaguars Be Virtually Good?

It appears we’ll have some sort of NFL season in 2020. Several owners this week thought out loud that fans would be allowed, but the decision on that is a while off. With only fifteen percent of each team’s revenue coming from ticket sales, they could play a season without fans in the stands. It would be weird, like the fourth quarter of a preseason game but they could do it. Add in the money lost for concessions and in game sponsorship, and the money still made through the television contracts would make playing a season worthwhile.

Contrast that with college football, where about seventy-five percent of the revenue comes through ticket sales. Add in the support the football program gives to the other sports on campus and you can see it would be a difficult, and devastating blow to college sports if they can’t play a season.

Nonetheless, the NFL is plowing along, making preparations to play, albeit without any OTA’s or mini-camps, with the plan to have teams gather in person for the first time at the end of July for training camp. The current virtual team meetings will give way to actual coaching, on and off the field.

“It’s still difficult,” Jaguars new Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden said this week about not being able to see players in person. “It’s one thing to install plays on a chalk board and virtual meetings getting to know the concepts and all that stuff, but it’s another thing to go out and execute and see what we’re good at, to see what guy can do.”

“I don’t have a lot of information as far as how these guys can handle different positions and how to run different routes and all that stuff, “ Gruden continued. “We have to get these guys on the field but then getting them out there and seeing them execute it. We got to get out on the field soon.”

Taking this time at home in Mississippi, Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew has been able to focus on one thing in the last four months: getting better.

“Since the day after the Super Bowl, I’ve been going six days a week for the last, however many months it’s been,” he said via video conference call with the media this week “It’s been a lot of fun seeing growth in yourself and your game. I’ve been talking to the receivers, and everybody.

Minshew said he’s been tinkering with his weight and his strength trying to find the right combination. He was up to 230 lbs. about the first of March, but is back down under 225 now and feels comfortable with his size and speed as well as his arm strength at that weight. He’s also been leading his offensive teammates, albeit virtually, to try and stay ahead of things.

“We’ve been doing some players only walk throughs virtually that have been helping guys learn and also just getting us together,” he explained. “Then, moving forward we’re also going to try and get together a little bit more before camp to kind of get what reps we can, while being safe and smart.”

How does that even work? Minshew said he’s been getting the offensive guys together to just go through plays so his teammates can hear the call and understand what they need to do on each play.

“So on Microsoft TEAMS there is an application that is called white board and so you are basically on a group call,” he said. “I will call out a play and like whoever is in for that play will just draw their assignment and we just kind of go around and talk about it. I think it is a good way, it is one thing to learn it on paper but to hear the call and then know what to do right there, I think it has been a good way, got to make the best of a bad situation.”

Officially, the Jaguars coaching staff is meeting, virtually, with each other and with their position groups to install the offense, bit by bit, as if they were going through OTA’s and mini-camp. Minshew is trying to go the extra mile as the leader on offense.

“When you talk about the whiteboard and what Gardner is doing, that’s totally separate from the staff,” Head Coach Doug Marrone said Friday. “So, that pretty much, probably, for lack of a better way to describe it, really takes the place of, you know, you read about these quarterback that get together with their receivers and work on things extra during the off season. That’s separate.”

Marrone is the first to admit each season is different, each team is different and you have to build your team from the bottom up every year.

“I like that because obviously you have our players, they’re talking to each other, they’re trading some chemistry, and I think it creates accountability amongst themselves,” he said. “They’re also going to be even more so accountable, in my opinion, when you’re working with each other. I think that’s the best way to create accountability is when the players are keeping themselves accountable.”

So where do the wins come from for this young team that nobody expects to do anything? The over/under number for wins for the Jaguars out of Las Vegas is 4 ½. It’s the lowest total in the league, so they’re not expecting much out of Doug Marrone’s team, no matter how much they believe they’ve done the right things in this offseason.

“I think it should put a chip on everybody’s shoulder on our team, know being kind of counted out like that,” Minshew said of the low expectations for the Jaguars.

“I think we do have a lot to prove, prove that we are not what anybody says about us, the only people that really know, the only peoples whose opinions matter is who is in that huddle, who is on that team and I think we are going to set those expectations for ourselves and not worry about what anybody else has to say about us.”

We all play the game when the schedule comes out, but now that the Jaguars roster seems to be set, either with or without Yannick Ngakoue or Leonard Fournette, can they be a surprise team in 2020?

