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O-Zone: Grrrr …

JACKSONVILLE—Let's get to it …

Tom from Cairo, Egypt

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals, Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Top 6 highest-paid quarterbacks. Do you think Trevor is going to be in the same sort of financial region as them? Because – barring a truly exceptional second half of the season – he's nowhere near any of them by any metric.

I don't know definitively what Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's contract situation will be after the 2023 season. I expect the Jaguars and Lawrence will agree to a long-term extension sometime next offseason. Lawrence has been trending toward being a player you want to extend after his third NFL season and the thought here is he still belongs in that category. I don't care as much about metrics as if it appears that Lawrence is heading toward being a franchise quarterback – and if he's helping the Jaguars win. The Jaguars won the AFC South in his second season and lead the division through nine games in his third season. It appeared to me through the first eight games this season that Lawrence was growing as a quarterback and developing. Has he shown that he can win with lesser players around him? I can't say that yet. But for the most part this season the thought here was he was trending toward being among the league's best quarterbacks and toward being a player with whom you can win for the long term. One bad game doesn't change that. Will the final eight games matter in this discussion? Absolutely.

Bobby from Weaverville

O, I've settled down from the disaster that was Week 10. Thanks for having a venting outlet for us. I expect to see a refocused defense against the Titans. As for the offense, I'm nervous pal. How about you?

I thought before the loss to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday the Jaguars were a tick or two away from "breaking out" offensively. They had a miserable game against a very good team. I still think they're a tick away from being a good offense. Sometimes it's darkest before the dawn. (Goodness).

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Don't look now, but the division lead is down to one, the current tiebreaker isn't favorable (head to head) and the other team is the one with five straight wins.

The Houston Texans have won three of their last five games, but yes … they're one game behind in the AFC South. The division has tightened, as divisions are wont to do.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Zone, the NFL is such a joke. We are all for the safety of the players but only in certain ways. It will take either a running back or wide receiver getting their knees or neck blown out before the refs start calling forward progress and blowing the whistle.

The NFL hasn't identified "forward-progress" plays – i.e., when ballcarriers fighting for extra yards – as high risk for injuries. Given the current climate, I have no doubt they would address them were they identified as such.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Do you make anything out of the apparent imbalance of parity between the AFC and NFC? The AFC has 14 teams within one game of 500. The NFC has eight. Is this a problem?


Tony from The Land of Confusion

Given how uncomfortable Walker Little looked and how badly he got manhandled at left guard is there any thought being given to sitting him (or even better, replacing Cam Robinson at left tackle with him since the former is a possible cap casualty after this season) and starting Ezra Cleveland instead?  I'm not sure that trying to get Walker to learn a new position under fire in a potential playoff season is the best use of his skill set anyway, especially when we have an actual starting-level guard on the roster now.

I expect the Jaguars to stick with the offensive line combination that started last Sunday: Robinson, Little at left guard, center Luke Fortner, right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Anton Harrison. The group struggled against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. I expect the Jaguars will give the group a chance to develop continuity and cohesion. That's tough to do in one game.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

So, you're telling me that Tom Brady always had an amazing offensive line which is why he was so awesome? No! Now let's stop blaming the offensive line for Lawrence's ineptitude.

Nope. Never said it. Didn't come close to saying it. Didn't hint at it. But yeah … the New England Patriots usually had a good offensive line when Brady played.

Julian from Brooklyn, NY

How does a team address turnover issues, specifically fumbles? To me those seem pretty fluky, but at the same time they have become kind of a consistent problem for the Jags. Is that something that gets worked out in practice, or is the only thing coaches can do is encourage the players to take better care of the ball?

You focus on the issue, you emphasize it in practice and then you concentrate on it on Sunday. There's no magic formula.

Rich from Dacula, GA

HISTORY DOES REPEAT: Just think last year when Tennessee was leading the division and the Jags made a big run to win the division. Well, we're leading, but Houston is coming – and very fast. There won't be a final game to win. In two weeks, the division could be decided. Our schedule does not favor us, but look at Houston's! Readers, beware it could happen. Houston worst to first?

That could happen. Or the Jaguars could get hot and win the division. We're nine games into a 17-game season. The season won't be decided in two weeks no matter what happens in the next two games, though they're important. No doubt.

Clyde from Jacksonville

Seems D'Ernest Johnson has done a good job with his limited amount of game playing snaps. Why isn't he getting more chances? Does he look like a good running back to you also? Running back Travis Etienne Jr. is great but why not make a 1-2 punch?

Johnson is a good running back. He got chances Sunday. I expect he will get more moving forward.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

Do you think the Jags should put offensive coordinator Press Taylor on the sidelines? A lot of teams are going that way lately.

An offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator should call the offense/defense from wherever the offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator is comfortable. If the coordinator believes he can see plays develop and stay organized/focused best from the booth, that's where he should work.

Richard from St Augustine, FL

Perspective? How about the fact the last time Jags had back-to-back .500-or-better seasons was in 2007. Also: Since Jags were last in in the AFC South in 2021, they played multiple teams also in last place whereas since Jags won AFC South last season they are multiple teams who were also finished first in their division last season. Also: The Jags picked first in the draft in 2020 and 2021 because they were really bad for two years. While maybe they aren't playing up to fans' expectations I for one am very happy with a Jaguars team that is a winner. Is that considered a good perspective, O mighty Funky one and King of all Funk?

That's pretty good "perspective." What I meant when I wrote that word Wednesday wasn't that Jaguars fans should be happy after last Sunday's loss to the 49ers, or that they should be content merely contending. What I meant was that the Jaguars are 6-3 and that good teams in the NFL lose games. Losing one doesn't mean the team sucks. Because this team doesn't suck. Not even close.

Adam from St Johns, FL

I just love reading how stupid the fans are. They were fanning about the O, but now they're just stupid because obviously turnovers hurt. You won't dare let the fans have a win will you? You were wrong and have been wrong. Nothing is wrong with the O, but now the middle of the offensive line isn't good? You just sway with the wind and tell us we're stupid and then when you absolutely can't explain away bad play … well, it's obvious stupid fans. Is it your attempt, like mass media these days, to downplay a problem so it doesn't get legs? Do you actually believe what you write when it flies in the face of reality? I know, I know, the Jags are 6-3, nothing to worry about.

Alan is mad at the O-Zone.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

You calling fans; "perspective" as the biggest need of the Jaguars is slightly ridiculous. But keep those rose-colored glasses on. Seems like senior writers could use a little more "perspective" also.

JT, like Alan, is mad at the O-Zone.