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O-Zone: One chance

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nathan from Denver, CO

John, cautiously optimistically impressed by Luton. His zip on the ball was impressive, although he could learn some touch. But his presence was most impressive. It looked onscreen that the game was never too big for him. I guess we will see what happens.

Jaguars rookie Jake Luton indeed was impressive Sunday. There were hiccups, particularly early. He could have been intercepted a couple of times in the first half, and his interception in the third quarter looked like a throw that shouldn't have been made. But those indeed were hiccups and to emphasize them is to miss the big picture that Luton looked very good in his first NFL snaps. He threw for 304 yards and a touchdown and ran for another touchdown. Luton played with poise and he showed impressive arm strength. He completed five of six passes for 67 yards on an 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that nearly tied the game. If he continues to play this well, it would be surprising if he's not the quarterback moving forward this season. That doesn't mean the Jaguars won't be looking for a quarterback in the offseason. The thought here is they will. And they should. But did Luton play well enough Sunday to be optimistic about his future? Sure.

No one from Nowhere

John, let's talk about CJ Henderson. He has struggled for most of the season and I can think of several potential factors: he's a rookie, the Jags have a nonexistent pass rush, the safeties have not been very much help, he's not Jalen Ramsey (and some may expect him to be), etc. My concern is that he doesn't appear improved since the start of the season. What is your take? Do you see him as a true No. 1 cornerback going forward?

Henderson, the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, indeed has struggled this season – and he struggled mightily in a 27-25 loss to the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field Sunday. His 50-yard interference penalty led to a second-quarter touchdown. He then allowed a 77-yard third-quarter touchdown from Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to wide receiver Will Fuller. He played really well in a Week 1 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, but he hasn't played well since. His issues are more inconsistency and not making plays on the ball than purely getting beat, and he clearly has the physical ability. Because of that physical ability, it's not time to panic regarding Henderson. Perhaps we can attribute some of his struggles to a lack of an offseason. He certainly has the ability to improve. He must do that to be a true No. 1 cornerback moving forward.

Andrew from Matoon, IL

That was fun. We were competitive. Loss or no loss, that was fun.

Sure, I guess.

Luke from Jacksonville

The only player on defense that is good enough to start on a good NFL team is Jack. The other 10 starters would not even make practice squad for a good NFL team. General Manager David Caldwell has built a talentless roster on defense. Defensive end Josh Allen has regressed and defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson can only play stand-up so he can't be effective on the edge. Henderson is at best a No. 3 corner in his coming career. Caldwell sucks!

Your assessment of Allen, Chaisson and Henderson is a little extreme – particularly the notion that Allen wouldn't make the practice squad of a good NFL team. That's silly. It's also too early to say Henderson won't be a quality starter, and we'll see where Chaisson develops moving forward. But while I wouldn't call the defense talentless, the talent level on the Jaguars' defense isn't nearly good enough or experienced enough to expect to compete consistently. No question about that.

Jordan from Jacksonville

Just lose, baby!

Sure, I guess.

David from Broward County

So Taven Bryan has been benched. It's about time. Dude is garbage, hot garbage left outside in the summer sun and humidity for days. He is not OK or fine or good enough, he is very bad. He will be gone in the offseason, cut, and will not be on a roster next season. Only because he was a Caldwell first-round draft pick is he still a Jaguar and starting this long. The Jags have him instead of Lamar Jackson, but I am sure that is all Coughlin's fault. When will Khan blow this up?

You're right that Bryan – a defensive tackle and a first-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2018 NFL Draft – was benched Sunday and you could be right about his future. I find it curious, though, about the hesitancy of people to accept that former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin just might have been responsible for that or any selection. He had the final say over football decisions during that and the two surrounding drafts. Is it so far beyond reason that he maybe – just maybe – influenced the selection and/or selections?

Amy from Jacksonville

Hello, O, I'm a first-time writer, but longtime Jaguars fan. My question is about officiating. So, the officials basically cost us the game because they weren't watching the play clock, the Texans get a play off that results in a touchdown and ultimately the game for us. My question is what happens with this official? It wasn't like they barely missed the clock; the clock was down to :00 for three or four seconds before the ball was snapped. Someone wasn't doing their job and we pay the price. Is it like "Oh, my bad … it won't happen again?" or does that official have to respond to obvious disregard of his job duties? Thanks for letting me vent a little and GO JAGS!

You're referencing a third-quarter play Sunday on which Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller – and the play clock indeed counted down to zero at least two seconds before the ball was snapped. Your frustration is understandable – and it was shared by Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone. But whereas you, Amy, can vent publicly without fear of a fine, NFL rules do not offer Marrone such peace of mind. That's why Marrone didn't say much on the topic after Sunday's game. As for the official … yes, officials are graded. If officials overall don't perform at a high level, they can be replaced. They officiate for their jobs each season. But officials who miss calls typically don't speak about it publicly. Or get reprimanded publicly. Nor are they publicly flogged.

Piston from Mandarin, FL

I'm starting to question the Jalen trade.


Dan from Eureka, MT

That was close. For a minute there, I thought the team may have forgotten to tell Jake that he was better off tanking for Trevor.

Sunday was yet more proof of the ridiculousness of the tanking concept. Luton was starting his first NFL game and playing with players fighting to make it – or continue playing – in the NFL. They were playing for coaches who are coaching for their jobs – either with the Jaguars or somewhere else. And they're supposed to care about next offseason's draft?

Paula from Jacksonville

Can the Jags appeal the non-call of time expired?

No. Delay of game is not reviewable under the NFL's instant-replay system. I'm sure the NFL will inform the Jaguars sometime this week that the call was missed. I'm not sure that information will do much to appease Marrone.

Mr. NFL from Jacksonville

Well, well, well ... are you proud of yourself? Luton made a few rookie mistakes, but it's clear he has much more upside than Checkdown Charlie. Yet, you and the other Minshew Man-Lovers will write and/or express otherwise because you're comfortable with being subpar. Luton has been wasting away for weeks while Minshew has shown what the real experts already knew; he never was and never will be the answer. Are you proud?

I think anyone reading the O-Zone in recent weeks – and he knows who he is – will recognize the humor in this. I doubt Mr. NFL will realize it. Regarding that, I couldn't care less.

Jim from Jagsonville

Your weekly reminder... Lambo is good!

Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo indeed is good. Very good. His 59-yard field goal on the final play of the first half Sunday tied a Jaguars franchise record for longest field goal set by Josh Scobee in 2010. On a less positive note, Lambo is also hurt. He reinjured his hip attempting an onside kick with 1:30 remaining Sunday. Head Coach Doug Marrone said afterward it didn't look good. This is the injury that kept Lambo out of four consecutive games early in the season, an absence that featured four different kickers in his place. All four kickers struggled pretty significantly. Stay tuned.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, we looked better and we had a chance. So, there's that right?

Sure, I guess.