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O-Zone: Fever pitch

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jerry Longtime Fan from Jacksonville

John, with running back Leonard Fournette injured, will – or can – the Jaguars bring Brandon Wilds in from the practice squad?

Yes, running back Brandon Wilds can be signed from the practice squad. I expect the Jaguars will do just that on Saturday afternoon – no matter how they feel about Fournette's status for Sunday. If the Jaguars know Fournette won't play Sunday, they could want Wilds active because they need numbers at the position. If they believe Fournette will play Sunday, they could want Wilds active in case Fournette can't make it through the game healthy. And if Wilds is active on Sunday, I believe he will play – and play well. Running back is a position where a player can make an impact with little experience. The key will be how the offense – and offensive line – functions around him.

Scott from Daytona Beach, FL

Been waiting nine months for this game. I took my son to the AFC Championship Game and it was a heartbreaking finish. We'll be wearing our Myles Jack Wasn't Down shirts and cheering for the boys from DUUUUVVAAALLL. And, of course throwing peanuts at Patriots fans as they did to us. Don't tell security it was us.

Go big or go home, Scott.

Nate from St. Petersburg, FL

In reading article after article about how amazing our defense is (it is), I keep seeing it being compared to the same three defenses: 1985 Bears, 2000 Ravens, and the Seahawks' Legion of Boom. I grew up and live in Tampa. I don't like the Bucs, but their 2003 championship team had three Hall of Famers (John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp), one current finalist (Ronde Barber) and a guy in Simeon Rice who finished his career with 122 sacks. How do you think that Bucs team stacks up against the aforementioned four powerhouses? Thanks!

That Buccaneers' defenses of that era belongs in the conversation with the best defenses of the last 40 or 50 years; not only was it key to that team that won the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, it helped the Buccaneers be a perennial playoff team for a half-decade before that. The 1970s Steelers' defenses for some reason fail to get mention on some of these lists; that's negligent considering the Steelers' defense defined an era and turned in perhaps the best defensive season in NFL history in 1976. Another defense that is often omitted: the 2015 Broncos. That defense stifled the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game and throttled the Carolina Panthers with a lockdown secondary and ferocious pass rush. My guess is that defense will be looked upon more favorably as time goes on.

Alex from Orlando, FL

What is going on with the podcasts? I thought this was supposed to fixed by now.

We remain hopeful the situation will improve. (Editor's Note: Until the situation improves, search for and subscribe to "Jacksonville Jaguars Recent" on podcast providers.)

Scott from Jacksonville

You mind if I add an 11ththing? Limit penalties, particularly the mental mistake, pre- and post-snap type.

This refers to our Friday post on outlining 10 things the Jaguars must do to beat the Patriots." This is a good No. 11. It would have been good somewhere in the Top 10, too.

Brandon from Jacksonville

A lot of talk about Blake Bortles' play, how the running game is going to play out, or the defense owning. Do you think the Jaguars' special teams could play a part in this game? I mean, they did seal the deal last week against the Giants, so I'm wondering what kind of an effect they could have in this one.

Speaking of 10 things, one of the "things" I mentioned Friday was the importance of hidden yardage – i.e., punt returns or kick returns. This area hurt the Jaguars in a big way late in the AFC Championship Game when Jaguars punter Brad Nortman's short punt led to a point-blank drive that ended with the Patriots' game-winning touchdown. The Jaguars play a style that emphasizes field position. When teams that emphasize field position play good teams, the emphasis becomes all the greater.

Fred from Naples, FL

All I see or read about is how Corey Grant can get more touches since there is a chance that Leonard Fournette might not play (game-time decision). What I am not seeing or hearing much about is T.J. Yeldon. People seem to forget how great he looked in the preseason. I believe he is more than "adequate" enough to hold his own in the running game. I was pleased to see how upset Fournette got when one of the Jacksonville media extraordinaires asked him about how much of a downgrade Yeldon was than Fournette. Obviously, Leonard sees his value as well. By the way, does the media script these questions ahead of time? It's hard to believe they would put such time in to ask these thought-provoking, insightful questions out there.

That actually wasn't the question. What happened was a reporter asked Fournette a question with the premise that many people perceived Yeldon to be a downgrade from Fournette. Fournette understandably said he perceived that idea to be a disrespect to Yeldon – and Fournette added that he didn't feel that way. As far as the Jaguars' approach with the running backs if Fournette doesn't play, I would expect to see Yeldon get the bulk of the carries and I would expect to see Wilds get a share, too. I would expect to see Grant get more carries than he had last Sunday (one), though not as many as Yeldon and perhaps not as many as Wilds.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, keep James White in check and win?

Hit quarterback Tom Brady, then force turnovers and win.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Mr. Zone, the Jaguars or going to defeat the Patriots Sunday. Do you know why?


Matthew from Huntington Beach, CA

Is there a possibility for the NFL to move the game to a night time slot, or is the 1:25 p.m. time set in stone?

The Jaguars-Patriots game will start at 4:25 p.m. Sunday. The NFL has the ability to flex games for the benefit of television later in the season, but even in that scenario the league wouldn't move a game time so close to scheduled kickoff.

Mike from Jacksonville

Do you think our Jags will open up the playbook a little more on offense this Sunday?

When and if the situation calls for it, yes.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

I really like Doug Marrone, but I find the "I-don't-watch-the-Super-Bowl" thing a little odd, especially considering there was a clear learning moment in last year's Super Bowl. Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson stayed aggressive in the fourth; Marrone didn't. Pederson has even commented on this. It's inarguable one strategy had superior results. I'd like to think our head coach is open to learning from those who've achieved what he's hoping to achieve.

I get that it has become gospel that Marrone coached the wrong way in the AFC Championship Game – and that Pederson coached the right way in the Super Bowl. That's what happens when one team loses and the other one wins. It's never that clear-cut, but hey … gospel is gospel. Either way, Marrone didn't need to watch the Super Bowl for a "teaching moment." He has coached in the NFL for the better part of two decades. He has seen enough situations and philosophies that he certainly understood his options in the AFC Championship Game. He made his decisions based on the circumstances facing his team at the time. Pederson made his decisions in the Super Bowl based on the circumstances facing his team at that time. To think that Marrone needed to watch the Super Bowl to learn this, frankly, a bit insulting.

Dave from Duuuvalll

Hey Johnny O, rookie wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. did a great job as the gunner on punt coverage teams against the Giants. That's great and I get it. But, wouldn't it be next to impossible for Chark to be in on a Jags third-down play and run a go route then turn around and run down the field on fourth down on punt coverage? I guess it appears the Jags have kind of negated their best deep threat.

There is some merit to this. I expect the Jaguars to use Chark on special teams because he's good at it, but as he becomes more critical to the offense you could see him used on special teams more judiciously.

Grant from Fernandina Beach, FL

I'm standing on my keyboard yelling at the screen ... THIS IS A STATEMENT GAME!!!!!!!!

Breathe, Grant …

Grant from Fernandina Beach, FL

As much as you want to calm us down and keep your article as calm as possible … YOU KNOW THIS IS OUR TEST!

… Grant? …

Grant from Fernandina Beach, FL

AND! … this will give us some respectability with our peers … NFL Network and ESPN!

… ah, forget it.

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