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2019 Jaguars NFL Draft Profile: Missouri QB Drew Lock

Zach Goodall

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Nov 3, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock (3) calls a play during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While things are certainly “Haskins or Bust” in Jacksonville after Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins declared for the 2019 NFL Draft on Monday, Jaguars fans need to keep their minds open to the case in which the Jaguars can’t find a way to land the Heisman-contending gunslinger as their franchise quarterback.

Therefore, Locked On Jaguars has your fourth 2019 NFL Draft quarterback scouting report here. We’ve already covered Haskins, West Virginia’s Will Grier, and Duke’s Daniel Jones (as well as Oregon’s Justin Herbert, but he has announced he will return to school in 2019).

Let’s take a look at Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.

Lock, a 22 year old senior prospect who will be participating in the Senior Bowl in a couple of weeks, comes from a spread-out offensive system with almost four years (46 games) of starting experience. According to his profile on Missouri’s football website, Lock is the 9th SEC quarterback to ever have over 10,000 career passing yards, finishing his Tigers career with a stat-line of 883/1553 (56.9%), 12193 yards, 99 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. He also added 437 yards on 202 carries and nine rushing touchdowns.

The 6-4, 225 lb. quarterback stands out to me as a project quarterback with a ton of upside so long as he can nail down the mental side of the game, in terms of decision making, consistency, and NFL schematics. Let’s get to the film to see what Lock has to offer, and what he must improve on.

Natural throwing ability

Simply put: Drew Lock was put on this Earth to throw a football.

Lock manuevers pressure off the edge and from the B-gap blitzing linebacker and steps into a gorgeous, 42 air-yard throw to the middle of the field, hitting his receiver perfectly in stride and displaying necessary pocket comfort in order to score this touchdown.

And the best part about it is he makes the throw look so effortless. He never even set his feet, yet was able to generate power off of his front-step into the ball and deliver an absolute beauty.

Lock reads the entirety of the field from right to left and threads this ball with a needle. As soon as he gets his eyes on the target he launches this pass a whopping 57 air yards and about as in stride for a throw that deep as it can get.

When Lock is clean of pressure and can read his options with confidence, he can make almost any throw on the field. Especially deep balls, as he possesses a cannon of an arm and the necessary touch to put the ball where it needs to be.

Without ever setting his feet due to a pocket slide from pressure, Lock makes a cross-body toss to the back corner of the endzone in a window between two defenders for a score. While that combination isn’t usually recommended, natural throwing talents such as Lock are capable of making high-difficulty throws like this one.

The touch, loft, and placement on this sideline ball into double coverage is bonkers, and honestly one of the best throws I’ve seen while watching the 2019 QB class. On the previous drive, Lock tried this throw and it was intercepted (which will be broken down later in this piece), so going right back to it against a defense as talented as Alabama’s on back-to-back drives, especially on 3rd and long, is risky. But Lock puts this ball in the most perfect spot he could, with the outside cornerback getting back to the ball and an enclosing safety coming down to play the ball.

Clean pocket, Lock scans left to right and once again delivers a polished ball from a squeaky-clean release in between a tight man coverage cornerback and an enclosing safety. Lock puts this ball low and away through the tight window where the receiver elongates his body to bring in a perfectly led ball, no pause from his stride whatsoever. An absolute dime.

I have legitimate concerns with Lock reading defenses, which I’ll break down later on. But this play gives hope that he can mature in that aspect with the correct grooming. In a clean pocket, Lock reads post-snap that the two highlighted defenders are squaring up underneath right before the receiver breaks into the inside of his route. Lock diagnoses that and lets this ball rip to the middle of the field as the safety has taken on coverage on top. Lock needs to show this maturity much more often, but this is a smart football play and a pretty ball.

This is a perfect mix of velocity, accuracy, and clutch – all in this one tight window throw. Not much more explanation needed.

Mechanics

Drew Lock’s mechanics are interesting to breakdown.

When it comes to Lock’s upper-body mechanics: They’re great. His throwing motion and release are quick, compact, and precise. His shoulders are square, his forearm never drops below elbow-level which helps maintain his release speed, and his wrist-flick is super swift which gives his passes a truly beautiful spiral.

Here are a couple more examples of his arm mechanics to both the short and long field:

Even on this sidearm throw on a quick release post-pull on an RPO, Lock maintains a compact motion where he keeps his forearm even and above his elbow. Considering he sidearms this to keep the ball away from the nickel defender, the difficulty to maintain sound throwing mechanics here is high, despite the short route.

