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O-Zone: Block and tackle

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

David from Oviedo, FL

Zone – When speaking of the future of our wide receiver group, it seems that Marvin Jones Jr. is being written off. Yes, his production isn't what it used to be, but he is super dependable and has a knack for the clutch catch. What are the pros and cons of him returning next year?

You're correct that Jaguars wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. is often overlooked when discussing the Jaguars 2023 receiving corps, with the general assumption that the top three receivers will be Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones and Christian Kirk. This is because Jones Jr. is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the 2023 offseason and many assume he will command more on the open market than the Jaguars want to pay considering Ridley – acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons – will come on to the salary cap at a significant price. But who knows? Perhaps this assumption is wrong. The Jaguars like Jones and Jones likes the Jaguars. Perhaps the two sides can agree on a deal that makes sense. I hope so. I like covering Jones and would love to see him around for a while more. Stay tuned.

John from Jacksonville

How much of the offseason program and preseason did Devin Lloyd miss? Do you think that may be contributing to his struggles?

Jaguars rookie inside linebacker Devin Lloyd missed essentially all of 2022 Training Camp, and all but one preseason game. That certainly didn't help his struggles this season. But it's not so much knowledge of the defense or not understanding assignments that is the issue with Lloyd. It's more reacting to what NFL offenses are doing. It's a dramatically different game than college football. It's far faster and far more complex. I understand that people don't want to accept this. And I understand that because they also wear helmets and shoulder pads and keep score the same way in college that people think the games are similar. But it's much, much more difficult. Confidence remains high that Lloyd will be fine. What he's going through isn't unusual. Some players get it quickly. With others it takes more time.

Don from Marshall, NC

The Detroit Lions have beaten the Jaguars five times and lost twice. A couple of those were pretty good thrashers. The Jaguars need to even that out. Stay off the ground and no road rash and they have got to win. Tough to do but Tugh they are! Go Jaguars!

Don remains "all in."

Fred from Naples, FL

I thought Ashlyn Sullivan did a great job in her few years with the team and she will be sorely missed. Her bubbly personality was effusive as was her knowledge of the game. Old guys like myself sometimes look at young professionals with a wary eye trying to capture mistakes. Hers were rare. One fer Shyln.

Ashlyn Sullivan was part of our Jaguars media team for nearly six full seasons. She is now with NBC Sports Philadelphia hosting Philadelphia Flyers pregame and postgame broadcasts. She indeed will be missed. I'll be taking over as the bubbly personality around these parts now. And yes … one fer Shlyn.

Steve from Nashville, TN

In your Ten Things analysis for the Lions game you mention putting pressure on Lions quarterback Jared Goff. The Jaguars have not been consistently proficient at that so far this year, so how exactly does that flip on Sunday against one of the league's best offensive lines?

I indeed mentioned pressuring Goff as a key to the Jaguars winning Sunday. I don't know that they will be able to do so. The Lions' offensive line is very good and the Jaguars have struggled to create meaningful pass rush in big moments. The Lions receivers are also good enough that the Jaguars' ongoing coverage issues are a very real concern.

Scott from Mid-Atlantic by way of Jax

Hats off to Coach, O-man, for his decision to keep Etienne out for the rest of the game on Sunday. The trajectory of his career could've very well been on the line. We've all seen careers end way too early in an instant on just one play. Does the medical staff relay the severity of an in-game injury during games, or is it just coaches' intuition to make those tough calls?

This was indeed an impressive move from Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson Sunday. When running back Travis Etienne Jr. sustained a sprained foot against the Baltimore Ravens, most fans and observers immediately wondered if it had to do with the Lisfranc injury in the same foot that kept Etienne out his rookie season. That likely was the first thought for doctors, trainers, coaches – and almost certainly Etienne. The injury was not serious enough to immediately rule Etienne out, and Pederson could have been excused for being tempted to put a dynamic – and important – player back in an important, close game. Pederson instead erred on the side of caution, perhaps to allow Etienne to gain confidence that he indeed was OK – a prudent decision by a coach who played 13 NFL seasons and therefore grasps how players feel/think in such situations. As far as in-game medical information … yes, doctors and trainers assess the extent of injuries as best as possible and relay that information to coaches. Sometimes a player is ruled out by medical staff. If not, it becomes the decision of the coach/player.

Bill from Ponte Vedra

True or false: Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker wouldn't even be starting if he had been drafted lower?

False.

Mark from Richmond, VA

Given the overall talent on this team and the new staff, did you imagine we'd be playing an actual meaningful game in December this season? I sure didn't, so to me this season is an overachievement regardless of the final record. One fer real football in December! We'll stretch it to January and beyond next season.

I wouldn't call what the Jaguars have done this season overachieving as much as I would call it achieving. I expected they would improve throughout the season and win six-to-seven games. I expected this when I was getting angry emails during a five-game losing streak from fans believing they would not win again. I believe it now that the Jaguars have won two of three games, prompting emails about the Jaguars winning seven consecutive games to win the AFC South. But I agree with what seems to be the main point of your email – that it's cool for this team to have meaningful games in December. Absolutely. It has been too long.

Scott from Jacksonville

Hi, John. It's a shame that folks don't recognize "journalism" when they see it any longer. Do you feel you are still able to call yourself "journalist," or are you something else now?

I am the king of all funk.

Brandon from Omaha, NE

Hey O, Do you see any Jaguars receiving postseason honors with a strong finish in these last six games? Inside linebacker Foye Oluokun is second in the AFC in total tackles. Wide receiver Christian Kirk is third in touchdowns among AFC wide receivers, though eighth in yards. Does anyone else have a shot or does the streak continue?

I could see punter Logan Cooke earning postseason honors along with Etienne – though Etienne would have to get hot for the next two or three games. Postseason honors often come down to recognition and awareness. The Jaguars probably need to finish well this season and start strong next season to get those things.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Good stuff on the O-Zone Podcast with Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard this week. I'm in agreement with him. There is something special with this team. Might not come to fruition this season, but this team is FINALLY close. I wanted progress to begin the year and we have definitely seen that. Hope the wins keep coming this season though. Jags by a million this Sunday!!

OK.

DJ from Grass Valley, CA

It's OK to gush a little, bud. Brian Sexton is gushing, Tony Boselli is gushing, JP Shadrick is gushing ... even Pete Prisco is gushing right now. Pederson was literally on the verge of tears in his Monday press conference because he was gushing so hard. This is it! It's our time to gushing. Real men cry about one thing PRIDE. Rewatch Doug's presser. He chewed it back two or three times. That's a good thing. It means we have the right guy in there. Go Jags! Six to go!

I mentioned this week when discussing Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's performance against the Ravens that I rarely gush. Perhaps I gushed some as a younger man, though I struggle to recall. If he plays like that again, though, I imagine I will gush. It was a gush-worthy day.

Jonathan from Jax

I feel like: a) I am blocked b) I probably deserved it. Go Jags

Thoughts: a) Try grape nuts, oatmeal, Triscuits, black beans and lentils b) No one deserves it.

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