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O-Zone: One week at a time

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Now Vince Manuwai, he could surf. He had a tattoo on his on his arm that said W38. That’s because he actually did surf the North Shore of Hawaii, in fact a 38-footer at Waimea Bay. He was a great player, an all-around Hawaiian legend. RIP

Manuwau, who played offensive guard from for the Jaguars from 2003-2010, passed away after collapsing while moving an apartment in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday. I only met Manuwai briefly, shortly after I returned to Jacksonville in 2011. I only heard great things. I know he was a big-time player for this team for a long time – and a big reason this team was a very good running team for a long time. Absolutely. RIP.

Chidwick from Mooresville

Will Fournette return next week?

There have been media reports that Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette will play against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, though nothing official has been stated by the team – and I wouldn’t expect anything official on that front until later in the week. This has been a tricky injury to project and I don’t see that changing this week. The thing about a hamstring injury is it’s about rest, then it’s about deciding if the player is ready to open it up and test if it’s ready; it’s a percentage play at that point. My prediction? I have to believe Fournette will try to play against Indianapolis. Will he be 100 percent at that point? How will he feel? Who knows? So, why does Sunday seem logical? At least in part because the Jaguars are 3-5. If not now, when?

David from Orlando, FL

Answerman: Do you know the meaning of life?

Whose?

Logan from Wichita, KS

We have been more than patient with this team. Hell, yeah, we should be irate when after 10-plus years of suffering we only get one good year. What, should we just be happy to lose for 10 more seasons and then get one good one for the next century? If we had ups and down it would be one thing for us to throw our hands up and walk off, but for crying out loud last year was the first winning season in forever, so YES we should be upset that we now go directly back to the garbage!

Of course Jaguars fans should be upset when their team doesn’t win. Why would they be anything else? Why would a fan of any team be anything but upset if their team doesn’t win?

Big on Blake from Philly

I know it’s the bye week and I know the Jags are 3-5, but did I really just see Gene pop up?! Johnny, Oh No: Say it ain’t so. Say we weren’t reminiscing about the dead zone? #8moregames #DTWD

It’s so. #goodtimes

Tucker from Nashville, TN

Dante Fowler Jr. was a bust for the Jaguars. He was a Top 5 pick who isn't on the team after four years. He was best-suited in a 3-4 defense. The Rams are going to move him around the defensive line, so he can use his speed and athleticism. The Jags never did that. Look at Taven Bryan. He has only played a three technique. The Jags move him outside and give him more responsibility. You see how lost he is on the field. Move him back inside and have Dawuane Smoot back up Calais Campbell at end. The NFL is hard enough. Why are we putting players in position to fail?

I suppose one point to be made here is that the Jaguars’ defense this season is in the Top 10 in fewest points allowed and is ranked No. 2 in the NFL in yards allowed – the same yardage ranking as they had last season. The defense has played at a high level despite the offense being ineffective much of the season and therefore putting the defense in difficult situations. I mention these things to make the point that despite fans’ feelings to the contrary, coordinator Todd Wash and the defensive staff do have at least a shred of an idea about what they’re doing – and not all of the Jaguars’ players are “failing.” The Jaguars have moved end Yannick Ngakoue around this season to try to take advantage of his pass-rushing skills and disruption ability. They never did that with Fowler because there wasn’t a trust that he would flourish with that added responsibility. Perhaps he’ll flourish in his role with the Rams. I hope he does. I like the kid.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

So, when do the “Sign-Bradford!” emails start?

Now, I guess.

Willie from Orange Park and Section 213, FL

What changes (if any) do you predict coming across the offensive line after the bye?

The only change I would expect could possibly be at left tackle. Ereck Flowers will have been with the team for right at a month when the Jaguars play the Colts Sunday. It would make sense to work Flowers at left tackle. If the Jaguars don’t think Flowers is ready, perhaps you could see A.J. Cann kick out to left tackle and Tyler Shatley play in Cann’s place at guard. The Jaguars are 3-5. If not now, when?

Tanner from Duval

Wats going on wit Eric Flowers wen is he gon play...

Do better than this, Tanner.

Red from Jacksonville

#FreeCodyKessler It's just a matter of time, O Man.

OK.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

The Jaguars of late have avoided committing to the run. I've read multiple articles on our site suggesting coaching called heavy pass because of lack of confidence in the run. My question is, how are the running backs AND offensive line supposed to gain confidence and improve their play in the power run game, if the play callers call 90 percent pass? It seems like a Catch 22 to me. Given our record, it might not hurt to push on the run game, even if it doesn't look great after the first six carries.

It indeed is a Catch 22, and the first goal for this offense each season and each week is to run well. The Jaguars have gotten too far away from that. Head Coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett would be the first ones to tell you that. But within the context of each game, the priority is to give the team the best chance to win. With teams packing the box against the run, and with the line failing to inspire confidence at times, the best matchups in many situations in recent weeks have been the Jaguars’ wide receivers against single coverage. I would be surprised if the Jaguars don’t come out of the bye week with a major commitment to the running game. Perhaps the return of Fournette along with newly-acquired running back Carlos Hyde becoming better acclimated to the offense – along with the line perhaps getting healthier – can mean improvement in this area.

Josh from Jacksonville

O-Man. Am I naive in my confusion over people wanting the Jags to immediately replace quarterback Blake Bortles? Who do we replace him with???? About six current NFL quarterbacks are system-independent freaks and true game-changers – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees … arguably even Andrew Luck. But potential offseason moves to throw money at Alex Smith or Kirk Cousins wouldn’t get us to that elite tier and it more than likely would have tied up money that assures consistent mediocrity (see Bengals with Andy Dalton, Ravens with Joe Flacco, Detroit with Matt Stafford...). Similarly, it’s tough to get a team to part from a high potential backup during the season (though I was intrigued by Teddy Bridgewater). Finally, the 2019 quarterback draft class is projected to be weak. Where then are we to find that magical upgrade, because cutting Bortles doesn’t make this team better without a legit replacement?? What am I missing??? #DTWD

Not much.

Travis from North Dakota

John, why didn’t we make a move for a left tackle at the deadline? Are they expecting Flowers to step in and be productive, because Josh Walker at left tackle is not good. Our offense has been unproductive since Cam Robinson’s injury; heck, we even moved the ball with Josh Wells in the lineup. Just an average or above average left tackle would do wonders for this offense, I believe.

The Jaguars didn’t make a move for a left tackle because there was no left tackle available at a price that made sense. Good left tackles are hard to find. They’re cool. Teams like them and they typically don’t want them to leave.

Patrick from Victoria, BC

Hi John, I didn’t think the Jags would be 3-5 at this point of the season. This team is facing a lot of adversity. Here’s to hoping they can step up to the challenge.

Yes. Here’s hoping.

Paul from Section 148

Everybody relax. Bye week. Beat the Colts. Ahhh … the Steelers on Sunday Night Football, right here in River City, with a chance to even our record to 5-5. Playoffs? Yes, playoffs!

No doubt.

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