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O-Zone: Hot August Night

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Rob from Milton, FL

So do you think Pederson is the one that's going to lead us to the overly promised land????

We're two preseason games into Doug Pederson's tenure as the Jaguars' head coach. Because you can glean little from preseason games, it would be impossible and disingenuous to change my outlook on this issue from what I wrote all offseason. What I wrote and said all offseason was that Pederson is a professional football coach who can relate to professional players. I have little doubt that Pederson knows how to coach grown men, and I see no reason those grown men won't believe in Pederson's approach and message. I expect they will continue to believe in that message in adversity. Those are critical traits of successful NFL coaches. There's also every reason to believe Pederson knows what he's doing offensively and can handle quarterbacks. If you add those traits together – and throw in an improving Trevor Lawrence at quarterback – then yes … I believe Pederson can be successful as the Jaguars' head coach. I don't know what that will mean for the team's 2022 record, but I think it will mean very good things for the next few seasons.

Dwight from Naples

King O …. don't tell anyone but this is looking pretty good!!

Dwight appears to have watched the Jaguars' 24-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns Friday and realized that the Jaguars' 13-0 lead after a quarter meant their starters played well. He also seems to have realized that that's what matters in the preseason. Yes, the Jaguars did look good in that game – at least when it mattered. Good eye, Dwight.

Fred from Naples, FL

O, now Deion Sanders is questioning the worthiness of the Hall of Fame inductees and that he should have a "special" jacket in place of the gold jackets the inductees receive. He does realize he is the head coach of a Division I football program, right? You know, where it's all about "TEAM" and not about the "ME." I don't believe he is setting a good example for his players. He must know that his players do read his commentary. This is a perfect example of why Florida State did not even consider him for their head coaching vacancy a few years ago. Don't misunderstand me; I love Deion and think he was one of the best NFL players of all time. However, its commentary like this that is going to make it difficult for him to become a Power 5 head coach.

I generally like Sanders' candidness. What he has done as a college coach is impressive. I'm not sure why he felt the need to make his recent comments that the Pro Football Hall of Fame isn't special enough anymore. It seems a weird and unnecessary stance. He also seems to assume he would receive one of these "special" jackets were such a thing put a vote. Perhaps he would. Perhaps not. What's sort of cool he doesn't get to decide because he doesn't make the rules. What's sort of nice for all involved is that that Hall of Fame is plenty special as it is, and all members get gold jackets. Perhaps Sanders can be satisfied with his someday.

Rich from Dacula, GA

Whoa, it is almost making me to vomit with all the over-the-top vision for next season. Don't fans do this every year? Whoa, it's NOT going to happen that fast people. Please limit your view of the present as it happens every year with our fans. Never say die!! I'm not from Missouri, but I'm going to wait and see the results before I jump on this bandwagon the way fans are reacting. Remember this is the same old Jaguars.

Whoa, don't vomit here. If you do, get a trash can. It's OK for fans to be excited about what they saw Friday; they hadn't seen six series – three on offense, three on defense – that good and exciting from this team in a while. Those six series don't mean this franchise is postseason-bound this season. I would be surprised if that happened. But those six series featured some good things from some important players – Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne, outside linebacker Travon Walker, wide receiver Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram. There have been plenty of instances over the last decade in which important Jaguars didn't do much in the preseason. Isn't it OK for fans to be excited when they do?

Dick from Beaver, PA

How can everyone get so excited over three series of downs? It's a long game and players get tired, get injured and second group is not real strong. Another long season is at hand … be honest!

I don't expect the Jaguars to be in the postseason in 2022. I do expect them to be much improved from 2021. I expect Lawrence to be a big reason and I'm getting more confident that Walker has a chance to be special. If Walker and Lawrence prove themselves to be core players and the Jaguars show marked improvement, that's a successful season even if the Jaguars don't push for the postseason.

Adam from Allentown, PA

I, for one, really like watching preseason games all the way through. You see these kids putting in so much effort to make the team. The drama is real.

I can't say I love watching preseason games all the way through, though there's little question about the importance of preseason games to the players involved – and to teams. That's why I'm a little "all over the place" on my opinion of preseason. I don't love covering preseason games, but I absolutely believe the league needs four – as opposed to the current three – to enable teams to scout their own players and allow starters to prepare.

Mike from Lakeland (via Jax)

Jaguars third-year outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson doesn't seem to have matured as a pass rusher at all. Still overpursuing in the run game. Still jumps as a "pass rush move?" Leaving your feet is a defenseless/vulnerable position. Do you really see him making the 53 with other rotational guys like Arden Key, Dawuane Smoot, etc., playing much sounder football?

Yes.

Gary from Centerville, OH

My condolences to you and your family on the passing of your mother. I'm glad to hear you got to spend time with her at the end (Kudos to the Jaguars for allowing that). God Bless.

I appreciate the many emails from fans after I wrote of my mother's recent passing Sunday. The support from readers, though not unexpected given the community that is this column, nonetheless has been humbling. Humbling, too, has been the support of my coworkers – J.P. Shadrick, Brian Sexton, Ashlyn Sullivan, Patrick Kavanagh and Dave DeCandis. Their flexibility, again while not unexpected, is appreciated more than they know.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Some things in life are more important than football or jobs. Under the circumstances, few could have faulted you had "the streak" been broken. The fact that you hung in there speaks volumes about you as a person, and – as importantly – about the woman who raised you and instilled the right values. My sincere condolences on your loss, and my sincere wish that you and your family find comfort in your memories.

Yes … my mother did instill the right values in me. I don't always exhibit those values, but instill she did.

Jonathan from Jax

So sorry to hear that you lost your mother. That is all.

That is nice. Thank you.

Jason from North Pole, AK

Thank you for sharing about your mother, I am so sorry for your loss. Loyal Ozone readers, and they know who they are, love you and this community is thinking about your family.

That means a lot. Thank you.

J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL

John, my mom too, was a Neil Diamond superfan. I'll bet if your house was anything like mine growing up, you know all the Diamond deep tracks as well as the overplayed hits! Do you actually like Neil Diamond to this day? (I do). Moms are the best. They make the world go round. Judging by what we know of your character and work ethic, your mom was and still is first class. Be at peace. Cheers.

I am a Neil Diamond fan. Talent is talent – and sequin shirts aside, his is undeniable. I don't know all the Diamond deep tracks, but my mother played "Hot August Night" and "Beautiful Noise" until she wore out the vinyl – or at least until she switched out and put on Barry Manilow. Now, if you're asking do I know every deep track on Barry Manilow I and II, "This One's for You" and "I Write the Songs?" Yeah, pretty much. And yeah … I have Liz O to thank for that.

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