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O-Zone: Everything

Ask the O-Zone

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I try not to get angry, or outraged, or any of the outlandishly annoying fan things that fans do in your inbox. But in defense of some, I think a lot of us are still waiting for the shoe to drop. Because for a long time, a lot of shoes have dropped. I'm not mad. We are 5-2, but I am unable to unclench. Did we beat the really good Buffalo Bills, or did they turn out to be bad? Did the New Orleans Saints game really come down to a second stringer dropping the ball? Did we sweep the Indianapolis Colts or did we beat a rookie and below-average backup quarterback? I love so much that football is not scripted television. But it's hard to get excited and not flinch. Forgive those of us who can't just get "all in."

I fear I can't give you the answer you seek. That's because I sense you want a definitive answer that the Jaguars are good and therefore will beat Teams X ,Y and Z and struggle with or lose to teams J, K and L. My sense is you want to know that the Jaguars absolutely, positively will make the postseason and go a certain depth in the postseason. I can't tell you that for sure, just as people talking about the Kansas City Chiefs can't tell you for sure what will happen in their season even though they have hosted the last five AFC Championship Games and are therefore the closest thing to a sure thing going in the NFL these days. The reality is the NFL is a sport where most games are decided in the final four-to-seven minutes no matter the perception of each team and no matter if one team is "much better" than the other. The 2022 Chiefs won the Super Bowl and 10 of their 17 regular-season games were decided by a score or less. They lost to a Colts team that won four games. They needed overtime late in the season to beat a Houston Texans team that was one of the league's worst that season. It doesn't matter how you perceive the Bills or the Saints or the Colts. What matters is the Jaguars won those games. They're 5-2 and leading the AFC South by a game and a half. If they play well the rest of the season and stay relatively healthy, they will get into the postseason. If they get there, I don't see any teams they can't beat. They also could lose to many of those teams. That's what contending in the NFL is. Enjoy it. These are the good times.

Andrew from Halifax, Canada

Are there some stats that back up how good Travon has been? I feel like his impact is huge in the run but if not stats, how do you describe that? Is he consistently closing gaps? Forcing bad angles?

Football isn't all statistics. Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker does consistently close gaps. He makes it difficult to run to his side. He collapses the pocket consistently and is a reason quarterbacks are often uncomfortable throwing. He draws help and double teams. The Jaguars' defense has played winning football in six of seven games. They have played at a really high level through a lot of those games. Walker is a reason. This doesn't mean he's an All-Pro. He's not perfect. He's not a sacks artist. Contrary to popular opinion, sacks don't define everything in the NFL.

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Hi, John. No question, just a comment. As a longtime season-ticket holder, it's nice to just sit back and enjoy a run of winning games. It doesn't matter who's catching or running the ball or scoring the points. We are winning and that's all that matters. It doesn't matter if it's by one point or 21 points. We are winning. We may or may not continue on this path, but for now, we are winning. Let's all just enjoy it.

Good one, Kevin.

Boxcutter Bill from Mass

You are what your record says is the old cliché, huh? The Steelers are inconsistent and a bit lucky. I know it's the NFL. Every team has guys, but is this a game the Jaguars should win? I feel like it is. The Jags are hot, well-rested and potentially getting healthier. I love when we play Steelers, brings me back to my childhood. Always a tough physical game. Duuuuuuuval

I would call this a game the Jaguars should win. In the NFL, you win a lot of those kinds of games and you lose some, too. The Steelers are really good in the fourth quarter, they never believe they're out of a game and they are used to making key plays at key times. They rush the passer well and have weapons offensively. That gives them a chance in any game. I don't expect Sunday to be easy for the Jaguars. I expect them to win. I wouldn't be stunned if they lose. It's professional football.

Clyde from Jacksonville

I do believe we have the better team versus the Steelers. I can see our beloved Jaguars growing week after week. Once we start putting teams away in the third quarter and fourth quarter, we'll be a Top 3 team at least. What's it going to take for the Jags to start really putting the foot on the necks of our opponents, taking all the hopes of coming back away?

Joining the Southeastern Conference.

Jud from Jacksonville

When a team "waives" a player, what does that mean?

When a team waives a player, the player goes off that team's roster and is on the NFL's waiver wire. At that point, teams may put in a waiver claim on the player. Teams are listed 1-32 in the waiver order based on their record. In Weeks 1-3, the waiver order is based on the previous season. The earliest team in the waiver order claiming the player is awarded the rights to that player. Players in their first four seasons generally are subject to waivers. Players with more than four accrued NFL seasons are released and become free agents eligible to sign with any team.

Ken from Jacksonville

Personally, I'm hoping none of our games get flexed. I'm old and go to bed early. Now get off my lawn.

You and me both, Ken. You and me both.

Pete from Jax Beach

A question about money. Does Rourke get a "regular game" check versus a practice squad check? As in MORE for being on game day squad.

You're referencing quarterback Nathan Rourke being signed off the Jaguars' practice squad to the active roster for last Thursday's game against the New Orleans Saints. Yes, he received a game check for at least an NFL minimum salary for that game as opposed to a practice-squad check. And yes, that's typically more money.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I thought the road win in New Orleans was impressive and am even more impressed with the fact that they have now "controlled " four games in a row. Do you think they have another level we haven't seen in full, yet?

Very possibly. I expect we'll see this team have a few games in which they play better than they have played yet this season. I expect they willwin those games in one-sided fashion. Those games could come against pretty much any level of opponent. I also expect they will have a few games in which they don't play well and lose.

Roger from Houston, TX

Hi John. If the season ended tomorrow, who would get the first-round playoff bye, Baltimore or Jacksonville?

Neither. The Chiefs as the No. 1 seed would get the AFC's only first-round bye. All other teams would play first-round games. The Miami Dolphins would be the No. 2 seed with the Ravens as the No. 3 seed and the Jaguars as the No. 4 seed.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Do you expect Zay Jones to play this weekend? Steelers need their luck to run out and the Jags are just the team to do it.

I do expect wide receiver Zay Jones to play against the Steelers Sunday. That's a projection based on Head Coach Doug Pederson saying late last week Jones could practice this week. I expect we'll have a better feel for this when Pederson addresses the media Wednesday.

Kat from Augusta, GA

It feels like this team has taken a massive step forward the last four games. While half the fan base complains about us not winning by enough, we haven't consistently led football games like this for a very long time. Is that what you see, O-Zone?

Complaints about not winning by enough in the NFL are the height of silliness. It's a league of inches, big plays, moments and small margins. Winning by one is enough. It's more than enough. It's everything.