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O-Zone: No shame

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

It's still early in the season. Exciting, but early. But now that we have the national media attention we've craved since … well, forever … do you think that a few more impressive wins might trigger the NFL to exercise their scheduling discretion and move a game to a prime-time spot?

First: Jaguars fans actually haven't craved national media attention since "forever;" they were on national television and discussed/covered plenty nationally in 1996-2000 during and immediately after the franchise's early playoff seasons. That's what happens when you win consistently and have star players, and that will happen when the Jaguars do those things again. The NFL indeed now has the option of "flexing" Sunday games from Week 5 forward – twice from Weeks 5 through 10 and weekly from Weeks 11 through 17 – into the Sunday Night Football slot. For Week 18, games with playoff implications will be flexed to two Saturday slots and the Sunday night slot. Yes, it's possible the Jaguars could be flexed at some point this season. They're becoming a compelling story and an exciting team with a star-quality quarterback. They must continue to win for this to happen. If their games have playoff implications against contending opponents, there's no reason to think it can't happen.

Mike from Terceira Island, Portugal

OK, 14 games to go. If the Jags go 7-7, they end the season with a winning record of 9-8. Today, that feels like a major disappointment! Yes or No?

Beware long-term prognostications based on the euphoria of the moment. I understand – and even agree with – your point. Based on the results of the last two weeks – a 24-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts and a 38-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers – it seems all things are possible for the Jaguars. Heck, if the Jaguars play as well as they did in those games in every game, they could go through the rest of the season only losing a time or two. And if all goes as right for the Jaguars as it did in those two games, it's hard to see a game they shouldn't win. But the NFL is a week-to-week league of injuries, attrition and matchups – and pretty much every team can beat every team. Remember, too: While the Jaguars played well to beat the Chargers and Colts, injures to those teams certainly helped the games be that one-sided. The going will get tougher. I, like many, have re-adjusted my thoughts on this team. Whereas I once saw it as a six-to-eight-victory team, I can see it being in the eight-to-10-range. Could it be more? Sure, but this team went 4-29 over the last two seasons. A 9-8 record shouldn't be a disappointment.

Slicky from East Arlington

How fun is this? For the people that say football is just a game, I've been back in Jax for about two months helping take care of a sick parent. It's been one of the most difficult things I've ever done. I know I'm not unique. Being able to watch this team grow every week and being fired up about Jag football again doesn't make everything better. But it damn sure helps a lot!

Winning is cool. Fans like it. What you're doing isn't easy. Stay strong. One fer persevering and one fer football being a bit more than "just a game…"

Jason from North Pole, AK

First of all, I don't live in Jacksonville and please don't take this as criticism of Jaguars fans because it's not. I am just wondering about attendance at the Colts game earlier this season, I often hear that it was a great crowd, "the 'Bank was rocking," and see ticket sales in the high 50k. But when I watch on TV there seems to be an abnormal amount of empty seats. What is the disconnect? Do you expect the home crowd to reach a different level when we play Houston next week if the Jaguars were to beat Philly on the road?

There's no disconnect. The Jaguars have been bad for a long time. They had lost 30 of 33 games entering that Indianapolis game and had just one winning season in too long before that. Were fans not supposed to be at least a touch skeptical at that point? Were they not supposed to wait and see? Considering the team's level of badness, the crowds at TIAA Bank in recent seasons have been fine – and even remarkable. Yes, I expect those crowds to be better than fine moving forward as the team improves. Fan interest and support is not remotely a problem in Jacksonville and it never has been a problem. Team performance has been the problem.

William from Savannah, GA

In the words of that famous American philosopher, "You know you got to go through hell before you get to heaven."

My grandpa he's ninety-five. He keeps on dancing. He's still alive.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF. How is Shaq's hip doing? I think we will need everyone at 100 percent to take down the Eagles. What do you think?

Jaguars cornerback Shaq Griffin, after not playing last Sunday because of a hip injury, practiced limited Wednesday and Thursday. That usually indicates a player will play the following Sunday.

Gary from Suffolk, VA

Zone, the fact that we have two running backs that are both capable as a true RB1 gives us a huge advantage as the game progresses. Travis Etienne Jr. has the strength, power and speed and has been one tackle away of a big play in each game and James Robinson has had big runs. I really liked the WILDCAT we ran. Do you foresee us using more two-running-back sets to force those hard matchups that favor us?

Yes, when the situation – and the potential matchup – calls for it.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I'm not saying everyone has to do this. In fact, the fact that most players DON'T do this is what makes it so special when it's absent. My favorite end-zone celebration is James Robinson's. He's just so humble it's daunting. He literally just walks off. Wow, wow, wow. I love a guy like that in a league of showboats.

Robinson's end-zone celebration reflects his overall demeanor, which is humble and no-nonsense and low-key. He's tough to not respect or like.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

I'm tired of hearing how teams we beat were beat up, so it wasn't a true test. This idea is ridiculous. It's like complaining that it's unfair you lost because the other team had more talented players. A part of a player's value is durability. Just like a player can have an advantage because they are bigger, stronger, faster, they can be a liability because of lack of durability. Also, some of those injuries were caused by our guys hurting their guys. Am I right? We beat those teams - period. We got the W. No asterisk!

I don't know who wrote or said the Colts and Chargers weren't true tests. It certainly wasn't written here. NFL games are always tests. The Jaguars didn't win those games because of injuries to the opponents. It is fair to wonder if the games would have been that one-sided had the opponent been healthy. But the Jaguars are much-improved – perhaps even good. To say otherwise is to not be paying attention. No asterisk needed.

Big on Blake from Philly

I can't take credit but I gotta say I love it: "Duval Wall," thank you Baldy's Breakdown. As for the question, where are you buying me a pregame beer when you're in town this weekend?

I'll text back in a bit.

Gabe from Washington, DC

The 2017 Jaguars weren't built to come from behind. The 2022 Jaguars still have a lot to prove before they show the same potential for a playoff run, but how confident are you that this team would be able to respond if they went down two or three scores? All things possible through quarterback Trevor Lawrence, or still probably too young to be "in" any game until the last whistle?

The 2022 Jaguars trailed by two scores at halftime in Week 1. They responded just fine and rallied for an eight-point lead. They won't win all games in those situations and they won't rally in all situations. Sometimes when you're down by two scores it's because the other team is that much better that day. But there's no reason this team can't function well in come-from-behind situations.

John from Somewhere windy in Florida

Move over shame and disgust. Happiness and pride are moving in. As a Jaguars fan, I am not sure what to do with these new feelings, but all I know is that I like this.

As my Uncle Otto used to say, "Beware happiness and pride, for they are fickle mistresses." Then again, Uncle Otto walked around a lot without pants. We didn't listen to Uncle Otto that much during this phase.

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