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O-Zone: Enjoy the moment

Posted Nov 18, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Andy from Roswell, GA:
John, I'm worried about the game this week, which is worrisome. Do you get the sense that this team is “satisfied” with its play and that two seemingly big, emotional wins will cause a letdown this week? It kind of reminds me of the Jets game. Talk me down, man.
John: Sunday’s game against the Browns absolutely is worrisome – mostly because every NFL game is worrisome. But for the Jaguars, there are more specific worries Sunday. They’re entering the game with a beat-up offensive line and receiving corps. It’s fair to wonder how the Jaguars get to 20 or more points, particularly with the Browns’ defense being much better than the team’s 0-9 record. But while many fans have written this week worried about the Jaguars being “satisfied” or overconfident, I don’t see that being an issue. What I do see being an issue is the Browns will play hard because they haven’t quit on the season. The weather will be cold and possibly messy – and that can be an equalizing issue. I believe the Jaguars will win; if they don’t, I don’t think it will be because of a letdown. It will be because road games in the NFL are difficult whatever the circumstance and whoever the opponent – especially road games against teams that still believe they can win.
Keith from Caeser, MI:
I know this won't get published because it doesn't fit the company line, but here goes anyway. Since he has been the quarterback of the Jaguars, when has Blake Bortles won a close game or a game in which the Jaguars were behind? I can't remember even one. Sunday, we won in spite of Bortles. Until he wins a few close games or a few come-from-behind games, he is not a franchise quarterback.
John: Your question is legitimate; your premise is laughable. So, I instead of answering … I laughed. #companyline #Iknowyouwontanswerthis
Jim from Pahrump, NV:
I hate to beat a dead horse, but the Jaguars are 2-15 in their last 17 games against the NFC. It is time to exorcise those demons.
John: I love beating dead horses (metaphorically speaking, of course); few people like to run a joke into the ground quite like me. But there’s nothing here to exorcise any more than there was anything to exorcise regarding the Jaguars winning at EverBank Field earlier this season. The Jaguars struggled against teams from any conference and any division in recent seasons – and they struggled no matter where they played. They’re better now, and the results of that improvement have shown at EverBank the past two weeks. If they continue to play well, those results also will show against NFC teams.
Bill from Hammock, FL:
O, I need your advice on our last game at Tennessee. It is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time. I'm planning on being there and will be attending the Jimmy Buffett concert that night. Is there any way this game would be forced to a night time, national start in your opinion? If so, would you like to buy a pair of tickets to see Buffett?
John: Sure, it could get flexed. It’s way too early to know if that will happen, but it’s certainly possible. As for buying the tickets, I’ll be flying home on the team plane shortly after the game. Otherwise I’d put my fins over here to the left, and then I’d probably … you know … put them over here to the right.
Adam from Jville:
Although they have added Sammy Watkins, looking back on the Rams game, how impressive was that defensive performance against what is now considered the most explosive offense in the league?
John: Watkins played against the Jaguars. As for your question … very.
Robert from Moorpark:
On paper, the Jaguars should be able to beat the Browns. But a four-game win streak? Recent history tells us no way the Jags are capable. Surely, this is a fluke.
John: Recent history also told you the Jaguars weren’t capable of leading the NFL in sacks, rushing offense, points allowed and passing defense. The times they are a changin’, my friend.
Dustin from Orlando, FL:
I'd like to give one for Shad Khan. It took some time but he has put a heck of a staff together and trusted the football guys to take care of the football. Please pass along my regards the next time you guys are having lunch and getting massages together. Thanks.
John: Hey, one fer Shad!
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I noticed Coach Wash stayed with pretty much a four-man rush on Sunday, which produced zero sacks. What was the strategy here?
John: The strategy was one that Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash has taken throughout much of the season – and one that I expect him to continue taking. That’s to get pressure with four down linemen while having seven defenders in coverage. The reason to take that approach against a quarterback such as Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is he’s outstanding at getting the ball out quickly, so you want to have your full allotment in the back seven to defend against the pass. Your question implies that the strategy didn’t work Sunday, which I’m not sure is correct. No, the Jaguars didn’t get any sacks, but they pressured Rivers effectively and held the Chargers to 17 points. They also held them scoreless over their final six drivers, and the Chargers were ineffective offensively during that time. Pressure doesn’t always mean sacks. Sometimes, it means disruption. If the Jaguars can disrupt with four down linemen, they almost always will take a no-sack game if it means getting enough pressure to bother the quarterback and allow them to still have seven defenders in coverage.
George from Macon, GA:
Are there any injuries for the game this weekend?
John: Yes.
Alan from Jacksonville:
So basically, we are 44 points better than the Titans, right?
John: No.
Jason from Colorado Springs, CO:
Thank you Pittsburgh! This puts us in the driver’s seat and sets up a Week 17 matchup that I can’t wait for! What chew say, Great O?
John: I say the Jaguars are I first place and in great position for the playoffs and possibly the division. I say the odds are good that the season finale in Tennessee will decide the division. I also say there are seven games remaining, and very little surprises me in the NFL.
Gregg from Cleveland, OH:
How is it with a makeshift offensive line, an inexperienced wide receiver corps, an injured Leonard Fournette at best, expected bad weather, a game where you just threw the ball 51 times because you couldn't run, our proven ability to stop the run, does your fan base think this game is a gimme? Your injury report reads like an All-Pro ballot for your team. This game could be 6-3 and in a game like that it is anyone's game.
John: Gregg! Whattup!!?? I agree with you that the game is no gimme, but I haven’t sensed the Jaguars’ fan base thinking this one will be easy. If anything, quite the opposite is true. One other quibble with your comments: the really worrisome part of the injury report isn’t All-Pro caliber with the exception of Fournette. But as I said, I’m quibbing – and let’s not do that! I do think the weather and the Jaguars’ injuries will keep this one tight, though. And I think the Browns have a chance. I quib you not.
Jason from Da’Hass:
John, I thought the purpose of replay was to get the correct call. I also thought that refs could use two angles to get a broader picture in order to make a sound ruling. Well you did say “essence...”
John: The original purpose of replay was to correct the clear and obvious mistakes, and that meant clear and irrefutable evidence. Officials were not supposed to draw conclusions or make judgments based on assumptions.
Kyle from Green Cove Springs, FL:
I'm looking too far into the future here. But I can't help but remember what happened in the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In 2007 we flew under the radar with a Top 5 defense and great running game and made a solid postseason run. We were tooth and nail with the (at the time) undefeated Patriots. After losing a very hard-fought divisional playoff game, many analysts were picking the Jags to make a Super Bowl run in ‘08. Unfortunately, in 08 we fell flat and I believe finished 5-11. I think we somewhat took advantage of a cake schedule in '07 and maybe were too hyped up for the following season. So this is what gets me worried: We are having a heck of a year, but our schedule hasn't exactly been very challenging. I realize this is the NFL and all teams are good and I also realize that we do have one of the more talented teams in the league. I just hope we don't fall flat again like the ‘08 season.
John: You know what will really suck? When the Jaguars screw up the 2029 draft by trading up for a quarterback. The Jaguars are winning. Enjoy the moment, Kyle.

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