In the opening six games, let’s say they win a game they’re not supposed to and win one on the road and they’re 3-3. It’s possible they could be 0-3 in the division at that point since their only home division game is the opener against the Colts and Phillip Rivers as their new quarterback. Never a good scenario for the Jaguars. In the last ten games of the year, they might be an underdog in every game and will have a tough time beating the Chargers to start, because they rarely play well on the West Coast. Games against the Packers, Steelers, Ravens, Vikings and the Colts in Indy will all be uphill battles.

That leaves four home games against Houston, Cleveland, Tennessee, and Chicago.

If they win a couple of those and Minshew works his magic a few other times during the season, the 2020 Jaguars are still looking up at a .500 record.

We’re all hoping Las Vegas is wrong, but going through the schedule, they don’t seem that far off.

Hopefully these young guys will surprise us.

Fenway Park

Wait! It’s Almost June? I Miss Baseball

As a kid growing up in Baltimore I was a big baseball fan. Still am. Often if I’m just scanning through the channels I default to the MLB Network.

When my TV career was ended, I was home nights for the first time in my professional life. That was different for my wife, who after ten days looked at me and said, “OK, the only rule is we’re not going to watch baseball every night.”

So I guess I’m still a big baseball fan.

Recently they’ve been running classic games on TV and the other day I stopped to watch Dave McNally, a pitcher, hit a Grand Slam for the Orioles in Game 3 of the 1970 World Series to beat the Reds. I hung around to watch the first couple of innings of the 1971 All-Star Game. I was fixated on the talent in the game.

Vida Blue started for the American League and faced Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench, all future Hall of Famers, at the top of the National League order. I counted no fewer than 25 future Hall of Famers in that game. And I realized, wow, I miss baseball.

Apparently, I’m not alone.

“I miss it. I miss watching baseball, I miss trying to figure out a trip to Atlanta or Tampa,” former Suns owner Peter Bragan Jr. said this week. “I want to go see that ballpark in Pittsburgh.”

Baseball has been in Bragan’s whole life, literally, since he was born. His is a baseball family from his uncles through his father, his own college career at Southern Alabama playing for former Major Leaguer Eddie Stanky and into his days of minor league ownership.

“You have no good idea when they’ll come back. Maybe July? Maybe with just a quarter of the fans,” he said when I asked about the uncertainty of the game being played. But then he reminded me about one of the threads that runs through the game.

“I miss the game terribly, he said. “But the greatest thing about baseball is ‘hope springs eternal.’ All baseball fans have that in their DNA.”

I’ve been told feeling nostalgic during this pandemic time is normal. But I’m not nostalgic for baseball of a bygone era. I just miss baseball. I glanced at a calendar the other day and said, “Wait, it’s almost June?”

Growing up in the game, with a college and an 11-year Major League career, followed by running a baseball academy and coaching his own son, Rick Wilkins has been around baseball since he can remember.

“I’ve never not had a baseball in my hand for more than a month in my life,” he said.

“It’s a marker and a measurement of time for me,” he explained this week. “My rhythms seem to be a little bit off. I’m used to having spring training, Opening Day, the first half, the All-star break. My timing is off.”

A pitcher for the JU Dolphins and now president of the university, Tim Cost agreed.

“I live by when pitchers and catchers are reporting,” Cost said of matching the calendar with the game. “I miss baseball in our lives terribly. It’s a great right of spring. When is Opening Day? The second week of July is the All-Star break. It marks time.”

When I asked my former dentist Dr. Ron Elinoff, the biggest baseball fan I know, if he was a little out of sync without baseball, he just laughed.

“Not a little, I’m a lot out of sync. Particularly growing up in New York,” he said.

Ron knows more about baseball than anybody I’ve ever met. Most of my visits to the dentist were dominated by baseball talk. A picture that hung on the wall in his practice even helped me answer a Stump Sam question once.

“We had three Major League teams in New York when I was growing up,” he said, recalling his roots in the game. “We’d cut school to go to Opening Day, Tuesday was Ladies Day; the games were in the afternoon.”

Marking time through the game started when Ron was just a kid in Brooklyn, long before a stint in the Navy that included service in Vietnam found him stationed at NAS Jax.

“April we really looked forward to,” he explained. “Days were getting longer. My grades went down. April and May it was hard to hit the books we were so thrilled to be at a game.”

