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O-Zone: Already ready

JACKSONVILLE – One day more.

Let's get to it …

Nick from Annapolis, MD:
Pete Prisco said it best when he said, "He still takes too many 25-yard drops for my liking –" or something like that. I don't see Russell Wilson being able to pull off his "magic" against the Jaguars. He makes his offensive linemen's jobs much more difficult, and their jobs will already be difficult enough trying to handle the Jaguars' front seven. I think there is a possibility we embarrass the Seahawks on Sunday, or at least their offense.
John: Pete Prisco of CBS Sports is a longtime friend – and is as knowledgeable as any writer covering the NFL. I theoretically agree with him regarding Wilson. Generally speaking and in the long term, I like a quarterback to stay in the pocket and make throws from there without risking losing yardage – and Wilson's scrambling definitely risks a lot. But there are players talented enough to transcend conventional wisdom, and Wilson right now is such a player. I don't see Wilson making his linemen's jobs more difficult as much as I see a player running because linemen are struggling to pass protect. As for embarrassing the Seahawks … I can see the Jaguars winning Sunday, but the Seahawks don't typically get embarrassed; their defense is too good and Wilson is too resourceful. I'd be hard-pressed to predict it happening Sunday.
Rogwynn from Jacksonville:
I like Jalen. He's himself. Some other guys, too. In most cases the guys are so canned I could do interviews for them (I'm talking league-wide here) that you get zero from the interviews. I'm more offended by the obvious non-answers than a guy like Jalen. I love Jalen. Tell Jalen I love him.
John: Whoa.
Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL:
If the league was conspiring to help Seattle why wouldn't they just have scheduled the game for 4:25 at the start of the season?
John: Because the league clearly in penning its long list of ways to conspire against the Jaguars inadvertently left scheduling the Seattle game for later in the afternoon off of said list. Once the folks at the league office realized their oversight, they quickly and expectedly resolved the situation.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
If moving the game is going to help the Seahawks, then good. I hope they have a smooth flight and great rooms and service. Let's see what they have at their best. It's not like the Jaguars have been winning with smoke and mirrors. I think the MVP this year plays on the Jaguars' defense.
John: #DTWD
I've been watching the injury report closely and though I see Allen Hurns there on a weekly basis, I noticed he is not listed out for the season. Is there a chance he comes back in time for a playoff run?
John: Yes. If the Jaguars didn't believe Hurns could be back this season they would have placed him on injured reserve.
Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
John: the Jags' defense may be at its best when the opposing team is in "must-pass" situations, but with Wilson's running ability, he is never a "must-pass" quarterback. What do you think is the Jaguars' best bet at containing him - particularly in third-and-long situations?
John: Shadow, chase and keep everything in front. I'm fascinated, actually, to see how the Jaguars approach this. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash was asked this week about the need to contain Wilson in the pocket. He said without question it's an issue, but immediately said that he absolutely didn't want defensive linemen playing hesitant. I think you'll see some shadowing and you might see some zone coverage to ensure the back seven can see Wilson scrambling. And there will be an emphasis on the front four staying in gaps and lanes. But I don't think you'll see the last element overemphasized. This pass rush has swarmed and harassed at a high level all year. You don't want to take that away just because you're playing a mobile quarterback.
JV from Iowa:
I'm guessing things may get chippy on Sunday. What's left of the Legion of Boom versus our top-rated defense. Going into the game, it feels like there won't be a very big margin for error, so here's hoping we can stay away from being baited into unnecessary penalties. DTWD
John: Good point. This indeed likely will be a chippy game if only because a lot of games involving the Jaguars seem to be chippy games. Both of these teams are confident and like to talk. Plus, intensity is going to be high. All of those things add up to the Jaguars needing to be poised Sunday.
Ernie from Jacksonville:
Love what the team has been doing this year, especially the defense. One thing that drives me crazy, though, is our defense against the run. The Colts gashed us – and if the Seahawks watch that tape, they will do the same by picking up on our tendencies. Do you think there's any way we will switch up our defense into some 3-4 during the game to mix it up and concentrate on the run? I don't know why our coaches are so stubborn about the scheme. You've got to adapt to the game situations to succeed.
John: I'm sorry you're going crazy. That can be difficult. But the Jaguars' run defense has improved dramatically in recent weeks since the addition of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus – and while the Colts got off a few big runs last Sunday, at no point in that game did I remotely have the feeling that the Colts were controlling the line of scrimmage. As for your proposal, I'd be surprised to see the Jaguars shift to a 3-4 when they're ranked first in total yards, first in points allowed, first in sacks, first in passing yards allowed and first in red-zone defense – to name a few things in which the Jaguars' defense currently is ranked first. Being ranked first is cool. Coaches tend to like it. Sometimes, they get downright stubborn about it.
Charlie from Jacksonville:
I have been thinking Blake's benching in the preseason has been a big reason for his success this season. Blake had a remarkably shaky 2016 season, and losing his job must have preyed on his mind. His benching allowed him to realize that wasn't the end of the world, and he has been noticeably more relaxed this season.
John: I wouldn't rule this out.
Jess from Castle Rock, CO:
Since I can't use boldface, italics, or underlining here, I'll use caps for the first time. You've stated that Bortles has had more "best games of his career" this year than in any other year, even 2015 when he set seven franchise passing records. I disagree. I believe he had many more games in 2015 that were all-around better than this year. Fans have commented that he got those passing yards in "garbage time" when the team was behind and we had to throw the ball. Think about that a few seconds. He got all those passing yards when we had to throw the ball … and the other teams KNEW WE HAD TO THROW THE BALL. If you have that kind of success when teams KNOW you must throw then you should have as good or better success when they don't know you're going to throw the ball. The biggest reasons last year was such a down year for Bortles: 1) The O-line wasn't stopping opposing defenses; 2) The receivers were dropping too many catchable balls; and 3) the coaching staff put handcuffs on him after the fourth game of the season. If the O-line can protect him better and the receivers catch the catchable balls, Bortles is one of the better QBs in the league.
John: You make decent points. I never bought into the "garbage time" theory all that much about Bortles because I really didn't care about his statistics in 2015. What concerned me was the Jaguars struggled to convert third downs, had far too many long stretches of offensive ineffectiveness – particularly early in games – and that Bortles at the time seemed to have little pocket presence and therefore ran into a lot of sacks. I believed he needed to make dramatic improvements there. Bortles is a lot better in those areas this season, and he has had far more good performances with games in doubt or with the Jaguars ahead than in years past. That's why I believe he has had far more good games this season than in his 2015 season. I'm not ready to put Bortles in the category of one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but I do think he's improving – and he can only be helped his receivers catching the ball as they did last week and by the offensive line protecting better than it has much of the season.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Just win, baby. I don't care how ... I don't care by how many ... just get us a win. BIG GAME!
John: #DTWD

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