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O-Zone: My bad

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Robert from Moorpark, CA

Biggest difference I saw from Week 1 and Week 2 was the offensive and defensive line play. In Washington the defense generated zero pressure and the offensive line committed far too many penalties. Fast forward a week later and both lines play fantastic. Is it Week 1 jitters or are the Colts so bad that we look like a Super Bowl-contending team? How do coaches and players fix those mistakes we saw in Week 1 so quickly to Week 2?

The NFL is a week-to-week league, and the truth the Jaguars weren't as "bad" as they looked against the Washington Commanders in Week 1 and they weren't as "good" as they looked against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. Pretty much every NFL coach I've ever been around has said some version of this cliché/saying quite often because it's true. Remember, too: The difference in most NFL games is three or four plays one way or the other – and even a game as seemingly one-sided as the Jaguars' 24-0 victory over the Colts can turn on a few plays. The Jaguars made some mistakes they believed were correctable against Washington. Coaches emphasized those areas the following week, players focused on them and they got better results. They struggled to get pressure against Washington, then played a quarterback with less escape-ability in the pocket against the Colts (Matt Ryan) and took advantage good pass-rushing situations. Overall, they played better and the Colts didn't play well. Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers is a new week with different matchups. Just as Week 1 had little bearing on how the Jaguars played the following week, Week 2 will have little bearing on how they play Sunday.

Gary from Suffolk, VA

As we move onto the next game, I feel this will be a true litmus test for our team. The Chargers appear to be an "elite" team in the NFL. Historically, we do not play well on the left coast and the Chargers have had our number for the past few years. Where should we attack their defense and which player on their offense should we look to take away?

The Chargers have had the Jaguars' number on the West Coast since the teams began playing. The Jaguars never have won a road game against that franchise and have lost all five games by at least 10 points. The Jaguars need to protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence, which will begin by ensuring the Chargers respect the threat of the run. And Jaguars tackles Jawaan Taylor and Cam Robinson need to play well against Chargers pass rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. Defensively, this is far and away the Jaguars' toughest test to date this season. The Chargers have weapons at all skill positions. The best way to combat that? Stop the run enough to force difficult down-and-distance situations, then rush – and hit – quarterback Justin Herbert. Hard. And as often as possible.

Don from Marshall, NC

The Chargers better come into this game prepared or they are going to be shocked. They have no clue what this team is capable of. No film is going to help them it's all brand new. I say the Jaguars bop them, too. Go Jaguars!

Don is "all in."

Eric from Jacksonville, FL

Are the Jaguars planning on flying out to Los Angeles early to acclimate to the time change? The bigger question is does this tactic ever produce better game day results?

The Jaguars are flying to Los Angeles Saturday. This is Head Coach Doug Pederson's approach because he likes to travel a day before the game no matter the length of flight and no matter the time zone. Some NFL head coaches prefer flying a day early for cross-country road games and some don't. There's not sufficient evidence to suggest whether doing so is better or worse.

Joe from Jacksonville

How does this team stop Justin Herbert?

Hit him.

Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL

I know that you know just how important power rankings are, so I was flabbergasted when I saw had the Colts TWO spots AHEAD of the Jaguars - the team that just shut them out in a domineering fashion. What's this world coming to?

I'm never flabbergasted when I see NFL rankings, mostly because I know how much effort and knowledge typically goes into these things. But if you're going to bother ranking teams, you should at least do so with some effort and reasoning. And unless intentionally trying to do so and stating otherwise, you shouldn't be silly. Ranking the Colts ahead of the Jaguars after Sunday's result seems a bit silly.

Boxcutter Bill from Massachusetts

We have the best mascot and the best cheerleaders. Our coach has a Super Bowl ring!

I am the king of all funk.

Charles from Port St Lucie, FL

Do you still see Indy as the best team in the division? Maybe they were a bit overrated … again?

The Colts haven't been the best team in the AFC South through two games. That team has been the Jaguars. I'll wait a few weeks to determine if the Colts were overrated. They were without their best defensive player (linebacker Shaq Leonard) Sunday and one of their best offensive players – wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. – Sunday. If the Jaguars play as they did Sunday for 15 more games … then, yes, they could contend. Make season-long declarations about the NFL after two weeks at you own peril.

KC from Orlando, FL

Heading into Week 3, we are seated with the best record and at the top of our division exclusively. That's pretty cool. When did that last happen?

Week 2 of the 2018 season.

Phil from Woodmere, NY

ETN is the new Marquise Lee- the guy with a lot of speed who is just not that good but will get touches because he tantalizes the coaches with his speed. Mostly he will do nothing, but every so often he may get you a first down.

I appreciate your boldness and confidence, but this "take" feels premature and perhaps a bit off. I, too, am curious to see how Etienne will perform over the long term in the NFL. I wonder if he is an every-down back and I wonder if he is elusive enough to be an elite playmaker. It's not that that's not possible. I just don't know that we've seen it yet. But after a handful of preseason and regular-season games, I can't agree he "is just not that good." He appears fast enough and tough enough to be productive and have an important role in this offense. Stay tuned.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Is it too early to declare the AFC South as the weakest division in the NFL?

Yes. Two weeks does not an entire season make. Wait until about mid-October. Then we'll know what's a trend and what's a one-to-two week spike.

Tom from Shenzhen, China

With the Jags at 17 in your all-important power rankings and the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and Colts at 28, 29 and 30 respectively. Seems like you're saying the Jags are the clear favourite for the AFCS.

Nope. Ranking the Jaguars' No. 17 says through two games they have been around the 17th-best team in NFL. It does not at all say what will occur over the final 15 games.


Over the many long, exhausting years you've worked here, you've said a lot of stunningly dumb things- and a few smart things, I might add. The "it's always coaching" sarcastic comment has to be up there on the long list of mind-numbingly idiotic things you've said and continue to say. Coaching is incredibly important. It is too important and consequential for you to had ever uttered that idiocy in any form; be it sarcastically, jokingly, thoughtlessly, seriously or otherwise. If it weren't nobody would be paying coaches millions of dollars annually. What we are witnessing with Pederson – especially compared to the suffocating nightmare we witnessed with Urban Meyer- should be reason enough for you never to utter that idiocy on this site again. Cut it out.

Coaching matters very much in the NFL. I've never thought, said or written otherwise. Fans and observers tend to overvalue it to the point that they blame and credit it for everything that happens on game day. It is at that point where one might be tempted to say or write, "It's always coaching in the NFL." I have given into that temptation in past seasons. I can't promise not doing so again. I'm almost certain I will.

Mark from Jacksonville

I think you may have used the same question to end the column two days in a row. Don't worry though, we still love you bro.

Upon further review, you're right. After 56 years, including 11 years doing this column every day, I have – at long last – "erred." Let a new streak begin.