Elinoff has been visiting the Dodgers in Spring Training since 1980 and has followed them to Arizona since they moved to Glendale eleven years ago. He’s one of about 10,000 fans who saw the last Major League Spring Training game played. Ron was at the Dodger game on March 11th, shortened to 6 ½ innings by rain. The next day they called the games off.

“I was there for five straight days of baseball and to see John Shoemaker (the former Suns manager). So I flew back Friday. Coming back the Brazilian baseball team was on my flight to Atlanta. They were out there trying to qualify for the World Baseball Championships. We all weren’t sure what was going on.”

Both Elinoff and Cost talked about being at a game, the lack of a clock, and the symmetry of the field, the game itself.

“Basketball and football are built around massive personalities,” Cost explained. “Sometimes baseball is seen as not of this time, but the beauty of the game is how much is going into every matchup per at bat, per inning. Pitcher against hitter, fielder against runner, catcher against base stealer.”

Elinoff agreed. “There’s no sport you can appreciate as much as baseball by being there,” he explained. “TV is fine, but you can’t visualize what the players are doing. It’s like a ballet going on, there’s artistry to it. The cutoff man, the catcher running down the first baseline to back up the first baseman.”

“Just to watch them chalk the lines and see the green grass,” he continued. “The grounds crew working, getting the mound ready. I really miss that. If you show up for just the Star Spangled Banner, that’s not enough.”

Ron and his wife Susan have made the trip to Cooperstown for the last thirty years for the annual late summer induction ceremony. He knows the city will suffer since there will be no ceremony for Derek Jeter this year, perhaps expecting their biggest crowds ever.

As you can tell, Elinoff and Cost are big baseball fans. Elinoff eventually bought ten season tickets to Dodger games when they were in Vero Beach and set his professional calendar around spring training games in March.

“I’d look at the spring training calendar in December and go to my book and block off the days I’d be in Vero. I’d take the kids to Sunday games and a guy’s trip to the Wednesday games,” he said, marking time through the game.

When Cost was the Executive Vice President of the Aramark Company in Philadelphia they ran more than twenty stadiums in Major League Baseball. It was his job to check on the stadiums, meet with the owners and make sure things were going right. He always had great tickets. At home at Phillies games he’d make a walk to the upper reaches of the stadium to find a parent and a child together and give them his tickets right behind the screen.

“The more you give to the game, the more it gives back,” he said, somewhat wistfully. “I’d be in a coat and tie so they knew I was somebody official. When I’d escort them down to my seats, to just see the look in the kid’s eyes to be that close to the game . . . it was fantastic.”

I caught up with former Major League pitcher Brett Myers right as he was heading out to practice with one of his three sons this week. Between his 12-year career and working with his kids, Brett couldn’t remember the last time he went this long without a baseball in his hands. But he didn’t mind it.

“When this thing came through we had a chance to do some different things,” he said. “We kind of took it as our summer. We’ll be back into it with lots of travel ball.”

Myers is generally concerned that young players are asked to “overthrow” their arms when they’re young, so forcing them to rest through this shutdown might be helpful in the long run.

“This whole thing gave me time to breathe. My older boy has had tournaments on the weekend since August. We cancelled our nine-year-old’s season just go keep their arms safe. Some parent weren’t happy but I think it’s the best thing to do.”

Throwing batting practice is a natural thing for Myers to do with all of his sons teams, sometimes four times a week. He hasn’t done that in a while and it gave him some new perspective.

“I just threw for 2 ½ hours just yesterday,” he explained of the first day they were allowed back on the field. “That’s one of the things I think about. If I’m sore, what are they going to feel like?”

There’s currently a debate as to whether baseball will have a Major League season this year. Wilkens, Myers, Cost and Elinoff all have differing opinions on how that can, or even should happen.

“It’s tough for the major leaguers,” Myers said. “They can’t take a chance to get hurt. They make a financial decision. How many guys are throwing bullpens? They’re not facing live hitting. Who knows how they’re going to come back.”

“If the issue is really the health of the players it doesn’t make sense,” Elinoff said. “Are 24 year olds going to get on the bus in their uniforms, go to the hotel, shower and stay there? Of course not. My hope is that it’s conveyed as a health issue and not as a money issue. If it’s a money issue, then they’re in trouble.”

Cost hoped the games would return but with a renewed idea.

“I hope it comes back in a form where they rethink how they’re presenting the game. Maybe more afternoon games, a chance to bring more kids and more young people to the game.”

