JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ
That was an ugly win in a very ugly game. They might have won, but I didn't see progress I saw regression. Am I wrong?
We're a day from Look-Ahead Wednesday – and considering it's now the bye week, we'll allow a day or two more for dreamily looking back on a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London Sunday. But lest we peer too dreamily, you are correct that that victory was hardly pretty. The Jaguars' offense struggled at times against a struggling defense, and too many Dolphins receivers – particularly their tight ends – created too many too-easy completions for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. It's fair to worry about the injuries on the offensive line, and it's fair to wonder if Jaguars receivers can consistently get open enough downfield with DJ Chark Jr. out with an ankle injury. The Jaguars absolutely have issues, which won't go away because they snapped a franchise-record 20-game losing streak. But there were positives, too. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence continued to progress (not digress), and the Jaguars' running offense continues to be effective even with the offensive-line injuries. The Jaguars also deserve credit for fighting and finding a way to win late in a very losable game. They did so by making big plays in key situations, something they hadn't done this season. So, yeah … it was ugly. And I don't know that I feel all that much differently about how the Jaguars will finish this season. But winning isn't regression. It's winning and the Jaguars did that.
Joe from San Antonio, TX
Fred Taylor is a HOF talent and MJD is a bubble talent where he deserves some discussion but will never actually make it in (no disrespect, he's my all-time favorite Jaguar for all the heart and soul he poured in). James Robinson gives me the same feeling that those two gave me when I watch him. He's special.
Jaguars running back James Robinson is special. He's different than former Jaguars running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew because all running backs are unique – and all produce with different styles and skill sets. Robinson's not nearly as physically impressive as either Taylor or Jones-Drew. Where he absolutely is impressive is his vision, miss-ability and ability to get maximum yards available with every carry. Those are hugely important attributes for a running back and Robinson is strikingly good in all three areas.
Gary from Jax
I just noticed that Mr. Robinson has that attitude of "I've been here before, this is what I do." The man can walk the walk and doesn't need to do any talking. How intimidating is that to a defense?
I'll preface this by saying I am aware that this makes me sound very old and un-hip compared to the cool kids (the ones that sat at the other table in high school), but is it nice to watch Robinson play and succeed without having to dramatically signal FIRST DOWN with his arm after very run, without having to go into a gyrating mini-flex and shout at the top of his lungs after every run and without having to stand over an opponent with his arms crossed after a routine play? Yeah, it's nice. Now, get off my lawn.
Chris from Mandarin
Trevor Lawrence has a long way to go, but what he showed me more than anything this week was the same type of killer instinct that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady had/have. Anytime the Jaguars played the Colts, if the Jaguars were winning nearing halftime, Manning had a knack for taking the wind out of our sails really quick. Scoring touchdowns going into and out of halftime is where those big time QBs really make you pay.
I don't know that that's killer instinct as much as the ability to execute in pressure situations. A lot of quarterbacks want to score late in halves and games and simply can't do it. But whatever. That's nitpicky. Lawrence absolutely was impressive late in the first half Sunday, and his 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. was an above-the-Xs-and-Os throw that turned a game that had been dominated by the Dolphins into a three-point game at halftime. That's big-time encouraging, as was the poise Lawrence showed at the end of the game. Big-time stuff.
Carol from St Johns
WHAT A WIN! To be able to enjoy all the video interviews from our players and just to know how hard they have worked and it to have finally paid off … only question is what on earth do we for the bye week?
What do we do? We dance!
Jonathan from Jacksonville (retired in Idaho)
Hey, Zone. I try not to use just stats when judging how good a player is doing, but it's still fun to look at. Did you know that in Trevor's last four games he has thrown for 253 yards a game at a 65 percent rate to go along with five total touchdowns to only three interceptions? The kid's for real.
I did not know Lawrence's statistics from those games. I do now. I also know he's doing positive things beyond the statistics, and that his ability in the pocket is off-the-charts good. And yeah … the kid is for real. Really, really real.
Mark from Prescott, AZ
I take it all back, John. I have to admit Lawrence looked pretty danged good Sunday.
Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL
Forget best player available. Next year's first-round pick has to be the best pass-rusher available. What does the 2022 class look like at defensive end/linebacker?
The Jaguars absolutely could use a monster pass rusher. They also could use a No. 1 receiver. And a lockdown cornerback. And a bunch of other things. But absolutely do not "forget best player available." Do not target any specific position. Do not draft solely for need. That's how you make the worst mistakes and pass on the wrong players.
Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA
Hi, John. Jags just went from second-longest losing streak since the merger to currently being tied for 10th-longest active winning streak in the NFL.
TJ from Jacksonville
Did Jamal's finger move backward from ball contact trying to field the punt? No matter. It makes up for the bad calls that took the Titans game from us.
You're referencing Jaguars returner/receiver Jamal Agnew almost touching a punt in the fourth quarter Sunday – and had he touched it, it could have been disastrous because Miami appeared to recover in prime field position. It appeared on one video angle that he didn't touch it. It appeared on another that maybe he did. Either way, multiple breaks went the Jaguars' way Sunday. It was almost as if there wasn't a conspiracy at the league level against the franchise. Go figure.
Bo from Saint Cloud FL
O, you've got a tough job week after week answering questions about a bad team. What's your own day been like covering the Jags and responding to fans after a win? Must feel like a well-earned vacation almost?
My day is pretty much the same after a victory or a loss. I write and talk about the team on Sunday and Monday mornings, and I respond to fans questions in this forum. The questions are nicer and fans obviously are in a better mood after a victory. But winning and losing doesn't change how I do my job. Think about it: The Jaguars have lost 10 or more games in all but one season since I returned in 2011. If I allowed losing to change how I did my job, would that be fair to the loyal reader – and he knows who he is – of this column? Obviously not. And no … Monday was not a vacation. It was terrific for the fans, though. They deserve it. Good for them.
Andy Boy from Halifax
Hey O, has Jamal Agnew played a lot of wide receiver in his career or is this more playing time at that position? I am guessing it is because of injuries, but I'd say he has earned some more consideration.
Agnew actually hasn't played a lot of wide receiver in his career, moving to the position from defensive back last season with the Detroit Lions. He caught five passes for 78 yards Sunday, his most productive game as a receiver. And no doubt: Agnew has earned more consideration. He's producing at wide receiver on a level probably no one other than him thought possible.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL
There have consistently been too many dropped passes for too long but constantly having too many penalties is just poor discipline and is getting really old.
The Jaguars had eight penalties for 54 yards Sunday. It didn't seem to be a defining statistic of the game, though I could probably be talked out of that stance. And yes …the drops remain an issue. There have been too many.
Biff from Jacksonville, FL
Can we extend "Victory Monday" to "Victory Wednesday?"