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O-Zone: Never easy

Posted Dec 26, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Philip from Belleville, NJ:
We always say this team can beat anyone in the NFL. I think we learned on Sunday the opposite is also true. This team can also lose to any team in the league as well. See the Jets, Cardinals and 49ers.
John: Of course the Jaguars are capable of losing to any team in the NFL – and we didn’t really learn this Sunday. We’ve known this all season because it has been obvious to anyone watching this team that that’s true. The Jaguars are capable of playing well enough defensively and offensively to beat any team in the NFL. That’s because if this team gets a lead and starts making plays offensively, it can extend that lead and be in a position to close the game in the second half. When this team is closing the game knowing opponents must throw, it’s very dangerous because this pass rush can close the door and its secondary can force turnovers at a higher rate than many NFL teams. That’s the Jaguars’ best formula for victory – and it’s a better formula for victory than most NFL teams possess this season. But yes … if the Jaguars don’t play well, they’re very capable of losing to any team. If they commit more turnovers than they force and if they get penalized 12 times for nearly 100 yards, they absolutely can lose to anyone. Guess what? The same is true of pretty much any NFL team.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Caught on camera stealing the Christmas gifts out of the trash cans #shadricksighting
John: #DTWD
Armand from Jacksonville:
John, in the future do you see officials being full-time employees and four working with the team during training camp and preseason but not working their host team’s game?
John: Perhaps, and it does seem we’re headed somewhere in this direction. That’s because the slightest officiating error causes people to yell from the mountaintops about the need for full-time officials. I’m not big on this concept because I’m not a big believer that you’re going to see a dramatic, noticeable difference in the quality of officiating simply by making officials full time. I guess I’m just not sure how they’re going to improve with year-round practice and training. Are they going to know rules better? Are they going to be in better shape to be in better position to make calls? Perhaps. But the NFL moves at high speed and it is a game of extreme contact and violence. Some calls are going to get missed – and my guess is there would be missed calls with full-time officials, too.
Bill from Melbourne, FL:
Since the NFL has been trying to shed its image as the "No Fun League," do think we'll ever see the Jaguar logo wearing his Santa hat at midfield anytime soon?
John: I don’t know, but that would be cool. Fans liked it. So did a lot people. And why not?
Tony from Perryville, AR:
John, how long is Calais Campbell’s contract for? Since I’ve been a fan (1997), I can’t think of an offseason signing that has had such an impact on this organization. It’s obvious of how much he has helped this defense in terms of his play on the field. But after watching the Sound FX piece, and seeing him work the team on the sideline, it is clear his effect on the whole team. His attitude, his fire, is infectious. It seems to make the others around him play to a whole new level. While this team was destined to be better this year, I don’t believe they would be “this” good without him. I hope he’s a Jaguar for as long as possible. #DTWD
John: Campbell’s contract runs through 2020 – and I imagine there’s a very good chance Campbell retires with the Jaguars. Campbell’s effect on this organization indeed has been remarkable. I started believing early on he could be the rarest of players in the sense that he could have a lasting impact on two franchises and possibly be remembered as an all-time great player with both the Cardinals and the Jaguars. Players rarely perform at a high level long enough to have a chance to make such an impact on two franchises. Players that do perform at such a level for so long also rarely have the impact in the community and in the locker room in two places as Campbell. I don’t want to say that Campbell is the best combination of on-field performance and off-field impact I’ve ever seen or covered. That would be diminishing a few all-time greats in both areas I’ve covered in a couple of different cities, but I will say I can’t imagine a player being a better combination that Campbell. He’s that good – and no, the Jaguars wouldn’t be “this” good without him. No way.
Steven from Memphis, TN:
As the Jags enter the playoffs, what are the team’s weaknesses or areas of concern? I will suggest a few and see if you agree and can add some more. One is tight end and the other is lack of playoff experience.
John: I can’t call tight end overall a weakness, because Marcedes Lewis is a key to this team’s run-blocking ability and the Jaguars’ run offense hardly is a weakness. Now, would it nice to have a big-time receiving threat? Sure. Remember, though: every NFL team has weaknesses, even Super Bowl-winning teams. Obviously a lack of playoff experience is another weakness. You ideally would love to have a quarterback with a bunch of playoff victories and a roster around him that had been there a lot, too. The Jaguars don’t. At the same time, a lot of teams without much playoff experience have won Super Bowls, so I wouldn’t fret this too much.
Tom from St. John’s, FL:
I am confused about one aspect of the "catch" controversy. By rule, when any part of the ball crossing the plane of the goal line, it is at that moment a touchdown – and example after example can be cited. By the same token, a pass is not complete if it crosses the sideline plane until it is controlled. Seems to me the rule is in place but was totally ignored in the most recent incident. By the way, I loved the "index card" validation.
John: Your theory has merit, but an NFL player must control the catch to the ground – and perhaps a little beyond – regardless of whether the plane has been broken. I agree that there is some overlap and gray area philosophically in the rules in this instance, but that’s the way it is.
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL:
O-Man, do you think we'll see another summons from Leonard Fournette this year? He looks hungry having missed a game or two this year. GO JAGS!!
John: I don’t know if we’ll see another summons, but Leonard Fournette’s a pretty creative and dynamic guy. I imagine we’ll see something worth watching sooner rather than later.
Charlie from Horseville:
So are you still politically correct?
John: Is it politically correct to say I still hate you?
Steve from Section 409:
Dear O, Master of the NFL Arts: Back in July I recall Barry Church saying the Jags had more talent than the Cowboys. Some of his former teammates were incredulous and just laughed at him. With the Cowboys fighting for their playoff lives, who's laughing now?
John: A lot of people did doubt Church when he spoke of the Jaguars’ talent level – and yes, people laughed at him. I sort of laughed, too. You know what’s funnier? A lot of Jaguars fans are still laughing.
Jaginator from (formerly of Section 124):
The Steelers beat the Texans, as expected. This means that the Jags won’t be able to move up or down in the playoff seeding; they’ll be locked into the No. 3 seed. I hope/pray/dream that the Jags don’t go to Nashville with the idea of resting starters. They may not be able to improve their own seeding, but beating the Titans would almost guarantee that they’re eliminated from the playoffs. I don’t want to be in the position of seeing the Titans come back to EverBank Field in the wild card round, knowing that they’ve already beaten us twice in the regular season.
John: I don’t have a clear idea as of Tuesday morning how the Jaguars will approach Sunday. My guess is they’ll enter the game playing to win, which will probably mean playing all healthy players in their normal roles. My guess also is that anyone in a relatively injured capacity won’t play. I wouldn’t spend this week stressing too much about the first-round playoff opponent. Remember: the Jaguars must play someone in the first round. That opponent will be a playoff team and therefore will be a capable opponent. If the Jaguars play well, they will have a good chance to win. If they don’t, they won’t. It’s the playoffs. It’s not supposed to be easy and rarely is.


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