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O-Zone: Just plain silly

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Fred from Jacksonville

O man, after just two games Super Bowl talk is obviously premature. Yet, I keep thinking about the parallels between this year and 1999. The Super Bowl will be played in Atlanta. The Rams could easily be the NFC representative. And the Tennessee Titans have a smashmouth team once again shaping up to be our nemesis. John, we cannot let that happen. Period. This is a really, really big game. In the words of the immortal Barney Fife. We need to just nip it in the bud.

I agree the Jaguars need to beat the Titans Saturday, and I agree the Titans Situation must be nipped in the bud. And while there are some similarities to 1999, the thing that makes me uneasy about Sunday’s game is these circa-2017/2018 Titans once again seem to be a difficult matchup for the Jaguars. The Jaguars’ offense never scored a meaningful touchdown against the Titans last season, and Titans running back Derrick Henry seems to have a knack for making big plays against the Jaguars. Despite the perception of many observers that the Jaguars are a better team than the Titans, Tennessee always seems to find a way to be leading the Jaguars and to have Jacksonville in difficult situations. This matchup is going to be worrisome until the Jaguars break those trends.

Matthew from Fort Worth, TX

I like wins. Isn't winning fun? One fer wins!

Sure.

Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville

Zone, why do reporters try to create conflict when interviewing players? I felt insulted when running back Leonard Fournette was asked about the Jaguars winning games when he didn't play! I have re-watched the Patriots game five times already. There were several run plays that Fournette would have been handed the ball. This was a team and city win, and that includes Fournette! I wouldn't want to talk with the media either if they were trying to either insult me or put doubt in my playing abilities. Go Jaguars!!!!

There was nothing wrong with what Mark Long of the Associated Press was trying to ask Thursday. The Jaguars are 4-0 without Fournette. The offense has played well in his absence. I have received a slew of questions from fans along this same topic, so it’s clearly something readers and fans find interesting. I might have worded Long’s question differently, but not every question comes out perfect. The spirit of his question was fine.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

Fournette is by far the Jags’ most talented running back; they’re not better without him. They just tend to be more creative on offensive to compensate for his absence. Utilize a healthy Fournette in such a creative game plan and this team will be very hard to stop.

The Jaguars do seem to tend to pass more downfield when Fournette is out of the game. I don’t know if that’s more creative, but the approach has been successful. Fans like successful approaches and they tend to call those approaches creative. Success has a funny way of drawing praise that way. This team tends to be pretty creative when it runs. I think the Jaguars will continue to be creative when Fournette plays. Whether that fits what people think of as creative, I can’t predict.

Paul from Jacksonville

I'm with Biff. DTWD.

Biff wrote on Friday that he loathed the Titans. I wrote that he wasn’t alone. I was right. He’s not. #DTWD

Red from Jacksonville

Hello, John. My name is Red, and I REALLY loathe the Titans.

OK.

David from Severna Park, MD

Not looking for the details, but in resigning wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr. after cutting him last week, did he renegotiate a new contract? Had another team signed him, would there be anything preventing him from sharing his knowledge of his former team's playbook?

Greene was playing under his rookie contract, so there’s likely little difference between his old contract and the new one. And no … nothing prevents a player signing with a new team from sharing information about a previous team’s playbook, but that’s a bit of an overblown angle. Most teams run similar plays – and all teams have access to all tape of all games of all teams. There aren’t many secrets when it comes to what teams run.

Pete from Jacksonville Beach

What colors for Jags uniforms Sunday?

Jaguars equipment guru Jimmy Luck announces this each Wednesday on Jaguars Happy Hour, which is capably hosted by J.P. Shadrick and on which I appear somewhat less than capable. The colors this week: white jerseys, teal pants.

Tucker from Nashville, TN

I have been watching rookie defensive end Taven Bryan closely. He's late on the snap count. I'm talking a full second behind other players. He had a nice bull rush going on a third down that would have made an impact if he had got off the snap faster.

I’m sensing a growing angst among fans about Bryan. It’s not surprising he there are things he must do to improve. Defensive line is one of the more difficult positions at which to transition into the NFL. Bryan is a rookie. He missed a lot of training camp. He has played two NFL games. He’ll improve. Give him time.

David from Eugene, OR

I'm listening to The Herd right now and they are talking about how he loves quarterbacks (specifically Andrew Luck, Sam Darnold, and Carson Wentz) because they throw interceptions. Because they are willing to take the chance. Saying Peyton Manning threw picks; come on. Bortles throws one and he is the worst quarterback. This Jags team is special and Blake Bortles is a huge part of it. The man is the real deal and it is time the rest of these people start throwing his name in those sentences. How long does he have to keep proving he can play before the rest of the league catches on?

Yeah, I’ll be honest … You lost me with your first sentence.

Papdoc from St. Augustine, FL

With everyone worried about the 2019 salary cap – who to pay, who to let walk – I can't seem to shake the feeling that we may have a bigger problem. Bortles is finally showing he can manage the offense. What is the chance that Nathaniel Hackett is gone? Cleveland Browns. I'm more worried about that than the cap.

If the Jaguars continue to win, there is a very good chance offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett could parlay that into an NFL head coaching job. There’s an equally good chance defensive coordinator Todd Wash could get an NFL head coaching job. Will that happen after this season? Could it take one more season to get their names prominent enough in NFL circles? It’s probably a toss-up between those two scenarios, but I would be surprised at this point if both don’t get head jobs sometime in the relatively near future. I would expect the Jaguars would look to hire from within, and secondary coach Perry Fewell and quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich would seem possibilities. This is a good, experienced coaching staff with systems that are beginning to become entrenched. Success can be maintained if coordinators leave.

Glass Half Full from Sacksonville

Zone, time to get on board. Say it with me, "Blake Bortles is the best quarterback in the division, and maybe the AFC!" It is time for everyone to consider this. He no longer has his No. 1 wide receiver, running back and starting left tackle. Think about that. He is still improving. Get onboard, John.

Bortles is better than people think. And he might be the best quarterback in the AFC South. I’m going to stay off board on him being the best quarterback in the AFC. I’m just not ready to say he’s better than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady yet.

Andrew from Fort Lauderdale, FL

Hey, John. I'm obviously happy with the quick start and loved every minute of the Pats game, but I've been wondering if the Jags aren't rushing the passer as effectively as last year. Is that just me? The rush seemed strong against the Giants at times, but their O-Line seemed to adjust after halftime. Against the Pats, there was the key Fowler sack, but he wasn't under duress all day like we saw a lot last year. Are quarterback just getting the ball out fast?

Huge sack numbers usually come against weak offensive lines, or they come in bunches late in games when teams know their opponents are going to pass. The Jaguars had eight games last season with zero-to-two sacks. It’s consistent, timely pressure in passing situations that counts. The Jaguars are 2-0. Their defense is playing at a high level. Sacks will come.

Bryce from Waterloo, IA

Remember in the offseason when people were saying Bortles was holding the Jags back and Eli Manning could be the missing piece?

I do. It was silly then, and it seems sillier now.

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