O-Zone: Anger management

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Brian from Jacksonville

This is what putting the emphasis on stopping the run this week got us?

I received many, many, many – did I say, “many?” – versions of this email following the Jaguars’ 33-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday. All versions had a variation of the same point/question, which was trying to figure exactly what happened to a Jaguars run defense that by all accounts was a major focus during the recent bye week. It was fair question considering the Colts gashed the Jaguars for 264 yards rushing. Here’s the Jaguars’ reality right now: They’re not very good against the run, and they have been inconsistent in the area all season. As I have mentioned multiple times in recent weeks, one reason is that they are comparatively undersized on a defensive front that is more talented as a pass-rushing group than as a run-defending unit; that issue is why physical, brawling, power running games often have given them trouble in recent seasons. The Jaguars also now are without nose tackle Marcell Dareus; while he wasn’t playing at an elite level this season, he still was the team’s best run-defending defensive tackle when healthy. The team also has had an issue getting out of gaps at safety and linebackers this season. Missed tackles have been an issue. Head Coach Doug Marrone said all were problems Sunday. And I’m sure coaching will get plenty of blame, too – much of it in this case deserved. Marrone probably put it best when he said the Jaguars essentially tried everything defensively against the run Sunday – and nothing worked. So, why did they struggle despite the emphasis? Because they’re not good there. It’s as simple as that. I don’t know how you get better when that’s the case. That’s a concern, and it’s defining the season.

Jim from Jagsonville

Well, it was good while it lasted ... here's to next season and the new coaching staff!

Stay tuned.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

That was a listless performance. No heart. No effort. No life. No guts. Do they even care?

Former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy used to tell me teams that struggle against the run often look like they’re not trying because a dominant run game gets the defense off-balance and frustrated. He didn’t consider it a lack of effort or caring or guts as much as just an inability to stop the run. A team getting pushed off the line of scrimmage might look like it’s not trying when in fact it’s just a matter of players getting out-physicaled. That’s applicable to the Jaguars the last two weeks. There were times against the Colts and Texans that it felt as if the Jaguars didn’t show up. But that doesn’t make sense considering the team was very much in the postseason conversation entering the Texans game. The pass rush also was very effective in the first half of both games, so effort was there in those areas. I would attribute the lifeless feeling on defense to not being able to stop the run; that causes frustration and confusion, which makes teams look energy-less. As far as the offense? Well, that group can’t run right now and not being able to run has a similar effect offensively.

Bill from Jacksonville

So, is the Colts’ offensive line that good or is our defensive line that bad?? Or both???

When it comes to defending the run, both.

Art from Drexel Hill

You think the last two games opens Shad's eyes on why fans don’t attend games?

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan understands teams must win to draw fans. When he spoke recently about there being a “limited demand” for football in Jacksonville, he was talking about a big-picture view of Jacksonville as a market in terms of size and how much the team can charge for all tickets – i.e., premium seating, luxury suites, etc. – over a 10-game season as opposed to Jacksonville’s overall interest and faith in the Jaguars. While I understand fans will remain irritated with Khan for the comments, he remains the best thing to happen to this town and franchise in a long time. His comments in London change that not a bit.

Red from the O-Zone Comments Section

Well, King of Funk … Where do we go from here? Not a whole lot I could see in this beatdown by the Colts for the Jags to build on. That was a dominating performance on both sides of the ball.

I wish I had a better answer. The Jaguars don’t seem to be able to run right now, or to work the middle of the field in the passing game; those weaknesses are allowing teams to limit the passing game. We’ve discussed the run defense ad nauseam and I’m not sure there is an easy answer there. Where do the Jaguars go from here? They work to get those areas better with what’s on the roster. We’ll see how that goes.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Is Josh Allen defensive rookie of the year? He's the real deal. I'd love to see him with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and defensive tackle Taven Bryan for the next several years.

I don’t think Allen will win rookie of the year, primarily because of the Jaguars’ record. I’m hard-pressed to say there’s a rookie outplaying him, though. He has been impressive and is showing signs of being a franchise player for a long time.

Bruce from Jacksonville

What a joke. This team does nothing but disappoint. Who will be held accountable?

Coaches. General Manager. Front office. Players. When teams don’t win, everyone eventually is held accountable. Does it happen on your timetable? Or based on your opinion? No, the timetables and opinions that matter in this case are those of Khan.

Gamble from Luanda, Angola

This game is not a disappointment — it’s a revelation. The Jaguars need to follow the Colts’ lead and build a dominant offensive line over the next two drafts. Can you tell us diehard fans why this front office should make those picks?

I could tell you, but you wouldn’t want to hear it this morning.

Steve from Jacksonville

This is NOT an elite defense. Nowhere close. I wouldn’t even call it good.

I’ve written and said for weeks the defense is not elite. It is usually a good defense when it has the lead and can rush the passer, but it must defend the run well enough to get that point. The Jaguars have not done that nearly well enough this season and therefore there have been too many times when it is not a good defense.

KD from McAlester, OK

What happened to "The game is won and lost in the trenches?" I can just about guarantee the Titans are going to run all over the Jags yet again next week.

Sunday’s game absolutely was lost and won in the trenches. And yes … the Jaguars must be concerned about facing Derrick Henry and the Titans next week.

KC from Orlando, FL

How was it that Nick Foles gives the Jaguars a better chance of winning?

All of the things you saw in the first quarter Sunday. After that, not so much.

Thomas from St. Johns, FL

Why does the appeal/review of pass interference even exist in view of the complete idiocy of the sham called "review?”

I wrote and said often this past offseason when the league was considering allowing coaches to challenge pass interference that it was a silly, misguided idea. It’s simply impossible to have clear and irrefutable evidence to the extent that everyone will agree on this call. I anticipated it would be a fiasco, though I expected the fiasco to take the form of officials overturning a lot of close calls and observers remaining split on whether those calls should have been overturned. I didn’t anticipate officials essentially ignoring the new rule and rarely overturning any calls. Either way, the rule unsurprisingly is a mess. It needs to go, and I imagine it will be voted out in the offseason.

Uncle Rico from Bumville

No way Foles is a better option at quarterback than Gardner Minshew II. He’s a BB5 clone. D is terrible in all facets. Khan will blow this thing up and he needs to. Foles will be traded and this miserable excuse for a football team will continue its two-decade Lindbergh rebuilding process.

Hey … one not fer Foles!

Nicholas from Virginia Beach, VA

When does Gardner Minshew go back in at quarterback?

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone on Sunday said he planned for Nick Foles to remain the quarterback the rest of the season. I expect that to be the case.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

This team misses Marcell Dareus.

It’s not fair to pin all of the Jaguars’ run-defense woes on the absence of the veteran defensive tackle. But him being out sure doesn’t help.

TomD from Jacksonville

John O, I cannot wait to see what you get in your inbox after watching that nightmare on Duval Street!

It has been bad. It has been an angry place. And why not?

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