A quick release is the difference between this sideline adjustment catch for a 1st down and a batted pass and potential turnover on a long 3rd down here. Right out of the pull Lock gets this ball out with a lengthy enclosing blitzer in his face. The ability to release this so cleanly and quickly against the pressure, much less the touch and placement of the throw to the sideline itself, is top notch.

The release of this pass comes with the ball at helmet level, and it comes out incredibly smoothly and results in a bread-basket ball, in stride, down the sideline.

Now, with all of these pretty passes and a display of clean upper-body mechanics, I’m sure you have starteed to sell yourself on Drew Lock. But now, it’s time to flip the switch and understand what Lock doesn’t do well.

While his throwing motion and release are superb, Lock’s footwork is often a mess. Especially when there’s even a hint of pressure coming his way, he will begin to cross his feet over and sporadically move them around.

Pressure coming, and Lock sees no opening – even his RB checkdown to his right. Rather than trying to evade or at worst stepping up and ducking into a sack for minimal gain with pressure being obvious, Lock wants to play hero-ball and his poor, nervous footwork sets in. He starts backpedaling with no plan and ends up getting contacted 14 yards behind the line of scrimmage on a 3rd down, down two scores. What makes it worse? Lock panics and kind of hands the ball away before taking a sack, which counts as a fumble, that Alabama recovers in their own redzone. This is a serious red-flag type of play, from any quarterback – even the smartest of QBs.

Yes, this is a free play as Oklahoma State has 12 men on the field, but free plays can be utilized and this one provided touchdown-scoring ability. Right out of the RPO-pull, Lock begins to windup and target his opening primary read in the endzone. But Lock’s feet are totally uneven with his body and he throws the ball as he finally sets his feet. His weight never evens out enough to let this go cleanly and rather trusts his arm to make this throw way too much. This ends up being a mistake – Lock overthrows this ball by a good amount, and with too much velocity for his receiver to get underneath it. If Lock evens out his base and steps into what should be an easy throw here, Missouri declines the 12 men penalty because they instead put six points on the board.

This is a designed-RB screen. Lock knows that the left side is going to open up, especially considering Georgia blitzes the middle of the line. But Lock hops around with his feet and squares his body – ten toes aimed – at his target and can’t get the ball over the oncoming pressure. There was no way Lock could put the touch and depth he needed on this ball with his sporadic feet failing to create a decent base to enable getting air under this throw. This was one of multiple batted passes at the line of scrimmage that Lock had against Georgia.

Decision making and mental processing

This is where Lock struggles the most. Three plays above where Lock backpedals into a strip sack vs. Alabama applies to this section as well.

The underneath cross opens up and Lock stares it down like a hawk, but doesn’t strike despite clear pressure coming his way. He panics and begins to roll rightonly to realize a roll will turn into a sack. So, Lock plants his back foot and YOLO’s this ball back to the now-covered-but-was-previously-open cross route and sails the receiver. And Lock’s lucky the intermediate middle of the field didn’t have a route combo or else a defender most likely is in the area of the ball and intercepts it. Lock can’t abandon that wide-open read, and then panic and try to force it later on with pressure. That will lead to deadly mistakes.

Lock begins to side-step as a he diagnoses pressure coming off the right edge, but how doesn’t he realize that pressure isn’t slowing down? He holds onto the ball without a plan with a defensive end chasing his tail and when he finally begin his windup, his arm is already getting chopped at which forces a strip-sack. While the bottom slot receiver gets covered up quickly, there’s an opportunity with him in the short field to, at absolute worst, target this pass low and away in order to prevent a sack, or as what happened here, a turnover-worthy play.

Another glimpse at the pauses Lock has mentally. Double verticals to his left side, the safety is clearly opening his hips (this is important!) to the sideline before Lock even winds this pass up, and that opens up the middle of the field in a favorable speed matchup for the slot. If Lock sees that, this becomes a gimme-touchdown with Lock’s natural arm talent. He can make that deep throw assuming he reads what’s happening… he just doesn’t. A rangy NFL free safety probably gets up and intercepts this sideline ball. But as long as that safety dedicates his hips to that sideline vertical, the slot should almost always be open unless he’s against a speedster of a nickel cornerback. That isn’t the case here, Lock NEEDS to see that.

Lock seemingly doesn’t trust his protection as he abandons the strong-side here and targets a tightly-covered sideline route one-on-one. In doing so, Lock misses an easy chance to step up to the left and target the flats, but instead he way underthrows the sideline ball and it gets intercepted. Lock has to see pre-snap that the boundary corners are pressing but the top-left slot receiver has a flats advantage with the nickel playing off-man. Especially against competition such as Alabama’s defense, diagnosing and taking advantage of what’s being given is an area of concern for Lock and that’s evident here.

