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O-Zone: Group therapy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bobby From Section 410 and Summerville, SC

Hi, John. Do you have any concerns over Trevor Lawrence's decision-making? I am starting to have some. The interception he threw in the third quarter was inexcusable. There was no need to try and force anything in that situation.

Efforts will be made to not make this O-Zone all-Trevor Lawrence all-the time. I'm skeptical at the chances for success, because an early glance at the inbox suggests that fans are very worried about the Jaguars' second-year quarterback. I don't share quiiiiite that level of concern, although Lawrence clearly hasn't played as consistently or as well in the last two games as he did in Weeks 2 and 3. He's clearly not elite yet and his accuracy – which has been a concern at times early in his career – wasn't close to good enough in a 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field Sunday afternoon. Specific to your question, Lawrence absolutely made a poor decision when he threw an interception on second-and-1 from the Texans 7 Sunday. The play came on the first possession of the third quarter and ended the Jaguars' best drive – and best chance at a touchdown – of the game. Lawrence could have run for the first down on the play. Even if he hadn't been able to do that, he should have thrown the ball out of bounds rather than risk the interception. It was the second consecutive week that Lawrence has thrown a red-zone interception in the third quarter with the Jaguars having a chance to take the lead and take back momentum. They were both crushing plays in huge situations. Yes, the plays are a concern. That doesn't Lawrence won't get better at this. It doesn't mean he's a bust. It means he must get better in that situation – and some others.

Micah from Chicago, IL

Kinda looks like the team we were watching in preseason: Young, no depth behind the starters, moves the ball, terrible in the red zone. Funny how that works.

I'm not as on board with the idea that the Jaguars are super thin as many observers, but that's nitpicking your email a bit. Yes, we knew entering the season the Jaguars were young and it has been evident through five games that they struggle in the red zone. Sunday was a prime example. The Jaguars produced 422 yards offense. Lawrence had six passes of more than 20 yards. There were plenty of moments offensively. They couldn't finish drives. That's not uncommon for a team in the first season in a new offense. It's also not uncommon for a young quarterback to struggle in the red zone compared to how he plays in the rest of the field. Red-zone offense often is the last area in which a quarterback and an offense develop. I expect this area to improve. I don't expect it to improve quickly enough for fans not to be frustrated for a while.

John from Jacksonville

So, what happened? Now what happens?

The Jaguars lost to the Texans because the offense stalled in the red zone and because Lawrence made a mistake you can't make with the interception – and because Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker committed a penalty you can't make to extend the Texans' game-winning drive. They also lost because the Texans – despite being winless entering the game – play in the NFL and weren't quiiiiiite as bad as many Jaguars fans believed before the game. What happens now? The Jaguars get ready to play the Indianapolis Colts Sunday and keep working with Lawrence to help him grow and mature in this offense.

Mike from Jacksonville

I think we all can agree or should agree that Lawrence was/is a miss. How do we not waste the next three years trying to force that round peg into the square hole which is the Jags' offense? Are we doomed for three more years of mediocrity? Will Head Coach Doug Pederson force him out like he did Carson Wentz in Philadelphia? We have to move on, I know not this year but postseason, we have to acquire an actual NFL quarterback.

Too soon. Way, way, way too soon.

Jeremy from Jacksonville by way of Miami

This one just seemed off, O. I can't quite put my finger on it. It just seemed disjointed and out of sync. The stat line didn't seem to add up at the end of the game either. What happened?

The Jaguars outgained the Texans 422-258. They had 20 pass plays of 20 or more yards, a run of 20 yards and three more plays of 17 or more yards. If it felt as if the Jaguars were moving easily at times, it's because the Jaguars were moving easily at times. They stalled in the red zone, converting just two field goals in three possessions inside the Texans 20 with Lawrence also throwing a point-blank interception. That's why the statistics didn't add up. That's what happened.

Jay from So-Cal

Miscues, miscues, miscues. They had plenty of opportunity, yet they gave the game away on costly bad plays at the worst times.

Yes, they did.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

Same ole jags.

If this wasn't a consensus in the inbox late Sunday, it was close. And there was no way that wasn't going to be the case if the Jaguars lost to the previously winless Texans Sunday. I wrote throughout the week that this was an important game because the Jaguars had a chance to play as a favorite – and to stay tied for the lead in the AFC South. They had a chance to show they really had improved, and that they were as good as they and many observers believed. They absolutely didn't take advantage of that chance. So, until they prove otherwise, fans have every right to believe and say it's the "same old Jags."

David from Eau Claire, WI

Time to cut Lawrence?


Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

Trevor definitely does not look like he's "the guy." We have seen anything special from him much less any consistent solid play. He honestly looks like a mid-round, inaccurate rookie. I know he's "far" from being a bust at this point. But it's not looking good at all.

Nothing I write here will make fans feel better. It has been written here before, but I will write it again. Lawrence in his second NFL season, but he's in his first season in this offense. He has struggled at times with accuracy and some decision-making, and it's too early to know if these issues are long-term and unsolvable or things through which he can develop and learn. Lawrence looked OK in one game this season, very good in two games and really rough in two games. He seemed to struggle more with accuracy and (maybe) confidence Sunday than at any point this season. Maybe it was the Texans' Cover-2 defense. Maybe he was pressing a bit because of his five-turnover game last Sunday. My sense is if Lawrence can calm down, gain some confidence and get some consistency he will improve over time and be fine. That process can be frustrating in the week-to-week microscope that is the NFL. There's no magic button to push. There are no guarantees. We're in the throes of watching it play out. Stay tuned.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK


Well, it sure wasn't good.

Ken from Northport

I couldn't watch the game because I'm still dealing with hurricane damage. I did however look at the stats. My question is, why did they throw so much? Weren't being blown out.

The Jaguars threw 47 times and ran 26 times. Pederson's offense uses a lot of short passes in the way a lot teams use run plays. He's not going to emphasize balance for a statistical sheet. The Jaguars produced 422 yards offense on Sunday. As Pederson sees it, this wasn't a balance issue or a case of throwing too much. It was an issue of not executing in important situations.

Thomas from Jacksonville

Ok. Now we are tied 6-6 coming into the third quarter averaging roughly six yards a carry so here's a bright idea let's go pass happy and lose the game. So is Doug scared to run the ball? Running back Travis Etienne Jr. was averaging seven yards a carry. What kinda play calling. It needs to change for us to win.

It's always coaching in the NFL.

Aaron from Atlanta, GA

John, I don't understand our coaches' hesitancy to run James Robinson. Travis Etienne appears to be an inferior runner and catcher. What's are the coaches thinking?

The Jaguars lost Sunday. As such, there are plenty of areas to legitimately criticize. Etienne rushed for 71 yards on seven carries and caught three passes for 43 yards. Running back James Robinson rushed for 27 yards on 10 carries. It's difficult to argue that Etienne was an inferior runner on Sunday.

Al from Orange Park, FL

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