JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Crash from Glen Saint Mary, FL
OZ! The Buccaneers? In Tampa? On Xmas Eve? Arrrgh don't see a win!
The Jaguars will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Sunday. It will be a tough task for the Jaguars – whether or not Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is cleared from the concussion protocol in time to play. It will be even tougher because it appears unlikely Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones will not play after sustaining a hamstring injury in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday. That means whoever plays quarterback could be without two of the Jaguars' top wide receivers – Jones and Christian Kirk, already on injured reserve with a groin injury. Making matters even more difficult: The Buccaneers have won three consecutive games and are playing well, particularly offensively. Here's the Jaguars' reality, though: Their issues right now are less about opponents and more about themselves. That's true whoever plays quarterback. Remember: The Ravens are playing well and appear likely to be the AFC's No. 1 seed. The Jaguars were within three points of the Ravens entering the fourth quarter – after missing two field goals, after Lawrence lost a fumble in the red zone and after getting no points on a possession at the Ravens five-yard line. That's giving away points and that's something the Jaguars have done too often this season. I expect Head Coach Doug Pederson to talk often this week of staying out of their own way. The Jaguars can win Sunday if they do that.
Jarret from Crosby, ND
The Patriots claiming Nathan Rourke off waivers while Pederson's son – who wouldn't be on any other team's roster — remains activated is honestly making me lose some respect for a coach I previously admired greatly. It just seems like the franchise is devolving into a clown show and makes me sad, Zone.
This strikes me as much concern over a relatively minor thing. Quarterback Nathan Rourke indeed was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots Monday after being waived by the Jaguars. The Patriots claiming Rourke means he can't sign back to the Jaguars' practice squad, where Rourke had been all season except for two games when he was signed to the active roster in an emergency capacity. If the Jaguars had been uber-concerned about losing Rourke, he would have been on the active roster all season. No team could have signed him away in that scenario because a player on the practice squad is unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team. As for your concern, Rourke leaving isn't symbolic of anything. Rourke was signed from the practice squad and waived from the active, 53-player roster because the Jaguars didn't want him taking up a permanent spot on that 53-player roster. Tight end Josh Pederson played in recent games as a member of the practice squad and was able to play because of standard practice squad elevation. Pederson never has been on the Jaguars' active roster. He therefore never took up a spot that could theoretically had been used for Rourke. One move has nothing to do with the other.
_Dallas from Sioux Falls, SD _
So we waive Nathan Rourke after we activate him, but I don't recall the Jags waiving others. How does this activation to roster work? Can you explain the difference between activating cornerback Tevaughn Campbell and Pederson versus Rourke? Looking forward to the game tonight! Can finally watch my team on TV!!
You can move practice-squad players to the active roster for a game in two ways. One way is to elevate the player via standard practice squad elevation – as was the case with Pederson and Campbell. When teams do this, the player reverts to the practice squad after the game. You also can sign a practice squad player to your active roster. The player then takes a roster spot. In order to return that player to the practice squad, the team must waive the player then re-sign him to the practice squad. The reason the Jaguars signed Rourke to the active roster rather than elevating him is they wanted to take advantage of a rule allowing a third quarterback to be an emergency quarterback and not count toward the 48-player gameday roster. A quarterback elevated from the practice squad counts against the gameday roster.
JK from NY and Fernandina Beach
John - I know that the season is not lost yet and we have a good shot at winning the AFC South – and an even better chance of a wild-card playoff berth. But 24 hours after Baltimore, my predominant feeling is sadness at the loss of the optimism around this team. The good vibes started last year with signature wins against the Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans. The feeling of destiny was confirmed with the comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers in the postseason. Even the tough playoff showing against the Kansas City Chiefs built confidence that the Jags could hang with the big dogs in the postseason and that Jacksonville could be a future AFC power. In training camp, the feeling of destiny may have been too powerful and Pederson had to remind the guys not to read their news clippings. After an inconsistent start, the London trip righted the ship and set the Jags on course for a repeat AFC South Championship. But after the last three weeks, really starting after Kirk got hurt and culminating in Sunday night's debacle (including finding out about T. Law's possible concussion) - the air has gone out of the balloon. John, what do the Jags need to do to get the Mojo back and finish this season like a true contender?
Win. Then win again.
Christopher from Durham
I don't mind when other teams beat the Jags, but all too often it feels like the Jags beat themselves. I don't know how to reconcile these emotions. I know I'm a fan, and thus prone to fanning, but any suggestions to give me hope for the rest of the season?
The hope for the Jaguars here is that teams can eliminate self-inflicted mistakes by not making those mistakes. I have no idea if the Jaguars will eliminate them. It has been a topic a lot this season. It hasn't stopped yet. If the Jaguars can stop them, they will have a chance to win their final three games. If they don't, it could be a tough end to what began as – and is still – a promising season.
Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville
The way our division foes from Houston and Indy are playing, it appears the Jags must win the next three in a row to win the division. Wins in two out of three games might be good enough for a wild card spot, but the Texans or Colts are playing well enough to win their last three and take the division crown. Three weeks ago the talk was about securing the first seed. Now, it will be a struggle to just make the playoffs. This team still needs to learn how to finish.
The Colts and Texans have both won one consecutive game. The Jaguars will win the AFC South with victories in their last three games. I wouldn't be surprised at all if all three teams lose at least one game in the final three weeks. There is every chance the Jaguars would win the South in that scenario.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
It's painfully obvious what we need in the offseason. It doesn't matter if it's through the draft or free agency, we need interior offensive linemen.
Eric from Columbus, IN
It was only a matter of time. Even in the wins, we made a ton of game-losing plays and got away with them. The mistakes are who we are … have you ever seen anything like it?
Of course I've seen mistake-prone teams. Many. Most teams in the NFL make mistakes that could cost them games in essentially every game. Winning teams figure a way to make enough plays to overcome potential game-losing plays. The Jaguars were doing this much of the season. They haven't done it at all in the last three games.
Howard from Homestead, FL
Good thing we're in the AFC South and not the AFC North.
Charles from Savannah, GA
Why did the Jaguars trade kicker Riley Patterson and sign Brandon McManus? McManus should have made those field goals.
The Jaguars released Patterson this offseason and signed McManus because McManus has a stronger leg. McManus has five field goals of 50 or more 50 yards this season and Patterson has one. McManus for the most part has been reliable this season. And while the wind was a very real issue Monday … sure, he should have made the field goals.
David from Ada, OK
Might as well pout and cry because Santa Claus ain't coming to Jacksonville. Krimma CANCELLED!!!
They don't cancel Krimma.