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O-Zone: Hoot and holler

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

David from Maplewood, NJ

John, this team's best, most-important unit is the defense. I think they were compromised slightly Thursday in the second half on a short week with the New Orleans Saints' long field goal drive, the Jags' three and out, the Jags' defensive touchdown, followed by another long Saints drive. Even with them being pretty gassed on a short week, they still got two stops to give the offense a short field and then end the game. Color me very impressed. The offense is good and efficient at times, but this team will go as far as this defense can take it.

We're spending a lot of time thing season worried about what unit is best, and whether the Jaguars' offense or defense will "carry" the team. This makes sense because a week between games gives us so much time to consider such things. Bottom line: This team has a chance to be good – and perhaps go deep in the postseason – because it has a chance to be really, really balanced. The defense is playing well enough to keep this team in games – and that has been true against any offense it has played thus far. Because those offenses include Kansas City and Buffalo, it's reasonable to think the defense can play well against the league's best. The offense, while perhaps not yet functioning at its highest possible level, has in the last four games made big plays at big times to win games. Remember: The offense has had to convert third downs/score touchdowns late in these games to secure victories. It has done so. That's what it takes to win in the NFL. The Jaguars are showing they have what it takes.


After watching the New Orleans game, I was wondering: We have four consecutive wins in four different stadiums. Next week it will be five. Has that ever happened before? I just thought it was a pretty good reflection of growing maturity of this team.

Yes, it has been done. The Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, for example, won seven games in seven different stadiums on seven consecutive weeks – the last three games of the regular season and four postseason games: Metrodome (Minnesota), Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland), Heinz Field (Pittsburgh), Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati), RCA Dome (Indianapolis), Invesco Field at Mile High (Denver), Ford Field (Super Bowl). But even though it's not a record, the Jaguars' current four-game winning streak absolutely is a reflection of the growing maturity of this team. What the Jaguars have done the last month is impressive. It's what playoff-caliber teams do.

_Scott from Gourlay from Jacksonville    _

Billy was the real hero, but he should have married that girl before he left.

Should have kept his head low. That long since has been established.

Chevin from Jacksonville

Why do you think fans seem so obsessed with which player is "WR1, WR2, WR3…" and with X players being "a top 5 player at their position?"

You're asking me to explain the minds of fans. As time passes, I more and more choose not to waste my remaining years on questions that can't be solved.

FreezeFM from Section 147

John, we all think you're awesome ... well, except ... you know who...

Yes, but 31 years into this marriage I'm not changing that.

MrDude from PVB

O, is it safe to say the Jaguars' window is officially open? I hesitate because 2018 is still fresh but it certainly appears that the team is a legitimate contender and should remain as such for a while.

There's no official when it comes to these things. But quarterback Trevor Lawrence is in the third season of what ideally will be a long career. Whatever the "window" is, his career is the timeframe.

JR from The Squatchlands

Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. is having an amazing season so far, but I am a little concerned about how much he is being used. Obviously, you want to get the ball to your best players, but he is leading the league in rush attempts and meanwhile struggles in short yardage situations. What happened to the "running back by committee" model that was discussed in the offseason?

Head Coach Doug Pederson on this topic Friday: "Travis is a tough kid. We've seen that over the course of last year for the start of this year. We've got to be mindful that we're not overworking him. We've got to get [running back] Tank [Bigsby] and [running back] D'Ernest [Johnson] and if [running back] JaMycal [Hasty] is up, we've got to get those guys involved in the offense and get them some more touches. Right now, especially on third down, we like TJ (Etienne), not only from a protection standpoint, but the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. We just have to keep the other guys coming. It's not that we don't have confidence in them, but we just feel like TJ has the hot hand and we continue to keep him going. We're definitely mindful of the wear-and-tear on his body as we go."

Andrew from Halifax

Thursday night games are rough due to the short week and risk of injury so would it make sense for a team to bid to play EVERY Thursday night game? Would catch everyone on a short week, "prime time" every week, and consistency.

A team, like a person, can theoretically request what it likes.

Craig from Lynchburg, VA

What unnerves me so much is how much this team is snubbed by those on the national sports analysts/figures when covering Jags games. - some more noticeable than others. While Al Michaels has been in the business a long time, it seemed it killed him to acknowledge the team's expertise when it was clearly demonstrated. Fortunately, listening to the various players during interviews, they seem to be able to tune out the snide comments and focus on their team focus. I'm so glad they use that approach and could explain part of their success so far. I'm proud of them being where they are currently, despite making so many mistakes in each game. If they can clean those up, they will become a dreaded challenger for any team out there. It's exciting to watch them getting better each week. I'm looking for AFC South championship repeat and then some. Go Jags!

If things national figures say on television bother you, turn the sound down. You'll find the game being played on television is unaffected by this.

Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What we all expected: The offense to carry this team, while hoping for the defense not to be a liability. What is going on: the defense playing better than the offense, with the latter starting to find its rhythm. I think we can live with that! What say you, Johnny-O?


Bill from Bostwick

At last year's trade deadline Jacksonville acquired a top talent that couldn't contribute last season but is a major contributor this season. Do you anticipate the Jaguars making a trade by this year's trade deadline, even if it's for a so-called "rental" player who can contribute to this season's stretch run and (hopefully) postseason play but maybe not be retained on next year's roster?

Perhaps, though I wouldn't in any way call this a lock. The Jaguars have won four consecutive games and 10 of their last 12 in the regular season. Chatter and online buzz aside, they are not desperate.

David from Orlando, FL

O. The Jaguars currently have six players on injured reserve. Are any eligible to return this year, specifically interested in offensive guard Cooper Hodges and cornerback Gregory Junior?

Hodges and Junior are eligible to return. Any player placed on injured reserve after the beginning of the regular season may return.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

Travon Walker looks like he should have been a third-round pick.

Jaguars second-year outside linebacker Travon Walker is really good. He's playing like a first-round selection.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

This team is resilient. I can still find a bunch of flaws but finding them and still winning is a fantastic problem to have. If they continue to click, this season could be magical.


Sean from Oakleaf, FL

If the current version of this team played the Kansas City Chiefs next week at home do you think the outcome would be different than the week 2 final score already in the books?

I think both teams are good and it likely would be a one-score game decided by a few big plays late in the game. Pretty much as was the case in the Chiefs' 17-9 victory over the Jaguars in Week 2.

Gary from Jax

Shoutout to all the folks who write and manage the site. I've gone to a few other team sites and pretty much no one has the depth of writing and features we do. It is much appreciated!

You're apparently not from St. Augustine.