As soon as his throwing arm was hit and he had to tuck the ball with his opposite arm, Lock needed to understand he needed to play safe with the ball. Tuck it, take the sack, try to run when you break the contact, anything but throw it…

And yet, as soon as he breaks contact he flips the ball back into his throwing hand and just let’s the ball go. Lock had no time while taking hits to read if any receiver, much less the receiver in sideline traffic, to justify making this throw, but he does. Especially being down two scores, Lock has to be sharper than to make this type of decision. These types of decisions can lose teams ball games if luck doesn’t go their way.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cannon arm
  • Natural upper-body mechanics, clean and compact throwing motion
  • 40 games of starting experience
  • SEC schedule, regularly played vs. top defenses
  • Completion % increased by 3-5% every year
  • Mobile in and out of pocket
  • Frame is excellent at 6-4, 225
  • Touch throws are polished when unpressured

Cons

  • Lower body mechanics are inconsistent
  • Feet are sporadic vs. pressure, base can be inconsistent
  • Averages nearly a turnover a game in career (47 interceptions/fumbles in 50 games)
  • Simplified scheme hasn’t developed mental processing
  • Misses easy reads under pressure
  • Pre-snap reads are minimal on tape

Conclusion

Drew Lock is that yearly quarterback that “has all the tools”, but needs work developing them.

Now, that isn’t necessarily a criticism, rather it’s a warning. I believe Lock has all the potential in the world to be an upper-level NFL starting quarterback if he enters a system that develops him at his own pace – think like Patrick Mahomes under Andy Reid in Kansas City. If Lock enters a system where he isn’t rushed into playing time and rather receives proper training to advance his mental game, it’s hard to imagine that he couldn’t find success with the natural physical talent he possesses.

However, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a time-crunch where they must find a quarterback they can rely on out of the gate and that can win games now. Drew Lock is far from that. He’s a project. And the Jaguars are in no position to try to develop a project quarterback at this time.

Now, a team like the Denver Broncos makes a ton of sense, with a bridge quarterback in house for another season, some roster overhauling to do, and a new head coach entering the fold. If Lock falls out of the first round, Tampa Bay also makes a ton of sense under new head coach Bruce Arians, as Jameis Winston is entering his make-or-break year to prove he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Anywhere Lock can sit and learn the mental aspects of the professional game would be optimal for his future success. Jacksonville isn’t that place.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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  1. Octavia

    August 2, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Asking questions are actually nice thing if you are not understanding
    anything completely, but this piece of writing offers pleasant understanding yet.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Texans: Five observations, red zone issues remain

Demetrius Harvey

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Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws under pressure from the Houston Texans defensive line men during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) will be left with a lot to work on during their bye week. There was plenty to gather from the team’s 26-3 loss against the Houston Texans (6-3) in London.

1. Jaguars red-zone woes are still prevalent and have no fix in sight

In the red zone this season, the Jaguars have completed 34.5% (10/29) of their opportunities for touchdowns.  This ranks only better than the Cincinnati Bengals (33.33%) in the entire NFL.

While quarterback play is an issue in this area, the Jaguars have not made the most of their play-call opportunities either. The Jaguars entered the Houston Texans’ red zone only twice in 11 drives on Sunday.

During the two drives in the red zone, the Jaguars completed 0 passes and ran the ball one other time with Leonard Fournette for three yards. Simply not good enough.

Jaguars’ offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has spoken about the team’s ineffectiveness on red zone opportunities. “We moved the football well, but we need to do a better job in the red zone,” DeFilippo said on Thursday following the team’s week seven victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. “I need to do a better job of helping our guys get open. We need to do a better job executing and being more detailed and throwing the ball on time and all of those things. Again, all of that starts with me, and I will do a better job with that.”

Two weeks later and the team’s struggles have continued.

2. Gardner Minshew might take a backseat

Already discussed, the Jaguars might be in for a quarterback change coming out of their week 10 bye week. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew struggled mightily in Sunday’s game, and head coach Doug Marrone will have a tough decision to make.

Although Minshew was playing with a sore right shoulder, he was able to practice in full all week leading up to their matchup at Wimbley. Regardless, the Jaguars will have to make a decision, and everything points to Nick Foles being the team’s starting quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts in week 11.

Now completely Minshew’s fault, his struggles in the red zone have been evident for the past several weeks. Foles — during the 2017 and 2018 seasons when he started for the Philidelphia Eagles — was efficient in the red zone, which could point to his maturity as a passer more than anything.

