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O-Zone: Credit and blame

JACKSONVILLE – One more day to Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Glenn from Tampa, FL

John, Trevor just looked off Sunday. This was tough as a fan. So many great chances, and so many mistakes. Dang.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence called Sunday's 17-9 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at EverBank Stadium sloppy. He also called it frustrating. And embarrassing. He talked afterward of everyone offensively having a part in the struggles. Few players afterward seemed to disagree. The Jaguars didn't score a touchdown for the first time since Week 5 2022. They scored nine points on three red-zone possessions. They scored three points on two red-zone drives in the fourth quarter when a touchdown and a two-point conversion would have tied the game on both series. Yes, Lawrence was off Sunday. The offensive line also struggled. The timing between Lawrence and receivers was a bit off, too. Many elements were off offensively. These days happen sometimes – even to really good offenses. I expect the offense to improve. Head Coach Doug Pederson's history and this team's offensive personnel suggest that will happen.

Chad from San Diego, CA

Zone. Very disappointing home opener. Play-calling on offense seems to lack situational awareness and sticking to what's working in favor gimmicky play calls that destroy momentum. [Head Coach] Doug [Pederson] is towing the line between being fearless and just recklessly stupid on fourth. The season is young, so there is hope. However, we are not ready to be in the conversation with top teams. Not. Happy.

Play-calling usually is solely judged on a play's results. Because so much more goes into the success of a play than the call, this is an unfair – and often inaccurate – way to judge this. That doesn't mean we'll stop judging play-calling this way any time soon. Or ever. I just sort of wanted to point out the unfairness of the situation because of it being September and there being a loooooong season ahead of us and all.

Jason from Jacksonville

The Jags' offense is broken. How do they fix it? That defense looks pretty good, though.

It's Week 2.

Robert from Middleburg, FL

On the almost-touchdown by Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones in the second quarter, it's clear he ended up being out of bounds only because of the push by the defender. Do you hate this rule as much as I do? If I'm a defensive back on ANY play near the sideline or back of the end zone, I'm not even concerned about playing the ball. My sole focus is just going to be on pushing the receiver out of bounds. Terrible rule that shouldn't be allowed.

The league implemented this rule late in the decade of the 2000s, removing what long was known as the force-out rule. That rule said an official could rule a pass complete if officials ruled that the defender had forced the receiver out of bounds when he otherwise would have gotten two feet in bounds. The reason for removing the force out rule is that the league whenever possible removes judgement from officiating. With the force-out rule there's much more judgement involved than without. I don't hate the rule as much as you, but I don't love it. What's surprising is the rule favors the defense. Not too many rules go that way these days.

Don from Norfolk, VA

So much for our high-powered offense! Three field goals? Really??

The NFL is hard.

James from Socorro, NM

0/4 in the red zone won't win any games in the NFL.

The Jaguars scored two field goals on three red-zone possessions Sunday. That usually doesn't win in the NFL, either.

David from Eau Claire, WI

Missed opportunities left and right. Can't argue losing to the best team ever by eight.

The Chiefs have been the best team in the NFL over the last half-decade. I'm hard-pressed to call them the best NFL team ever, particularly the version we saw Sunday. But you're correct about missed opportunities. The NFL is a league of big moments and big plays. When you fail in those situations, it changes game circumstances dramatically. The Chiefs are one of the best teams in the NFL in these moments and the Jaguars knew the game likely would be decided by those moments. The Jaguars failed in big moments in a big way Sunday. They scored six points on five first-half possessions past midfield. They scored six points on three red-zone possessions. They lost a fumble on the first play after a fumble gave them possession at the Chiefs 37. You can win some NFL games like that. Those games usually aren't against elite teams.

Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland

O-man, turns out we weren't even close to being ready to compete. Hats off to our defense for giving us a chance, but it's time to start tempering our expectations of our offensive talent. That was an embarrassing home opener. How are we going to right this ship?

The Jaguars lost to the defending Super Bowl champions and had two chances to tie in the red zone in the fourth quarter. They didn't win. They were ready to compete and competed. How do you right the ship? Block better. Coach better. Read defenses better. Etc.

James from Springfield, VA

There is a clear difference between the teams. The Jags are not in the same class as the Chiefs and probably won't be this season or next.

The Jaguars lost to the defending Super Bowl champions and had two chances to tie in the red zone in the fourth quarter. They didn't win. There was not a major class difference between the teams.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, it is only one game early. It would have been nice to get the jump on home field advantage in a playoff format, but little else mattered from this game. Our division is what is important. Did you sense a little frustration from the coaching staff after the game? Doug seemed that way to me and we saw [Offensive coordinator] Press [Taylor] pounding the table in the booth. That is the first time we have witnessed this from this staff. Are they taking this game too hard?

Players were frustrated. Coaches were also frustrated. Pederson talked Monday about everybody – players and coaches – perhaps pressing a bit. And struggling. And forcing things a bit. This stems from everyone wanting to win and make a big play happen. Pederson wants the players to "play to the offense" rather than try so hard to make plays. I expect the offense to be simplified a bit next week with the game plan a bit more specific and fewer options within the play. That was the vibe I got from Pederson Monday.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

I am not buying all this play calling nonsense. If two of those "almost touchdowns" are inbounds (instead of being out by 12 or less inches each) people would be hailing the play-calling as genius. I didn't like going for it on 4__th__- and 5 - that felt a step too aggressive for my liking – but this is not about play-calling. This is about execution. Block better, throw better, make better reads. If the players on offense executed the called plays better, the Jags would have won by 10. If you had a poll pregame that said the defense would hold the Chiefs to 17, we all would have picked the Jags to win.

Good eye.

Jami from Claxton, GA

What's the opposite of Wow? We saw it Sunday.


Cole from Jacksonville

Great effort by the defense, a bit disappointed by the offense but the most surprising thing to me was why the heck were there so many Chiefs fans at this game?! Disappointed in Duval for not packing the stadium. Gotta do better at protecting the bank.

The Chiefs are a popular team whose fans "travel well." Popular teams whose fans travel well typically have fans in opposing teams' stadiums. This is not a "Jacksonville" thing or a "Jaguars" thing. It's an NFL thing.

Rob from Jax

Maybe help rookie right tackle Anton Harrison on occasion with a chip from a running back or tight end on his side? How many times would you let a rookie get whooped before you help him out against one of the best in the NFL, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.


Izzy from GCS

First press conference I've seen where Coach looks visibly upset. They say coaches are talking to three people at these conferences (media, coaches, and players).

I've seen Pederson look upset after games before. He looked upset Sunday. That's OK. He had reason to be upset.

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

If Pederson is going to get credit for being aggressive, then he needs to get the blame for being foolhardy. The Jags had their opportunities to score and missed, but the head coach doesn't need to put his team in a disadvantage with decisions that are – at best – questionable.

Sometimes you kill the bear. Sometimes the bear kills you.