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O-Zone: Long live the King

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Sebastian

Why Not Jaguars? Teams win with coaching, talent and a little luck. Why not the Jaguars? Hard work and will to win seem to be the undertones to this year's team. Teamwork, everybody doing his job living up to his responsibility. There have been many teams that have won without generational talent across the board, so why not the Jaguars? Young and hungry while humble seems to be the character of this Team. So I ask: Why not the Jaguars?

Who knows? Perhaps it can be the Jaguars. I wrote and said often entering the 2022 season that I expected the Jaguars to be a six-to-seven-victory team – likely around six or seven. I feel slightly better about this team though two regular-season games, so I could now see them as a seven-to-nine-victory team – likely around seven or eight. I can't get much more optimistic yet because the Jaguars through two games have shown what young, improving teams show – i.e., some really good stuff as you saw in a Week 2 shutout victory over the Indianapolis Colts and some frustrating stuff as you saw in a Week 1 loss at Washington. The Jaguars emerged from that early stretch 1-1 and feeling good about themselves, which is as they should feel. They still have a loooong season ahead with some elite quarterbacks on the schedule and some teams playing as a higher level than Washington/Indianapolis. I expect them to play very well at times and surprise some teams. I also suspect they will get surprised a time or two. I expect, as I expected before the season, for youth to hurt them – particularly against teams further along in their development with more mature rosters. Perhaps this team will outplay its experience. Or perhaps the rest of the AFC South will continue to struggle as it has early in the season. Those things are possible. But if you're asking, "Why not the Jaguars?" … I expect what holds this team back to be youth and inexperience. And I expect that factor to go away in the coming seasons and for this team to develop pretty quickly into a contender.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I love the extra element Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's legs bring to the offense for a few read runs, but seeing what happened to the 49ers, it just makes me squirm.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance is out for the season after a Week 2 ankle injury – and yes, that's the risk of mobile quarterbacks who tend to take a lot of hits. Many quarterbacks run and use mobility without injury, but the more you expose yourself to violence in this physical game, the more chance that violence will take a toll.

The real JT from Plano, TX

It would be cool to see the team respond early in the season against a really strong team off to a fast start. Let's say worst case, we get no breaks: We start on defense and hit Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert hard, get flagged for a BS roughing penalty, followed by a phantom DPI flag, and before you know it, we're down seven. Then crazy pick six puts us down 14 inside of five minutes. If TLaw and Co. can overcome that and scratch out a win on the road, we'll know we're going to start regularly contending without having to rely on breaks or teams missing players. Shoot, anything better than a worst case start to the game would be great. Have you seen anything yet to make you think this year's team can scratch? DTWD.

The Jaguars overcame an 11-point deficit on the road in a Week 1 loss at Washington to lead by eight points. Perhaps that's not as bleak as your scenario. (Is there anything as bleak as your scenario? Do you have any scotch?)

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

I notice you never repeat my questions. Because you're pathetic.

Go Jaguars.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

The knock on Evan Engram was that he dropped passes. It's worth noting that so far he has caught every ball he has touched.

So far, so good. Veteran tight end Evan Engram, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March, through two games has been an asset in this offense – and his speed and athleticism as given Lawrence an option for which defenses must account. I imagine Engram will drop some passes this season. The best receivers and tight ends I've ever covered all have dropped passes from time to time. Keeping those drops to a minimum and making enough plays in big situations is what matters.

Tom from Fruit Cove, FL

John, after watching the Indy game, I was blown away with the effort and results Engram provided as a full-blown anchor on running plays and downfield when he was not the target. This dude carries a big stick and a loud voice and wreaks havoc on unsuspecting defensive backs. Were you expecting him to be so dominating?

I have been surprised how often Engram has stood out as a run-blocker. This isn't widely considered a strength, but he has worked throughout his career to improve this area. It's important for "receiving" tight ends to at least be willing and to get in defenders' way, and Engram certainly is these things. Engram through two games has been a positive this scheme. He's also a very impressive veteran presence and locker-room leader. I wouldn't call him dominating yet, but signs point toward him being a very good free-agent signing.

Mike from Terceira in the Azores

O man, not to rain on the Jags' parade, but against the same Washington Commanders offensive line, the Jags had one sack! Detroit's Aidan Hutchinson had three sacks himself in the first half alone! I'm afraid this will go down in history as another major Jags draft-day mistake! Yes or no?

No. No, no, no, no, no. (No).

Daniel from St Johns

I like the new John. Long Live the new KOAF!

There's precious little reason to like the new John. Not everything changes with time. I am the king of all funk.

Zac from Austin, TX

If we, the good guys, get shut out by the bad guys by more than 21, what will that say to you about this team? Is there a real possibility that somehow this is where the season starts to spiral?

I suppose anything is possible, and I understand that enough past Jaguars seasons have spiraled wildly enough – and quickly enough – that some fans are concerned about this. But while I don't expect the Jaguars to win Sunday, neither do I expect a blowout – or shutout loss. And if that did happen, I don't remotely expect a spiral. This team believes in its direction.

Mario from West Kelowna, BC

Zone. It's always coaching in the NFL. There, I said it for you so people don't come after you for expressing your opinion on this free website. Keep up the good work! And fans, don't forget that it's players, not plays!

It's always coaching in the NFL.

Tobe from Brunswick, GA

Mr. O, after two games, have the Jags carved out an identity of the what the team would look like this season? If, in your mind they have, what is it? Go Jaguars!!!

The Jaguars are showing signs of an identity, though such things are rarely solidified until five or six games into an NFL season. This feels like a team that will be able to function offensively based on the style of the opposing defense. That's because it's showing early balance and ability to win one-on-one matchups. The offensive coaching staff also appears to be scheming players into very good positions consistently. It also feels like a team that can stop the run well enough on early downs to have a chance to play good defense, and pressure opposing quarterbacks into mistakes. It's also a good sign that they are protecting the ball offensively and forcing turnovers defensively. I can't call this team great in any particular area yet, because we have two-game sample size. I can call it a team with a chance to be good in some areas. Check back in a month.

JR from The Squatchlands

O, trying not to get to excited over here, but through two games, the Jaguars are looking like the best team in the division. Thoughts?

I think the Jaguars through two games look like the best team in the AFC South. I think it's a 15-game season and that they could look like that a few times and not look like that a few other times. This is a young team that could take a while to consistently look as good as fans hope they will look. Buckle up.

Micah from Chicago, IL

Important stat heading into this weekend: Doug Pederson is 1-0 under King Charles III.

Good eye.

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