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O-Zone: Fair grade

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gary from Wesley Chapel

Zone, So last season Week 1 the Jags beat the Colts, and then … 2-29. The Colts have not won at The 'Bank since 2014. Wouldn't it be nice if the Jags could scratch and claw and find a way to pull out a win, and book-end the absolute $#!/storm that has been the last two seasons with wins over a division rival! This offseason would be so much more satisfying if we could close the book on all of it, and look forward to a fresh start with a new head coach and everything that goes along with that. Yes, I know that no one in the NFL gives the Jaguars a chance to win this game, but fans are gonna fan right?

The Jaguars' six-game home winning streak over the Indianapolis Colts certainly ranks among the NFL's oddities in recent seasons. A struggling Jaguars team not only shut out a very good Colts team 6-0 in 2018, a Jaguars team that turned out to be the worst in the NFL beat a playoff-bound Colts team in the 2020 regular-season opener. This isn't a "matchup thing" because both rosters have changed dramatically since the streak began. I don't see it as a psychological thing, because it's not as though this has felt like a real rivalry in recent seasons; the Jaguars' poor record in recent season means they don't really have big "rivals." I suppose it's just odd. Really, really odd. And if the Jaguars win Sunday … well, that would be one of the odder things I have seen in 27 NFL seasons.

Red from O-Zone Comments Section

Hi, John. With no punter on the active roster is Darrell Bevell planning to "just go for it" on fourth down against the Colts instead of punting?

Punter J.K. Scott indeed was placed on reserve/COVID-19 Wednesday. Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell said Joseph Charlton – a second-year punter from South Carolina – will be elevated from the practice squad. As far Bevell just going for it on fourth down Sunday … I'd click on that.

Dad from the Chair

How did General Manager Trent Baalke become this fan base's red herring? It's so weird to me. There has been a collective whine about him from the fans for the last three or four weeks. It is as if he's actually done anything wrong while he's been a part of the Jaguars, and he hasn't. Everyone's perceived ills against him are from things that happened when he was the General Manager of the San Francisco 49ers and nothing to do with the moves he has made at the Jaguars helm. The moves he has made this year have actually been pretty good, considering how badly the team is performing. The CJ Henderson trade appears to have been a good move. Maybe let him generally manage before getting your tights in a wad, kids.

Hey, one fer Baalke …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Do you think whoever comes in will keep Joe Cullen? I think he did a great job, and we got the most out of the defense that was possible this season. I think with maybe a No. 1 overall pass rusher would make a difference along with additional help. Does player feedback/input affect effect the decision at all or is it whatever the new coach wants?

I think there's a good chance defensive coordinator Joe Cullen will be retained because Cullen has proven he is capable. There's no way to know if that will happen until we know the identity of the new head coach.

Fred from Naples, FL

I sent you an e-mail a few weeks ago stating that Shad Khan should sell the team. I was wrong and that e-mail was based on emotion when it was sent. Fans have every right to boo this team and stage any type of protest that they want. However, this Twitter thing with fans changing their handle to a clown emoji with a mustache is plain wrong as Shad has done many great things for the Jacksonville community as an owner. He has stabilized the franchise. He has made numerous terrible football decisions which we all have every right to criticize. I love the fact that we are all upset with the state of this teams won/loss record over this "lost decade." You know why? It shows we care. If this is not turned around soon apathy will be next and that is really difficult to turn around.

Hey, one fer not sending in the Clowns …

Art from Orange Park, FL

I don't get people who think the clown thing is too far. Of course Shad wants to win and stuff like that; he's a grown man with pride. But he hasn't gotten the job done and he continues to make the same mistakes (not cleaning house) over and over. The city of Jacksonville has been plenty patient with him over the past decade and it's not like they aren't paying for the team either in taxes or ticket prices. Fans are allowed to be mad and they're mad cause they care. The clown movement isn't directed at Shad the person, but at his decisions. This is no different than when other cities have shown up to games with bags over their heads.

… and one fer the clowns.

Al from Orange Park, FL

"Why would anyone even want the Jaguars coaching job?" Because folks who are the very best at what they do love a challenge. They want to be to one to take a mess, and fix it. From that perspective, who would be your favorite candidate? Do any have a "track record" of doing that very thing?

I like the idea of a candidate with head-coaching experience. Former Indianapolis Colts/Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell and former Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson seem to make the most sense considering their experience and reputation with quarterbacks. Former Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien has the same resume lines, which is why the Jaguars reportedly will interview him next week. The more you consider it objectively, the more the idea of O'Brien makes sense in that sense, too. The next few days/weeks will be interesting.

Ryan Apopka, FL

I live in Seminole County, which is just outside of Orlando, but always love a good Duuuvalll at any time of the day regardless of where I am from. One of my daughter's favorite things on game day as we go over the Matthews Bridge is to SCREAM DUUUUVALLL as loud as she can when she first sees the stadium. So don't think of it as where you are from but a rallying cry for your team!

Hey, one fer Duval …

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

_Maybe I'm being overdramatic, but this off season seems critical for the Jaguars. The fanbase appears to be at a tipping point. Right now, they are angry but still passionate about this team. How much longer, and how many more bad football moves, will it take before apathy sets in? Shad Khan thought he got it right last time, it's really important he gets it right this time.  _

Every head-coaching/general-manager change is critical to an organization. That's indeed particularly true when a team has lost as often for as long as the Jaguars. I don't know how to accurately measure interest or "apathy." I do know fans will support a winner and that fans will continue to be less interested on some level if the team continues to lose. But yeah … it's critical. Big-time.

Steve from Nashville, TN

My recollection is that the Jags have typically played the Colts "tough" in previous meetings. Does the chance to knock a team out of the playoffs this Sunday do anything to motivate the players and coaching staff?


Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I've found that even the Jets fans around here think TLaw is still very much a generational talent. Do you think it's strange that some of our fans think otherwise given how much talent our team lacks around him?

It's not strange that fans have lost faith in Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He has struggled the second half of the season, and the easy thing to do when a team and a quarterback struggles is to assume the quarterback is bad. That's not necessarily true, particularly for rookie quarterbacks in bad situations.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but how can we judge Lawrence one way or another this season? It's been a "crap" show since the offseason and he has many of the weapons on offense injured. Plus his receivers have been dropping to many passes that are thrown their way. This whole season of his feels more "incomplete" than anything else really. I know we as fans need to either crown or throw someone out after the first year, but this feels different.

Incomplete is probably the fairest, most-accurate grade for Lawrence this season.