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O-Zone: Confidence men

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Drew from Atlanta, GA

I believe the intense level of current frustration is because you could argue that all five losses this year were largely self-inflicted. Poor ball protection, bad penalties (bad calls sometimes, too) and now coach forgetting that those extra points and field goals matter. It's more painful to lose when you beat yourself. But on the plus side, they are not getting crushed because the other teams are vastly superior. And they have been in every game. So very painful, but better than it feels ...

The Jaguars indeed are 2-5 in 2022 with all losses by a score or less. When you lose by a score or less in the NFL, losses are often self-inflicted because those games usually come down to a play or two – and therefore a mistake or two. And that's absolutely frustrating. Regarding Head Coach Doug Pederson's thoughts on extra points and field goals: He knows points matter. That's why he's aggressive pursing as many as possible. I note this not because fans don't have every right to dislike Pederson's decisions as much as to remind those fans he doesn't necessarily look on failed fourth-down conversions or two-point conversions as judgment errors as much as failure to execute plays. This is not Pederson taking a casual or cavalier attitude; it's how he coaches because this is how he wants the Jaguars to play and because he believes it will be their best chance to win as much as possible in the long run. The aggressive approach in these situations isn't going to stop. When it works, he will be lauded. When it doesn't, he will be criticized. He prefers the former, but he also seems to be able to live quite comfortably with the latter.

John from Cape May Court House

What's really frustrating is the amount of resources spent on the defense in the offseason and the results not being anywhere close to being good enough. That is all. As you were.

That indeed is frustrating. It should be remembered that a lot of those resources were draft selections, and any expectation for rookies should be tempered in the short term. Either way, the defense in recent weeks has not played as well as was expected.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. I know it is early, but do you think it was the right decision to draft Travon Walker over Aidan Hutchinson or one of the O-liners?

You answered your question before you asked.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

The Jags must believe they can't sweep the Titans or that Sam Ehlinger is about to take the league by storm because by trading James Robinson for a lottery ticket they have admitted this season is over. Just a little surprised in this division they are already throwing in the towel and probably focusing their energy on figuring out who the worst first-round wide receiver will be and preparing to draft him or maybe going full tank so they can get another edge. My guess is Jags will be 6-8, Colts 6-7-1, Titans 7-7 when Travis Etienne Jr. gets three-week high ankle sprain. Does anyone in this organization have any vision at all ?

I doubt the Jaguars will win the AFC South and I expect the Tennessee Titans to finish better than you apparently expect. Either way, running back James Robinson in the last four games averaged 7.5 carries and 27.5 yards. The Jaguars trading Robinson this week to the New York Jets in no way indicates how they feel about the season and it's not them "admitting" anything as much as it was trading a player whose role in the offense was diminishing and who was nearing the end of his rookie contract. Maybe Robinson will star with the Jets. Perhaps the Jaguars were wrong to trade him. But that's how they viewed the deal.

Clayton from Shawnee, OK

This team continues to learn how to lose games. Draft talking is coming your way.

Not until late January it's not. Not here anyway.

Garrett from Edgewater

Zone, I keep hearing media types talking about Travon Walker. They all agree that he's going to be a great player, but possibly not a pass rusher. I agree. I don't see many moves out of him and we're clearly not generating enough pressure. If he is going to be great but not a pass rusher, where will he be great? Is he big enough to play a three technique? I don't see him as much of a run-and-chase kind of guy. Where would he be best utilized?

Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, to date has played on the edge. He indeed must further develop as a pass rusher – which was expected in his case as a rookie and not all that rare in any case for a young pass rusher. Should the Jaguars decide to move him, he is very capable of playing pretty much any other defensive line position other than perhaps nose tackle – and he could be particularly capable of playing a three-technique position.

A fan from Palm Beach Gardens, FL

That's the dumbest trade in Jaguars history. James Robinson was special. Look at the tape. Jaguars should have built their team around his consistent quality with Travis Etienne Jr. as an added, explosive compliment. If the Jaguars had leaned more heavily on J-Rob in some of these close games, the record may be different. Just beside myself over this trade and I'm sure I'm not in the minority.

So, one not fer the trade evidently …

Richard from Jacksonville

All the talk is about J-Rob right now. This seems more about running backs below him on the depth chart. They are playing at a high enough level to allow us to get savvy and gain a pick for an undrafted player. They like the young, first-contract backfield. This is how you save money regarding the cap: Stay young, healthy and first contract at the running back position. This was a long-term decision that has the potential to be helpful in the future. This is different than trades in the past where we "dominate the 6th round."

… and one fer the trade.

Mike from Jacksonville

Does Pederson get involved in the defense on game days? Caldwell appears incapable of adjusting the scheme to address the opponents offensive game plans.

Pederson has minimal play-to-play involvement on defense on game days. He is involved on both offense and defense during the week. Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell has made in-game adjustments this season. There's sometimes a limit to the effectiveness of such adjustments if players don't execute.

Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

O, Until the Jags start winning, they are the "same old Jaguars."

OK.

John from Jacksonville

Etienne lacks breakaway speed. He has been run down on every significant run he's had.

This may be fair, but he has had a run of at least 27 yards in four of seven games this season and he's averaging nearly eight yards per carry over the last three games. That's a remarkably consistent level of explosiveness in the 30-to-40-yard range.

Matt from Tampa, FL

I'd like to say the recurring mistakes we're all seeing on Sundays is only by the rookies, but it's not. Some of these (highly paid) vets aren't stepping up to the challenge.

Sometimes, yes.

Bo from Linwood, NC

I feel like the Jags have two young athletic bookend linebackers and a stout interior line when healthy. How are we failing to generate more of a pass rush? Is it more of a scheming issue, athletic ability, veteran leadership? What are your thoughts?

A couple of issues stand out. One is that teams are playing up-tempo schemes offensively designed to keep the Jaguars from being able to substitute to get to their ideal pass-rushing packages. There also have been times when coverage issues have allowed quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly, thereby negating the pass rush. This has been the case in recent weeks, particularly in a Week 6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It's also overall a good-but-perhaps-not-great pass rush, which enables the abovementioned techniques to work more effectively than they might against a great pass rush.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Watching other games around the league ... our punter is pretty good.

Yep.

Marc from Duval

There have been several head coaches who have called their own plays and found success. However, it seems to be becoming a trend that perhaps Doug the Offensive Coordinator is in need of mediation from Doug the Head Coach. At the end of the day, Doug the Head Coach will win out over anyone's opinion on this staff in-game, but should there be someone there to give some pause when these down and distance situations present themselves?

Doug the offensive poordinator and Doug the head coach share a Super Bowl ring. That gives them the confidence that perhaps their approach can work.

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