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O-Zone: Just run, baby

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nelson from St Augustine, FL

If the season were to end this weekend, would you give up a second-round draft pick and mega money to re-sign Ridley?

While wide receiver Calvin Ridley perhaps hasn't had quite the production in his first season with the team as many Jaguars fans expected, he nonetheless this season often has drawn double coverage and dictated defenses. That matters offensively. He has drawn multiple huge penalties that have produced first downs and made multiple big receptions. He also has 70 receptions for 910 yards and seven touchdowns. It also must be noted that he hadn't played for nearly two full years entering this season. Has he played like a "True No. 1?" Perhaps not. Has he been good? Has he mattered? Yes. Yes. He has been important in multiple Jaguars victories, and I would argue the Jaguars would be under .500 entering Week 18 without him. The Jaguars under the agreement of the trade that brought him to Jacksonville would give up a second-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Atlanta Falcons if they sign him to a long-term extension. I would probably give up the second-round draft selection. I also would sign him to an extension. I would have to know what, exactly, "mega" entails before fully answering that part of the question.

Jimsure from DBS

Will the coaches admit that they overrated the offensive line? We get very little push on running plays and the pass blocking is not very effective either. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. could have easily run for another 500.

I'm not sure I know what purpose this would serve, nor do I find the premise all that realistic. Does anyone really expect Head Coach Doug Pederson or the assistant coaches involved to publicly "admit" this? Why would he/they? Toward what end? The Jaguars' interior offensive line has struggled to get push in the run game this season. Those struggles have defined much of the season. It's pretty evident if you watch the games. Most NFL teams have weaknesses and strengths. That has been a weakness a lot of times this season. It has been discussed here and pretty much anywhere else people discuss this team. I expect it will be a major area of focus in the offseason. What else needs to be said?

Daniel from Johnston, IA

You've mentioned that Jaguars wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones when healthy should be starting and I agree. However, particularly with Jones earlier this year, it looked like the Jags started him when he was not fully healthy and it showed. Several plays before he was really re-injured he didn't make because it was clear he was hampered. I'd rather have a fully healthy wide receiver in there than a significantly hampered WR. How do the Jags evaluate that?

If a player is cleared to play, is not risking re-injury and can help the team, he typically plays. There are nuances in this. At some point, it comes down to the player saying he wants to play and the coach deciding if he should. It's not always the right decision. They're human beings.

Stuart from Cottonwood, AZ

I would say the biggest factor for Tennessee this week, all due respect to running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, is defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons. Any news on him?

Simmons is on injured reserve with a knee injury and will not play Sunday.

Jason from Suffolk, VA

It has been stated that the interior of the offensive line is the biggest issue for this team. What does that look like heading into the offseason? They seem to like Walker Little at guard, spent a third-round pick on a center they seem to like and spent a bunch of money on Brandon Scherff, who was a Pro Bowl level guard. If they like all those players, is it still just a let them develop and play together, or do you see offseason changes there?

I do not expect the Jaguars' approach to the interior offensive line this coming offseason to be to "let them develop and play together."

Steve from Jacksonville

We all hear the NFL coaches say, "Next man up" and "we don't blame injuries for losses." But the reason healthy players start (Kirk and Jones, etc.) is because they are better than the other players. Do we (the fans) put too much emphasis on winning "No matter what!"?

Fans expect their team to win. Fans fan. It's what they do.

Phil from Montreal

Zone- How was Evan Engram left off the Pro Bowl roster? He has over 100 catches! This way of selecting players seems to leave out players every year.

The Pro Bowl selection process weighs fan voting, player voting and coaches voting equally. It's an imperfect system because there's no such thing as a perfect voting system in these sorts of things. Jaguars tight end Evan Engram has 104 receptions for 884 yards and three touchdowns this season. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has 93 receptions for 984 yards and five touchdowns. Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has 81 receptions for 882 yards and six touchdowns. Kelce and Njoku made the Pro Bowl over Engram. The guess here is the three touchdowns hurt.

Greg from Atlanta, GA

Do you feel like this year's Week 18 game versus the Titans is way more important for the franchise than last year's game? Last year, we didn't have any expectations and were probably just happy to be there and have a shot. This year we came in with plenty of expectations and started hot. I just feel missing the playoffs this year will be devastating too many fans and going to be hard for some to get excited next year.

A Jaguars loss Sunday and missing the playoffs would mean they lose five of their final six games to miss the postseason. Would it be fair for fans to be disappointed in that? Absolutely.

Jay from So-Cal

I will remain steadfast in my optimism that the Jags will win on Sunday and this group will become healthier, more determined, and in sync on both sides of the ball. Play clean and simple. No turnovers. One fer Ross Matiscik (long snapper) and Josh "Tank" Allen!


Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, was it the Dave Casper and the Raiders caused that caused the fumble/touchback rule in the 70s?

You're referencing a play from a 1978 game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers on which Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler fumbled forward on the game's final play. The play began with :10 remaining and Oakland on the San Diego 14-yard line. Raiders running back Pete Banaszak after Stabler's fumble propelled the ball further forward with tight end Dave Casper recovering in the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Raiders a 21-20 victory. This play, known as the "Holy Roller," had nothing to do with the rule that a ball fumbled out of the end zone is a touchback. The play did lead to a rule change that after the two-minute warning of either half only the fumbling player can advance a fumble for the offensive team. That rule also applies on fourth downs.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Fumbling the ball out of the end zone could be a five-yard – or even a 15-yard – penalty and a loss of down. Problem solved. You're welcome.

That makes sense. I've never sensed any momentum or inclination to change this rule. I would be surprised if any momentum or inclination happened.

Charlie from Starkville, MS

Do you think beating the Titans will be harder since this will be their last game of the season and they have nothing to play for?

This could go either way. The Titans being out of contention could make them play looser and allow them to take chances they might not otherwise take. It also could cause them to not play as hard and go into disarray if the Jaguars take an early lead. I don't expect it to be the latter. It wouldn't be smart for the Jaguars to depend on that.

Bill from Jacksonville, FL

John, the Jags added Calvin Ridley, it's the second year in Head Coach Doug Pederson's system for almost all of these players, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence has matured another year ... so why is the offense worse than last year? By basically every statistical category the Offense is worse. Why?

The Jaguars haven't run effectively consistently. When you can't run effectively when you want to run, it affects all else.

Rob from Orange Park, FL

Our red-zone results are pretty concerning heading into our last game. A different quarterback didn't change much. What is our problem getting into the end zone? Is that what separates good teams from OK teams?

The Jaguars haven't run effectively consistently. When you can't run effectively when you want to run, it affects all else.