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O-Zone Late Night: Jaguars 26, Bengals 21

JACKSONVILLE – Preseason Week 3 O-Zone Late Night.

Let's get to it …

Chris from Home:
Looks like the same old Jags. The Bengals' first team did what they wanted with ease!
John: This is as good a place to start as any – and after a game such as this one, you have to start somewhere. Yes, the Bengals' first team on Sunday pretty much dominated the game. And no, there wasn't a whole lot of good to come out of the early part of this game for the Jaguars. And there's no question the Jaguars were disappointed in how they played. No team wants to get controlled on the lines of scrimmage, particularly in Week 3 of the preseason – without question the biggest of the four preseason games. The Jaguars need to improve from this game and use it as something of a wakeup call. At the same time, don't lose sight of the fact that the Bengals are one of the NFL's most-talented rosters. They are an experienced, veteran team and it's not surprising they are ahead of the Jaguars at the lines of scrimmage. I don't believe Sunday night's performance will define this team. I have seen plenty of teams struggle in a preseason game and be very competitive during the season. The evidence from the first two games of the preseason suggests this team can do that. We'll see.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Hey, John the defense sucks even more in person. Sigh … same ole Jags!
John: This was the much-anticipated, much-ballyhooed, rarely-discussed first email of the game. Unsurprisingly, it was from my friend, Jerell. It turns out Jerell made the trip from Columbia to see the Jaguars in person at 'the Bank. Jerell doesn't always ooze positivity. There are a lot of times I believe Jerell is perhaps a touch off base. I found less with which to disagree on Sunday.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
After the first quarter, WOW. (not a good wow, either...more of a sarcastic wow)
John: Right.
Jerell from Columbia, S.C.:
The entire team sucks still. Jags are two good drafts away from competing …
John: Remember what I said about common ground with Jerell? Well, he lost me here. No, the Jaguars were not good Sunday. But the entire team doesn't stink. They're not two years from competing. Are they on a level with Cincinnati? Perhaps not. Does that mean they're terrible and can't compete? No, it absolutely doesn't mean that. Cincinnati's a very good team – maybe as good as any in the NFL. The Bengals have a chance to contend for the Super Bowl this season. I still believe the Jaguars have a chance to get above .500 and contend for the playoffs, but it's not a shock that there are matchup issues against the Bengals.
Marc from US Assure Club:
I am surprised they did not utilize Myles Jack more early in the game on third and fourth down. Poz is great against the run, but he proved a liability on third and fourth down. Jack is so talented in coverage. We need him. P.S. We are sure missing Roy Miller.
John: I think the Jaguars will get Jack in the game on third down sooner rather than later, if for no other purpose than to cover tight ends and running backs man to man. I don't know that that automatically means Paul Posluszny coming off the field in that situation, but you're right that Jack has too much talent not to play. As far as missing Roy Miller … yes, that was a huge factor early. The Jaguars' run defense has looked different with him out of the lineup than it did with him. That makes sense because Miller played at or near a Pro Bowl level last season. You don't want your run defense dependent on one player, but the Jaguars' need Miller in the middle of the defensive line. There's little question about that.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, three years from now, how many preseason games will NFL teams play? If the number is any more than two, the NFL is making a huge mistake. Thanks! Go Jags!
John: I think it will be at least three and it still could be four. While fans and media dislike the preseason, it remains a very important evaluation tool for coaches and general managers. I'd like to see it reduced by one, perhaps, but it would make decision-making very difficult if it were reduced beyond that. There are times late in preseason games and I'm beating my head against the keyboard when the clock has slowed to a crawl that I oh-so-wish I was wrong, but I doubt I am.
Brian from Section 238:
And reality sets in...
John: I got a lot of these emails throughout the game, and I just don't see it. Just as the giddiness over the starts in the first two preseason games didn't mean this team was going to the Super Bowl , the start against the Bengals doesn't mean the Jaguars are awful. The offense that showed improvement in the first two games isn't suddenly awful, and the team that matched up well against the starting units against Tampa Bay and the Jets didn't digress into mediocrity. This is a young, talented team that still needs to make strides. Sunday's game showed that in a big way, but it doesn't mean those strides can't be made.

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