O-Zone: Coolest Guy Ever

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it…

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Three games behind the Tennessee Titans with six games to go – including two against the same Titans. So if we go 2-2 in our remaining non-Titans games and the Titans go 2-2 in their remaining non-Jaguars games, then sweeping the Titans would be fantastic – but not enough to win the division. In a perfect, gray world, the Jaguars win one extra game and the Titans lose one extra game. Then a tiebreak would determine the division champion, right? I can’t figure out how a tiebreaker could work, but then again, all the math makes my head hurt. However, what makes me feel better is that in December we can still talk about even a small possibility of making the playoffs.

I’m not going to spend every O-Zone deciphering 2022 playoff scenarios — at least not until those scenarios become a little more realistic. I can tell you this: The Jaguars (4-7) enter Sunday’s games three games behind the Titans (7-4) in the AFC South with six remaining – and a half game behind the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1). I guess the simplest way to look at the Jaguars playoff scenarios is this: If the Titans lose once to an opponent other than the Jaguars, the Jaguars would win the AFC South if they win the remaining six games. That’s because the Jaguars would at least tie with the Titans in that scenario, and the Jaguars would finish ahead of the Titans in that scenario by sweeping Tennessee. They would also finish ahead of the Colts in that scenario as the Jaguars would finish 10-7 and the best record the Colts can finish with is 9-7-1. All this is quite far. We’re talking a seven-game winning streak, which would tie for the second longest in franchise history. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I say the Jaguars should probably win Sunday in Detroit before we make playoff scenarios a daily topic.

Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

Oh, isn’t it clear by now that the Jaguars’ goals for this season have already been met? Clear improvement and a team that is competitive every week. Best of all, the team has its quarterback for now and into the future. Stay tuned!

Wow. Two Bruces, no wait. And the Jaguars really, in the big picture, long-term state of the franchise, accomplished what they needed to accomplish this season. They have clearly improved, they are clearly competitive every week and have laid the foundation for the future. Most importantly, quarterback Trevor Lawrence appears to have established himself as a franchise quarterback around whom the team can build. These were the “necessary things” for the Jaguars in 2022. At the same time, the season is not over yet. They need to continue to show those things, and Lawrence needs to continue the progress he has shown in recent weeks. And now that the foundation is in place, why not use the last seven games to maybe push through the postseason – or at least get into the playoff conversation come December? That would be achieving their goals plus one. Or something like that.

Hey John, from the fan’s eye it looks like safety Rayshawn Jenkins is around the ball all the time. Is this a result of his health or defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell’s defense?

Do you think it’s possible for Etienne to reach 1,000 yards this season?

Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. he currently has 728 yards rushing with six games remaining in the 2022 season. That means he needs to average 46 yards per game to reach 1,000 yards. He averaged more than 100 yards per game rushing as a starter before suffering a foot injury last Sunday. Provided he’s healthy, he absolutely can and almost certainly will rush for over 1,000 yards this season.

Prediction: Jaguars 35, Lions 33 – and as of last Sunday, Deeweeeeey!

Since you must love unsolicited advice, I think it’s wise to temper expectations – even after a huge win. It’s easier to stay in the middle than experience highs and lows. Solid advice from my psychiatrist, huh?

Of course it’s easier to stay in the middle. And safer. Eases the pain of disappointment. That’s logical. But fans don’t follow teams with logic. Or to be sure. And why would you? There are many places for safety in life. Why not risk a little pain when rooting for a team?

What is it about this defense that gives up big plays with the game on the line? We’ve lost at least four games by favoring big plays on opponents’ game-winning drives. It almost happened this past week if it weren’t for TLaw’s heroics. What gives?

The Jaguars have a good pass every now and then, though not a big or dominant one. They struggle too much in coverage. That combination often allows for big plays, often with the game on the line.

Why are they giving Mark Long a press pass? Does he really write articles? if so, does anyone actually read them? It seems like he’s just doing some weird and awkward performance art.

Mark Long covers Jaguars and University of Florida sports for the Associated Press. What he does is journalism and he has been doing it for a long time.

Hello, John. I know people tend to get high when a player gets traded. I get it, because we’ve built emotional equity with them, but I wanted to put some perspective on it. If you look at the players we’ve traded over the last few years, there are very few contracts that I would go back and change. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is a good player, but he wanted elite money. Corner Jalen Ramsey had back pain. Cornerback A.J. Bouye, linebacker Joe Schobert, cornerback Sydney Jones and defensive end [Dante] Fowler Jr. have failed after they left. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell was hurt, but he needed big money at the time, so it was hard to even argue. Now, running back James Robinson was a healthy scratch for the New York Jets last Sunday. I hate to see players go, but it’s hard to argue that we’re not on the better side of most of these deals.

Zone, my dear boy, I want to persuade you to change your mind about the Jags’ most pressing need at cornerback. We’ve heard all year how bad this team is at rushing. One of our good young position players may not be with us long (Josh Allen) and other positions are getting old. The defensive line needs constant attention every year with premium draft capital to succeed in this league, and we can’t afford to use our first round pick on a running back (historically it hasn’t worked out for the franchise). A team can play chess with guys in the secondary and come through. He can’t pass the rush on the defensive line.

My dear boy, I’m a passing guy. I firmly believe that a great passing rush helps an OK secondary far more than a great secondary helps a good passing game. But Allen has a season left on his contract, and you don’t overlook a position in one draft because the position “has historically not worked out for the franchise.” The pass rush is always top notch, but if you’re looking for the biggest hole—and most pressing need—on the roster, it’s cornerback.

Remember when the NFL had to use replacement officials and they were really terrible and we all realized how good the regular officials are at a very difficult job? Then we all swore never to criticize them again and desperately welcomed them with open arms and demanded the NFL pay them whatever it took to restore order? anyone?

Robert from Fernandina Beach, Florida

I appreciate you using the word pants instead of pants when you addressed a recent question regarding the Jaguars uniforms. I have learned from your readers that NFL football is not only a rough and tumble sport, but also a fashion contest. Depeche Mode used the word pants in one of their songs to rhyme with the word house. Do you ever fancy yourself British?

I liked the early Depeche Mode stuff – Speak and Spell, etc. I especially liked Vince Clarke, who went on to form Yaz and then Erasure. Although I loved many British bands from the Housemartins to the Smiths to Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, I don’t consider myself British. I imagine myself as the king of all funk. Obviously.

John, Santa brings an unlikely playoff berth. I asked nicely and was a good boy so it happens.

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