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O-Zone: Mirror universe

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Richard from Jacksonville

Does the Jaguars' front seven have a combination of physicality and speed that is special or just special around here because we haven't seen it in a while?

Probably a little of both. The Jaguars' defensive front seven indeed looks good – and a lot of that is because of a combination of physicality and speed. This is at it should be because they have spent a lot of draft equity here in recent seasons – outside linebackers Travon Walker (No. 1 overall, 2022 NFL Draft), Josh Allen (No. 7 overall, 2019) and K'Lavon Chaisson (No. 20, 2020); and inside linebacker Devin Lloyd (No. 27, 2022). When you draft four defensive front-seven players in Round 1 over four seasons, you better look physical and fast. And the additions in one offseason of Lloyd and Walker have made this front seven look much faster and more physical than was the case last season. So, yes … this group looks like it could be special in a way that hasn't been seen around here in four or five seasons. There are other fast, physical front sevens in the NFL, but this group has a chance to be really good.

Travis L5L at Hanna Park

When was the last time the Jaguars won three of four? This is awesome!!!

The Jaguars won three of four games at the end of the 2019 season and the beginning of the 2020 season – two of three at the end of 2019 and a season-opening victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2020. This feels different than that. This feels real.

SP from Nocatee

It feels so good to be proud of our team.

Yes, that's how it's supposed to feel – maybe not all the time, but a lot more than has been the case around here recently.

Ryan from Orlando, FL

What went into decision for team travel on Saturday instead of Friday? With how bad we've been in pacific time zone historically is this the way of the future?

The Jaguars traveled to Los Angeles on Saturday in advance of their 38-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers because Head Coach Doug Pederson favors traveling the day before the game – even on cross-country trips. This is not uncommon and is a decision that typically is made by the head coach. Some head coaches prefer traveling a day early when crossing the country. Some prefer sticking to a normal schedule. I expect the Jaguars to stick to the "normal schedule" under Pederson not because they won Sunday but because that's his preference.

Dan from Aiea

Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk ... maybe it's luck, maybe it's coaching, maybe he is really good, or maybe it's all of the above but he seems to be performing just fine as a No. 1 receiver. Maybe we should all be glad they paid him the money.

Yeah … maybe.

Jody from St Augustine, FL

John, Coach Pederson seems to like to go for it on fourth down more than most coaches and certainly more than we have seen here recently.

Pederson indeed believes in being aggressive, and that can be best seen in a willingness to go first downs on fourth downs where many coaches wouldn't do so. He has a reputation as one of the NFL's more aggressive head coaches and he has shown that in three games as the Jaguars' head coach. He currently is four for seven on fourth-down conversions, including four of six in the last two games. One of those conversions – a 4th-and-1 in the third quarter – resulted in a 50-yard touchdown run by running back James Robinson that was perhaps the key play the victory over the Chargers. Pederson on Monday said he "100 percent" would take that four-of-six conversion rate because fourth-down conversions often lead to points. Yes, he is the most aggressive head coach in the Jaguars' history. Don't expect that to change.

Jonathan from Jax

I think it's possible that you just don't know what you are looking at when it comes to football. We should be 3-0 if we had just run the ball with a lead in Game 1. We have dominated the line of scrimmage in all three games and aren't beating ourselves with stupid penalties. We are literally beating up on other team's linemen and they are dropping like flies. I'd prefer you stick with your original prediction of 6-7 wins, as it shows you don't have a grasp on who and what this team is.

Well, I suppose anything's possible.

Dan from Ormond Beach, FL

Each offseason you receive questions asking you to analyze the schedule and project wins. You have repeatedly reminded us there is no way to look at a team's schedule in July and predict who will be good and who won't. Too many things can happen. I wanted to remind everyone to look at the last two teams we have played to illustrate your point. We get the Indianapolis Colts at home completely banged up and follow that up playing the Los Angeles Chargers in a similar situation. Don't get me wrong, this guy is "all in." I just wanted to point out that you were correct. Sometimes games that look to be difficult or easy in July turn out to be just the opposite. I am also pretty sure every Charger fan had this one marked as a "W."

I was lucky. Only a person who knows football could be "correct" in your scenario.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, is it just me or is Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke all of a sudden looking like a genius?

This looks like a well-built, balanced roster with a nice mix of experienced, contributing veterans leading a promising group of young players. And another fer Baalke …

Steve from Nashville, TN

Next on the 2022 agenda is to see Trevor Lawrence orchestrate a fourth quarter come from behind victory?

In due time.

Tim from Callahan, FL

The way that Jawaan Taylor has answered the bell from all the preseason hype about being replaced, specifically owning one of the highest-paid edge rushers in the league on Sunday, it is my observation he is playing at the highest level. Would it be better for the Jags cap-wise to get him signed long-term now, vice allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent? Just thinking long-term, we've seen now what he's morphing into and the caliber player he is becoming. His durability by never missing a snap in his first three years is unquestioned. If we re-sign him now instead of the end of the season, we can avoid overpaying and the inherent drama that accompanies unrestricted free agency. I don't work in the Jags' front office, but it's the not-so-obvious things like this that keep a team together and operating on a high level for a long period of time.

Taylor, the Jaguars' starting right tackle, indeed has played at a high level through three games. And yes … continued play at this level could complicate his contract situation. A second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Taylor is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. The Jaguars indeed could work to re-sign him before the season or re-negotiate immediately after the season – and there's ample time to do so between the end of the season and the mid-March beginning of before the new league year/unrestricted free agency. When to negotiate in this situation isn't as clear-cut as your question suggests and in-season negotiating doesn't guarantee a bargain and doesn't inherently prevent overpaying. The player and his representation are just as aware as the team of the player's value – and just as you didn't know in the offseason how Taylor would play, you don't know now how he will play for the next 14 games. With left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard Brandon Scherff already on long-term, high-end contracts, this feels like it will be one to watch all season – and potentially into the offseason.

Dave from Jacksonville

Hey Zone, you still thinking about the Jags going 0-4 this preseason?

Every day.

P Funk from Murray Hill

How is Logan Cooke going to get recognized as one of the league's best punters if we keep going for it on fourth down?

Fair, and while I realize your comment was firmly tongue in cheek, Pederson's tendency doesn't minimize Cooke's importance. I expect we'll see less of Cooke this season, which does rob us of watching of the NFL's best punters. I suspect fans will find a way to persevere.

David from Ada, OK

Welcome to the mirror universe where the Jaguars hired a great coach, had a great draft, have a top defense, have an efficient offense with run game, and have the lead in the AFC South. The one constant in all the universes? All universes have only one King of all Funk. There can only be one.

.Knuf lla fo gnik eht ma I