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O-Zone: No problem

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tim from Jacksonville

How do you feel about the Jaguars being an underdog to the not-so-currently-great 49ers? Seems like a huge slap in the face to a team that is crushing it. But that's how it is, the Jags are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL, they don't get no respect.

Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – know I'm not big into respect storylines. They don't matter in the NFL. If you win the Super Bowl and people don't respect you, who cares? You won the Super Bowl. I will say I was surprised the 49ers were favored by three points(ish) against the Jaguars at EverBank Stadium Sunday. That typically means the 49ers would have been favored by six points(ish) on a neutral field. This seems to disregard how well the Jaguars have played overall – particularly defensively – during their current five-game winning streak. Not only have the Jaguars won those games, they have trailed just once. They also played just one game in Jacksonville during that time and won despite missing some significant players. If I ever were to see something as a lack of respect, I would probably say the Jaguars currently being considered so much worse than the 49ers would qualify. If I were a player … yeah, that would anger me a smidge.

Vince from Riverdale (formerly Farmington NM)

Mighty O- Talk of opposing fans having a visible presence in the stands isn't just an issue of us not "packing the stands." Having grown up in a large city, I used to plan vacations or long weekends away to get away from the city. Jacksonville is an amazing destination for vacations. Why wouldn't it be one of the most attractive games to attend for your team if it was on your schedule? Let's look at this as a glass half-full situation. We are bringing big outside dollars to Jacksonville, which will possibly help fund the stadium upgrade we all want. This seems like we are putting a marketable product out there that will make Jax more desirable for players, tourists and residents season after season. Good things are happening …

There's an element of truth here. Warm-weather road destinations, particularly in "newer" and non-traditional markets, long have been heavily attended by fans of traditional teams. This happens when teams such as the 49ers, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers play in Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Miami. It's a league thing. It's not a Jaguars-centric thing.

Doug from Jacksonville, FL

This won't be a popular comment? 1995-1999 success gets you in the ring of honor? Even when that success was mortgaged and caused the collapse of the franchise by putting them in a deeeep hole then in the redemption stint the team was fined and known to free agents as undesirable? I'd trade 1996-1999 playoff runs for a more success from 2000-2020 any day.

Yes. The Jaguars' 1995-1999 success gets former Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin in the Pride of the Jaguars. Yes, he made mistakes. Yes, his stint as Executive Vice President of Football Operations from 2017-2019 ended poorly – as did his stint in the 1990s and early 2000s as head coach/general manager. But let's not exaggerate the impact of that era on the future. Yes, salary-cap mismanagement caused that team to be dismantled – and there were ramifications moving forward. But the franchise recovered and made two postseason appearances in 2005 and 2007. It's not accurate to blame the losing of the 2000s and 2010s on Coughlin. Teams moved beyond difficult cap situations and eras, just as the Jaguars in the last two seasons have put the difficulty of 2018-2021 in the past. Coughlin's initial stint as head coach was more than enough to merit being honored. Pretty much anyone who was around the organization in that era would have a hard time imagine a Pride of the Jaguars without his inclusion. It's overdue and very deserved.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Surely the 2024 game to pick for Tom Coughlin's Ring of Honor induction is when the New England Patriots come to town? We will have on the field the only two NFL head coaches to beat Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick in a Super Bowl.


Josh from Lakewood

The secret to the 49ers game is going to be patience. The difference between our defense and their offense is greater than the distance between their defense and our offense. Don't take unnecessary chances and score on the inevitable turnovers. What do you think?

I'm not sure how to measure distances between the offenses and defenses. I expect one key to Sunday's 49ers-Jaguars game will be how well the Jaguars can limit 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey/ the San Francisco running game and therefore force the 49ers offense into mistakes. I expect the second key will be how well the Jaguars can handle a good 49ers pass rush to allow quarterback Trevor Lawrence to get the Jaguars' skill players involved in the offense. If the Jaguars protect the ball and win turnover margin, I expect they will win.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - Being a Jaguars fan from 2020 thru the 1st half of 2022 sucked. Our record was 5-34 with that infamous stretch of 20 losses in a row coupled by another stretch of nine losses in a row. The last half of 2022 and the first half of 2023 is a complete reversal of fortunes with a record of 12-4 in the regular season plus a post-season win. Can we get a 20-game win streak now?

Probably not.

Anita from Springfield

Everyone talking about Trevor's "average" stats is obviously missing context that doesn't show up in a stat sheet. But, from the eye test it seems like Trevor is running far more effectively and wisely than last year, and that this might be a stat which speaks to his improvement. How much do you think Trevor's running has improved, and how much is this contributing to our winning streak?

Good eye. Lawrence's running has improved. It seems this comes from him seeing the field better, the game slowing for him and him knowing when to run. He's running not so much from crisis or panic as situationally. This is a generalization, but seems more the case than last season. I don't quite grasp why people who follow this team closely are so concerned about his statistics. The Jaguars are 6-2 and Lawrence is making plays when it matters. He had multiple huge plays in a victory over Buffalo and threw critical touchdown passes in the three consecutive victories since that game. We also saw on multiple occasions late last season that Lawrence is perfectly capable of stringing together multi-touchdown-pass games – and multi-touchdown quarters and halves – when needed. It's a long season. We're halfway through. The offense is moving. It just needs to finish better. My sense is that will happen in the coming weeks and that Lawrence's game awareness/maturity will be a big reason.

Bill Bald from Ponte Vedra

Forecast for Sunday: Windy. Seems to me that would favor a quarterback with a strong arm who throws a tight spiral. Advantage Jags?


Bill from New Jersey

I always see this question posed within college football discussions but rarely NFL. If you could have two former Jags (1 offense, 1 defense) to put on this year's team, who would you choose?

I would take left tackle Tony Boselli, not because I don't like Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson but because you always would take one of the great all-time players at a position and the best player in franchise history. I also might take defensive end Tony Brackens. At his best, he changed games.

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! I am liking our chances as the season progresses in making the postseason. We are winning and have big contributors who were out and/or getting ready to come back. As these players make their way back, I believe it will become a force multiplier in all phases. A stout defense with better secondary coverage will allow our pass rush to get truckin'! That should result in a lower score allowed. Then add an offense that comes to life because everyone is healthy, which makes for panic for our opponents, which allows our defense to tighten the screws even more! Then the special teams just gets to play wide open! It all becomes a force to be reckoned with! GO JAGS!!!

Go Jags.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

I've been going to bat for TLaw as one of the better/best quarterbacks in the league just based off his ability to close games out. But I just seen he has 10 turnovers and only nine touchdowns on the season? That sounds problematic.

The Jaguars are 6-2 and leading the AFC South by two games. They have won 11 of 13 regular-season games. Lawrence is making big plays at the end of those games and helping the Jaguars secure a lot of victories. This has the feel of a playoff team. It was a playoff team last season. Lawrence is a playoff quarterback.