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O-Zone: Hard-earned fin

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Josh from Pensacola, FL:
The Allen Robinson injury is pretty devastating to our offense, especially since Dede Westbrook is out for half the season. This may sound crazy, but I think it might help Blake Bortles improve as a quarterback a little. He won't be tempted to force the ball as much and he will be forced to go through his reads. Allen Robinson was key to our offense and in no way am I trying to say his injury is a good thing. Just trying to be optimistic. Do you agree with this assessment?
John: I'm not sure if not going through his reads has been as big problem for Bortles as your question suggests. While Bortles indeed has leaned on Robinson a lot in the last two seasons, I never got the feeling he was over-feeding Robinson at the expense of other receivers. Robinson was, after all, the Jaguars' best receiver. It makes sense a lot passes would go his way. And a lot of Bortles' interceptions over the last two seasons have come when throwing to Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee. As far as this season on this front … So far, so good. Bortles throughout this past Sunday's game did a good job going through his reads. The offensive line played well and the running game helped keep pressure off the pocket; Bortles used that time efficiently. I think the Jaguars' offense can survive and be productive without Robinson. I certainly believe it's in a better position to do so than last season. At the same time, it's hard to find a way his injury is a positive.
Hunter from Oviedo, FL:
Was it just me, or did Jalen Ramsey look like an ascendant player on Sunday? A.J. Bouye looks like he can be good, but he struggled with DeAndre Hopkins. It seemed to me every time Hopkins lined up on Ramsey, Ramsey ate his lunch. I'm not claiming to be a football guy, but wouldn't it make sense to keep the guy who is dominating on their best player instead of racking up three-plus pass interference calls?
John: Ramsey indeed looked like an ascendant player on Sunday, just as he has looked like an ascendant player pretty much since joining the Jaguars last season. But I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Bouye. He's very good and played Hopkins well Sunday. He got a few pass interference calls because Hopkins makes contact at the top of nearly every route, which forces a judgment call that frankly can go either way on most plays. The calls went against Bouye Sunday, but it wasn't as if Bouye was playing Hopkins poorly.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
Oh man, O-Dawg, there is plenty of reason to be excited about the Jaguars. I know it is only one game, but if the offensive line plays that great for the rest of the year, it could take us a long way. Is that unit as good as Dallas' offensive line? Also, can you give me your thoughts on how Myles Jack played? I thought he looked worthy of taking over for Poz.
John: I'll defer comparing the Jaguars' offensive line to the NFL's best until the group has consecutive solid games. As for Jack, he played very well Sunday. The Jaguars were in nickel 90 percent of the game on Sunday, and Jack plays exceptionally well in nickel situations. Posluszny is the superior option in the middle in base situations, but I'm not sure why people want Jack to "take over for Poz." Jack was on the field for every Jaguars snap Sunday. Posluszny was on the field for eight. Jack will continue to be on the field for the vast majority of plays, and Posluszny will continue to be on the field in base situations where he flourishes. Why the rush to change this?
Derek from Vill Plat, LA:
Hey O, Jags fan from Day One over here in the Bayou State. I have two questions. Do you think the winner of this Sunday's game will be the favorite to win the AFC South moving forward? I heard rumors that Andrew Luck may be looking to get out of Indy. If those rumors are true, do the Jags pursue a trade with the Colts? Thanks for making my every day an entertaining one.
John: I have two answers. One is that the winner of Sunday's game probably will be considered the favorite in the AFC South moving forward. That "favorite" status could last a long time if the winning team wins a couple of games and holds the lead; it could last a week or two if the winning team loses a couple of games. Things change week-to-week in the NFL. As far as Luck wanting to get out of Indianapolis, I have zero idea if this is true or not. I do have a good idea that the Colts probably won't have much interest in parting ways with Luck. Franchise quarterbacks are cool. Teams like them and tend to not want to see them leave.
Jeff from Orange, CA:
This Sunday's Jaguars game is the most meaningful game for this team since when – and answering with last week is not allowed!
John: December 2010. I threw out regular-season openers because they're all important and you don't know much about a team until the regular season starts. After that, I considered games in which the Jaguars were .500 or above .500. There have been two instances of that since the beginning of the 2011 season. One came in Week 2 2011, when the Jaguars (then 1-0) lost to the New York Jets, 32-3. The other was Week 3 2015, when the Jaguars (then 1-1) lost at New England, 51-17. Those games were on the road and the Jaguars hadn't done all that much those seasons to inspire hope. Last week's victory over Houston inspired hope for many. A defense that was supposed to be good played like it. A rookie running back who was supposed to be good played like it. The Jaguars overall scored a one-sided road victory over a team that won the AFC South the past two seasons. I believe there will be an energy in EverBank Field Sunday unlike it has seen in a while. And I think it's the most meaningful game there since 2010.
Nick from London, UK:
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but isn't the Jags' schedule pretty kind? Sure, Baltimore got a good win on the board and Steelers and Seahawks will be tough opposition but the Jets, Browns and 49ers aren't scary. Surely, we can get above .500? Anyways, looking forward to seeing the Jags at Wembley for the fifth time. See you there!
John: There are a bunch of games on the Jaguars' schedule that look winnable. The thing about the NFL is schedules have a way or looking dramatically different as seasons go on – and professional football teams have a way of playing differently week to week. Also, remember: while the Jaguars played well in the regular-season opener, they are a team built to run effectively and play defense. Such teams have a tendency to find themselves in close games, and close games can go either way. The Jaguars are 1-0. They appear to be better than many believed. They don't yet appear to be a team that can count victories as done deals before the games are played.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
If Tony Boselli gets inducted into the Hall of Fame, how should the over/under on time wearing the yellow jacket without taking it off be measured? Days, weeks or months?
John: I've already confirmed with Boselli that the Hall of Fame jacket would only be removed for sleep and water-based activities until he departs Earth. But this isn't what concerns me; rather, it's what he mumbled about custom-making matching Hall of Fame pants, shirts, cap and undergarments that concerns me. This should concern everyone.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
Calais Campbell, from a single game, would be tied for third in sacks on the Jags' defense for the entire 2016 season. Tell him to take it easy, would ya! Rome wasn't built in a day.
John: "Tell Calais Campbell to take it easy, would ya?" says the guy who obviously never has stood in front of the 6-feet-8 Calais Campbell.
Hi from Jacksonville:
What's the most money you've lost gambling on sports?
John: I can honestly say I don't think I've ever lost money gambling on sports. I remember I bet Kim Dallas $5 on the 1978 Kentucky-Duke NCAA Final. We rode the same afternoon bus in seventh grade – and if I remember correctly, Kim's sister went to Duke. My mother was a big Kentucky fan, and I knew the Wildcats were good that year. So despite my lifelong dislike of UK, I figured it was a safe bet. I won that. I honestly don't know that I've bet money on a game since. I never bet on teams I followed passionately; I was too superstitious for that. And as for teams I don't follow passionately, I never bet because I don't want to lose. I'm far too cheap for that.

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