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O-Zone: Nevermore

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Azores

Hey, John. I know the game of NFL football has changed over the past few decades to become a more favored passing game. However, it's still football and it's still won in the trenches! The Jags are in the bottom of the league at rushing the passer on defense and they can't run the ball on offense! I hope they address both issues in the offseason because another running back or tight end won't fix the problems.

I expect the Jaguars to address offensive and defensive line in the upcoming offseason, very possibly addressing interior offensive line. But remember: It's not as if they have ignored the two lines in previous offseasons. The Jaguars in the 2023 offseason selected right tackle Anton Harrison No. 27 overall in the NFL Draft and selected guard Cooper Hodges – who they see as a potential starter – in Round 7. They signed right guard Brandon Scherff as a high-profile – and high-priced – unrestricted free agent in the 2022 offseason and selected center Luke Fortner in Round 3 of that draft. They selected left tackle Walker Little in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft. They selected outside linebacker Travon Walker No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft and signed defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi as a high-profile unrestricted free agent. This is in addition to multiple other signings and acquisitions along the offensive and defensive lines in recent offseasons. They have addressed these areas. They are a priority. People not loving the results is not the same as not addressing.

Mark from Orange Park, FL

We don't deserve to make the playoffs.

The Jaguars are in first place in the AFC South entering Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Stadium. They are 8-5, with only the Miami Dolphins at 9-4 and Ravens at 10-3 having better records in the AFC. If they win three of their last four games – or even two of the last four – I expect they will make the playoffs. And they absolutely will deserve to be there.

Alan from Ellington, CT

It's great to see a competitive team again. I feel like it's not since the late 2000s since I could expect to see a competitive team week in and week out. A win over the Ravens would be awesome, though. As I get into my mid-40s I wish all the Jags games were played at 1 p.m. O well, they had a good run.


Sam from Orlando, FL

Who is wide receiver Calvin Ridley's body language directed to? Is he frustrated at his play? Frustrated with his teammates? It's not a good look to constantly see him dejected so demonstratively.

I'm not smart enough or arrogant enough to think I know what's inside someone's head based on their body language. Or maybe I'm too smart to think I know that. I'd lean toward the latter, now that I think about it.

Ross from Mechanicsville, VA

"Inconsistent!" (best Spaniard accent) "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means!"

It does, actually.

Bryan from PDX

Yo, Grizz! The impact of the mysterious DaVon Hamilton injury on the defensive front seven is shocking. The defensive tackle position went from a strength to a weakness, and the other tackles have born the brunt of the absence. Is there hope for Hamilton to improve in the remaining games and/or is that contract something the team can get out of without too much dead money this offseason?

Hamilton, the Jaguars' nose tackle, had a serious back issue that kept him out nine games and has slowed his return to full effectiveness. Yes, there is hope he improves this season. Either way, I have heard nothing to indicate the team is looking to part ways with him after the season.

Boxcutterbill from Mass

There are going to be more tough games. It's the NFL. It's December. HEY FANS, look around. Everybody is limping to the finish. We're right in the thick of it. The biggest difference is we have a quarterback, and that gives us a chance. I'm still all in. This is exciting. And quarterback Trevor Lawrence is superhuman. So proud he's the Jags quarterback.

The AFC entering the final four regular-season games is as balanced as I can remember. The Jaguars' opponent Sunday, the Ravens, are the best team in the AFC so far – and even they don't seem dominant. Are the Jaguars in the thick of it? Absolutely. This is contending.

Will from Jacksonville

John. Do you think a solution to some of our short-yardage woes could be to use a fullback? I don't necessarily mean signing one, but using a tight end Luke Farrell, or even outside linebacker Travon Walker type of guy to plug holes and free backs up the middle? Seems we haven't tried that at all and could certainly be worth a try given it can't get much worse. You see other teams (i.e. Titans - Jeffrey Simmons) employ this at times. Thoughts?

I might try this. But I'm older school from the era in which fullbacks were key to the running game. That's less the case in West Coast-based schemes such as that which the Jaguars play. I would be a little surprised if the Jaguars went this direction.

Jason from North Pole, AK

For a while there, I was convinced I should have raised expectations for this team and only measure them against the best in the league. That sounds good in theory, but in practice it just caused me to be hypercritical and not enjoy the ride. Do you think that has been a theme this year amongst fans that is causing more angst than expected?

I sense fans expected the Jaguars to be elite this season after making the playoffs last season. That was understandable if perhaps in retrospect not realistic. But I don't know that those specific expectations are causing fans to be dissatisfied with what the Jaguars are doing this season. Fans are always going to expect great things from their teams. As soon as the team reaches one goal or level, fans will want the next thing. If the Jaguars make the Super Bowl, Jaguars fans will be angry if they don't win that game. If the Jaguars win a Super Bowl, they will be mad if they don't win it the next season. And so on. Fans fan. It's what they do.

Capt B from Fernandina Beach, FL

John. It's obvious that our offensive line lacks the physicality to contend with the physical defensive lines we have played. Our inability to run between the tackles, and our problems running on short-yardage downs … this needs to be a priority in the offseason if we are to improve. Your thoughts.

I expect the Jaguars will try to get stronger and better on the interior of the offensive line. That will be a pertinent topic at the end of the season.

Rob from the duuuuuuuu

What would you consider our best win this year? The Buffalo Bills? Houston Texans? It seems we have lost to some good teams in playoff contention, but we have also only beaten pretty average teams who are on the bubble. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo and Houston are all teams who do not lead their division and are hoping for a wildcard spot. Time to go beat a division leader who is considered by all to be a great team. Time to go get that big boy signature W. What say you, Zone?

I look at this a little differently than many fans. While many look at victories over teams such as the Steelers, Bills, Texans and Indianapolis Colts as victories over "bubble teams," I look at those as victories over teams that might be perceived differently had the Jaguars not beaten them. Remember: If the Colts had swept the Jaguars instead of it being the other way around, the Colts would be 9-4 and a game out of the first seed in the AFC. The Steelers, Bills and Texans all would be 8-5 and so-called "good teams" if the Jaguars hadn't beat them. The San Francisco 49ers may be the one "great" team this season. The Jaguars didn't win when the teams played. Aside from that, the Jaguars have lost to four teams with similar records – the 7-6 Texans, 8-5 Chiefs, 8-5 Browns and 7-6 Bengals – and they have beaten the 7-6 Colts twice, the 7-6 Texans, the 7-6 Bills and the 7-6 Steelers. There are a bunch of competing teams in the AFC. The Jaguars have beaten few and lost to a few. They're right in there.

RG3 from Middle Earth

Early in the year, you and some others on here thought the Jags might cut wide receiver Christian Kirk next year to create salary cap room for Ridley and others. Fifteen weeks in, Kirk appears to be the No. 1 receiver for Lawrence. What is your offseason perspective on Kirk now?