The Jaguars will want to see what they can get out of their veteran quarterback, and there is a reason to believe the Jaguars’ head coach is leaning in this direction. If Foles is not named the starting quarterback next Sunday, it is very likely the veteran will never start for this Jaguars team, at least not under the current staff.

3. Jaguars’ run-defense regressed

Without starting nickel corner D.J. Hayden and SAM linebacker Leon Jacobs, the Jaguars were forced to remain in their nickel package for much of the day. Rookie cornerback Breon Borders replaced Hayden in the starting lineup and while he was not the reason why the run defense suffered, not having a competent linebacker on the strong side of the ball impacted the team greatly.

Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde gashed the Jaguars’ defense 19 times for 160 yards during Sunday’s matchup. Part of the reason why the Jaguars were unable to stop the Texans’ running game late was the sheer amount of plays the Texans ran to begin the game.

In the first quarter, the Texans ran 20 total plays while the Jaguars offense was only able to produce nine total plays.

4. Jaguars cannot rely on penalties, but two changed the course of the game

While the Jaguars should not, and cannot rely on penalties, the team had two costly controversial calls in the third quarter of Sunday’s matchup.

With an opportunity to score, Minshew threw a beautiful back-shoulder pass to Jaguars’ receiver DJ Chark Jr. who was able to haul in the pass but was called for offensive pass interference. A few plays later the Jaguars would botch a field goal attempt and give the Texans the football at the 50-yard line.

Following the change of possession, Jaguars’ defensive end Calais Campbell was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Specifically, Campbell was called for lowering his head to initiate contact with a defenseless rusher. The Texans would net only a field goal on this drive, but it was a potential 10-point swing as Chark’s interference call was questionable, and Campbell did not even touch Watson on the play.

5. Keelan Cole shines in Dede Westbrook’s absence

Although the Jaguars clearly missed their 1B receiver in Dede Westbrook, rarely-utilized receiver Keelan Cole was able to step up to the plate and put on his best performance of the season, and possibly since 2017.

While it was not sensational, Cole hauled in five out of six of his targets for 80 yards on the day. The Jaguars could not get anything going down the field, however, Cole was able to get open on routine crossing routes.

In the coming weeks, look for Cole to have a bigger role in the Jaguars offense, especially with veteran receiver Chris Conley playing so up-and-down (2 receptions on 7 targets for 32 yards).

DeFilippo recently spoke about Cole and understands the third-year receiver may be frustrated with his snap count.

“I am proud of the way he stayed in it and even though he has not gotten the playing time,” DeFilippo said after the Jaguars victory over Bengals. “Everyone wants to play every snap. I’m sure he wants [more playing time]. He has done a great job staying in it.”

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Jaguars to make tough decision next week, Minshew Mania over for now

Demetrius Harvey

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Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) throws a pass in the first half against the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) were embarrassed early Sunday morning via a 26-3 loss to the rival Houston Texans (6-3). Minshew-Mania may be over for now, but it won’t be the last time the rookie sensation starts for the team.

To put it simply, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew did not play well at all yesterday. Completing 27/47 (57%) of his passes for 309 yards, two interceptions, and two fumbles lost, Minshew looked lost during the second half of the game on Sunday.

Minshew has been everything the team could have hoped for — and much more — out of a sixth-round quarterback, but between what transpired yesterday, and a few of his past performances — against winning teams –, the Jaguars will likely see what they can get out of veteran quarterback Nick Foles.

For three quarters, Minshew looked okay. While there was plenty that went wrong, the rookie was able to make key throws, during key situations. One play, in particular, stands out. With a little over five minutes left in the second quarter, the Jaguars could not seem to get anything going before Minshew scrambles around and eventually finds a wide-open Ryquell Armstead in the middle of the field. Armstead would take the ball 31 yards and set the team up for their only points of the game.

Minshew’s ability to improvise has been his bread and butter this season, and although he was not able to work his magic often against the Texans, these were the types of plays that gave pause in the Minshew/Foles debate.

During the fourth quarter, the Jaguars and Minshew were forced to take more shots downfield in a sort of desperation move while trailing 19-3. Although playcalling can certainly be questioned, the decision making of the Jaguars’ rookie quarterback was equally perplexing. Throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles, Minshew had no chance at making a little magic to lead the team to another come-from-behind victory.

Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be forced to make a decision on his quarterback, but not right now. After the game, Marrone indicated he will wait until the Sunday before the team returns from their week 10 bye week to talk to both quarterbacks.

