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O-Zone: Men working

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

Do you think Trevor was referencing reader comments in the O-Zone when he said that it has helped fuel his development? I hope so. I had some good jabs that were published after the London game that I hope made it onto his bulletin board. I'm all on-board with Trevor, though. The kid's going places.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence indeed this week addressed the criticism he faced in the first season and a half of his NFL career, saying "I remember everything" and adding that he has "a little bit more of a chip on my shoulder now" because of "what's been said and what people have written." Lawrence also said he does use the past criticism as fuel. Lawrence in retrospect wasn't all that criticized and a lot of the concerns people expressed were understandable; we live in a quick-trigger analysis age and few fans or observers understand that a few weeks of short-term mistakes early don't necessarily define a player's entire career. Still, I imagine Lawrence was speaking more about national and local media – with a lot of social media mixed in – than he was "reader comments" – and I imagine the O-Zone ranks pretty low on his list of information sources. Heaven help him otherwise.

Victor from Troy, NY

Evan Engram bet big on himself with a one-year contract. What do you think are the odds the Jags bring him back? He seems so important to the offense that I'm not sure they can afford not to.

Jaguars tight end Evan Engram likely will be a significant offseason topic. He will become a free agent next offseason after signing a one-year contract last offseason. His idea indeed was to bet on himself, and he signed with the Jaguars because he believed in Head Coach Doug Pederson's reputation for a tight-end-friendly offense. That has turned out to be a good bet. Engram has been important to the Jaguars' offense all season, and that importance became obvious this past week when he caught 11 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the Jaguars' victory over the Tennessee Titans. This could be tricky one. The Jaguars likely won't be major players in free agency next offseason with the idea to have significant salary-cap space in the 2024 offseason. But they won't be so jammed up against the cap that they won't be able to maneuver contracts and cap space for a player or two if they so desire. Engram has played well enough that he could merit such machinations. He also may have played well enough that he could be tough to sign if he wants to test the market. Stay tuned.

Paul from Lake City, FL

Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. is an explosive player. The problem I see with the Jaguars' running game is that we lack the guy who we can hand it to when we need four yards and feel confident we're going to get it. We need a pounder to complement Etienne.

OK.

Boxcutter Bill from Worcester, MA

Seems like the Dallas Cowboys – in particular Micah Parsons – are overlooking the Jags. It would be very Cowboy-ish for them to come to Duval and lay an egg. It would also be very "Jaguar" of us to also lay an egg especially after a momentum building game like last week. Not asking for a outcome, but realistically what does his funkyness think about our chances. And by the way my sons nickname in youth football is "Funky" due to our last name. Funky cold Medina.

I wouldn't assume Parsons or the Cowboys are overlooking the Jaguars. Parsons, the Cowboys' star linebacker, did make some comments regarding the Philadelphia Eagles and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on Von Miller's Podcast this week that drew the ire of some Eagles fans. And those comments will doubtless get discussed often next week when the Eagles and Cowboys play in a huge NFC East game. While such an incident gives the perception that a player is thinking about something other than that week's opponent, the reality is it was one part of one podcast early in the week. Players do think about subjects other than the game at hand during a given week. It doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of focus. The Cowboys had a narrow victory over the Houston Texans last week and the Jaguars had a huge victory over the Tennessee Titans. I would be surprised if the Jaguars don't have the Cowboys' attention.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

NOBODY challenges the king.

Fair.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

The Titans maybe should rest all their players the next three weeks. All they need to do is beat the Jaguars in the finale, and they win the division. That is of course assuming the Colts lose one more game.

NFL teams don't think this way – and the Titans won't rest their players the next three weeks. They're 7-6, two games ahead of the Jaguars in the AFC South and still playing for playoff positioning. They also can clinch the division before the regular-season finale if they win twice and the Jaguars lose twice in the next three games. The NFL is a week-to-week league. You play as hard as you can until you've clinched your playoff position or until you have been eliminated. You darned sure don't give away games with the idea of setting up a winner-take-all single-elimination game at the end of the season.

Jim from Jagsonville

Y'all media types can't keep asking players about a video coach put together without showin' the fans! Release the Pederson Cut!

You're referencing a video Pederson showed players the night before a victory over the Titans last Sunday. Players talked after the victory of the video inspiring them and showing new players the history and importance of the rivalry. Pederson prefers to keep such things within the team. I don't expect the Pederson Cut to be available for public consumption.

Brad from The Avenues

WHY THE HELL NOT? If you recall, that was the basis of my bold prediction back in August. Not looking for credit here but it feels like a pretty good rallying cry. WTHN!!

Brad remains "all in."

Albert from Dowling Park

How do the Jags attack the Cowboys and how do they defend? Do you see any weaknesses we can exploit?

The Cowboys aren't particularly weak in any area. They have had some issues at times defending the run that the Jaguars must try to exploit Sunday, and they're a stronger running team than they are a passing team offensively. But that's relatively speaking. They're pretty strong everywhere. The Jaguars need to run effectively enough Sunday to keep the Dallas pass rush from dominating the game and they need to stop the run enough to have the opportunity to rush and harass Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott into mistakes. That from this view is the Jaguars' best chance to win Sunday.

Ed from Chula Vista, CA

Having been a Jags fan for 15 years, it is a pleasure to see them begin to turn things around. Trevor Lawrence is certainly a major reason. Do you agree winning is more fun and contagious?

I think winning is cool. I think fans like it. I think players like it, too.

Unhipcat from b bar h, CA

Hi, John. "The National Football League Comeback Player of the Year Award refers to a number of awards that are given to a National Football League (NFL) player who has shown perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance." Trevor's eligible. Your thoughts?

Lawrence would be eligible for Comeback Player of Year. Whether people voting for the award would have consider him to have been "down" enough to be "coming back" is another question. It's usually an injury-related award or an award given to a player who once was really good and struggled one year. My sense is that Lawrence won't be perceived as much as "coming back" this season as "breaking out."

Josh from Green Bay, WI

My son's fifth birthday party is on the 18th (B-day is the 19th) and he wanted a Jaguars themed birthday party (no prompfically ask for it, but a win over the Cowboys would be one heck of a birthday present. DUUUVAL

… and so is Josh's son.

David from Chuluota, FL

KOAF - It wasn't that long ago that a holding penalty or false start on the offense was a drive killer. Now, it's men at work - business as usual. Before, whatever we tried, it's a mistake. Now, we have playmakers everywhere, it's like who can it be now? Some people don't know when to stop. I'm sure, despite the overkill, you agree with my point. Be good Johnny.

When you have a big-time quarterback such as Lawrence playing at a high level, opponents better-better run, they better take cover.

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