JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Brian from Round Rock, TX
I like the idea of playing to win this week. The team has been rapidly improving. Is it possible that they just might get a little better with another game under their belts before the playoffs?
Head Coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday morning he will not rest healthy starters or front-line players when the Jaguars play the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday. This was a legitimate topic because the Jaguars can't clinch the AFC South Sunday and because the following week's regular-season finale against the Tennessee Titans is a winner-take-the-AFC-South game. But a victory over the Texans could help the Jaguars the following week because winning it will mean being able to win the South by tying the Titans. It also could help the Jaguars the following week because winning it could keep alive the team's wild-card hopes. Either way, Pederson said he doesn't believe in resting players. He said he believes there are no meaningless games "never, ever, ever, ever." So, the Jaguars will be "full steam ahead" Sunday, as Pederson said. Onward ho.
Andy from Halifax
Can you give me quick pros and cons for playing the starters Sunday? I feel like it used to be trendy to rest starters, but it would often lead to flat performances.
The pros of playing starters with little at stake is it keeps players in rhythm and focused. The main pro of resting players is it allows them to heal, get fresh and get their legs back. I always believed the pros of resting players outweighed the cons. I never bought much into the whole "flat-performance" theory after resting players. Teams have good and bad performances with or without rest. When you're playing teams in the postseason, you're playing good teams playing at a high level. Your chances of being "flat" go up significantly when you're playing good teams.
Levi from Huntsville, AL
So, earlier in the year, a reader asked you who you'd rather have at quarterback: Trevor Lawrence or Justin Herbert. You correctly said Herbert, because at the beginning of the year, Trevor hadn't shown enough. My question now is, who would you take at this point? Has Trevor shown you enough to believe he can be better than Herbs?
My answers on questions such as these were always predicated on taking a player who has proven himself over a quarterback in Lawrence who had yet to prove himself. Now, Lawrence is proving himself. I don't know that I know for sure that Lawrence is going to be the best quarterback in the NFL at some point in his career. But he has damned sure shown in the last month and a half that it's very possible. I would take his future over pretty much any "young" quarterback outside Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals. And he's closing in quickly.
JR from The Squatchlands
It's hard to believe how long our losing streak to the Texans is. Do the Jags end yet another streak this weekend?
The Jaguars have lost nine consecutive games to the Texans, a streak that dates to their sweeping Houston in 2017. It's not a hard streak to fathom. The Jaguars lost to most teams they played between 2018-2021. I expect the Jaguars to win a difficult, close game Sunday.
Tristian from Crystal River, FL
I know that you might not call yourself a "Jags fan," per se and that above all, it's your job to write about the team and paint your best picture of how things are. But I have to imagine some of the fan energy carries into the rest of your life, no? I contend that even cool, funky robot-man John O can't remain unaffected by the difference between being surrounded by the depressingly negative energy of a few months ago and the overwhelmingly positive energy now.
Winning is cool. Fans like it. Senior writers and pretty much anyone else covering a team likes it, too. We can't let it so override our emotions that we lose the ability to function without drooling, but sure … covering winning is more enjoyable than covering losing.
Bradley from Jacksonville
I need help! All day long I think about the Jaguars. I fantasize that they win this week, then the next week, then the next week etc. It doesn't stop. All day long. Then at night I go to sleep and dream about the Jaguars ... about the Jaguars … about the Jaguars ...
Richard from Orange Park, FL
Just read that NFL.com's power rankings have the Jags at No. 9. For the fans who have complained about national recognition, I'd say the Jags are getting it. Many are saying the Jags may be the hottest team right now that no one wants to play, especially if they make the playoffs. For me personally, even if the Jags don't make the playoffs, this season is a huge success seeing this is Year 1 under this regime. One can only imagine how high the ceiling will be moving forward and it's fun football in Jacksonville again.
Kyle from Palm Harbor, FL
I want to watch the Jags win, but a five-game win streak is tough for any team. It takes energy, focus and luck. I would not be too disappointed if the Jaguars lose to the Texans. It would be the last chance for this team to eat some "humble pie," as it were, and learn from mistakes they may not know they're capable of making right now. Yes, it would be awesome to brag about my team winning eight or nine games in a row and getting to the Super Bowl, but don't you feel that pressure/doubt when you think about that? Maybe Chiefs fans don't feel it. As a long time fan of the Jags, I certainly feel it.
Focus is needed to win and there is pressure to do so every week in the NFL. I expect Jaguars players to work hard and be focused as they prepare to play the Texans this week. That will be true regardless of the game's outcome. There also will be pressure when they play the Titans for the AFC South title in the regular-season finale the following week. I don't see the result of the Texans game lessening or heightening the pressure or difficulty the Jaguars will face in Week 18.
Bob from Sumter, SC
Defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi. Haven't heard much about him this season. What is your impression of his performance so far?
He has been fine.
_Gary from Siconolfi Wesley Chapel _
Walker Little has done a good job as the swing tackle. He now has an opportunity to claim the left tackle position for the foreseeable future by putting together a dominant performance the rest of this season and into the playoffs. If he can achieve that, the Jags can be set at center and left tackle, the two most important positions on the O-Line, in front of Trevor Lawrence for years to come. I love Cam Robinson and the passion he brings to the team. I hope he can come back from his injury and be a contributor moving forward. The big guy may not be as mobile when he returns from this injury, though, so it may be the time to move him inside to left guard where there will be less ground to cover. I am hoping Walker Little can show that he is the player Jags fans hoped he'd be when he was drafted. I think he is well prepared for this opportunity and may just make a name for himself across the NFL. He is going to be one of the least beat up starters this late in the season with fresh legs and a full season in the new offense. What is your opinion on that scenario? Go Jags!
I expect Little to play well in Robinson's place because he typically has played well in two NFL seasons given the opportunity. I don't expect Robinson's injury to alter his career long-term or to keep him from being the Jaguars' left tackle for the foreseeable future.
Richard from Jacksonville
With the Thursday night matchup Tennessee has prior to the finale, history tells us they will come in well rested with a well-coached game plan. Coach Doug P. Has pulled all the right strings this season. With injuries mounting up I can't see this as much more than a preseason week three game (old school) as far as playing time goes if that. Do you lean towards total ready or reduced playing time?
I would probably lean toward reduced playing time. I don't expect Pederson to lean that way. I expect Pederson to be totally ready.
Cliff from Callahan, FL
"He didn't start ... asking them about their resumes." I laughed at this even though it wasn't nice. I'll try to be better.
I am the king of all funk.