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O-Zone: Awesome … naturally

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I was surprised how competitive the defense was last week. I know it's early, but could this high-effort unit become a Top 10 defense this year?

It might be a year early for this. I think the Jaguars' defense in 2020 will be improved, and I think it indeed will be a high-effort unit. Linebacker Myles Jack may be a Pro Bowl-level player, and the same could be true of defensive end Josh Allen. There's also clearly much to like about rookie cornerback CJ Henderson. The addition of middle linebacker Joe Schobert and safety Josh Jones – along with moving Jack to the weak side – should mean a lot fewer "breakout" runs allowed. I think it's a group that will communicate better and that will "stay on the same page" in games longer than the past two seasons. I just don't know that they will be stout enough up front the entire season consistently enough to be a Top 10 defense. I also wonder if there's enough pass rush to consistently create turnovers. Check back next week, though: This defense showed a lot of good things in the final three quarters Sunday against a very good Indianapolis Colts offensive line. If the unit plays something like that Sunday, there could be a much different thought next week.

Pat from Duval, FL

How do you think Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans will change our perception of the defensive linemen and defensive ends? They had some clutch moments last week, but it was hard to evaluate them against the Colts' superb O-line.

If they play well, the perception of the defensive line and defensive ends will be good. If they play poorly, it will be less good. But it may not be that much easier to evaluate them after Sunday. The Colts' offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, but Tennessee's also is very good. You certainly hope the Jaguars can be more consistent against the run and get better pressure than last week, but it will be a tough task.

Kathy from Jacksonville

In your power rankings you ranked the Jaguars much higher than the sources of power rankings. Why were the others lower? Are they going by the youth of the team? They seem hesitant to give the Jaguars a lot of credit.

I haven't the foggiest idea why other people who rank teams rank them where they do for the simple reason that I don't care in the least.

James from Upper Marlboro, MD

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent. He is a really good cover corner. We should kick the tires. One year then draft another corner opposite Henderson.

Rodgers-Cromartie is 34 and retired midway through the 2018 season as a member of the Oakland Raiders. He came out of retirement last season to sign with the Washington Football Team and missed all but two games with a torn ligament in his ankle. Are we sure he's an upgrade?

Ben from Jefferson, OH

O, I've been a fan since I knew what football was. I did not expect the big dub this weekend. Should I be expecting more of those this year? Cuz, I sure dang hope so. #DTWD

Yes, I think the Jaguars will get some more dubs this season.

Tom from Shanghai, China

Last season, Jaguarsquarterback Gardner Minshew II was one of the best deep-ball quarterbacks in the league. Sunday was a heavy dose of short stuff. Is this a trend? New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's plan? Or did the Colts just do a good job?

The Colts' defense played the Jaguars to take away one of Minshew's strength: the deep, touch pass down the sideline. Minshew and Gruden adapted to the Colts' approach, and Minshew was very effective against the Colts on short passes and checking down. The Colts like to play Cover-2 zone, so taking away the deep outside passes is something they do well. The Titans are more of a man-to-man defense, so I expect Minshew to have opportunities deep Sunday. I would expect him to succeed on a few of those opportunities. He throws that ball well pretty consistently.

Josh from Yulee, FL

Hopefully, we keep the spirit alive. Wins are all that matter – and coming from a lifelong Jags fan, I don't care about Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I'm happy with what we have. Hard work trumps talent if talent doesn't work hard. LET'S GO JAGS!!!!

Josh is "all in."

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Do you think the Tennessee Titans are likely to exploit the Jaguars by quick plays out of the backfield since they had some issues with linebackers keying on the wrong read early in the Colts game, and getting caught by misdirection?

The Titans likely will try this early to see if the Jaguars have fixed the issue, though I don't expect it to be the Titans' primary approach. They like to run running back Derrick Henry (this has worked with "slightly" more than modest success against the Jaguars on occasion) and have quarterback Ryan Tannehill work the ball to the receivers and the tight ends. They also believe in winning by doing what they do so well that you can't stop it; I wouldn't expect them to completely alter the game plan based solely on an opponent's weakness.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

O-man, what do you think - Derick Henry over or under 150 yards rushing against this Jags defense?


David from Chuluota, FL

KOAF - After one win, some Jag fans are swagging, calling out sports writers across the country for predicting the Jags would stink this year. Really, one game? So, does the Titans game determine if we're going to the playoffs or if everyone in the building is fired?

I would think. Don't most games determine that?

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA

Great start for the Jags! One factor I have not seen discussed -- injuries. So far, so good. Do you think the Jags can win while giving up large yardage on defense?

Yes – on occasion. But it's not realistic to think the Jaguars can win consistently allowing 200 more yards than they gain as they did in the opener. The Jaguars overcame that differential by scoring touchdowns on all three possessions inside the Colts 25, by having two takeaways and no giveaways and by not allowing points twice when Colts drove inside the Jaguars' 20. That's a thin margin and the Jaguars can't count on that every week.

Red from Ozone Comments Section

Hi John, Say it ain't so!! There's a vicious rumor circulating on the O-Zone comments section that you color your hair! True or "Fake news?" Enquiring minds want to know.

You like that, do you?

Don from Marshall, NC

There is not a man alive who wants to tackle Henry. Nobody has been able to stop him. Do you think it would be a good idea to let him get a couple hundred by halftime? Hopefully, he would not have anything left for the third and fourth quarter. He is not worth breaking your shoulder on this early in the season. The best way to tackle him is from behind; just push his big head forward. I hate that dude he is special! Go Jaguars!

Let's keep perspective here. Henry is very good. And he has been otherworldly good against the Jaguars, particularly in Nashville the last two seasons. It is not true that "there is not a man alive who wants to tackle" him, though there are preferable NFL assignments. It also is not true that "nobody has been able to stop him." How do you stop him? Play assignments. Play your gaps. Win matchups. Tackle him surely with 11 players around the ball. And commit yourself to doing it for four quarters. It's not easy, but it's doable.

Dan from Eureka, MT

Hey, John! Mr. NFL sure seems quiet…


Steve from Nashville, TN

What is your opinion on the effectiveness of a time out just before the snap on a field goal attempt to "ice" the kicker? Would a kicker such as Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who might be going through some confidence issues right now, be even more affected by a time out before the kick?

I've always wondered at the true effectiveness of "icing" a kicker, as if forcing a kicker to think about the kick automatically means a greater chance of him missing. Like he hasn't had a chance to think about the kick during the entire drive? Or even the entire game? I know coaches like to do this, and I imagine Head Coach Doug Marrone would do it late in the half or game. I doubt you would see it before then because time outs are too valuable.

Steve from Sunroom Couch

Dear, John. Do you use Grecian Formula or Just For Men Touch of Gray?

Neither. I look this good naturally.