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O-Zone: Niceties

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JT from Palm Coast, FL

I'm genuinely surprised that Pederson is not getting more mentions for Coach of the Year?

Little surprises me regarding NFL end-of-season awards – just as little surprises me about what national media members say and write about local teams. This is because experience tells me national analysts rarely have time to be in-depth knowledgeable about all 32 teams, and voters rarely dig as deep as would be ideal before voting on end-of-season awards – or on much of anything. Something to remember about the 2022 Coach of the Year Award, too: There are many deserving candidates, and there are just as many markets that believe their local head coach is most deserving. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson deserves to be Coach of the Year. But if you're in New York, you see Brian Daboll of the New York Giants as equally deserving. If you're in San Francisco, you're thinking Kyle Shanahan. Philadelphia? Same with Nick Sirianni. Minnesota? Kevin O'Connell. While absolutely deserving, I don't know what sort of momentum Pederson has nationally for the award. This will upset Jaguars fans. I hope he wins it. The job he has done more than merits it. But whatever. There's a playoff game at TIAA Bank Field Saturday. If the Jaguars win, no one will care much about awards.

Kathy from Palm Coast, FL

I am very excited about the upcoming game. This is the first time since 2017. What do you think? Win or lose this week the Jaguars have had a great season.

I think you're not alone in being excited about Saturday's 2022 AFC Wild Card Playoff game between the Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field. I think I wouldn't be surprised if the Chargers win and I think I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars win. This is different than last Saturday because I believed last Saturday the Jaguars had a major advantage at the quarterback position. I thought if the Jaguars and Tennessee Titans played 10 times the Jaguars probably would win eight or nine because of that advantage. I think if the Jaguars and Chargers played 10 times the results probably would be pretty evenly split. I think win or lose Saturday the Jaguars have had a great season.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

I watched the new "Sounds of the Game" and had tears flowing for the last five minutes. It has been a long 15 years.

What's "Sounds of the Game?" Why hasn't there been anything said about it on social media?

Marcus from Jacksonville

According to Next Gen Stats, Josh Allen is in the Top 5 in the NFL in quarterback pressures this season. I also noticed that he is outside of the Top 50 in sacks this year, with only six total. Can you help me understand how there is such a large discrepancy? Is it because the rest of the line isn't getting pressure, so quarterbacks have a way to escape? Is it a technique thing, where he can get close but just can't seal the deal? Or is it just bad luck? Regardless, I think he's had a solid season, not elite, but very good, and I'd love to see him in a Jaguars uniform for a long time.

Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen indeed has gotten consistent pressure much of the season – and while he hasn't had the season he wanted, he has been very effective lately. He also was far better much of the season than many observers believed – particularly observers who believe a pass rusher always is measured solely by sacks. As with many NFL issues, explaining why his sacks don't match his pressures doesn't have one single answer. Some of it is bad luck; Allen, for example, lost a sack in the regular-season finale when he forced Titans quarterback Josh Dobbs to fumble only to have Dobbs recover it and get sacked again – an odd play that cost Allen the original sack. Some is that he has been a step slow at times. A big reason throughout much of the season was that the Jaguars were struggling in coverage enough that quarterbacks were able to throw quickly and avoid sacks. Remember, the difference between a really good season for a pass rusher and an OK season can be three or four sacks. Allen remains the Jaguars defender I least want to see injured because I still believe he's their most important defender. If you lose him, it's really tough to replace.

Brian from Moyock, NC

Wow! My wife and I were at the opening game in D.C. and are now booked to come down to the 'Bank and see a playoff game. I have stood with these Jags from Day 1 in 1995 and will welcome all the new fans to hop on the Duuuvaaalllll train going forward! What a fun season!

Brian is ready for some football.

Claudio from Barcelona, Spain

Hello, Zone! Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence will have his first playoff game against one of the best young quarterbacks in the league that happens to be debuting in the playoffs, too. Justin Herbert is in his third season, highly regarded but unable to get his team to the postseason on his first two years. Which quarterbacks will have more pressure on Saturday?

It's the playoffs. It's all pressure.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, take a peek into your crystal ball. I see a possible thirteen regular-season wins, based on the opponents home and away next year. What does your crystal ball reveal as you glance into the magic of the wizard O?

I haven't the foggiest idea how many games the Jaguars will win next season. I think they will be good. I think they will contend for the AFC South again because I expect they will do that most seasons with Pederson as head coach and Lawrence as quarterback.

Dean from Atlanta, GA

When doesn't the Jags or some team try Tebow as running back.

Shad Khan … hire this man!!!

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

Is it just me or does Lawrence have some Marino in him? It seems he can throw flat footed and still zip a ball where it needs to be.

Lawrence's arm talent is impressive. I'm probably biased because of my age, but I can't put him on par with former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino on this front. His release and arm strength were the best I've ever seen.

Josh R. (and Carter R.) from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: I hope the Jaguars' faithful are enjoying this week. It is well overdue. In the discussion on reaching some real milestones in the endeavor of changing the culture and recent reputation of the Jaguar organization, the home team crowd at The Bank as of late cannot be overlooked. If the fans show up the way they did in the regular-season finale against the Titans, I would put The 'Bank in the upper echelon of venues that can impact a game and/or be potentially daunting for opposing teams. It's great to see and I hope it continues, the City of Jacksonville deserves it. Thanks and Go Jags!!!

Good eye.

Lawrence from Blair, NE

Hey Mr. O, do yet have any concerns over Devin Lloyd's lack of development? Or do you think its just typical rookie wall stuff and he needs more time?

Insider linebacker Devin Lloyd, the No. 27 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2022 NFL Draft, is a talented player. He made a lot of plays early in the season, struggled with the speed of the game and complexity of NFL offenses for a while and then had his snaps reduced. He rotated snaps with fellow rookie Chad Muma since midseason. The biggest thing to remember about Lloyd is he's a rookie. I never worry about lack of development as a rookie. Some players are more turnkey than others and others are quicker to develop. Massive improvement during a rookie season doesn't always happen, even for great players. If there's no or little development in Year 2, that's when it starts to become concerning.

Gerry from Neptune Beach, FL

Zone, I wrote you when the Jags were 3-6 stating if they won one of their next two games they would go on a run like 1996. The prediction looks pretty impressive right now.

Yes, it does.

Don from Marshall, NC

Silly as it sounds, without Urban Meyer the Jaguars never get Doug Pederson. Destiny Baby!

That doesn't sound silly. Pederson left the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2020 season and was never going to be an NFL head coach in 2021 – because he didn't want to coach that season. If Meyer's 13-game tenure as the Jaguars' head coach in 2021 had lasted into a second season, the Jaguars' 2022 season would have … well, let's just not think about that.

Sean from Jacksonville

One fantastic thing about this season? We didn't have that "coach" from last year.

We've talked a lot in recent weeks here in the O-Zone about the importance of being nice. This was not nice.