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O-Zone: Awesome and cool

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Brody from Pensacola, FL

Do you think this year’s Jaguars defense is potentially stronger, and more technically sound, even though they do not have as many splash plays as last year? It feels like the defense isn't as good, but I think that's only because of those splash plays; when you look at the game overall, they are playing at an elite level.

Nothing in the first four games makes me remotely feel this Jaguars defense isn’t as good as last season’s defense – and I absolutely believe this defense is better than last season’s defense. It is a more veteran group that to this point has reduced the number of big plays allowed compared to last season. You’re correct that it doesn’t have as many splash plays as last season, but splash plays aren’t always something a defense can control; sometimes offenses play a certain way to prevent such plays. Are the Jaguars allowing a lot of points this season? A lot of yards? A lot of big plays? If the answers are no, no and no then the Jaguars are playing well defensively. (I’ll let you look up the answers; that takes work.)

Fred from Naples, FL

Hey, Zone … pretend that you make the decision on the coin toss this Sunday. If we win the toss do you take the ball and keep Mahomes off the field or do you defer until the second half?

I defer. I have the best defense in the NFL and whether you have Patrick Mahomes on your team doesn’t change how I feel about that defense.

Travis from High Springs, FL

Do you think that we could see some of the two-back sets this week, with T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant?

I doubt it. It’s not that it’s not a good idea, or that it couldn’t work. But running the two-back sets fatigues the two backs playing more quickly and puts both at a higher risk of injuries. If you have three backs you want to use, it makes sense. If you have fewer than that, it’s less attractive.

Bryan from Reston, VA

Good thing we didn’t even consider bringing in Josh Gordon, considering we could’ve got a 50/50 target for mice nuts to replace our No. 1. It’s cool, those guys are way overrated when you have players that drop wide open passes on the regular.

Bryan seemingly is mad online.

Ruben from Jacksonville

I'm worried about two things. The defense is great, but a weakness of it has been mobile quarterbacks give them fits. The other thing is the offensive line. I think they've held their own against teams with OK pass rushers since left tackle Cam Robinson went down but we're getting a premier pass rush this week in Chiefs defensive ends Justin Houston and Dee Ford. I worry that Houston will be a game-wrecker against us.

Those are legitimate worries.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Most of the talk is about the league’s best offense against the league’s best defense. Exciting, but don’t you think the real story will be the league’s 15th-ranked offense (Jags) against the league’s worst defense (Chiefs)?

That’s a legitimate story.

Steve Wallingford

You know whose names I'm not hearing about this season? Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. One for Dede on quietly having 294 receiving yards through four games.

That’s a legitimate point. One fer Westbrook.

Kyan from LeMars

Outside of the one interference with the ability to catch a punt, I believe rookie wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. has been phenomenal on special teams. He's very good at flying down the field and making open-field tackles. Do you think they will try to incorporate his speed in the offense a little more or are they satisfied with the good production from Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief and Dede Westbrook?

Chark has been good on special teams. Perhaps more significantly, he takes it seriously and works hard at it. As Jaguars analyst Jeff Lageman has pointed out recently, it’s a good sign when a talented young player works and excels on special teams – and it often bodes well for his positional future. The Jaguars have been working to get Chark more involved in the offense. I expect his role to increase gradually as he begins to be more comfortable and make more plays.

Roger from Houston

You’ve said it: In the NFL, the biggest game in your season is the next game. For the Jags, never truer than this coming Sunday.

Yes.

Chris from Mandarin

In my opinion, the Jaguars should be everyone's favorite to win not only the game against the Chiefs but the Super Bowl this season. The reason is the Jaguars defense just does not give up touchdowns on long drives. The more plays an offense has against this defense, the more likely it becomes that a mistake is forced. That's why we have seen so many field goals against this year. If the Chiefs are to win Sunday, they're going to have to do it one of two ways – hitting on multiple quick-strike touchdowns (which they're totally capable of), and if the Jaguars offense has a completely ineffective outing. I think this scenario is true not only for when the Jaguars play the Chiefs this season, but every team remaining on the schedule. It's the best team I have ever seen at not giving up long drives for touchdowns.

Good eye, Chris. The Jaguars indeed have been good this season at not giving up touchdowns on long drives – and they have been good at not allowing touchdowns overall. They have yet to allow a touchdown when leading by less than double digits, and one of the touchdowns allowed was a five-yard drive against the New York Jets. They also allowed a 48-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter against the New England Patriots, so the only touchdown drive of more than 50 yards they have allowed with the game remotely in doubt came in Week 1 against the New York Giants. As you noted, the Chiefs are perfectly capable of scoring meaningful touchdowns; I would be surprised if they don’t score one or two. My guess is Sunday’s game could come down in part to the Jaguars’ ability to prevent the Chiefs from hitting big plays. If they can make the Chiefs drive the length of the field with double-digit-play drives I believe the Jaguars will win. If the Chiefs hit multiple explosive touchdowns, then I believe the Chiefs will win.

Damon from America’s Finest City

Pretty safe to say the game against the Chiefs will have major playoff implications because these teams should be fighting for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. A playoff-type game this early in the season will be fun. The best offense versus the best defense. What a time to be a Jags fan.

DTWD

Jeff from Jacksonville

All the Jags have shown this season is that they can beat up on the bad teams, even when making mistakes, and go toe to toe with the good teams. Me personally, I’ll take it. Everyone seems to want to see them play on all cylinders, but sloppy football is a trademark for the first four weeks of the season as players and coaches continue to adjust to full speed football and what all the other teams in the league are doing. Honestly, the Jags look a bit more polished at this point in the season than a lot of teams right now.

Careful, Jeff. You’re approaching the NFL with logic, reason and an eye on the long-term. This forum is not friendly to your kind.

David from Fleming Island, FL

O-man, I just saw you live with Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone and talking baseball with him. You seemed to reminisce about the Yankees with him. Were you an Orioles or Yankees fan as a kid? One of my most memorable moments as a kid was the Yankees Reggie Bar game I was at ... remember? No, we weren’t there together because I wasn’t a cool kid like you.

You’re referencing Marrone’s Friday appearance on Jaguars Drive Time – but no, I wasn’t a New York Yankees fan. My mother was a Yankees fan – and during their Bronx Zoo World Series years from 1976-1978, you couldn’t follow sports and not follow the Yankees. I was an Oakland A’s fan, starting with the 1972-1974 championship teams and continuing through the Bash Brothers in the late 1980s. Baseball pretty much lost me with the 1994 strike. I watch the postseason now, but don’t follow it particularly closely. By the way, I wasn’t cool then. That didn’t happen until later. Now, I am very cool. And awesome.

Nate from St. Augustine, FL

John, can we all agree that Blake's shining moment thus far as a Jaguar is the "I just work here", mic drop, exit stage right this week? I can't stop watching it. #myquarterback

Blake Bortles also is very cool. And also awesome.

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