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O-Zone: A task too tall

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

"Cruising in December" and "the Jacksonville Jaguars" can be used in the same sentence now. Imagine that.

The Jaguars indeed had a comfortable victory Thursday, beating the New York Jets 19-3 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It was a good, professional victory – and a welcome one for a team that had to rally from deficits of 17, 17, nine and seven points for their previous four victories. It also was a good sign for the Jaguars that they controlled most of a game so late in the season, particularly against a team playing to maintain its postseason chances. I wouldn't say the Jaguars are cruising in December, though. They're 7-8 and their last four victories were tight games in which they had to rally. Winning in December? Exciting in December? Damned dangerous in December? Yes, to all. But maybe not quite cruising just yet.

David from Orlando, FL

Zone - That was the most stress-free victory we've had in a long time. Jaguars look like they were well prepared.

Teams that win tend to look well-prepared. The Jaguars have been well-prepared much of the season. They're gaining experience, cohesion and confidence and therefore playing better as the season continues. And winning.

David from The Island

If the Jags are up one game when they play the Titans, who wins the division if the Jags lose that game?

The Titans because of a better AFC South record.

Mike from High Springs

Can you give your thoughts on the play of Tre Herndon verses the return to the lineup from Shaq Griffin? Thanks.

Herndon is a reliable veteran corner who always is prepared. You like him on your team as a backup and a spot starter. I do not expect cornerback Shaquill Griffin to play for the Jaguars again.

Brian from Middleburg, FL

John, I had to dig this up: "Chris Simms says Zach Wilson is "clearly the No. 1 quarterback in the draft" for him, and that there's a "separation" between him and Trevor Lawrence. He wasn't wrong about the separation.

Good pull.

Nathan from Utah

Considering the remaining schedule, I think we got this. What say you? Very exciting! Go Jags!!!

The Jaguars play the Houston Texans on the road and the Tennessee Titans at home in the last two weeks of the season. They haven't beaten the Texans since 2017. The Titans have won the last two AFC South titles and had beaten the Jaguars in nine of 10 games before the Jaguars beat them in Nashville, Tenn., in Week 14. If the Titans win their two remaining games before the regular-season finale and the Jaguars lose to Houston, Tennessee will win the division. The Jaguars can't clinch the South before the final game, which means the Jaguars must win that final game to win the division. I like how this team's playing. I like their chances to win the South. They do not as of this moment "got" anything.

Clayton from Shawnee, OK

Just goes to show you that with the right personnel, a team can win in this league with a strong running game, short- to mid-range passing attack and a lights-out defensive performance. Go Jags.


Jiu Jitsu Jag from Sacramento, CA

Christmas came early…


Levi from Huntsville, AL

First off, great win! But am I the only one that gets nervous every time we hand ETN the ball?

You're not the only one. Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. has fumbled too often this season. He very nearly had a costly one early Thursday night. The Jaguars must continue to get Etienne carries. But he must secure the ball better.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

I'm glad we lost to the Jets in 2020.

(Narrator's voice) The Jaguars did not play the Jets in 2020.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Realistically, what do you think it would take to keep Evan E on a new contract? Nobody has a clue what crazy offer he might get elsewhere, but here what would you give?

I don't predict contracts. The details of the millions players earn don't interest me all that much until contracts are finalized and their impact on the salary cap can be determined. I expect the Jaguars to work to re-sign a few key free agents and I expect tight end Evan Engram to be one of those players. I think he wants to be here, so I expect that to happen.

Clayte from Mandarin

Ugh that fumble…. Coulda shoulda woulda been a shutout.

First-world problems, I suppose.

Scott from Jax to the Mid Atlantic

How about Riley Patterson, O-man?! Remember that time the Jags were playing the kicker carousel? Living outside New Jersey and experiencing this weather right now, it's amazing how No. 10 made any of those kicks on Thursday night. Unbelievable!

Good eye. Patterson indeed has solidified the kicker position by doing what kickers must do to solidify things – making kicks consistently and when they matter. I spoke to Patterson after Thursday's game and asked him about the difficulty of the conditions. He downplayed it a bit, though he said it was tough. He was more concerned about missing one field goal than making four. He was probably being too hard on himself. Those were tough conditions. Making four of five was a good performance.

Denmiz from Jagsonville

There was so much (legit) negativity at the pre and early season. So much for griping about Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke. He's come out smelling like a rose. The Head Coach Doug Pederson hire may be just the best thing that happened, but it's clear there is a synergy going on in the front (and back) office. It's time to give one fer Baalke and Shad Khan. Finally!!!


KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - is it just me, or does the offense appear to be complete with the emergence of Engram? He has been on a tear the past three games. I don't want to imagine not resigning him next season. Looking at teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers the past few years, their championship teams have involved significant contributions by their tight end. Do you think he is potentially one of the missing cornerstones for this franchise?

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a cornerstone. Engram is really important, and I believe the Jaguars will re-sign him because they know he's a fit and he does, too.

Bleed Teal from Ormond Beach, FL

Have to pay Engram. Man is a beast. Let's go Jags!!


Kevin from Sault Ste Marie, ON, Canada

If Tennessee happens to lose to Houston this weekend, does it make sense for the Jags to rest some starters next week (perhaps those that are banged up) if the game proves to be largely meaningless? Maybe pull TLaw at halftime?

Not unless they know they will be mathematically eliminated from the wild-card chase with a loss to Houston.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Should we always fumble on the first possession?


Cliff from Callahan, FL

In control wire-to-wire. That was cool. I liked it.

The Jaguars indeed were in control pretty much the entire game Thursday – except, of course, on the first series when Lawrence fumbled after being sacked by defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. It was impressive how the Jaguars responded after the play. There was a lot impressive for the Jaguars Thursday. They hadn't had a "comfortable" victory since Week 3 at the Los Angeles Chargers. To get one the week after they suddenly scratched their way into controlling their own destiny was impressive. And a sign of growth.

Pete from Jacksonville

It's so refreshing to see people wearing Jags' gear this time of the year while they are out and about. Usually by now, most keep their Jags' gear in the drawer after October.

Winning is cool. Fans like it.

Jim from ST Johns from St Augustine, FL

First-round defensive draft picks based on college production instead of athletic potential...we see them every week in opposing team uniforms. Is it time for the Jags to draft differently?

I assume you're referencing Williams, who is a fantastic player with 12 sacks this season. He is dominant. He also is in his fourth season. He had 2.5 sacks as a rookie, one fewer than Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker has this season.

Mike from Eagan, MN

John, no question today. Just wanted to wish you, Mrs. Zone, and Ozone Jr. a Merry Christmas. I hope you're able to have a safe and relaxing weekend this year, especially with the Jaguars being already done for the weekend with the W. Stay Funky, KOAF.

Merry Krimma (Eve).

Dave from Jax

This team can win on the West Coast. It can win in Nashville. It can win against NFC teams. It can win in the cold. In the rain. In a shootout. A grind. What can't these Jaguars do?

Make my wife admit she's wrong.