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O-Zone: No fear

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Roger from Houston via Jacksonville

Six and two heading into the bye week? Am I dreaming?

You're not dreaming. The Jaguars are indeed 6-2 entering their Week 9 bye week after this past Sunday's 20-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. The intriguing thing entering the bye is also a cool thing if you're a Jaguars fan, and that's that what the Jaguars are doing feels very sustainable. They haven't played particularly efficiently on offense through eight games. That leads you to believe they can improve in this area by improving a bit in the red zone and on third down, particularly in short yardage. The talent is there for such improvement. They're playing very well defensively and have done so despite being without nose tackle DaVon Hamilton until this past Sunday and despite being without starting cornerback Tyson Campbell the last two games. There's no reason to think the defense will digress. The Jaguars have built their current five-game winning streak on getting leads, playing well enough offensively in big moments to extend/protect those leads and playing sound defensively to finish games. They haven't had to perform miracles or do much out of the ordinary to win. That's the stuff teams that contend consistently do.

Andrew from Halifax

Having experienced our share of ugly losses there is NOTHING wrong with an ugly win.

The Jaguars on Sunday won despite multiple mistakes and missed opportunities. Despite those mistakes, the Jaguars were good enough to beat a Steelers team that has been winning a lot of those sorts of games this season. So, no … there absolutely was nothing wrong with that victory for the Jaguars. Rather, it was the latest in a series of very encouraging victories.

Scott from Daytona Beach, FL

One for Dewey. It was always the Jags. Let's go.

It was always the Jags.

Armand from Jacksonville

What happened to O-Zone Late Night?

The latest O-Zone Late Night ran on Sunday evening. It typically runs after afternoon games. It rarely – if ever – runs after night games because it wouldn't run until early in the morning only a few hours before the "normal" O-Zone typically runs.


Not a classy move IF Jaguars players were stealing the Terrible Towels directly from fans.

Professional sports are supposed to be fun. It's OK to have fun.

Don from Marshall NC

Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson said the officials were on the side of the Jaguars. If that was the case, then it's about time because I do not remember them helping out before. Jaguars fans know that Myles Jack was not down, so he can go pack sand. What about the personal foul on wide receiver Calvin Ridley to the back of the head? Things happen. Go Jaguars and Great Win!

When it comes to the notion that officials favor the Jaguars and want them to win, Don is very much not "all in." He feels differently when it comes to packing sand.

Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

Good day, Funky O! Reading Steelers tweets Sunday night reminded me of a time long ago in October of 1995 when the vaunted Steelers came to town for our first meeting. Somehow, we won that game 20-16 and the place was going nuts! As we walked down from the upper section, the throng of people were chanting "Let's go Jaguars!" There were two Steelers fans walking ahead of us and one turned around and yelled, "Hey! We've got five rings! What have you got?" The crowd got really quiet and someone behind me yelled "We just got a win over a team with five rings!" And everyone went nuts laughing and chanting again while the fans slinked out. Just a funny I thought you'd like.

I laughed at this.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

What are the Steelers talking about? The refs wanted us to win? How laughable. The clear hit to Trevor's head wasn't called. The fumble that wasn't until after the knee was down was a freebie for the Steelers. C'mon man, the refs did not favor the Jags in any way!

The idea that referees want particular teams to win brings to mind the whole NFL-is-fixing-games-discussion that dominated this forum last postseason. Just as that idea was preposterous, so is the idea that NFL officials want one team or another to win. NFL officials are professionals. They make mistakes at times. Fans being fans and fiercely wanting their teams to win, many fans believe incorrectly that most – if not all – calls go against their team. They naturally focus on "bad calls" that go against their teams and forget the wonderfully obvious calls that favor their teams. We have been reminded again this week that players sometimes feel the same way. Some calls went against the Jaguars and for the Steelers Sunday. Some calls went against the Steelers and for the Jaguars. This follows the pattern of most NFL games.

Paul from Jacksonville

A dropped interception (likely pick-six), two red-zone turnovers in the first half, and still had a lead at halftime, the score was closer than the game ever was, this one could have been 30-0. What's wrong with me, John? As the team controlled the game and kept Pittsburgh at arm's length, I sort of watched waiting for the other shoe to drop? Am I a bad fan?

There's nothing wrong with you – at least within the context of this question. You're a fan.

Fred from Naples, FL

Although there is not much to gripe about, if I HAD to gripe, I would ask Head Coach Doug Pederson why we continue to try and run high-risk plays when we are in the red zone. See shovel pass.

A shovel pass is not a particularly high-risk play. It actually is considered relatively low-risk because if the exchange is mishandled it's an incomplete pass as opposed to a mishandled lateral resulting in a fumble.

Chris from Roseville, CA

I hope Jaguars owner Shad Khan is starting to pile some money in the Brinks truck for Josh Allen!

Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen had two sacks Sunday, giving him nine for the season. That pace would give him close to 20 for the season. I expect the Jaguars will figure out a way to sign him to a long-term contract extension if he maintains that pace.

Lenny from London, UK

What do you think the plan is with rookie running back Tank Bigsby going forward this season? You can see he has the talent, but you can't trust him holding onto the ball right now.

I think running back Travis Etienne had five fumbles last season. I think you keep using Bigsby when you would normally use him and understand he's a rookie.

Paul from LAKE CITY

I don't see that Doug and Co. view quarterback Trevor Lawrence as a game manager. Doug's offense is built around West Coast concepts, which means lots of shorter throws with yards after the catch. Also, when a team is this banged up, you make plans to take what the defense gives you. I don't know that Trevor is considered "elite" yet, but he certainly has made elite throws. One awful red-zone decision doesn't negate that.

Good eye.

Hobo from Random Locations

Did Dewey get a hair cut? How did you miss that?

Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard to my knowledge did not get a hair cut. I'm not saying he's never had one. Just not lately, I don't think.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

John, you know how this team is completely different? In past times when we turned the ball over, we as fans knew we were probably about to lose the game. Now we can turn the ball over multiple times and still pull off the win. No matter how many times people like to say, "same old Jags."

This team knows how to win close games. It plays good defense. It makes clutch plays at key moments. On such traits are division titles and playoff runs built.

William from Kalaheo

Aloha John!! What are the chances of the upcoming game between the San Francisco 49ers and Jags getting flexed to Sunday night?

Decent. We'll know for certain sometime Tuesday.

Jaggywire from Jax

Can we please end the Tank Bigsby experiment?

No. The Jaguars won't end the "Tank Bigsby experiment" nor should they. He's a rookie. He's learning. He had a fumble Sunday on a play on which he may have been down. He's too talented to "end" the "experiment."

Randy from Jacksonville

Kai is the only one that isn't scared to say it. This trend of anemic offense will come back to bite them. Something has to give. The defense can't be expected to win 17+ games a season.

The Jaguars' offense hasn't been anemic this season. It hasn't been as good as many expected and it needs to improve as the season continues. It has been sporadic and frustrating, but that's not anemic. And if that were the case, why would anyone be "scared to say it?"