“There’s no families out on the weekend, no kids playing, it’s just bizarre,” Wilkins said of the absence of the game. “It’s a Wilkins family way; the boys play baseball. It’s strange. It’s part of the fabric of who we are. It’s no good, not being able to go to games and watch kids grow as people and as players. There’s no other way to say it, it’s something that needs to be there. I just miss it.”

I used to say when I was asked to speak at banquets that baseball is the game that best emulates life. It’s an individual performance as part of a greater team goal.

That’s never been truer than now. We’re all in this game together, marking time. Let’s keep doing our part.

For The Last Two Months . . .

You might have to tilt your head a little, and maybe even squint a bit, but it appears there is a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel we’ve been living in.

It feels like forever, but it’s been about two months since the first calls from politicians to try and “flatten the curve” mandating we have smaller gatherings that eventually led to the “stay at home” guidelines issued by the city and the state.

We’ve seen hundreds of celebrities on television and on social media telling us “we’ll get through this together, and we’ll come out stronger on the other end.”

So with an optimistic eye toward that end, will we be stronger? What will we look like anyway? Besides our hair looking like something out of the ‘70’s, gyms and parks have been closed, social distancing has been in place and people’s routines have been upended.

As we look back on the past two months, what did we do? Did you fulfill your goals to lose weight, learn a new skill, or do those things you’ve been putting off? Which direction did we take our lives, our fitness and our mental health?

“From a clinical standpoint, the world is turned upside down,” Frank Palmieri a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, explained this week. Palmieri has been walking more and doing more yard work with his free time and doing many of his professional tasks by video conference. But he understands how the coronavirus is a constant presence in the back of everybody’s mind.

“We’re constantly aware of the danger of something being wrong. The whole situation can be depressing. There’s a constant drumbeat about what we have to be doing with schools, work and staying apart. That can make people confused and disoriented.”

Anytime I go out, I see more people walking or running or riding their bikes than I have in the last thirty years. Some of that might have to do with the sidewalk project in Mandarin nearing the halfway point of completion but there are people getting out and doing stuff who haven’t thought about walking any further than to the refrigerator in years.

One of the people trying to manage the pandemic is Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. He’s always been visibly engaged with the fitness level of people here in town as well as his own. What did he do?

“Molly and I got a Peloton for each other for Christmas so that couldn’t have been better timing,” the Mayor said this week. “I’ve spent a lot of time on that and I’ve been running some.”

Curry’s son Boyd has been lifting weights in the garage, and the Mayor has joined in.

“I get about 45 minutes in each day, and the mental health aspect is great,” he explained, noting it’s a family affair. “My daughters Bridget and Brooke are running in the evenings. And Bridget does a virtual dance class a few times a week.”

Curry had gone to a plant-based diet at the end of last year and was pleased with the results. But in the last two months he admits, his diet hasn’t ben great.

“Even though I’ve been working out I’ve gained weight. I want to get back to it,” he said. “I’ll tell you this though, when I’m coming home from work it’s great to see the neighborhoods in the evenings have families walking together, jogging, riding bikes, walking the dog. Lock down doesn’t mean don’t leave your house, it means get outside and be smart. I’m really proud of how people have handled this.”

With the NFL still operating, albeit virtually, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has still had his share of work responsibilities. He’s moved his entire office to his home and has tried to keep a routine, which he said was initially tough. But he added there’s been an unexpected silver lining.

“You get back into a family situation, as tough as these times are,” Marrone said. “We’ve been a lot more fortunate than a lot of other people.”

Both of Doug’s parents worked when he was young, so having dinner together was a family tradition, a time to catch up. He’s had a chance to do that with his own children.

“With three teenagers they’re always running out,” Marrone explained. “We’ve tried to take advantage of that. We’ll look back and hopefully understand, but if you’re looking for a positive, you can find things you appreciate.”

Marrone has caught up on some reading and has tried to stay in front of planning for mini-camps and training camp if they happen at all.

“I don’t want to be scrambling,” he said.

As somebody who jokes about his weight on a regular basis, Doug laughed when I asked him about keeping on schedule.

“I was on this big kick trying to help all of the local restaurants early on, so that didn’t help my diet,” he said with a laugh. “But I’ve gotten to that point last weekend where I have to get my stuff together. Normally we’ll be on the field and running around. But sitting at a desk doing virtual meetings? That’s not going to cut it.”

Former Jaguars linebacker Lonnie Marts has been juggling his professional and family life from home like everybody else. Marts is the Athletic Director at Harvest Community School and has been preparing as if there will be athletic seasons next year. At the same time all of his children are home, making for some challenging logistics.

