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O-Zone: Frustrating and rewarding

JACKSONVILLE - Let's get to it...

Bo from Winter Springs, FL

You were pretty much right about everything. Good close game to the end, defense really helped us stay in it. Inconsistent play from a new team. There's always next week!

I don't know if I was right or wrong. I honestly don't even remember the question. What I do know is the Jaguars' 28-22 loss to the Washington Commanders Sunday sort of played out as I expected and sort of surprised me, which is sort of normal for an NFL regular-season opener. My biggest, quick-trigger takeaway was it was impressive for the Jaguars to respond to many first-half mistakes/missed opportunities and rally from a disheartening 14-3 halftime deficit with one of this team's strongest stretches in recent memory to start the second half. My second biggest quick-trigger takeaway is considering how well the defense in the preseason, you thought it would hold an eight-point fourth-quarter lead. Bottom line: This was Week 1. This team is improved and there was much Sunday from which to build. And there is a lot of hope in the long-term. But the Jaguars also are going to have stop making avoidable mistakes to have better immediate results.

Kevin from Floresville, TX

So, even with a season-opening loss, the Jaguars are only half a game out of first place in the division. You've written that Week 1 in the NFL can be weird, but would you have guessed that?

Would I have guessed it? No, because I wouldn't have thought of the possibility. But was I surprised that the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans tied? And that the Tennessee Titans lost? No, I wasn't surprised. Nothing is really surprising in Week 1 in the NFL.

Mitch from Duval

Not sure I understand the high draft investment in linebackers when the lines are both clear problems.

Did you watch Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd play Sunday?

ShanghaiStevie from Jacksonville

"You must have a franchise quarterback to win in this league…" We've had the guy for a year plus. We still are awful. We played a garbage team with a garbage quarterback in his first year in a system. Got our ass handed to us. It sucks to be a Jags fan; $1,000 in the hole traveling to see a team lay an egg. Garbage, garbage, garbage. Awful, terrible football against a team that we should have beat. So many years you, Ozone, blamed out ineptitude on a lack of quarterback. Now what can you blame it on? Shad Khan is an awful NFL owner unless you judge by profits over a quality product. Shame on everyone associated with the team. Garbage. I want my money back.

I admit I'm a bit surprised at the anger and unrest in the inbox Sunday evening, though considering the high expectations in recent weeks I perhaps shouldn't be that surprised. The Jaguars were really bad the past two seasons. They're better now. It's difficult to go from really bad to really good in one game. I saw a lot of good things Sunday, a lot more positives than negatives. I like a lot more about the future of this team than I have in a long time. I'm guessing Steve doesn't want to hear that right now.

Brian from Section 238

Having spent my hard-earned dollar on a road trip, I'm disappointed but not dead k.

Well, we have this to celebrate today.

Paul from Saint Johns

Did you see enough great throws from Lawrence to make you think he is the franchise guy against Washington? I saw several missed throws on Lawrence's part and multiple times that Zay Jones was wide open and not targeted.

I watch Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence closely every game. I don't expect to know beyond a doubt based on any one game – or any group of throws in one game – whether he is the franchise guy. I believe strongly he will be very, very good. Beyond that, I'm watching like everyone else.

Derek from Brookings, SD

A very Jekyll and Hyde feel for the first game of the season. While still a loss, this felt different in that it was a competitive game; and if they didn't miss a few opportunities, they would have been protecting more of a lead. Thoughts?

I think we were watching the same game.

Ryan from Reality

Same as it ever was, Zone. Defense can't hold a lead, Trevor makes a bad decision trying to be the hero, and someone commits a bonehead penalty when we absolutely can't afford one. Who knew Groundhog Day was in September?

I've been accused in the wake of Sunday's game of being too positive about this loss. This is possible. Contrary to what many believe, I am not without flaw – and I graded the Jaguars Sunday on something of a curve because I was looking for improvement and not greatness. But curve or not, I can't see Sunday's game as "same as it ever was." The Jaguars had a rough start Sunday. And it looked in the first half as if the game was getting out of hand. But the Jaguars took control of the game from the second quarter until about midway through the fourth. They blew too many red-zone opportunities in the first half. They couldn't hold a late lead. But this was a team that had been abysmal the last two seasons. They haven't won on the road since 2019. They didn't win Sunday, but they were competitive and an argument could be made they should have won. They looked like better team for a long stretch. That wasn't enough, but it didn't feel like Groundhog Day.

Big on Blake from Philly

Worst game I've ever seen. I'm not wasting three hours of my Sundays on this garbage until they can prove they can play. Maybe you could send me an email in early November and let me know how the teams doing.

I understand frustration. But if that was the worst game you ever have seen you haven't watched the Jaguars play in recent seasons.

Jay from So-Cal

Let me spare you...Missed opportunities. The game...

Good eye.

Eric from Jacksonville

Remember there are no moral victories in the NFL. This is a results business and a loss is still a loss.

Fair.

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

The Jaguars ran the ball, stopped the run, and won the turnover battle, but didn't win the game. Why? Did having three times as many penalties as Washington cost the Jags a win?

That didn't help. But giving up a 49-yard too-quick touchdown pass after taking an eight-point lead hurt worse. And getting just three points on three first-half red-zone trips? Well, that may have been the unkindest cut of all.

Ken from Northport

It was nice to have a lead in the fourth quarter. Progress.

Yes, it was. It's not enough. Not for fans. Not for the coaches. Not for the players. But this team looks better now than most games last season. If you pull back from the disappointment of losing, it's clear this feels like a team moving in the right direction.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - I thought the Jags showed a fair amount of resolve after falling behind early 14-3. This offense definitely has signs of explosiveness, and the defense can certainly create some turnovers. Despite the loss, do you still see the Jaguars as a 6-8 win team?

Yes.

Jordan from Mandarin

Vision and accuracy are the two things I'll be watching with Trevor this season. It's not that great QB's can't struggle, but his accuracy, especially on the easy ones, has been poor at times.

I seem to recall that I've written or said this multiple times since the Jaguars selected Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Perhaps not. Either way, the thought here is there's a decent chance that fans and observers will be frustrated at times with Lawrence in terms of accuracy, particularly early in his career. I don't know that he's going to be uber-accurate compared to a lot of uber-accurate quarterbacks. Part of that is because he tends to throw downfield a lot, but part is he does seem to miss some easy throws at times. That doesn't make him a bad quarterback. It doesn't mean he can't improve that accuracy and it doesn't mean he can't be successful with his current level of accuracy. He also makes some big-time throws and has some really hot streaks – as was the case Sunday in multiple situations. But yes … this will be something to watch. I wouldn't call his accuracy "poor" Sunday overall. I would say he's missed some throws he must make.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

That first half was very much classic Jaguars football. I can give credit where it's due, though. Our second half was much, much better. If you are plus-two in the turnover category you are not supposed to lose a game, though. I did see some glimpses of progress. This is going to be a very frustrating season and a rewarding one all at the same time.

Very possibly.

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