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O-Zone: At last

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

J Hooks from Orange Park, FL

It's worth mentioning that Jalen appears to be maturing in front of our eyes. His interviews are becoming intellectual. He's talking smack without talking down an opponent. He's using stats and logic as firepower. I like that. Do you concur?

I have noticed a change in Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey's media availabilities in recent weeks. It's not surprising they're intellectual; Ramsey in general is thoughtful – and he always has struck me as intelligent. Perchance the "change" stems from a couple of things. One is that he indeed maturing, as often happens when young people get older. Another is that it seems he does not see the local media – which typically make up most of the reporters in his Thursday media availability – as the enemy as much as he did earlier this season. The bottom line is while how Ramsey appears/acts in press conferences is interesting, it's truly a side story. That's because he balances off-field goings-on with on-field priorities very well. Something of which you can be certain with Ramsey is his priority is always football. Greatness matters to him, and he understands that what matters is how he performs. That's what matters for young superstars, and it's why you feel very secure with him as a foundation piece of the organization.

Disappointed Dan from Dreary Lane

You're just not very good at this, are you?

No. I suck.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Would you say Trent Richardson is a good comparison for Fournette? Richardson was just under 1,000 yards rushing in his rookie season and also just under four yards per carry with 11 touchdowns. He was expected to have a breakout season in his second year, only to be less productive and get traded. I'm not saying Fournette will or should be traded, but maybe he should be lumped in with early first-round running backs that couldn't live up to the billing rather than with the Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley crowd.

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is out with a hamstring injury. When player is out with an injury, it tends to cloud the perception of that player in the short term. I try to avoid judging young players' long-term potential from short-term results. I once had a sports editor ask me to write a story about Fred Taylor being a bust. This was early in Taylor's career. I've always been glad I talked the sports editor out of the idea.

Wallace from Jacksonville

Ha ha, John! Loved your response to JagFan NC! Didn't know you were a fan of the movie Goodfellas.

Go get your shine box.

Josh from Harrisburg, PA

This year so far really makes you appreciate how much they avoided the injury bug last year.

Indeed. While the Jaguars were remarkably injury-free defensively last season, they dealt with two-to-three-week injuries pretty much everywhere on offense. The good news for the Jaguars this season is the defense through five games is relatively healthy. The major difference this season? The injuries to Fournette and Corey Grant made what was supposed to be a position of strength – running back – suddenly thin and vulnerable, and the Week 2 season-ending injury to left tackle Cam Robinson made that spot thin early. The primary issue remains Fournette. He wasn't great last season, but he was available and therefore a threat for which defenses had to game plan. He isn't available this season, which has the Jaguars seeking an offensive identity – and consistency – it hasn't yet found.

Mark from Prescott, VA

How about a trade with Pittsburgh straight up Fournette for Le'Veon Bell plus a third-round pick? It's time to cut our losses and move on. The Jaguars' time is now! Fournette seems to be a good guy and I wish him well; and, Pittsburgh would probably be a good place for him if and when he's ever able to get – and stay – healthy.


Dave from Los Angeles, CA

Sell high on Fournette and use extra picks to move up for a quarterback of the future. I don't really believe at this point Fournette and quarterback Blake Bortles will get their stuff together before our fleeting Super Bowl window slams shut. Help is not on the way.


Bill from Orange Park, FL

You often refer to players or units of the team as needing to play better or figure out how to do something. For example, "It does make it one that needs to figure out how to run and get pass rushers blocked." Since it's never coaching are you saying that the players have more to give? Did they not try to figure something out before? Is Parnell going to "figure out" how to block Ford all on his own? Etc.

I've never said it's never coaching in the NFL. I in fact often have said it's always coaching in the NFL because … it's always coaching in the NFL. Here's what else is true about the NFL: not every player plays at the same level every week; sometimes players have bad games. Sometimes coaches have bad games. Jaguars right tackle Jermey Parnell, for example, had a bad game Sunday in Kansas City. Most of his games have been better.

Andy from St. Augustine, FL

So, you said that the back-shoulder fade to Moncrief is considered a high-percentage play against certain looks. How many times does it have to fail before it's no longer considered a high-percentage play?

I don't see the Jaguars removing the play from their red-zone package soon. The Jaguars right now aren't exactly a power-running team without Fournette, Robinson and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins – and the loss of Seferian-Jenkins doesn't help the red-zone passing offense, either. Wide receiver Donte Moncrief is a big target. Throwing to him in single coverage may not be a guaranteed touchdown, but it's more appealing than some options.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

I know Flowers hasn't played well but he's got the size and is young. Any chance he could improve under this coaching staff or is this just the last best option? Really glad we are able to get him btw and didn't have to give anything up? Some fans will scoff but we are very lucky to get a LT for nothing.

Many fans indeed scoffed at the Jaguars' signing of former New York Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers on Friday, meaning a sizable group of people are criticizing the team for trying to address a position at which the Jaguars have lost their top two players. Fans scoff. It's fun. Many like it. The Jaguars didn't sign Flowers to a free-agent mega-deal; they signed him as a last-minute attempt to find the best option in a difficult situation. There's a difference.

Logan from Wichita, KS

We saw firsthand how much of a turnstile Flowers is in Week 1. Now he is our answer for left tackle? Uhhhhh, am I the only one that sees the red flag and flashing lights signaling that this is really, really, really stupid?


Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Jaguars Twitter has some pretty unkind things to say about the competence of our new left tackle. Would you be so bold as to suggest that Flowers will be "fine"?

I have no idea if Flowers will be "fine." I expect him to struggle at times because he hasn't shown thus far he is a consistent player at the NFL level. If he had done that, the Giants wouldn't have released him. The Jaguars signed him with the hope that he can made the roster at least slightly better than it was before they signed him. How that will look when Flowers plays I can't yet predict.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

How does Jamaal Charles look? Does he still have some speed? Is it possible that the two-back set they wanted to run with Fournette and Grant could be even better with Fournette and Charles? Honestly I am a bit intrigued thinking about that.

Practice during the regular season is closed after about the first 20 minutes, so I can't tell you firsthand how Charles looked. Players talked this week about Charles showing good speed and quickness. I'm not expecting Charles to improve the Jaguars' running game. If the team expected that to happen, he already would have been on the roster before this week. I also don't expect Charles to be the dynamic, game-breaking back that took him to four Pro Bowls with the Chiefs. Those Pro Bowls were a long time ago, and the same is true of Charles' prime. It's not fair or realistic to think he will be that player. If Charles can be available and reliable for 6-to-8 carries and a few receptions per game for a while – and if he can average close to four yards on those carries – that would be great. And the Jaguars would be very happy in that scenario.

Kyle from New York City

I finally like the new formatting. The ads are gone and now there is a clear distinction between the Qs and the As. I guess being hopeful the situation would improve worked out.

Hey, one fer patience!

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