“I’m enjoying my kids being home because I never expected to have this time,” Marts said of having his college age children back under one roof. “But we did have to come up with a family strategy how to survive with everybody in the house together.”

Marts partitioned off his garage, with one half acting as a gym and the other as a podcast studio.

“We’ve had college exams, podcasts and Tik-Tok videos going on all at the same time,” he explained.

Staying fit is something Marts and his family has paid attention to for the last two months. His son Gavin is back from the Naval Academy and has been designing body-weight workouts for the family. Lonnie says he’s been lifting in his garage and trying to walk a lot.

“I kind of over-did it with walking and my knee started swelling up so I had to back off,” he said adding that he’s maintained his weight with a little fluctuation. “But what’s the new normal? With gyms and parks closed we had to find something.”

That knee-swelling Marts experienced isn’t unusual according to Matt Serlo, the Master Physical Therapist at PT Solutions in Ponte Vedra. A lot of those “home gym remedies” have resulted in more calls to his clinic.

“I’m happy that people are doing that,” Serlo said of the uptick in many people’s activity level. “But I’ve gotten a lot of calls in the past few weeks from patients who’ve said, ’I think I over-did it!”

While his doctor referrals are down about 50%, in Florida you can see a physical therapist without a physician’s referral for thirty days. So he’s seen more “walk-in” business.

“I get calls saying ‘This is sore, I twisted this or I wrenched that’, I’m hearing a lot of that,” said Serlo who has kept his own routine up, getting in a workout at least three times a week in the morning before seeing patients.

I checked back with Jane Alred of First Place Sports and Phil Foreman at Champion Cycling here in town. With all of this new activity, demand for them is up.

“Our maintenance requests continue to go way up,” Foreman said of the service at their three stores. “We’re also selling a lot of bikes. We’ve literally run out of some bikes. Some bike deliveries were shut down in Asia so they’re eight weeks behind.”

More women are buying bikes than men and because of that their most popular bike could now take three months to deliver. Beach cruisers and comfort bikes are flying out the door.

“I’ve been in this business for thirty eight years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Foreman said. “We’re just calling it ‘Groundhog Day.’ We’re pedaling as fast as we can from open to close.”

And the stress fracture in Phil’s right foot isn’t getting much better.

“I’m on my feet all day, doing repairs,” he said. “I’d love to be out riding my bike.”

At First Place Sports, their four stores were closed for six weeks but they’ve stayed busy.

“We did curbside and virtual fittings,” Alred said. “We were delivering shoes, painting buildings, pressure washing sidewalks, doing inventory. Our online is more robust.. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Our stores have never been cleaner.”

Because of hospital closures, Jane’s previously scheduled foot surgery was put off for about a month. Her injury had limited her to walking 2-3 miles a day after being an active runner most of her life. And the combination of the coronavirus shutdowns and her foot problems had her focus on other habits.

“I’m much more cautious about what I eat,” she explained, adding that she’s been doing non-impact workouts on a Precor machine she bought her husband Doug for Christmas.

“I’ve been reading more, maybe watching Netflix at night. I get a little stir crazy. Sometimes I don’t want to get off the video calls I do for work during the day because it’s like the only human contact besides Doug.”

And no matter what happens with the re-opening of the stores and the economy, Alred believes she’ll be permanently changed.

“My new normal will be things like grocery delivery. I don’t know when races will start up again. I’m not sure I want to be around large groups of people right now.”

Two common threads emerged from the people I spoke to this week: Weird dreams and sometimes a feeling of the “blahs.”

“People who are optimistic by nature would find this strange,” Palmieri explained. “We are so used to going through our day automatically. We don’t have to think about what we’re doing. This compels us to think about every place we go, every person we talk with. We’re not relaxed. The process of change is uncomfortable. Every thing you do takes more mental energy.”

My guitar playing has gotten better. That’s what happens when you practice every day. My chainsaw and power tools have gotten a workout. I’ve been back on my bike after a hip replacement.

I got on the scale the other day, with plenty of trepidation, and I’m two pounds heavier than I was in mid-February. While that’s disappointing, at least it’s not the ten I thought it might be. And I think I know why; I had too much fun in the first month of the “stay at home” order. So that’s something I can fix.

I hope.

Where’s Shad?

In these “social distancing” times, it’s pretty normal to not see some people you’re used to seeing.

But where’s Shad?

