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O-Zone: Dream team

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Douglas from Jacksonville

I know some may have a kneejerk reaction to this question, but do you think we should consider trading running back Leonard Fournette and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr? Injuries continue to plague Fournette, and Fowler could be marketable now. Both could get us draft picks. Thoughts?

No and no. Fournette is a team captain and a focal point of the offense. Even if you thought you could get fair value for him – which always is a question when trying to trade a running back – how do you replace him at the position? How do you replace the physicality? And the speed? And what message does it send to the team to trade a player when you have built your offense around his style? No – it’s a non-starter and not a consideration. As far as Fowler, he’s scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following this season, so there is a school of thought that you can get value for him before losing him. But remember: a team trading for Fowler would also be in position to lose him after the season unless they re-signed him, so they would have to commit a lot of money to him quickly to avoid that. How much would they be willing to give the Jaguars in that scenario? And would that be enough for the Jaguars to part ways with a player who – as we have seen – could help them a great deal this season? Doubtful. The Jaguars look very deep on the defensive line right now. They wouldn’t look nearly as deep without Fowler.

Yoonohoo from Jacksonville

O, You can say hello. You don't need to duck and pretend ya didn't see me.

Nah.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

Do you think the Titans are imposters? I do, but what do I know? Don't answer that last question.

No, I don’t think the Titans are imposters. They made the playoffs last season, and they’re 1-1 this season with their starting quarterback battling injuries, their two starting offensive tackles out and without their Pro Bowl tight end. I don’t know that they’re a great team, but they’re obviously a team that knows how to win and fight through adversity. Hell, they beat the Jaguars twice last season. How can you not consider them for real?

Logan from Wichita, KS

The game in front of us is bigger than the last one. It's a trap game. It's our despised rivals and our despised past. This is a must win!

Of course it is.

A concerned fan for the future of the sport

How was Clay Matthews hit on Kirk Cousins a foul? Another two or three years and quarterbacks will be wearing flags. Maybe I should watch soccer where tacking is still legal.

I didn’t think call on Matthews was all that ridiculous. The league is trying to get situations out of the game in which defenders unnecessarily put their weight on a quarterback when it’s avoidable. The Matthews play looked avoidable to me. But hey: I’ve been wrong before. Maybe I’m wrong about this one.

David from McAlester

Why am I suddenly offering to buy everyone a beer? Why am I shouting encouraging expletives and pumping my fist for no apparent reason? Why do I have a cocky smirk on my face that just won’t go away? It's got to be swagger. My Jags gave me back my swagger.

You go, girl.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Fans might want to watch Josh Wells play before they try to replace him. He is a very good player and might be better than you think.

The way I look at the Wells situation is this: He has been here for five years. Head Coach Doug Marrone coached him for two seasons as the offensive line coach. The team trusted him enough to be the swing tackle. He has not always played great when called upon, but he played well this past Sunday. He has only had four starts, so it’s quite possible he will improve. I don’t anticipate him playing perfectly moving forward, but it’s very possible that he will play well enough for the Jaguars to win with him.

Steve from Jacksonville

Watching a replay of the Vikings-Packers game, it got me thinking: if the receiving team in overtime kicks a field goal, then successfully executes an onside kick, do they immediately win the game?

Yes.

Ben from Davidson, FL

I used to have that feeling with the Jags in crucial moments similar to .... “We just need one pin, Rodney” .... but now it’s more like “Wormer, he’s a dead man” ... you feel me?

Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, Ben.

Chris from Bethlehem, PA

Hello, Mr. Oehser: Last year, the Jaguars trounced the Ravens in London. The Ravens' defensive coordinator was none other than the Titans’ current defensive coordinator, Dean Pees. This gives me hope that the Titans’ defense won’t have the nagging tendency to embarrass the Jaguars’ offense. Am I crazy?

I anticipate the Titans’ defense will play well Sunday, but I expect the Jaguars to fare better against Tennessee than was the case last season. But I think that will have more to do with the Jaguars’ offense being better this season. Remember, too: the Jaguars’ offense committed a slew of penalties in Week 2 last season that they struggled to overcome, then the Week 17 game was played in extremely difficult weather conditions. There’s no reason to think the Jaguars won’t improve on those two performances.

Matt from Bartow, FL

John, I don’t want to go too far here. It’s the second game of the season. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles just played the game of his life. If he keeps going like this, even 80 percent of this, I feel like the Jags are the team to beat. What say you?

Well, yeah.

Stephen from Jacksonville

The biggest difference I’ve noticed in the two games played this season is the much-improved defensive performance against the run – aside from Saquon Barkley’s long touchdown run in Week 1. The defense has so far appeared to more quickly swarm the ball and make better tackles of the carrier. While few observers would consider the Giants and Patriots to be strong running teams, the defense’s impressive first two weeks merits our acknowledgement. What are your thoughts on the run defense thus far and how do you expect them to perform against a strong, running team this week?

The Jaguars’ defense with a few exceptions has been good against the run since trading for nose tackle Marcell Dareus last October. They are a fast front seven overall, and Dareus’ presence makes them stout in the middle. I don’t expect them to struggle in that area so long as those two elements remain the same.

Josh from Green Bay, WI

I'm sure we all are aware, but 20 is 2-0, just like the Jags.

I’m not smart enough to quite get this, and I’m OK with that.

Mike from High Springs

For ALL the bright spots surrounding this team, I have to mention how nice it is knowing we have a special teams group that doesn't make you peek through your fingers when their name is called. From kicker Josh Lambo to punter Logan Cooke to the entire squad. Do you see any areas of concern in this group? I think they have been overshadowed by all the other bright areas.

I don’t see any concerns yet. The Jaguars put a major emphasis on improving the area in the offseason. So far, so good.

Lou from Atlantic Beach, FL

Johnny-O! The HooDoo Guru's or Iggy Pop to start off a tailgate?

The Hoodoo Gurus, because Mars Needs Guitars.

Al from Memphis, TN

I honestly feel as though the Jaguars as a whole are perhaps the best team in the AFC. At the same time, I feel like any of our divisional games could go either way. With that being said, is it odd I'm more worried now about the Titans match-up then I was the whole week building up to the bradyiots?

It’s not odd. The Jaguars controlled much of the AFC Championship Game against New England in January. They played the Titans twice and were never in control of the game.

LtDannyBoy from Tampa, FL

Hey John. I have the love/hate feelings for BB, but always have respected his demeaner and toughness. Has he ever been on the DL? Thanks.

Bortles never has missed an NFL game because of an injury.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Hey, John … I think this team must be a senior writer’s dream. #DTWD

A senior writer’s dream is to be independently wealthy with one house on a secluded beach, and another on an equally secluded mountain – and to be secluded with no access to email in one of those locales with a cabinet of good bourbon and a phone with no Twitter app. But within your implied context, sure … this team is fine.

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