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O-Zone: Perfectly said

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy ...

The Jaguars’ 9-6 loss to the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field Sunday did feel sloppy. There were too many drops by wide receivers, the running game never felt dominant and quarterback Blake Bortles had too many passes deflected at the line of scrimmage. Bortles also was notably inaccurate at times, there also obviously were too many penalties – again – and there were too many instances when the Jaguars just felt a tick off, particularly on offense. The gut reaction for many seems to be to attribute this to a letdown or play-calling or to the old standby of Bortles being awful, but here’s the thing: offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t turn into a bad play caller in a week and Bortles for the most part has ben good more than he has been bad in the last season or so. I also didn’t sense anything close to a letdown from these players all week. How in the world could they not have been up for this game? It’s Tennessee, a team that beat them twice last season then mouthed off about it at the end of last season? Here’s what’s more likely: the Titans match up well against the Jaguars, and they inarguably play well against the Jaguars. They have a good defensive line that doesn’t allow Bortles to run for first downs and they do a nice job keeping the Jaguars’ wide receivers from getting behind them for big plays. Quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back Derrick Henry do a nice job of making just enough plays to stay in manageable situations and score enough to put pressure on the Jaguars’ offense. They may not look great, but they find a way to be effective enough against the Jaguars. The Titans like sloppy games and they’re good enough to make the Jaguars look sloppy. Not that reducing the penalties and catching catchable passes wouldn’t have helped Sunday. Being better in those areas would have helped. Quite a bit.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

I hope the leadership fully appreciates the magnitude of this loss. If not, let me spell it out. They have burned the goodwill and faith they have built. I wouldn't be surprised if we see boos and empty seats going forward.

Oh, for goodness’ sake.

James from Houston, TX

I think we might need A.J. Cann back. On a different note: How different would that game have looked had the refs not called the personal foul on Malik Jackson and the fumble stood?

It’s fair to say the Jaguars miss right guard A.J. Cann. And left tackle Cam Robinson. And running back Leonard Fournette. I’m not saying their absences were the only reason the offense struggled on Sunday; that’s absolutely not the case. But the Jaguars were without four projected starters on offense Sunday – including wide receiver Marqise Lee – and there’s a reason that starters start. As for how different the game would have been had the first-quarter fumble stood, that’s hard to say. It certainly was a three-point swing and perhaps more than that. The Jaguars seemed likely to get at least a field goal there, and the Titans turned their drive into a field goal. At the same time, the Jaguars haven’t scored a meaningful offensive touchdown against the Titans since Christmas Eve 2016. It would therefore be a bit short-sighted to say all that ailed the Jaguars Sunday stemmed from one call against the Jaguars’ defense.

Ryan from Livonia, MI

John you're right. This feels exactly like the Jags/Titans rivalry of old - where Jacksonville can make every argument that they are the superior team, except that we just can't beat Tennessee.

Yeah, and the Jaguars need to get that fixed.

Jason from Da’Hass

John, if it worked it would’ve been genius. It didn’t and put the Titans in position to take the lead early and was the difference in the game.

You’re referencing the failed fake punt in the first quarter – and you’re right that it at least helped lead to the Titans’ first-quarter field goal. The Jaguars had a chance to get the Titans off the field a few plays later, but the sack/fumble that defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. recovered was reversed by the lowering-the-head penalty on Jackson. And yeah … those points did loom large. Still, it’s tough to criticize Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone too much for the fake-punt attempt. His aggressiveness in those situations has paid off a lot – and besides, you’re supposed to be able to make up for giving up a first-quarter field goal.

Scott from Rehoboth Beach, DE

The defense played a hell of a game Sunday keeping the Titans from scoring a touchdown, wouldn't you say, O? That is all ...

I would say that. The defensive players were hard on themselves afterward for allowing 150 yards rushing – and for not getting off the field on a couple of big fourth-quarter drives. But hell … they allowed nine points. They played fine.

Bo from Linwood, NC

I guess that loss will dispel the theory that our offense is better without Leonard Fournette. Do you think our offense struggled more because of our line play or because we didn’t have 27 in the backfield?

The line wasn’t dominant, but neither was it awful. It actually seemed to hold up well running early, and was OK pass protecting until the Titans knew the Jaguars were definitely throwing late in the game. The Jaguars seemed to miss Fournette for the most part Sunday for the obvious reason that without him they really only have one true experienced every-down running back. That’s T.J. Yeldon. Third-team running back Corey Grant is a very effective weapon in some packages, but it’s extremely difficult if not impossible for him to be as effective as an every-down player as Fournette.

Allen from Bellaire, OH

Pathetic, pathetic offense. Looked like a high school offense. Why can't we beat a beat-up team? I just don't get it. Help us understand what is this Tennessee curse and when will it end?

There’s no curse. The Titans know how to play this team and proved it twice last season. I was baffled by the notion among fans and analysts beforehand that this game would be a blowout for the Jaguars, and I said as much quite often. While I picked the Jaguars to win I in no way felt confident about it. The Titans beat the Jaguars twice last season and the Jaguars didn’t score a touchdown that mattered. Until the Jaguars figure out how to score against a very good Tennessee defensive front, this is a problematic matchup.

Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville

Not much to cheer about after the loss to the Titans. I really don't understand how you can be aggressive one week and passive the next. They should go in EVERY game being aggressive. Very disappointed with lack of performance from the Jaguars today! Now, once again the Titans are #1 in our division. Sadness is … go Jags. Beat the Jets!

Plays that work tend to feel aggressive. Plays that don’t work tend to look uncreative. That said, Bortles didn’t seem to look downfield much Sunday. The Titans do a good job taking that away, and the Jaguars’ receivers didn’t seem to win matchups as consistently as a week before.

Figymoto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

The 2018 Super Bowl champions? With this offensive and this defense being exposed against a one-armed quarterback, I don’t think so.

It’s Week 3. Thirteen games remain.

Roger from Houston, TX

An all-too familiar story.

Yes, the Jaguars are too inconsistent on offense. This doesn’t mean they’re a bad offense. It doesn’t mean they can’t be more consistent. But they clearly need to be more consistent – and they clearly need to figure out a way to score against the Titans.

Rob from Jacksonville

The real Jags show up ... finally.

This is a nonsensical email that I can only assume was sent in the throes of emotion. The Jaguars are 2-1 this season and made the AFC Championship Game a season ago with a defense that ranked No. 2 in the NFL and an offense that ranked No. 6. To dismiss a team that played its worst offensive game in more than a season as the “real Jags …” well, it’s reactionary and more than a little silly.

Frankie from London, UK

I said after the Giants game that Logan Cooke looks a good punter. He's carried that on in the past two weeks, looks a good pick.

Yes, it does.

TJ from Orlando, FL

So the NFL wants defenders to defy the laws of physics now? Cool.

This unsurprisingly was sent shortly after a lowering-the-helmet penalty on Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson negated a sack fumble that appeared to result in a recovery by defensive end Dante Fowler. A lot of fans complained that Jackson was thrown into quarterback Blaine Gabbert on the play. The only angle I saw didn’t show that. I hope to have a better response if I see a better replay. It was a tough moment for the Jaguars, because it prevented the Jaguars from getting possession in Titans territory and led to a Titans field goal. A momentum-changer in a big way.

Bruce from somewhere else

Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhh!!!!!!!

True that.

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