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O-Zone: Bright skies

JACKSONVILLE – Victory Monday at EverBank Field.

Let's get to it …

Geoff from Orlando, FL:
The Jags beat a pretty good team Sunday despite a litany of mistakes that could probably be best attributed to "growing pains:" four drops, couple crossed wires and a handful of costly penalties (though the hundred-plus penalty yards didn't hurt). Optimism, thy name is Jaguars.
John: Oh, goodness me … the inbox indeed was a happy place on Sunday and Monday. That unsurprisingly made for a relatively enjoyable Sunday evening/Monday morning discussing Jaguars 23, Dolphins 20 on what was a sunny day at the 'Bank. And your email indeed summed up a lot of people's feelings after the game – that this was a very good victory that featured a lot of mistakes and not a lot of perfection. You know what that made Sunday? A pretty typical NFL game. Both teams made mistakes. A few key plays in the second half decided the outcome. The Dolphins hurt themselves pretty significantly with penalties. The Jaguars did, too. The Jaguars figured out a way to win. That's because they made plays early and were good enough to be close at the end. They then made plays to win. In the past two years, they weren't good enough to be close at the end often enough. Sunday they were. That's a good thing.
Matt from Orlando, FL:
That's more like it! Big plays on offense, defense and special teams! Scobee who? #DTWD
John: #DTWD
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
Game balls in order … the O-Line, A-Rob, the O-Line, the run defense, the O-Line … and Jason Myers … oh, and BB5. Looks like the demise of our offensive line was greatly exaggerated.
John: The offensive line was impressive Sunday. It allowed no sacks to a very good defensive line and did a more-than-adequate job much of the day running the ball. I doubt those linemen will say it was a perfect performance, but it was a winning performance. From the view in the press box it's difficult sometimes to get a true gauge on how individual units play; you can't do that until you re-watch it. But the 45-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles to Allen Robinson in the first half stood out to me for the line. The line gave Bortles time to wait for Robinson to execute a double move, and when Bortles moved in the pocket, he had space to throw. That's promising stuff.
Lance from Jacksonville:
Is this real life? Did we really beat a team that wasn't the Titans or Browns?
John: Lance, you actually seem happy. Lean back. Close your eyes. Maybe it will go away.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Who would have thought that Sam Young would have come in for the injured Luke Joeckel and have the game that he did? In my opinion the protection of the offensive line was the story of the game.
John: I said several times last week I believed Young would play better than people expected – and certainly better than he did last week. Players often play far better with a week to prepare than when forced into action because of injury. That said, did I expect Young to not allow a sack? Did I expect the Jaguars to hold the Dolphins without a sack? No, I did not. Was the line the story of the game? You know what? Yes, it was.
Marc from Section 239:
OK, who paid off these refs? Aron Barkley touches his defender and gets called for offensive interference, and then they smother him a few plays later and call nothing. It's hard to win when even the refs are against you!!!
John: I don't know everything there is to know about everything, but I do know if the Jaguars can get this Aron Barkley guy going this season … well, look out!! That much I do know.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
That's what I expected this season. Some progress and big plays, but also some frustrating inconsistency. They were in it 'til the end and they won.
John: My guess is your expectations will be met a lot this season.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
Man, that was an intense game. Really great win. One thing I took away from this game was the great play of free-agent additions Jared Odrick, Dan Skuta and Sergio Brown. Odrick got a lot of pressure and broke down running lanes. I really love Brown's intensity and the energy he brings to the field. And Skuta? He's the Swiss Army Knife we really needed for that spot and he's delivering in all areas. Who is your favorite pick up?
John: I'll cheat a bit and say Odrick/Skuta. Not to diminish Brown, but the idea of bringing in Odrick and Skuta was to strengthen the strong side of the defense to make the Jaguars more stout against the run. It also was to provide veteran, winning experience. On Sunday, that tandem showed up big time.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I have never been so glad to be proven wrong in all my life. Allen Robinson is a No. 1 wide receiver (who needs Amari Cooper?) and Sam Young is a quality backup. Dave Caldwell knows much more than me. I need to do as they say in the South, "Honey hush."
John: I'll talk to you Wednesday, Keith. By then I'm sure whatever you're feeling will have passed.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK:
Mr O, it's nearly 1 a.m. over here. I'm guessing I'll get about five hours sleep before I get up for work. However I have just done a silent "We believe in victory dance" so as not to wake up my wife and daughter. I'll be tired but still smiling at work tomorrow. WE BELIEVE IN VICTORY!
John: I've been married 23 years. That thing about dancing in silence so as not to wake the wife? Veteran move. Well-played. #Survivalmatters
Miguel from Section 145 and Duuuuvvalll , Jax:
If this rebuild goes like we hope it does, there will be roads names after Shad, Gus and Dave. That's how much Jacksonville loves their Jags.
John: Winning is cool. People like it.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Wanted to note that Yeldon seems like he has a nose for finding daylight in a crowd. What was your impression of Yeldon and the offensive line's run blocking? To me it didn't seem like they were clearing particularly huge lanes for runners, but they seemed to move the Dolphins off the line often enough for the run game to be effective.
John: The running game was good a lot of the game, not great. That's a sweeping assessment based on T.J. Yeldon rushing for 70 yards on 25 carries. At the same time, remember this very significant happening: on the final drive, Yeldon rushed three times for 15 yards. The Jaguars stuck with the run and got important yards from it when it mattered. You need that from the running game. And overall, the Jaguars rushed for 123 yards on 33 carries … so, will they take that? Yes. It's not the finished product, but the Jaguars will take it.
Cliff from Callahan, FL:
At least we put a stop to this 0-16 nonsense.
John: "Nonsense" is a good word.
Kyle from Ohio:
Overall, pretty impressive performance today. I'm sure for every negative email you got last week you are getting a positive one this week. Anyway, it is safe to say the next two games are critical. Looking at the schedule right now, the next two games on the schedule should be the toughest considering opponent and location. I'm not expecting a win in either game, but if we are at least competitive in both I think I would still be optimistic for the rest of the season. Win either of the next two and I think we could start believing in playoffs?????
John: Kyle, this is not CoachSpeak or cliché or anything else, but it was 11:10 p.m. on Sunday when I read this email. I think of the task facing the Jaguars this week going to New England and facing Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions … and maybe it's fatigue more than anything when I say, "Just enjoy the victory Sunday for a while … 12 hours, maybe 18?"
Eric from Gainesville, GA:
Jaguars looked like a playoff team in the first half, but in the second half they just looked like, ummmmm, the Jaguars …
John: The Jaguars' defense allowed one touchdown drive early in the third quarter and nothing after that. The team won a game it needed to win and beat a team that by all accounts is going to be at least good. If that's what the Jaguars look like right now that's not a bad thing.
Nicholas from Camp Casey, Korea:
I get it that most fans aren't experienced enough to know how to call plays in the NFL; however as fans I feel like they have one distinct advantage over NFL coaches by watching multiple games per week and understanding the rules better than the coaches. It seems that Gus Bradley is wasting timeouts by challenging plays they are not winnable.
John: Bradley certainly had a challenge Sunday in the second half he probably would like to have back. The challenge of the incomplete pass when Jarvis Landry was stripped of the ball almost certainly was not going to get overturned. And it indeed cost the Jaguars a timeout that could have proved valuable.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
Who made the decision to have a 4 p.m. game between two Florida teams, a TV exec in NYC?
John: Pretty much, yeah.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
Oman - and just like that, the future looks bright again!
John: Yeah, that's sort of how it works, isn't it?

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