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O-Zone: Family affair

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it…

Tom from Jacksonville

The tank is in full swing. Khan and Caldwell must be partying it up; 1-15, here we come.

I understand frustration, but believe me: Owner Shad Khan and General Manager David Caldwell were not "partying it up" Thursday and no one around the Jaguars was happy with Thursday night's 31-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Losing intentionally wasn't what this season was about two weeks ago and one loss doesn't mean it's what the season is about now. The Jaguars aren't tanking. They believe they can play well and contend. They were right for two games. They didn't appear right Thursday. This never was going to be an easy season. I believed through the first two games it would be a scrapy team – but one that had to use that scrap to try to get squeeze six, seven or eight victories from a difficult schedule. It's not an experienced team. There are spots on the roster where you wonder if they have enough experienced front-line talent – particularly on the defensive line and in the secondary. That was going to be true before the season and it appears very true now. How the Jaguars respond to what happened Thursday will tell a lot about this team. But whatever happens, the "tank" won't be "in full swing."

Dan from Varna, Bulgaria

Wow, can we ask the NFL to not schedule us to play a nationally-televised game for the foreseeable future? The team manages to embarrass this organization year after year in those games.

The team won't do that because of course it won't, but yeah … it has been how many years since they had a cool prime-time victory? Oh … one.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

How confident are you now that the Jaguars will get to six wins? Feel free to round to the nearest 0.01% so people know it's "legit."


Jacob from New York, NY

I don't know why I was hoping Jags would be watchable this year. The first two games already seem like a mirage. Here is hoping we get a winning season once every decade or two. Wait: I need to ask a question. Why am I still a Jags fan?

Losing sucks, but I don't know that we can assume Thursday was reality while the first two games were a mirage. Yes, the Jaguars played poorly. No, I don't think they're a Super Bowl team. But might they be somewhere between World Champions and what we witnessed Thursday. That's possible.

Adam from St. Johns, FL

So you still think the Jags can win with this defense? The Jaguars will always show up small when anyone at all believes in them.

I don't recall saying the Jaguars could win with this defense. But maybe I did, Alan. Maybe I did.

James from Valdosta, GA

OZONE, not to make excuses for the Jags but do you think that them playing a more physical team in the Tennessee Titans than the Miami Dolphins had in playing the Buffalo Bills four days earlier affected the game? Jaguars looked drained from the beginning. I think this would have been a different game if played on Sunday. Forever cheering the Jags from Section 121!

I don't know that the Titans are much more physical than the Bills, though the Jaguars did look drained from the beginning. Would the game had been different had it been Sunday? Perhaps – if wide receiver DJ Chark and center Brandon Linder had played. Maybe.

Jerry from Blountville

Where is the pass rush? Can you tell the fans why defensive coordinator Todd Wash seems to refuse to blitz the passer? It seemed to me there were several occasions to try and pressure the quarterback despite the score, but there were always vanilla plays called. Is it time to take out the Wash?

The Jaguars brought pressure – more than usual – early. This was a topic when Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media after the game, and he expanded on it in his next-day media availability Friday. It's true that Wash is far from a blitz-happy coordinator, but Marrone said the Jaguars blitzed on all three downs early against the Dolphins. He also correctly noted that when you blitz against teams that are in good down-and-distance situations – which the Dolphins quite often were early Thursday – you're in far riskier situations than if you blitz a team that needs to throw deeper routes. But while Marrone expressed concern about the pass rush, his focus Friday was more on overall disruption – be it from the pass rush or the secondary. After defensing five passes in the opener, the Jaguars defensed two against Tennessee in Week 2 and none Thursday. Yes, the pass rush is a concern – and yes, I imagine the Jaguars will have to continue to blitz more (as they did Thursday). But if the Jaguars cover as they did Thursday, blitzing won't be the answer. It likely will just expose more issues.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

2017 – just three seasons ago, but seems like ancient history. Only defensive tackle Abry Jones and linebacker Myles Jack remain from that stellar starting defense. Linebacker Telvin Smith, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue gone by their own choice. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson, defensive Calais Campbell, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, cornerback A.J. Bouye, safeties Tashuan Gipson and Barry Church by franchise choice. Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny retired. Jump to 2020. The defense is atrocious. They appear to be playing hard but are not effective. Is it lack of talent? If so, then the head coach and general manager must be to blame. If the talent is okay, then the defensive coordinator must be to blame. Perhaps a combination of both, but as a certain head writer once said, "sometimes it's just time to move on." Jay Gruden is transforming the offense. Maybe a new defensive coordinator can do the same with the defense. Do you sense that Todd Wash is on a very hot seat?


Wyatt from Jacksonville

Two things. First, is Charm that important to Minshew's performance? Second I'd like to thank the Jaguars for making it clear early that I could just go to bed and get some sleep.

Charm is key to Minshew's appeal off the field, though it has comparatively little do with how he plays on the field; Chark matters a great deal, though. He's reliable, catches most passes when they're thrown his way and is good enough to dictate coverages and draw defenders from other receivers.

Andrew from Summerville, SC

These slow starts are keeping the Jags from playing to their full potential. If they're behind by 14 in the first quarter, the defense can rush the passer as hard as they'd like. Offensively, it keeps running back James Robinson (who averaged over four yards per carry) doesn't get as many touches as he should while Minshew is forced to pass more than he should, thus allowing opposing defenses to come after him like they have the last three weeks. This also means drives stall early, time of possession and field positions tilt toward the opponents, and the planets themselves fall out of alignment.

It's far better to be ahead in football than to be behind. And it's really bad to be behind by two scores. For many reasons, including many of which you cite.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

John: It's clear the Dolphins played a ton of soft zone and gave up underneath passes to limit big plays. Did the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts do this and we just missed it because the offense played well? It would seem Minshew may lack the arm strength to drive the ball into zone coverage on mid-range passes and this strategy could be effective against the Jags moving forward. On the flip side, could this also have been a symptom of not having DJ Chark Jr. to take the top off the D?

Teams had success doing this against Minshew last season. The Titans and the Colts appeared to do this at times, though not as much as Miami – and certainly with less success. But yes … this will be the approach against Minshew on some level – largely because of arm strength. As for your flip side, not having Chark absolutely hurt – not just because he and Minshew are really good together on deep throws, but because he is the Jaguars' best overall receiver and forces defenses to pay attention to him on every play.

Real Deal Kiel from Los Angeles, CA

Oh, it's like y'all are the same (expletive deleted) trash circus as you've always been. Stop feeding fans Kool-Aid, you pathetic (expletive deleted): "Oh, their ceiling is six-eight wins" every (expletive deleted) year. Nice prediction, (expletive deleted). Try growing a ("sort of" expletive deleted) and being real about the fact that you obviously will never be successful in this league, ever. You're such a piece of (expletive deleted). I hope one of your "fans" slaps the (expletive deleted) out you one of these days. Have fun going 4-12 again – or maybe 6-10 – cuz that's soooooooo much better, right?

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