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O-Zone: A big need

JACKSONVILLE – Look-Ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

JayPee from The Vortex

Why aren't we getting the ball to Ridley more? I know he has had a couple decent games. But he is supposed to be one of our most talented players. Aren't you supposed to get the ball to your best playmakers?

The Jaguars have targeted wide receiver Calvin Ridley 61 times this season, which is third on the team behind wide receiver Christian Kirk's 71 and tight end Evan Engram's 68. It's perhaps a bit surprising that Ridley is third in targets, but less surprising if you consider that Kirk and Engram are good – and even less surprising if you consider that defenses often double Ridley and shade secondaries toward him. That sort of coverage and attention dictates that passes often go to other receivers. The Jaguars have focused on getting Ridley involved this season, some games more than others. The offense seemed clunky and forced at times early in the season when it seemed they were overdoing getting Ridley involved. The thought after that was to have Ridley be involved in the offense more organically. It still feels like they're searching for the right balance here.

DenMiz from Jax

KOAF. It's amazing how Pederson has turned this ship around. Even with the recent loss, Pederson seems to have what it takes. Except now Zay Jones got arrested? Please tell me we aren't falling apart. Seems like things aren't as smooth as we were hoping them to be.

Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke absolutely have corrected the culture around the Jaguars. They also have corrected the franchise on the field. Witness: The Jaguars' 6-3 record and first-place status in the AFC South. Yes, wide receiver Zay Jones was arrested Monday on a charge of domestic battery. The Jaguars released the following statement: "We are aware of the situation and are in the midst of gathering information. We will have no further comment at this time." I know no details, so I have no thoughts to share. It's not a sign the Jaguars are "falling apart."

Chris from Tampa, FL

With this team, turning the ball over in the opponent's territory has become so much of a thing when other teams do it I call it "doing a Jaguars." And this team has absolutely looked like a better lucky than good team to this point. Well, not anymore. The fans' consternation was on point.

You're correct that the Jaguars' turnovers in opponents' territory are maddening. They are definitely a thing. The Jaguars have not been lucky to win games this season. They won five consecutive games never trailing in the second half. That's not luck.

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA

Do you think will get Johnson more opportunities? I really like what I saw last game. He looks better than Tank Bigsby, who is struggling with fumbles and drops.

I absolutely expect running back D'Ernest Johnson to get more snaps moving forward. He tied his season-high with five touches Sunday – three rushes and two receptions – and had a season-high 40 total yards. He produced and likely will get more opportunities because of that.

Cliff from Everywhere with helicopter

I hate to be that guy but, to the fans cracking on Lawrence: Are you even watching the game? He had very little time in the pocket all day Sunday, and indeed the protection has been less than optimal for most of the season. Things improved a bit when left tackle Cam Robinson returned, but regressed Sunday against probably the best front seven in the league. Not denying that he has made some poor decisions at times, but a "bust?? Nah. Perhaps if he installed a plaque on the stadium wall promising that he personally guarantees that they will never ever lose another game again...

One fer Lawrence.

Brendan from Yulee

Browns, Bengals, Ravens, and an upstart Texans team. Jags are not going to win those games with an inept offensive line that gets zero push up the middle and with both tackles getting their backs blown out by elite defensive lineman. There's always next week though, I guess.

The Jaguars must play better against the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans than they did against San Francisco. That certainly includes the offensive line.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Are you surprised at all that the AFC South has an overall winning record (19-18) through Week 10?

Not particularly. Many analysts predicted before the season the AFC South would struggle. Many of the same analysts before last season predicted the AFC West would be the best division in NFL history. Regular seasons in the NFL have a way of making preseason projections seem silly.

Micah from Chicago, IL

Wheels seem to be coming off faster this time around.

The Jaguars are 6-3 and lead the AFC South. They have lost one consecutive game after winning five consecutive games, which at the time was the league's longest winning streak. They played poorly against a very good team Sunday. I've covered the NFL 29 seasons. I have covered the Jaguars since 2011. I have seen wheels off. This is not that.

Steve from Nashville, TN

I think any game after a bye week for any team is subject to inconsistency and opportunity for "head scratching." Not quite the same as opening day as you have mentioned in the past but the off days allow players and coaches to get out of their routines?

To a degree, I suppose. But there's really no reason a team can't play well coming out of the bye. Mature, veteran teams often are consistently very good out of the bye. Whatever happened Sunday wasn't about the bye. The thought here is the Jaguars just played poorly, partly because their good opponent played very well.

Dave from Waterloo

Hi John, while I do not think Trevor is a major liability for the team it's tough to see a rookie in your own division putting up huge numbers while throwing to the likes of Noah Brown, Tank Dell and Dalton Schultz. They may be serviceable players but it's clear that Stroud has elevated those around him after only a handful of games. The angst of the fanbase is that a supposed generational talent cannot even elevate more accomplished receivers and take over some games himself. There are too many turnovers and reliance on the running game and defense to build success. It's clear from watching the Texans that one player can make the difference especially at the quarterback position.

The Jaguars are 6-3 and were 6-2 before Sunday. Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud looks through nine games like he's going to be a very good player. This does not make Lawrence a bad player nor does it mean the Jaguars haven't been building success. They're 11-3 in their last 14 games. They're a good team. They have been good since midway through last season. One game doesn't change that.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

Your thoughts on the Jaguars losing three of four at home, yet being undefeated on the road?

I think the Jaguars have played better this season on the road than at home.

Steve from Sunroom Couch

Dear John, No matter what you say about most observers this O-line is going to get Trevor hurt.

The Jaguars' offensive line must play better than it did against the 49ers Sunday. The interior has been too inconsistent much of the season. 

Zac from Austin, Tejas

How successful of a season will that Jaguars have if the rest of the teams we play this season take the strategy "make Lawrence play QB downfield."

How good are the teams? How good is their pass rush?

Kevin from Sault Ste Marie, ON, Canada

What would you say is the core issue holding the Jaguars offense back and what steps can be made to improve it? Is the O-Line not giving Lawrence enough time? Is play-calling not calling more downfield plays to open up short routes? Are the wide receivers not doing enough to get open?

The Jaguars' offense struggled mightily against the 49ers with a season-low 221 yards and a season-high four turnovers with a season-high five sacks allowed. When a game such as that happens, it's never one core issue – and I don't know that there has been one core issue all season. The offensive line, particularly the interior, has struggled in protection and run-blocking at times. Receivers dropped passes early in the season. There have been too many turnovers. Lawrence has missed some receivers, sometimes when under pressure and sometimes when he has had time. Conversion in the red zone and on third downs has been an issue. There also have been a lot of big plays at key times that have contributed to six victories.

Jason from North Pole, AK

San Francisco exposed a lot of weaknesses on our roster. From your perspective, what is the biggest position of need right now?