In a literal sense,
I’m sure he’s working on one of the myriad of forty-plus companies he owns. The last time we saw him was in a picture during the NFL Draft, sitting at a table with his son Tony, apparently at his home in Illinois in their den, basement or office, watching and working on the Jaguars draft.

But I thought he was conspicuously absent from the Jaguars landscape this week when it was confirmed that the International Series for the NFL was cancelled for 2020. As the “face” of the International Series for the league in the last seven years and with two games scheduled in London this year, it’s a big move for the Jaguars to play all eight of their regular season home games in Jacksonville.

But we never heard from Shad.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping had a statement about playing here and tickets were available but nothing from Shad. As big a deal as they’ve made in the last few years about the revenue stream the London games put to the bottom line and how important the game has become to the franchise’s viability in Jacksonville, you’d have thought Shad would have something to say.

No doubt this is a difficult time for any business owner, and Shad, I’m sure, is no exception. His commitment to his employees is always evident and laudable.

“I know where my bread is buttered,” he told me at an NFL Owners meeting when I asked where the Jaguars fit into his portfolio. “I have 20,000 employees at Flex-N-Gate who are counting on me to help them take care of their families, pay their mortgages and fund their kids education.” I was impressed by that comment because of the spontaneity and the sincerity that came through as he sat next to me. It wasn’t a canned line written by some PR department.

So I’m sure he’s fully immersed in trying to keep his companies and employees fed and clothed and back on their feet as soon as possible.

But we need some of that. From him.

Even some kind of “Hey, we’re sorry we’re not playing in London but wow, it’s just great to be able to play those games in front of our fans here at home,” would have been great.

Owning an NFL team is a different venture than owning any other kind of business. You’re going to make money as the owner; the only question is, how much? And nobody has much of a problem with that.

But there’s a raw, visceral connection between a town and it’s football team. And here in Jacksonville, a working-class city, that connection is even more primitive. Part of it is being a “football town” and part of it has to do with the nearly two decades long chase for an NFL team.

And part of that connection has to be with the owner. We had some of that with Wayne Weaver. He lived here, you’d see him around, at restaurants at charity events. His philanthropy is unparalleled. Shad has also been very generous with his many donations both personally and through the Jaguars.

But we need more of him.

I told Weaver many times he was the most under utilized promotional tool the Jaguars had during his ownership. He usually laughed me off. But I believed that then and I believe that about Shad Khan as well.

When Shad bought the team and took over in 2012, we couldn’t get enough of him. Every appearance was sold out; every comment was dissected for meaning and nuance. His spontaneous cameo in a “Gangnam Style” video went viral immediately.

We haven’t seen that Shad in a while.

We’ve seen him at games and official events. He’s involved in the political and development landscape with several proposals for a Shipyards and Lot J development. His yacht the “Kismet” is parked in the St. Johns downtown. He usually stays at the beach when he’s in town. He’s a presence here.

Since he’ll be 70 this year, maybe he’s turning some things over to his family? Maybe we’ll see more of Tony than in the past as fans of the Fulham soccer club have seen? I doubt that. Shad has too much vitality to step away from what he’s built. And he has too much of a sense of responsibility to the people who count on him.

If he showed up here in town now he might have to undergo a 14-day quarantine based on the Governor’s order. So we don’t want that. But if we’ve learned anything in these pandemic times it’s how easily accessible everybody is by video at a moment’s notice.

I don’t expect him to open a Twitter account like Jim Irsay of the Colts. Nor do I expect him to dance on the sidelines with an umbrella like Tom Benson of the Saints used to do. But some more of the Shad who danced with fans in the parking lot eight years ago would go a long way.

There’s a video of Shad being interviewed on the Jaguars website dated the beginning of February. He talks about how paramount it is to win on the field. He’s obviously a fan and somebody who has learned a lot about football. But he also talks about winning “off the field” with the development of Daily’s Place and the money invested in the stadium. He outlines the plans to help develop downtown. And he says, as he has often, ‘judge actions not words.” And added, “If Jacksonville is growing, it’s better for the Jaguars.” When asked about his slightly different role with the team he said, “there’s a fine line between abdication and delegation.”

I like al of that. So this isn’t so much of a complaint as a suggestion. We want to see more of you Shad. A quick video of encouragement in these tough times from a man of your stature would go a long way. Comments from your surrogates are fine but our connection is with you.

With your backstory, if there’s anybody who knows how the common touch is a powerful tool, it’s you.

Use it.