“I think after those 48 hours are over, I’m going to step away a little bit, take a break because I don’t have to make a decision and have time,” Marrone said shortly after the game when asked about making the quarterback decision. “That’s what I’m going to talk to the quarterbacks about, and then I’ll tell them probably right before we come back on Sunday, we’ll be able to discuss where we’re going to go. That’s pretty much my plan.”

While Minshew did not have a great game yesterday, the decision will be made on more than just one game, Marrone said.

The Jaguars’ head coach is stuck with an incredibly tough decision. At 4-5, the team needs a spark. The Jaguars need to win down the stretch and having to rely on a rookie — still going through ups and downs — is exhausting. While Foles may not be “the answer”, he is the only other option at this moment, and the Jaguars absolutely believe in the veteran.

Although this may be the end of Minshew starting in Jacksonville this season, his achievements — 188/307 (61%) completions for 2,285 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions — should not go unnoticed. The team absolutely still believes in the rookie quarterback, and he has a golden opportunity — if not this season — next year to prove everyone wrong.

One of the best, most fun performances out of a Jaguars’ quarterback over the first half of the season ever, is nothing to get upset about. Minshew provided spectators with Minshew-Mania, Minshew-Magic, and any other Minshew-ism one can think of.

For now, it is very likely Foles will make his Jaguars’ debut once again after breaking his left clavicle during the opening game of the season. In 11 plays this season Foles completed five out of eight of his passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.

It may be over for now, but this is just the beginning, and having the problem of deciding between a former Superbowl MVP and a rookie sensation at quarterback is a good thing. Depending on how Foles plays — if he is to be named the starter next Sunday –, Minshew could get yet another opportunity as the Jaguars progress from their 4-5 record.

Bonus clip:

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Jaguars fail to seize opportunity in London, falling 26-3 to Houston Texans

Demetrius Harvey

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Nov 3, 2019; London, United Kingdom; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rushes for a first down during the first half of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn--USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) fell to Houston Texans (6-3) in a disappointing pre-bye week game in London, England. The Jaguars absolutely did not have home-field advantage on the day. 

The Jaguars took to their annual London voyage with a lot of optimism, however, all of that optimism was quickly quieted by the Houston Texans (6-3) as they were able to bottle up Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars, holding the team to just three points on the day.  The Texans would win 26-3 and kill any chances the Jaguars may have had at earning the division title in a few weeks.

To begin the game, the Jaguars opted to start out on defense with the Texans struggling early on in games this season. Holding the Texans to just three points to start the game, the Jaguars defense showed up big, especially as Jaguars’ cornerback A.J. Bouye shadowed Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who finished with just eight receptions for 48 yards. The Jaguars seemed to find a groove early on during the first half of the game, but their inability to score in the red zone reared it’s head yet again.

In what is likely his last game starting for the Jaguars this season — at least for now — Jaguars’ rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew completed just 27 out of 47 of his passes for 309 yards and two interceptions. Minshew also fumbled the football two times near the end of the game, which would ultimately end it at Wembley stadium.

While the Jaguars defense played well early on, they stood no chance against Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson who completed 22 out of 28 of his passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Extremely elusive, Watson was able to escape from the Jaguars pass rushers all day long. The Texans effectively ended any chance of the Jaguars coming back after Watson completed a long throw to Hopkins for 21 yards to the Jaguars’ one-yard line. The Texans would score on a one-yard run by Duke Johnson putting the team up 19-3 late in the third quarter.

All four of Minshew’s turnovers would come in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars attempted to climb back in the game. Missing their second-most targetted wide receiver in Dede Westbrook, the Jaguars and Minshew couldn’t seem to get anything going in the passing game.

The Jaguars’ run game was equally disappointing today as running back Leonard Fournette could only edge out 40 yards on 11 rushes.

Perhaps the best play of the game by the Jaguars’ defense, near the end of the game Texans’ running back Carlos Hyde sprinted free and was looking to go into the endzone when Jaguars’ safety Jarrod Wilson showed incredible hustle to force a fumble at the last second, turning the ball over to the Jaguars’ offense.

The good fortune wouldn’t last long, however, as Minshew would go on to throw his final interception of the game to completely seal the game for the Texans offense.

The Jaguars’ offense simply did not get anything going today, similar to their game against the New Orleans Saints in week six earlier this year. Minshew was sacked only four times on the day as the Texans did not want him to escape the pocket.

The team will have a very tough decision to make during their week 10 bye week. Ultimately, the team will need to decide between veteran quarterback Nick Foles or the rookie quarterback in Minshew.

Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone will be making the decision, and after falling 26-3 today largely due to the play of the team’s quarterback, it may be a no-brainer.

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