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O-Zone: It's a hard life

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Corey from Orange Park, FL

It seems like we're better than the teams that aren't playoff teams, but we're worse than the teams that are. I hope I'm wrong, but we just feel outclassed by these teams. Is it injuries? Or a lack of depth? What's your opinion? Love TLaw. The guy is special.

My thought is your assessment through 14 regular-season games is pretty spot on. The Jaguars, who lost to the Baltimore Ravens 23-7 at EverBank Stadium Sunday night, for the most part have been good this season. They have victories over many good teams including the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts twice, the Houston Texans and a few others. Their losses all have come to teams with winning records – Houston, the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Browns and the Ravens. Most of those teams are good. A couple are really good. I haven't sensed the Jaguars have been "outclassed" by these teams – with the exception being the 49ers, who have outclassed most teams, and perhaps the Ravens. I do sense the Jaguars have found ways to lose to a lot of good teams this season. Injuries have played a role. So have miscommunication and self-inflicted errors, the latter of which again played a major role Sunday. The reality right now is the Jaguars aren't one of the best teams in the NFL. That's clear. They're a good team with a very good chance to make the postseason. Sometimes there's a difference. Maybe they can smooth out some rough edges in the coming weeks, get into the playoffs and change that assessment. That happens a lot in this league. It could still happen here with this team this season.

Scott from Jax in DE

How has this team regressed so much, O-man? This team is starting to give off that old Jags vibe. That feeling where faith is out of reach. It's a horrible feeling.

This feeling understandable, but I don't know that it's warranted. The three-game stretch the Jaguars just finished was in retrospect very difficult. All three teams that beat the Jaguars – the Bengals, Browns and Ravens – are contending. They're playing well. They play in the NFL's toughest division, the AFC North. The Jaguars lost in overtime to the Bengals and had a chance to tie the Browns in the final minutes. They gave away multiple scoring opportunities against the AFC's best team, the Ravens, and still were in the game in the second half. There's no reason the Jaguars can't win their final three games – at Tampa Bay, home against Carolina and at Tennessee – if they eliminate avoidable mistakes, protect the ball and play sound football. The problem is they haven't been doing that lately.  Buckle up.

Bob from Sumter, SC

We might lead the league in crossing the 50-yard line and stalled drives.

I wouldn't rule this out. It has happened with remarkable consistency.

Nick from Milton, Ontario

Two missed field goals and a red-zone fumble. This is why we have lost three straight.

This Jaguars team has made a habit of self-inflicted mistakes and missed opportunities. There are multiple storylines that have defined the season. That is perhaps foremost among them.

Roger from Houston, TX

They just can't get out of their own way, can they?

Not in the first half Sunday they couldn't.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Trevor at this stage is good, but not great. We needed him to be great Sunday … but he's just not that guy yet.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence for the most part has improved dramatically since the beginning of the 2022 season. His decision-making is better and the Jaguars have won a lot more than they have lost in the last season and a half. But Lawrence had multiple glaring mistakes Sunday. One was a mental error when he threw short of the end zone late in the first half with the Jaguars having no timeouts. That cost the Jaguars a chance for points when they really needed points. But his ball security issues are more glaring. His two lost fumbles were key Sunday. Both were very avoidable. Both were very costly. This is a fixable issue. But it's an issue. And it must be fixed.

Mike from Azores

Seriously, John. How many mistakes is Trevor allowed before you allow us fans to fan? Stupid fumble cost us points! Even dumber throw short of the end zone to finish the half! He's making rookie and mid-level quarterback mistakes! Not a franchise quarterback yet! Paying him as one in the off season will be a mistake!

I have no control over fans fanning. Nor do I want that control. Lawrence made multiple mistakes that were costly Sunday.

Tristian from Crystal River, FL

Time and time again, the Jaguars look like one of the most incompetent and poorly coached teams in the league. I've happily rooted for terrible teams for much of my life, and the 2023 Jaguars are not a terrible team - what's hard for me to stomach is rooting for a notoriously *dumb* team. It's embarrassing.

It's apparently still always coaching in the NFL.

Andrew from Little Elm, TX

Remember when our kicker made kicks? Those were good days.

Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus has been mostly reliable this season. He missed from 50 and 55 yards in the first half Monday. These were difficult kicks in a windy conditions. They were also misses that hurt the Jaguars' early momentum significantly.

Don from Marshall, NC

Any respect the Jaguars had is gone now along with their own dignity. Ugly and painful to watch this team has totally lost their confidence. Might not recover from that embarrassment. They really have a huge problem now.

Don is struggling. This is not positive.

Jordan from Mandarin

I know during the season we don't usually have roster construction conversations, but I don't know how we analyze the Jags woes and complete free fall without it. There are several problem areas to discuss, but none more glaring than the interior O-line and the inability for this team to run the ball. There has to be significant changes in the offseason.

I'm not ready to call this a freefall, mainly because the three consecutive losses have come to Bengals, Browns and Ravens teams playing at a high level. Check back after Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But there are issues to be discussed and I agree they start with the interior of the offensive line. The Jaguars were inconsistent running early in the season. They're beyond that now and there are far too many plays with no push up the middle and too much defensive penetration there. I expect the area to be a major focus in the offseason. It's hard to see how that wouldn't be the case.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

The Jags outplayed Ravens in the first half and did nothing on the scoreboard. It's like their figuring out new ways each week to beat themselves. The San Francisco 49ers are the only team to spank them. Unbelievable.

Mistakes hurt the Jaguars in a big way in the first half Sunday. McManus' misses were part of it. Lawence's fumble at the Ravens 19 was a bigger part of it. Getting no points after reaching the Ravens 4-yard line in the final seconds of the second quarter was a huge part of it. It did at times in the first half feel unbelievable.

Brandon from Louisville, KY

So disappointing. The team simply underperforms, including the quarterback.

Maybe they're underperforming. Maybe they're just performing. They have made a lot of mistakes and self-inflicted errors in recent weeks. Until they prove otherwise, they're a team that does that. That can change. Three weeks remain in the regular season.

Levi from Huntsville, AL

I would LOVE to know whose decision it was to not spike the ball at the end of the half. Terrible decision regardless of outcome, obviously magnified by the results. You spike the ball 11 out of 10 times in those situations.

You're referencing the end of the first half, when Lawrence passed 36 yards to wide receiver Zay Jones to the Ravens 5-yard line with just over 20 seconds remaining and the Jaguars trailing, 10-0. The Jaguars indeed ran a play immediately instead of spiking the ball to stop the clock. Lawrence passed to wide receiver Parker Washington, who failed to get out of bounds to stop the clock and time expired without the Jaguars scoring a touchdown or attempting a field goal. Pederson said the plan was not for Lawrence to spike in that situation and said the idea there was to be aggressive, adding that the Jaguars had scored in that situation before. He said Lawrence needs to not throw the ball in bounds to be tackled in bounds in that situation.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

The NFL is hard and we make it harder.

True that.