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O-Zone: Don't give it away

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

This one scares me, Zone. Talk me down.

The Jaguars play the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Stadium Sunday. It's a game for first place in the AFC South with both teams tied for first with a 3-2 record. The game should concern Jaguars fans. All opponents are tricky in October compared to November and December when you occasionally run into teams waylaid by injuries or ready to "go away" if the "better team" starts taking control of the game. The other reason is more pertinent, and that's that the Colts are a much better team than observers believed entering the season. They have a good interior defensive line, a good offensive line and a strong running game. If the Jaguars can't solve the run and can't protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Colts are very capable of controlling – and winning – the game. I expect the Jaguars to win Sunday. I think they became mentally stronger team while winning two games in London the past two weeks, and I think they gained strength and confidence in big moments offensively and defensively there. I think Sunday will be close, but that the Jaguars will pull away in the fourth quarter. We'll see.

Reese from Loyal Jaguar fan in VA

... the next three games will definitely define our season most definitely. Go Jags!!

The Jaguars are 3-2. They play the Colts at home Sunday, the New Orleans Saints on the road the following Thursday and the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road the Sunday after that. The stretch could define the season, particularly if the Jaguars win or lose all three games. If they lose two or win two? Nah.

Mario from West Kelowna, BC

Juan O. Zona, if it was up to me, I'd have a bye week every week of the year so that I don't have to work all year long.


GungaDan from Jax

Hello, Mr. Zone. It seemed that last year wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. was the guy that caught the clutch balls on third downs to keep us rolling. No slight on wide receiver Calvin Ridley or wide receiver Christian Kirk, but I think that having wide receiver Zay Jones out for a bit showed us how much he contributes. Will his injury in the Bills game keep him from playing v. the Colts this weekend? Thanks.

Zay Jones indeed is perhaps as reliable as any Jaguars wide receiver on third downs. The team did miss him in his absence in Weeks 3 and 4 and he has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Colts with a knee injury. Ridley made some serious strides in this area against Buffalo, catching multiple big passes for first downs on third downs. Don't count him out as a go-to receiver in clutch situations moving forward. It feels like something is coming together between he and quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Al from Orange Park, FL

Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew II was a spark of excitement for us in an era when we had very little to be excited about. I still like him. I hope he still gets cheers when he steps on the field., despite that fact that he is now playing for the other team. Why not?

Because he plays for the other team?

Sam from Orlando, FL

Your Travon Walker answers have to stop. Your integrity still matters. You aren't allowed to call him a bust. We are. He's the No. 1 pick in the draft. Aiden Hutchinson is miles better. You aren't allowed to say that. We are. Not living up to expectations is considered being a bust. These are not the expectations for a No. 1 overall pick. Period. Do better.

I worry about many things. I don't worry about saying things that fans agree with just to make them happy and I sure don't worry about my integrity. Either way, how can I be expected to do better when I'm already so damned good?

Wade from Westside

People are making way too big a deal over jetlag. Then again, this team (prior years) had an issue being competitive on the west coast. Championship teams win and don't make time zones or jetlag an excuse.


Marc from Queens, NY

Is Calais Campbell a Hall of Famer and would he go in as a Jaguar?

I think former Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell has a decent chance to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If it happens, all the teams for which he played would be listed in his Hall of Fame biography. NFL players don't "go in as" a member of a particular team. That's a baseball thing because the players' plaques are designed with the cap of a particular team. A professional football player's Hall of Fame bust does not have a helmet.

Boxcutter Bill from Mass

Do you think people are thinking too much about coming back from London? The Jags been home a week now. They're not flying in Friday to play on Sunday. Jags win big Sunday, make another statement, and capture first place. Mark it down.

You go, girl.

Brendan from Yulee, FL

Would Danielle Hunter be a good fit considering he has played in a 4-3 defense? A lot of trade speculations out there!

Hunter has played in both a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme in his career with the Minnesota Vikings and he currently is an outside linebacker in mostly a base 3-4. But whatever. Pass rushers can usually pass rush regardless of scheme. To an extent.

Don from Marshall, NC

How long is it going to be before everyone in the NFL has stolen the Jaguar teal. Look at the Titans' uniform. My goodness, I see teal. I know the Oiler colors when I see it and that's not it. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to those Titans wearing Jaguars colors, Don is not "all in."

Brad from Orange Park, FL

Is it just me or does Mahomes not look like a goof with how his helmet sits on the top of his head, like it hasn't been pulled all the way down or something?

He looks pretty cool when he's holding Lombardi Trophies.

Donny from Heathrow, FL, Section 37, Day 2

Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke drafted cornerback Tyson Campbell, offensive tackle Walker Little, safety Andre Cisco and tight Luke Farrell in 2021. All are starters or key backups – and that doesn't include quarterback Trevor Lawrence (a no-brainer) and running back Travis Etienne Jr. (a pick it's fair to give former Head Coach Urban Meyer credit for). In 2022, Baalke drafted outside linebacker Travon Walker, linebacker Devin Lloyd, center Luke Fortner, linebacker Chad Muma, cornerback Greg Junior and Buster Brown who are all second -ear players in starting or back up roles as they continue developing. None of these picks are busts or wasted draft picks, at least not yet. Anyone already judging the 2023 draft, specifically offensive tackle Anton Harrison, just demonstrates a lack of intelligence about the NFL. Now add in the free agents Balke has brought in – specifically safety Rayshawn Jenkins, defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris, cornerback Darious Williams, guard Brandon Scherff, linebacker Foye Oluokun, kicker Brandon McManus, wide receiver Christian Kirk, wide receiver Zay Jones, defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi, tight end Evan Engram and returner Jamal Agnew. As to the Jags being good not great, after losing for many years, the Jags are 11-5 in their last 16 games coming off a playoff winning season in 2022 and the story on this season is not remotely written yet.

This references a recent O-Zone thread on this subject. It's well-put. I don't know how to accurately "credit" or "blame" a general manager for a draft such as 2021 when Baalke and Meyer were working together. They discussed players before the draft, then made selections based on those discussions – as is the case with Baalke and current Head Coach Doug Pederson. How to assess a general manager, then? Maybe this way. The Jaguars' roster was low on talent and depth when Baalke took over as general manager in 2021. Free agency had to be used at that point to make up for draft misses or for drafted players no longer with the team. Through free agency and drafting, a roster has been built that made the postseason last season and leads the AFC South through five games this season. Not every move or draft pick Baalke has made has worked. The same can be said of every general manager in NFL history. The Jaguars won 15 games of 65 games from 2018-2021. They have won 13 of 24 games in 2022-2023. Baalke would sure be blamed if the Jaguars were bad right now. Is it fair not to credit him when they're good?

Jon from American Fork, UT

Did I detect a Jason Isbell reference in the title of yesterday's O-Zone title?

Don't ever say your car is broke.