JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mike from Melbourne
If the offense scores tons of points and gets big leads, won't that lead to more sacks because the opposition knows they have to throw more?
We're repeating ourselves a bit here, not that repetition is uncommon during the dead zone. But yes: This is perhaps the most-overlooked part of pressuring the quarterback in the NFL. Effective pass rush, sacks and pressures often depend largely on a defense forcing opposing offenses into obvious passing situations. One way to do this is to play good defense on early downs, forcing offenses to throw often in third-and-long situations. Another way is to get early leads and hold those leads into the fourth quarter. That creates multiple series late in games when defenses know the opponent must throw, and therefore prime sack opportunities. Remember: Although the Jaguars went 9-8 in the 2022 regular season, they rallied from double digits to win their last four home games. That means they were trailing – with opponents playing more conservatively and protecting leads – in most games. The Jaguars' defense was more effective creating pressure in key situations as the season continued. It's very possible that improvement could continue in 2023, particularly if the offense can be more consistent early in games and take early leads.
Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA
Hi, John. You'd win your money betting I'm unhip. You'd lose your money betting that I renege on bets.
I wouldn't win or lose in either situation. I don't bet. It's not a moral or ethical stance. I'm just cheap and hate the idea of losing more than I love the idea of winning.
Dave from Fleming Island
Arnie Z from Elche, Spain
Hola, Johnny O. I was rewatching Sounds of the Game and noticed the Titans' stadium. Looked very dated to me. In the nature of this being the dead zone, could you speak to their Stadium situation? They must be in about the same boat as the Jags if not worse.
The Titans' stadium, Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., has been in use since 1999. It is functional, but it absolutely is dated by NFL standards. The Titans in April received approval from the Metropolitan Nashville Council to move forward with a new, state-of-the-art stadium that is scheduled to open in 2027. The Titans are expected to be responsible for $840 million with 1.26 billion from city and state funding.
Don from Marshall, NC
The running back is still a critical component of any offense and the value is there. The position has morphed into the receiving group. The running backs that cannot catch passes are going to be looking for work unless they are Barry Sanders. Travis Etienne Jr. is the future running back and he is going to catch some bombs this year. The NFL does not want that Ground and Pound action anymore for safety reasons. Sorry to see it but it is for the best. Teams are still able to control the clock with the passing game. Versatility is the key to success in this modern game. Go Jaguars!
Don, while perhaps overgeneralizing a bit, remains all in on running backs – provided they can double as receivers.
Adam from Allentown, PA
What was the locker room like after the Jags ran all over the Colts for 375?
You're referencing the Jaguars' 44-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2006, a game in which the Jaguars rushed for 375 yards. Because I was covering the Colts at the time, I'll assume you're asking about their locker room. It was, as might be expected, subdued and shocked. That game was one of several such losses late that season for that franchise, which was struggling to stop the run and lost three AFC South road games – with the loss to the Jaguars being by far the worst of the stretch. The key to that stretch was not the reaction of the Colts' locker room as much as the reaction of Head Coach Tony Dungy. He never panicked during December, insisting that the team could overcome its struggles against the run. Safety Bob Sanders returned from injury in the postseason, the defense made a few personnel adjustments and the Colts indeed stopped the run well in the postseason. They won four postseason games – and the Super Bowl.
Adam from Allentown, PA
While we're at it, what was the most jubilant postgame locker room you've ever been in? What about the (antonym for jubilant) post-game locker room?
I suppose the locker room after the Colts' Super Bowl victory has to be in the discussion; there's no jubilation like winning that game. The postgame locker room after the Jaguars' victory over the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Playoff after the 1996 season stands out, too.
Bill from Jax Beach
John, truly a dead zone question (time is running out!!). Since the Oxford comma has been put to rest, the next question is what is the difference in usage in "Ok" and "Okay?" Even Webster couldn't help me on this one!!! Thanks.
I get confused with "okay" and OK," so I usually go another direction and just say "All right." Is that answer alright? (Editor's note: Associated Press Style uses "OK" always, and "all right" is always two words.)
DJ from Grass Valley, CA
The dead zone is making me dread weekends. Thank Empty Space for you all Mighty O!
Jaguars 2023 Training Camp begins July 26.
Jax by Lionel Playworld
Going back to when the NFL awarded Jacksonville the Jags, I remember Charlotte and St. Louis being the betting favorites to win the new franchises. I recall the St. Louis bid was flawed and that was the hope to which we clung. On announcement day, the NFL awarded Charlotte a franchise and gave "everyone else" an opportunity to improve their bid. Just like whistling Myles Jack down or playing against the officials during '99 Titans games, outsiders seemed to be giving us a 90s style dis[respect]. What can you tell us about those developments at that time? Pardon me for not being able to find a copy of Jags to Riches at the used book store; you probably mentioned it in there.
This situation was misunderstood by some at the time. The St. Louis bid indeed was flawed, and many observers in and out of Jacksonville were angry when the NFL announced Charlotte as the 29th team in 1993 and delayed the announcement of the 30th franchise. That anger stemmed from those observers assuming the delay meant that the 30th franchise would go to St. Louis – or perhaps Baltimore. But league officials at the time saw it differently, with many well-placed sources telling Pete Prisco – then covering the expansion process for the Florida Times-Union – immediately upon the delay that Jacksonville was the favorite to be No. 30. Prisco wrote repeatedly for the next month that Jacksonville was going to get the team, often even having to fight disbelieving T-U editors to run the stories. Prisco, as usually was the case, was right. Jacksonville had a great bid – and for those in the know, they were the favorite the entire month and indeed were awarded the franchise.
Jason from North Pole, AK
If you ever decided to write a book about football what might the topic be? Any ideas for a good title? Seems like your sense of humor to include a good play on words.
I'd probably write about coaching, and how important it is in the NFL. I might call it something like, "It's Always Coaching in the NFL."
Ryan from Apopka, FL
You recently answered a question about the best football books to read and you left one omission off your list. How could you not add "Jags to Riches" to your list of best football books? It was co-written by the man, the myth, the legend Pete Prisco and some other dude I've never heard of.
I'll be honest here. Prisco covered the Jaguars' expansion process and early days of the franchise. His insight into that time is the best part of Jags to Riches. I was the "other dude" you never heard of and didn't start covering the team with Pete until 1995. The parts of the book that cover the period after I began covering the team – the 1995 season and the "Cinderella" 1996 season – are fine, but Pete's insight made the book.
Steve at Work from Jax Bch
In the spirit of "being nice" ... regarding former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and the Hall of Fame … ... gee, I sure hope his back doesn't give him anymore trouble. That'd be a shame.
I think we need to review just what it means to be "nice."
John from Jacksonville
Hi KOAGF - What question are you surprised that nobody has asked you yet in the O-Zone? Also, what question would you ask if you were a reader of the O-Zone?
Why are you so unpopular with the Chicago Police Department? Why are you so unpopular with the Chicago Police Department?