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O-Zone: Believability

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Marcus from Jacksonville

Is it just me, or does this game Saturday somehow seem less monumental than last weekend's game? Is it because the Titans are our archrivals? Or because getting to the postseason was the prize and now everything else is gravy? Is it because the Chargers are a 10-win team and the Titans were riding a six-game losing streak into Jax? I just feel like if the Jaguars lost to the Titans on Saturday and missed the playoffs, the city of Jacksonville would have been crushed. I get the sense now that if the Jags lose this Saturday night that everyone will be disappointed, but not crushed. Am I crazy?

You're not crazy at all. There absolutely seems to be less "outside" tension entering the Jaguars' 2022 AFC Wild Card Playoff against the Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field Saturday than there was before their 20-16 home victory over the Tennessee Titans last Saturday – though I'll specify that that applies to fans and very much NOT to Jaguars players and coaches. My sense is this "lack of tension" stems from a combination of the factors you mention, including the opponent being the Titans and the postseason being at stake. But my sense is that feeling mostly came from the Titans having lost seven consecutive games from them playing with a reserve quarterback. Because of those factors, it felt from this view as if many fans believed the Jaguars "Should Have Won" last Saturday's game. The Chargers won four of their last five regular-season games and have a big-time quarterback in Justin Herbert. Because of that, fans generally see this Saturday's game more as one the Jaguars "can" win as opposed to one they "should" win.

Julianna from Baltimore, MD

Super excited we made the playoffs!! Go Jags! Hoping now there is stability at the head coaching position and that the Jags organization doesn't get "trigger happy" like the rest of the league and keep "changing of the guards". Want Doug Pederson to have a long-lasting tenure, same as the likes of Bill Belichick (New England Patriots), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), and John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens). I think part of those teams' success is not only getting the head coach right, but keeping the same Captain of the ship. How do you see it, John?

Continuity at head coach indeed is important. The head coach must earn the right to that continuity, and ownership must have accompanying patience in difficult times. I do have a sense that Pederson could be a long-lasting head coach here. Much must go right for that to happen, and a head coach must want to coach for a long time for it to happen. Not all want to coach as long as Belichick, Tomlin and Harbaugh. Does Pederson? Here's hoping the Jaguars are successful enough for long enough to find out.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

It's a really good thing Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was able to make it to the playoffs at 23 years old. If he's gonna have a shot at overtaking Tom Brady, he's gotta get started as soon as possible. #LetTheChaseBegin


Bold City Brigade San Diego from San Diego, CA

Greetings, Ozone. Random thought. Do you think it is possible that former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich and Doug Pederson reconnect in JAX? Like maybe in the offseason they look at ways to add him to this coaching staff that is already filled with ex-head coaches or young up and coming coordinators? Cheers!

Is it possible? Sure. Pederson and Reich are close, with Reich having worked as offensive coordinator on Pederson's 2017 Super Bowl-winning staff with the Philadelphia Eagles. Reich's very capable and – from my limited experience with him – a good man. I have zero indication that this will happen, and this isn't the time for Pederson to discuss such things. And the Jaguars already have a front-line offensive staff. But could something like that happen? Sure.

Chris from Roseville, CA

You say this feels sustainable, but I can't help but to worry about our salary cap situation due to free agency this year and all the high draft picks who aren't around to contribute.

Trevor Lawrence.

Blake from Oviedo, FL

Who are your offensive and defensive players of the year?

Offense: Lawrence. Defense: Linebacker Foye Oluokun. While I believe a player such as linebacker Josh Allen might be slightly more important, and while safety Rayshawn Jenkins made the two biggest plays of the season, it's not fair to ignore a player who led the NFL in tackles for a second consecutive season.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. The bad news is that the Chargers are a very different team than they were when we played them early in the season. The good news is that the Jaguars are a much different team than they were back then. Should be a battle. Saturday Night's alright for fighting lately … in DUVAL. What is a scenario where we can host the divisional round if we win this Saturday?

The Jaguars can host a Divisional Playoff if they beat the Chargers – and if the No. 2-seeded Buffalo Bills lose to the No. 7-seeded Miami Dolphins and the No. 3-seeded Cincinnati Bengals lose to the No. 6-seeded Baltimore Ravens. If that scenario plays out, the Jaguars will play host to the Ravens next weekend. If they beat the Ravens in that scenario and the Dolphins beat the Kansas City Chiefs, the Jaguars then would play host to the AFC Championship Game.

Danie from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, is there a key player, or group, that you feel needs to take it to the next level to compete against the Chargers this week?

They already have played at a high level a lot this past season, but I think Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne Jr. both need to have big days.

James from Brooklyn

How big was that two-point conversion against Baltimore looking back now?


Joe from Jacksonville

Hello, Ozone. All these firings got me wondering, do you see the general manager being more authoritative over the coach in a structure more successful, or vice versa? I personally feel the latter as a coach's philosophy could dictate incoming players. I wouldn't have asked as it really doesn't pertain to Jax, but I just read a fascinating Albert Breer mailbag posing the question and figured I'd ask the King of All Funk. Thanks!

This depends on the personality and strengths of the people involved. If there was an ideal NFL structure in this vein, every team would be structured the same.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

It's hard not to notice the striking similarities between the 2021 Bengals and 2022 Jaguars. It's easy to believe that Lawrence has another level we haven't seen yet and that the defense is opportunistic and has played well in the red zone. They have a coach that has done it before and are playing with house money. I can't see them winning 2 games on the road against the Big 3 but if one of those teams gets upset then it could get interesting.


Chase from Orlando, FL

With the Detroit Lions success this year, and quarterback Jared Goff's continued improvement, do you think with Mark Brunell being the quarterback coach there he should be considered for potential head coaching positions? I have personally always thought that he would make a great head coach, and I'm honestly a little surprised he waited this long to start coaching in the NFL. What do you think?

I think Brunell could be a very good NFL head coach. Though I'm not a believer that a head coach has to have been a coordinator, NFL owners typically like head coaches with coordinator experience. Brunell therefore may need a season or two in that position.

Don from Marshall, NC

To me it just looks like the Jaguar players are having fun. Hard to stop a team when nobody cares who gets the credit. The Jaguars are a good team, maybe the best team in a few weeks. Go Jaguars!

Don remains "all in."

Clyde from Jacksonville.

I am delighted to have our beloved Jaguars back in the playoffs, where we belong. AFC South Champions. How do players get paid for these postseason games? Thank you for all your hard work and insight, Mr. Oman.

NFL players don't get salary for postseason games. Some have individual playoff bonuses written into their contracts. Most receive only the standard player bonus for each playoff round: $46,500 per player for division winners in the Wild Card round, $46,500 per player in the Divisional Playoff round, $69,000 per player in the Conference Championship Game round, $82,000 per player for the losing Super Bowl team and $157,000 per player for the winning Super Bowl team.

P Funk from Murray Hill

What's the Jags biggest strength heading into the playoffs?

Their ability to play a variety of styles and their belief that they can win even if they fall behind early.