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O-Zone: Plan of attack

JACKSONVILLE – It’s Look Ahead Wednesday.

For the uninitiated, that means we stop looking back to last week’s game – in this case, a Week 1 victory over the New York Giants – and begin solely looking forward.

We try in most cases to stick to the Look Ahead policy. That shouldn’t be difficult this week. There’s a big game Sunday, after all.

Let’s get to it …

Kelsey from Greenville, SC

I think you've got a very whiny inbox for being 1-0 and alone atop the AFC South, Zone. On the other hand, I do very much worry about whether Leonard will be able to go versus the Patriots. I don't think his absence portends quite as much doom as others seem to believe, but it certainly isn't a good sign. What's your feeling for whether he plays? And if he plays, how limited will he be?

I am skeptical that Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette will play against the New England Patriots at TIAA Bank Field Sunday. He has a hamstring injury, and hamstring injuries often need extended rest. Fournette sustained his injury last Sunday; one week seems like a quick recovery. But Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone seems legitimately optimistic about Fournette playing Sunday. Considering Marrone is not exactly given to sunshine and rainbows it makes me believe there is a legitimate chance Fournette will play. But I don’t think he will play if he’s limited. I don’t think that would be worth the risk.

Shannon from Jacksonville

I know that this team is going to play to the defense, especially with a lead in the second half. However, I don't think it will be a winning model going forward if we make the playoffs. Quarterback Blake Bortles will eventually have to be the one who makes the plays to win at the end of the game and it may need to happen this week with New England. Do you see this offense being able to do this when needed?

The Jaguars made the playoffs and won two games last season. Their philosophical approach hasn’t changed since then. As for Bortles making plays at the end of the game to win, the Jaguars beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoff last season; give it a look-see.

MrMojoRisin

You know the day destroys the night. Night divides the day.

I’ll google this.

Wade from Westside

Donte Moncrief did not show up in Game 1. How long will he get before the Jags look to the receivers behind him? Does he automatically get a starting slot because the Jags (over)paid him all that money?

Moncrief will start as long as coaches consider him the best option. Four receivers played Sunday, with Keelan Cole playing 76 percent of the plays, Moncrief playing 69 percent, Dede Westbrook playing 50 percent and DJ Chark Jr. playing 21 percent. Considering the experience and the roles of the players involved, that seems about right. It has nothing to do with Moncrief’s salary and everything to do with what coaches believe is best for what the team is trying to do in a given game.

John from Jacksonville

If a player is on the active roster but is one of the ones selected not to dress for a game like wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr. was this weekend, does he still receive his full salary as if he played?

Yes.

Yoav from St. Johns, FL

The Jaguars' offense seemed to play conservative Sunday against the Giants. During the regular season, other than crafting a game plan that was appropriate for last week's team, could our coaching staff be intentionally hiding a more aggressive plan from next week's game against the Patriots to not give Bill Belichick and the coaching staff something to plan for?

No.

Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL

If the Jags beat the Patriots 20-15 on Sunday do you think you'll get as many complaints as the last game?

Maybe.

Frankie from London, UK

What do you think the Jaguars learned from the AFC Championship game? I feel like if the Jaguars could go back to the AFC Championship game, they wouldn't change a thing, and I feel like that's got to be a problem of some sort?

You’re likely referring to the Jaguars’ offensive approach in the second half of the AFC Championship Game. They learned they need to be able to run better when they want to run, and that was one reason they signed guard Andrew Norwell. And I think you’re right that the Jaguars probably wouldn’t do too much differently given the same circumstances. Given their down-and-distance situations, their field position, their personnel, the flow of the game, the score, the opponent … no, I don’t know that the Jaguars would dramatically change their approach. That doesn’t mean they won’t be more or less aggressive in different circumstances.

Paul from Jacksonville

Time to look forward to the Patriots. As they say in financial ads, "Past performance is not indicative of future results." I think our team will bring its "A" game on Sunday.

I agree.

Opfore from Troutman, NC

Hey, Mr. O.: Fans gonna fan. Maybe you can jog my memory. Were fans angry/concerned about a certain victory after a Buffalo Bills team last postseason? I believe we handled Pittsburgh just fine to advance to the AFC Championship game.

Yes, fans were concerned about play-calling after the AFC Wild Card game last season. And yes, the Jaguars beat the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week with a much different game plan. A hint for those who want perspective on the NFL: teams game plan differently from week to week. It’s why coaches bother driving into the stadium between games. If the game plans stayed week to week, they could Netflix and chill throughout the course of the season. As it stands, only Sexton gets to do that.

Scott from Jacksonville

Sorry, I'm a couple days behind ... Dolly Parton? She didn't seem to fit in your list.

Open your mind. Look past the image and the hair. Listen to the lyrics. She’s one of the great songwriters of our time.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Who starts at strong-side linebacker next game? Did something happen to Leon Jacobs? Didn’t see him in second half.

Jacobs sustained an injury that had him in a walking boot Monday. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said it was preventative. If he doesn’t start I would imagine you will see Lerentee McCray. He’s the backup strong-side linebacker.

Andrew from Seattle, WA

Just for perspective, Bortles and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson had almost identical stat lines last Sunday, with Bortles' being slightly better. Just thought that was worth mentioning. Win or lose, one ugly game isn't going to define the season.

Did the stat line include the victory?

CD from Fleming Island, FL

How did you feel about the play-calling Sunday? I'm generally a players-over-plays guy, but it seemed we didn't play-action pass out of power-running formations much on early downs. It seems Blake is usually passing in predictable situations and formations. Do you agree, and if so, do you think we should attempt it more? It seems like the most effective way to leverage the running game.

What struck me about the play-calling was it was fine in the first half when the Jaguars scored on three of their first four possessions. They had a touchdown and another called back by penalty. It tailed off in the second half when the Jaguars faced third-and-6 or longer on the final third down of their final six possessions. They didn’t pick up any of the first downs. They’re going to have to do better than that on first and second down for the play-calling to improve.

Michael from Orlando, FL

Is it too early to talk tiebreakers? Granted it’s only Week 2, but a victory with tiebreaker advantage against New England wouldn’t be a bad thing.

RIGHT YOU ARE, MICHAEL!

Dave from DUUUVAALL

Hey Johnny O: Any chance if Leonard can’t go Sunday against the GOAT and the Patriots Sunday the Jaguars sign running back Brandon Wilds off the practice squad? Would that mean Wilds would have to be on the 53-man roster for three weeks or the actual 46-man game day roster for three weeks? Talk to me, Johnny!

Yes, there’s a chance Brandon Wilds could be signed if Fournette can’t play Sunday; the Jaguars’ usual approach under Head Coach Doug Marrone when they need to fill a roster spot is to do so from the practice squad. Wilds could be signed to the 53-man roster one game and re-signed to the practice squad immediately thereafter because he would be signing from the Jaguars’ practice squad. Teams signing players from another team’s practice squad must keep that player on the 53-man roster for three games, but the player does not have to be active on game days.

Eric from Columbus, IN

O, just wanted to say thank you for the answer. I hope you didn't take the receiver question as an "attack.”

You can’t hurt me.

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