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O-Zone: Care bear

LONDON – Let's get to it …

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Jaguars offense improved this week, but something still feels off, John. Not exactly sure what it is, but everything looks harder than what it should.

The Jaguars beat the Atlanta Falcons, 23-7, at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday. They are 2-2 after four 2023 regular-season games, with all four AFC South teams tied with that record. I begin this answer that way to make the point that the '23 Jaguars are "fine." That doesn't mean they're great. Or awful. It just means that nothing has been remotely decided for this season and there's no reason to celebrate – or panic. I did receive many emails along these lines Sunday evening and into Monday – and while I understand why fans are dissatisfied with the start to the season, I suspect expectations and Jaguars followers' lack of recent experience following a "good team" as the source of this early-season angst. The reality is the Jaguars were a 10-9 team last season. They were really good at times, but even during their late-season surge to the AFC South title they won multiple games in dramatic fashion. This is not to say they were bad. Or lucky. But while they showed signs of being good, they were not dominant. They were then and remain now a growing team. And Trevor Lawrence was and still is a young quarterback. He is working through some of the "maturing stuff" young quarterbacks work through. And the Jaguars' offensive line this season is still trying to find itself. The offense was far from perfect Sunday. It's not a well-oiled machine. The simple truth is it's not "there" yet. It's not significantly worse than it was last season. It's just trying to find consistency. That's true of the entire team, though the defense appears to be finding itself through four games. The good news for the Jaguars? They're on even footing with the rest of the division while they're searching. Does it look hard? Yes. The NFL is hard. Keep watching. The guess here is this offense will develop, find a stride and that this team will remain competitive throughout the season with a chance to be really good at the end. Then fans will find something else to dislike.

Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland

O-man, if Josh Allen keeps playing like this do you think we find the money to pay the man? He's such a class act also which is a bonus.

Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen had three sacks Sunday, tying the career-high he set in a Week 1 victory over the Colts. He has six sacks through four games. If he maintains this pace, he will finish the season with 25.5 sacks. Yes, if he keeps playing like this, the Jaguars likely will find a way to secure him to a long-term contract. Or secure him under the NFL's franchise tag with an eye toward a long-term contract in the future. I've always thought Allen has been a little over-criticized among Jaguars fans. He has been a very consistent player since being selected No. 7 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and is a good pass rusher. He has pressured quarterbacks consistently throughout his career and sometimes has fallen victim to our national – and understandable – obsession with sacks. But you're right: I've never known Allen to be anything but a class act. It's a bonus and makes his success enjoyable.

Wade from Westside

The offense still has major problems, and the Jags are still pathetic on third downs. They don't seem to find the solution and better teams will make them pay.

Wade is mad in the O-Zone.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, it was a need win, but sometimes you just need to kick a field goal, Doug.

Head Coach Doug Pederson raised the ire of many fans when he went for the first down on fourth-and-1 from the Falcons 7 late in the first half Sunday. This failed and the Jaguars led 17-0 at halftime instead of 20-0. I would have kicked the field goal, but I'm an old-school man set in old-school NFL thinkin' and Pederson has made four playoff appearances with a Super Bowl title with his new-fangled NFL thinkin'. I suspect he will continue to raise ire with these decisions so long as he is coaching the Jaguars. He's aggressive. He's going to go for it in unconventional situations. Sometimes it will work. Sometimes it won't. I'm not expecting change. Nor do I think he should change. His ways are the way of the future. I just wish he would get off my lawn.

CaptBob from JAX

Has anyone noticed and been annoyed that starting about two years ago all the TV broadcasts now first show the next down number after a finished play and then change it to down and distance? And they change it just before the snap! Just the down and distance would be nice.

I hadn't noticed.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

Kudos to the Jags D! The takeaways were big, especially the pick six.

The Jaguars had three takeaways Sunday, bringing their season total to nine. They now have 36 in two seasons since Mike Caldwell arrived as defensive coordinator to start last season. They're a defense that creates turnovers. This has proven out over time. The unit doesn't create multiple turnovers every game. Few defenses do. But the Jaguars are good at it and they're usually a winning defense when they do it well.

Mike from Azores

Hey, John. Although I enjoyed watching the Jags get the win at Wembley in person, I'm still concerned about the lack of points by the offense! One touchdown and three field goals is not the production we expected! Why and how do we fix it?

The Jaguars still don't seem to be cohesive on the offensive line, and they're not making enough key plays in big moments – i.e., in the red zone and on third down. That's the critique. Here's the other reality: They have more than 700 yards offense in the last two games. They had multiple important, time-chewing drives Sunday. There was progress. There are good things happening. They seem to be gaining ground. How does it get fixed? Keep working.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Muma and Herndon!!! 4th quarter, finishing a game!! Looked like what good teams do.

Linebacker Chad Muma and cornerback Tre Herndon indeed made big plays late Sunday. So, too, did Allen. The offense also grinded its way to two big second-half field goals to extend the lead. Those things are what good teams do.

Marji from DeLand, FL

I'm confused as to why the NFL completely squashed NFL Europe a few years ago. Do you have any insight as to why they disbanded NFL Europe only to want to go global again?

It lost too much money. Teams also didn't always love allocating their players there. While on one hand it seemed a great way to develop a player, time in Europe for a young player low on an NFL roster was time away from the team during organized team activities. That wasn't always best for the player's chances of contributing to – or making the team.

David from The Island

Why is it a strip sack? A fumble was forced, but the quarterback was never tackled. If the offense recovers the fumble, is it still a strip sack?

Because the rules say so. Yes, if the offense recovers a sack/strip/fumble it's still a sack.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

A win is a win. Feels great. What's your assessment of the O-line? They have a good D line, was just hoping for at least the semblance of a hole for ETN.

The offensive line seems to have struggled at times this season. It looked like it really scrapped and fought Sunday against a good Atlanta front, and it really struggled to get any movement for running back Travis Etienne Jr. I'll try to get a better idea about this area when I rewatch the game, but that's how it looked Sunday at first glance.

Don from Marshall, NC

Travon Walker is going to be a star player so all you haters need to go hide and watch. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker, Don remains "all in."

Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland

O-man, after the game I was checking out the Red Zone and the "fake" crowd noise is out of control. Literally every play no matter how meaningless is at super crazy – 4th-and-goal from the 1 with one second left. It's super distracting. Could you please use your star power and connections to let them know they should chill out with the fake crown noises?

I don't care about this. It's not as if I "sort of" don't care. Or that I only care a little. It's that I don't care at all. I scarcely remember caring so little about a thing. It's remarkable in a way. I could go on about this. I won't.