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O-Zone: Just calm down

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Andrew from Hilton Head, SC

I fully expected Trevor to get a megadeal in the offseason akin to the other top-paid quarterbacks. However, if Trevor's stats maintain their current pace and he finishes the season with (compared to expectations) lower numbers than anticipated, do you believe that will have any meaningful impact on his bottom line for a contract negotiation? I am sure the Jags' brass feels that he is THE GUY so I'm not expecting a low-ball offer. However, Mahomes got his contract after a 26:5 TD/Int ratio and Super Bowl win. Burrow got his contract after a Super Bowl loss and 35:12 season. Hurts got his contract after a Super Bowl loss and 22:6 season. Lamar had great stats as well. If Trevor was putting up a large statistical season, I could see him getting the top of the top with his trajectory, but he isn't right now. Hopefully he goes off the last few weeks, we win playoff games and this is a moot point. But curious about your take on things right now. Thanks.

Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – know I'm not all that big on numbers when assessing players or situations. I expect Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence to sign a contract extension sometime next offseason. If recent precedent is followed, that probably would happen sometime toward training camp. I don't know that it's a guarantee that Lawrence's deal would exceed those of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo Bills quarterback Patrick Mahomes because Lawrence to date hasn't reached the level of those players. Either way, these megacontracts are complex and are often structured uniquely depending on specific situations with teams and players. Instead of focusing on numbers when considering this, just ask yourself if Lawrence should be the quarterback of the future? How much better do you feel about the franchise since his arrival? How much does the team value his toughness, reliability? How much do you trust he will continue to improve? Do you want him as the quarterback or not? If yes, then you pay him like a franchise quarterback. I expect that will happen and I expect the sides can reach agreement that works.

Fred from Naples, FL

If the Jags lose to Baltimore on Sunday night, I do not see them winning all the three remaining games because that would put a lot of pressure on them knowing they have to win all three to secure a home playoff game. We have not done well this year at "must-win" situations. In my opinion this Sunday night's game is "must win."

Sunday night is important, no doubt – and all December games feel like "must-win" seen through a certain lens. Remember, though: The Jaguars can win the AFC South with three victories in the last four regular-season games if they beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 18. They can win with fewer victories than that if the Texans and the Indianapolis Colts both lose at least one more game, so it's very realistic that the Jaguars could win the AFC South and secure a home playoff game by splitting the last four games. That's admittedly not an ideal way to enter the playoffs. But the AFC is a weird, parity-driven conference this season. My sense is most if not all qualifying conference teams may enter the postseason in less-than-ideal fashion this season.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Please don't let our season finale against the Tennessee Titans be what determines if we win the AFC South. This gives me bad vibes. Can you talk to some peeps for me?

The Jaguars will win the AFC South if they win three of their last four games if they win at Tennessee in Week 18. They are perfectly capable of clinching the division before that.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Hi, John. Some fans would not be happy or enjoy the game unless they won each in a certain fashion. This is a very good football team. These guys have beaten more teams than have beat them!

The Jaguars absolutely are good. Their five losses – Kansas City, Cincinnati, Houston, San Francisco and Cleveland – are to teams with winning records. They also have five victories over teams with winning records – Indianapolis (two), Houston, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. The Jaguars may or may not be great this season. They are at the very least good.

Katherine from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAF! Do you think Ridley has played well enough for the Jags to retain him next year? If so, would you guess extension or franchise tag?

I expect the Jaguars will want to retain wide receiver Calvin Ridley. I would guess an extension, with the reality of that perhaps depending on the perception of Ridley and his team on his market value.

Brian from ROUND ROCK

How do you feel about Trevor calling out teammates during the game? I don't like it. 1) He hasn't really earned that status yet. 2) He is just as likely to have made the mistake as the other player. 3) Despite what he claims, other players shouldn't publicly call out the quarterback, just like they shouldn't call out the coach. I think he's being immature and it's not a good look.

The quarterback is the leader of the offense and the team. Sometimes, he must act like it. And sometimes that means doing and saying things teammates don't like but need to hear.

Brian from Carlisle, PA

O, always having to watch our games on TV I have noticed a lot of other team's colors in the stands. Do you think that could be affecting how we are not doing well at home?

The Jaguars are 5-1 on the road this season, 6-1 in games played away from Jacksonville. There were colors other than teal in the stands in those games.

Gibran from Aledo, TX

With weather forecasters predicting 20 mph winds with gusts between 40 to 50 mph and rain (hopefully tapering off) at game time, do you see this game becoming a trench war at the line? I would expect with those winds, that passing will become very difficult and the team needing a really good production from the running backs to win in those conditions.

Such a game would make sense given the conditions. Unless rain is a deluge, teams often can play through it and pass effectively. Heavy wind can dramatically limit the ability to pass. Such conditions would seem to favor the team that can run effectively and stop the run most effectively. Both the Ravens and Jaguars have been good against the run this season. The Ravens have run far better than the Jaguars most of the season.

Greg from St Johns

Is there anything the Jags the Jags do consistently well? It's apparent that the team is consistently inconsistent in all phases of the game. "Inconsistent" has replaced "moist" as my least appealing word.

The Jaguars for the most part this season have stopped the run well. They also have been very good for the most part creating turnovers. They have not done these things great every game, but most NFL teams don't do anything great every game. I would call the Jaguars consistent for the most part in those two areas. They haven't been consistent in many other areas.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

How important is the play of linebacker Travon Walker this Sunday night in keeping Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson contained and in the pocket?


Rich from Dacula, GA

OK, since you don't want to answer my question about the defense (is it players or coordinator?), then let me put it a different way. Is there any coach on our staff who would be in line for a head coaching position? Usually it comes from the coordinator position. We kept our coaching staff from last year and that may be some issue that we didn't change anything. To get better in this League you've got to change and not just stay the same. Everybody knows what we're doing this year.

I expect Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor will be a head coach in the NFL at some point. My sense is it may not happen this offseason, but that's a projection and nowhere near prediction. As for your point that "to get better in this league you've got to change and not just stay the same…" I couldn't disagree more. Way too many teams in the NFL change for the sake of change – or for the same of perception, or in response to off-field "noise – which often leads to players having to learn new voices, languages, approaches, etc. Stay the course, keep developing your players, let them continue getting better within the system. Too few teams have the patience for this approach. This is not to say there aren't times to move on from situations. But there is an insane amount of turnover in this league.