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O-Zone: Mad respect

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nick from Palatka, FL

'99 talent with '96 karma? This train might not stop until the end of the line. Go JAGS!!!

There's a smidge of truth here, particularly if you compare the current feeling around the Jaguars to the feeling during the 1996 run to the postseason. That team had chemistry and karma, and it also had the fresh feeling of a young team defying odds and expectations that made that season unforgettable. The Jaguars that season also went from being an afterthought to having realistic playoff possibilities seemingly in a blink, as has this team. I don't know that I can go with you on this team having the talent of the 1999 Jaguars, though. That '99 team had All-Pro-level players at multiple positions around the roster – and it had at least three Hall-of-Fame-level talents in left tackle Tony Boselli, running back Fred Taylor and wide receiver Jimmy Smith. This Jaguars team isn't quite that talented, though it's starting to become really good – maybe elite – at a pretty key spot offensively.

Nick from St. Augustine, FL

So, what are your thoughts on Rayshawn Jenkins' thoughts on coaching in the NFL?

I am fond of saying "It's always coaching in the NFL" to make the point that fans and observers often far too quickly blame coaching for all in-game issues. This is not to say that coaching never matters. It's more to say that it's not the end-all reason for all that happens on the field – and fans and observers far too often blame coaching when in fact it's a game where players must be able to make plays to win. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins following Sunday's victory over the Dallas Cowboys indeed credited coaching as a big part of the Jaguars' success this season – and credited this year's coaching staff for giving players information needed to make plays. I don't doubt this is true and I don't doubt that this Jaguars coaching staff is doing a nice job. I also know that the coaches on this staff have been geniuses six times this season and, well … not quite-so geniuses eight other times. Because it's always coaching in the NFL.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

So, if we win the division and go to the playoffs, would we host a wildcard team in Jax? A home playoff game?

Yes. Division champions in the NFL host their first playoff game regardless of record. If the Jaguars win the AFC South, they would host a playoff game the following week.

Gary from Suffolk, VA

Not sure about others, but I am on pins and needles about this game Thursday. As we move towards a tough divisional opponent, I hope we aren't victory hungover. What, in your opinion, will be the winning formula for us tomorrow night?

Protecting the ball, protecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence and not allowing the Jets to get an early lead. I wrote in an O-Zone answer this week that the expected wet conditions shouldn't hurt the Jaguars. I wonder about that as the week goes on. The Jaguars' offense is a strength right now. Wet, sloppy conditions could hurt that. I expect a tight game with turnovers deciding it. They must protect the ball and make big plays at the end of the game.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Professional football is finally fun for me again. John. I obviously want us in the playoffs this year, but win or lose, this year has been a success. Progress is what I wanted most and I think we can safely say that we are progressing. Looks like we FINALLY have the right quarterback/coach combo to lead this team! I haven't felt like this since I was a young teen back in the mid-to-late nineties. Those teams propelled my fandom into someone who is sometimes irrational. We all want greatness for this team, franchise and city. Looks like it's either here or on the horizon, but either way.... Go Jags forever!

JT is "all in."

Eric from Gulf Breeze, FL

Why does the team think dropping Josh Allen into coverage is a great option? I understand trying to disguise coverages and confuse the offense, but defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell needs to have him rush the passer, period.

The Jaguars don't see this as a great option. It is a necessary option if you're going to run a 3-4 defense. Allen plays outside linebacker. So does Travon Walker. There are going to be times when outside linebackers drop in coverage in a 3-4 defense.

John from Sebastian, FL

_Has the NFL changed the rules on a man in motion moving towards the line of scrimmage as the ball is snapped? I've noticed it not being called in several games this year. Just wondering.    _

No, the league has not changed the rule.

Brian from Greenwood

I assume that left tackle Cam Robinson was not put on injured reserve yet because the Jags are waiting to see if they make the playoffs, at which point he might be back? Why else would he not be on injured reserve yet with a chance to bring in another player in his absence?

That's the reason.

Jake from Hawthorne

Do you foresee the weather report of "steady rain" slowing down the passing game?

Yes, I think there's a good chance of that. That doesn't mean Lawrence and this offense can't be effective. But it will be difficult to play with the precision and efficiency that has defined this offense the last two weeks.

Bill from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

So, I know if the Jags win out they win the AFC South, because they would have the head-to-head edge on Tennessee. But what if we have a one game lead on the Titans but lose to them, making the records identical even as to head to head. Who wins then?

The Titans would win the division in your scenario because of a better record in the AFC South. The Jaguars can not clinch the division before that game. If they are to win the South, they must beat the Titans on January 7-8.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - The Titans started strong but with the way they are playing shouldn't represent the AFC South in the playoffs. The Jags had a rough stretch but are now becoming a team that nobody may want to play. I don't think the Titans win another game. My only concern is if the Jags play flat against the Jets and/or Texans and beat themselves. The Jets are desperate to win out and the Texans almost beat Dallas and KC. These cardiac finishes are exciting but they won't always go our way. Which upcoming Jags opponent concerns you the most?

All of them. The Titans lost on a last-play field goal on the road to a contending team last week in the Los Angeles Chargers. The Jets are a very good defense and lost by a field goal last week to a Detroit Lions team that beat the Jaguars by 26 points in Week 13. The Texans could have/should have beaten the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys the last two weeks. The Jaguars are improving, but they have rallied from 17, 17, nine and seven points in their last four victories. This team doesn't to play "flat" to lose. They can lose any game they play the rest of the season. They also can win any game they play the rest of the season. That's where this team is right now.

Aunt Edna from Clark's House

Is Rusty still in the Navy?

Mom. Stay down.

Dallas from Sioux Falls, SD

I am super excited that we have legitimate games being played in December. But I think my excitement needs to be checked by the fact that we almost lost this game when Trevor went for the first down and fumbled due to that big hit. Had it not been for the defense, we'd be upset that we lost yet another one-possession game. I guess you are right; it is week-to-week in the NFL.

It's absolutely a week-to-week league. This will not change, even if the Jaguars improve as much as I expect in the next several seasons. I certainly expect they will sprinkle in a few more convincing victories as they improve, but they also will have tight victories and tight losses – and yes, even some blowout losses – that will cause people to want coaches fired and players released. The Indianapolis Colts teams I covered made nine consecutive playoff appearances, won 12 or more games seven consecutive seasons and won a Super Bowl during that nine-season span. That's a level of consistency rarely reached. Quarterback Peyton Manning threw interceptions during that time, the team lost games and fans/observers called for coordinators/head coaches to be fired and players to be released. It's the nature of the sport.

Mike from Nocatee

Remember when people wanted respect from the national media? Well, it's coming in droves after the Cowboys win. Just as you said it would.

I am the king of all funk.

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