JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, for a "game that didn't matter," was that our biggest upset ever?
The Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts, 26-11, at TIAA Bank Field Sunday – a stunning victory because the Jaguars entered the game on an eight-game losing streak and because the Colts needed a victory to qualify for the playoffs. A 2-14 Jaguars team beating a motivated playoff team? That's a huge upset. Biggest in franchise history? It was sure up there. I would rank it with the victory over the Buffalo Bills earlier this season and with a December victory over the Tennessee Titans in 2016 as the Jaguars' biggest since I returned in 2011. The Colts game Sunday was similar to the Titans game in '16 because both victories were over teams playing for playoff spots. When struggling teams win those sorts of matchups it's a major surprise because motivation is usually such a deciding factor late in the season. I don't include the 1996 playoff upset over the Denver Broncos in this conversation because the Jaguars were a playoff team that season. That means they were capable of beating good teams. This year's team was capable of doing that at times, but not often. In fact, that's what made this Jaguars team remarkable – that it was so bad for much of the season, then beat three contending teams: Buffalo, Miami and Indianapolis. Go figure.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
If this was a regressed Trevor Lawrence, I would like to see what it looks like if he keeps regressing because that was not bad at all.
Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence had his best game of the season Sunday: 23 of 32, two touchdowns, no interceptions. It doesn't mean he's "there." He still must be more consistent. But did Sunday, particularly early, show his potential and show what he can be if things are working remotely well around him? Yeah, you could say that.
John from Jacksonville
Hi King of Zone. Something you wrote recently made me think of something. You stated, "They have so many needs and positions that must be addressed that they likely won't adequately be able to address all in one offseason." Do you ever get tired of writing the same thing like this over and over each season?
I answer questions and discuss football in this forum. I write as close as I can get to the truth – whatever that truth may be. Would it be more fun for all involved – particularly, the readers – if the Jaguars won more? Sure. Will my life go on if they don't? Here's hoping.
Gary from Wesley Chapel
Hey, John. Can you imagine the contrast for the entire organization after the Urban Meyer extravaganza if the new head coach is Nathaniel Hackett? He is the guy I'm rooting for personally. There are obviously other very capable options, but I would be very excited to find out he's the guy! He has deep roots in the NFL, which I think is extremely important for the Jags' next head coach. He has worked in the NFL for over a decade, and his father coached in the NFL, so it is pretty much in his genes. And he is also (correct me if I'm wrong) someone who is universally respected around the league, which I believe is also extremely important. As offensive coordinator for the Jags, he coached quarterback Blake Bortles to the AFC Championship game with one of the best running games in the league that year. I think that is exactly the approach the Jags need now to support their franchise quarterback. He is currently on the verge of (potentially) winning a Super Bowl as the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator. Yes, Byron Leftwich did the same last year w/Tampa Bay, but Hackett has so much more extensive experience coaching in the NFL. And I think Jags fans already love him. How would you feel about that as a possibility?
I would love to see Hackett as the Jaguars' head coach. I would love to see former Indianapolis Colts/Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell as the Jaguars' head coach, too. There are a bunch of capable candidates. Those are two.
Tom from Nocatee
Jaguar head coach rankings: 1, Tom Coughlin; 2, Doug Marrone; 3, Jack Del Rio; 4, Mel Tucker; 5, Gus Bradley; 6, Darrell Bevell; 7, Mike Mularkey; 8, Urban Meyer.
I might switch Marrone and Del Rio … but yeah … pretty much.
Michael from Middleburg, FL
Jaguars playing their best game in two years WON and STILL have number one draft position.
This made Sunday a good day for the Jaguars. Whatever momentum can be gained from a late-season victory, the Jaguars gained. And whatever confidence rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence can gain from his best NFL game, he gained. And because the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers, the Jaguars will select No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. That will mark the second consecutive year the Jaguars will have selected No. 1 overall. That's not supposed to be the yearly goal. It's not a streak the Jaguars want to extend. But within the context of what could happen Sunday … yeah, a good day.
Jeremy from Wise, VA
Glass half-full time. Through all the craziness and turmoil, they still won two more games this year than last. Just sayin'.
Bless you, Jeremy.
Michael from Cincinnati, OH
This game shows the golden rule. When you have a team in a hole, you'll get the sacks and turnovers in bunches.
Fair point. The Jaguars struggled to create takeaways this season – finishing with a league-low nine. They tied for 28th in the NFL in sacks with 32. Sacks often come when opponents are in must-throw, long-yardage situations. A lot of turnovers come in those situations, too. They Jaguars trailed by double digits in most of their games this season and trailed quickly in most of those games, too. Their opponents rarely felt pressured and therefore were able to protect the ball – and the quarterback – more often than not. The Jaguars registered six sacks and two takeaways Sunday in a game in which they led from the start. That's not a coincidence.
Rudy from Sacramento, CA
Glad to see this team has some fight despite all the noise … does this win help carry over to next season?
Realistically? Probably not much. The Jaguars will have a new head coach and likely a largely new coaching staff next season. There will be mammoth roster turnover. The offensive scheme will certainly be new and there's a decent chance the defensive scheme will be new as well. I do expect Lawrence could benefit from the confidence gained Sunday, but I don't know that that will be anything that can be measured. Probably the best thing that happened for the Jaguars is fans and observers got to see Lawrence play to his potential. That's not a bad thing, but it probably won't matter much come Week 1 of next season.
Ryan from Reality
Don't get me wrong, Zone; I loved the win! Idc about draft positioning that was fun to see. But why the hell couldn't we do that against the Texans? Or the Jets?
The Jaguars couldn't beat the Houston Texans or the New York Jets – or a slew of other teams – this season because they aren't a good team. They're in the NFL, so they are capable of playing well in stretches – as are all NFL teams. The Jaguars played well Sunday and they played well against the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins earlier this season. And a couple of other teams. But good teams play well consistently. The Jaguars can't do that yet.
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey, John, looks like a lot of guys played for contracts Sunday. Otherwise, I can't explain the energy. What say you?
They played for professional pride. Remember: An NFL career is a limited one. Players work year-round for a chance to play 17 games – and most players don't know how long their careers will last. My experience is that players usually give effort. Whether that effort is enough to win is a different issue.
Cliff from Everywhere with helicopter
Who knew Colts could lay eggs?
Cliff's got jokes.
John from Jacksonville
Hi, King of Zone. Coincidentally, the final Jags game of the season was literally the first game this season I was able to watch the full game start to finish. I must say I had tears in my eyes a few times. I actually saw a good team on the field the whole game and felt like we belonged in the NFL. What a treat for me. I now agree with you to let Trevor play this last meaningful game. What a boost for him and the team going into the offseason. Think of what we would have missed if he sat out.
I could joke here that had you watched the first 16 games of the Jaguars' 2021 season start to finish, you would have had tears in your eyes more than a few times. I won't make that joke; I have too much class. There never was a doubt that the Jaguars would play Lawrence Sunday. He's the Jaguars' quarterback. When they play, he should start. And considering where is in his career, regular-season reps are still valuable. Really, really valuable.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
We have 99 problems, but a quarterback ain't one … thankfully.