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O-Zone: Prime-time player

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Robert from Orange Park, FL

Zone, maybe I'm worried about nothing, but there's so much hype about Monday Night Football. This feels like a distraction waiting to happen.

I wouldn't call it "nothing," but I wouldn't worry too much about the Jaguars being mentally right for their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Stadium Monday. Yes, it's the Jaguars' first game on Monday Night Football in 12 years. Yes, there is a lot of attention on MNF games. But remember: While this particularly Jaguars team hasn't been on MNF, it has played four prime-time games since Head Coach Doug Pederson's arrival for the 2022 season. They beat the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football last season. They beat the New Orleans Saints on TNF in Week 7 this season. They beat the Tennessee Titans on a Saturday night in prime time in Week 18 last season and beat the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC Wild Card Playoff the following week. The Jaguars may or may not win Monday. But playing in prime time shouldn't be a problem.

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

Trap game? Older brother can read younger brother's mind? Knows what type of play will be called in situations? Second-string quarterback gets underrated by the defense and has an MVP game? Monday Night and the team is too hyped? This seems just the type of game that can sneak up and bite the team. Hope Not!

Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – know I'm not big on the concept of trap games. "Upsets" happen various circumstances in the NFL, and when a "good" team loses unexpectedly after a big victory, it's easy to call it a "trap game." Still, I sort of agree with the idea in this case. It's easy to consider the Cincinnati Bengals a weak team because they recently lost quarterback Joe Burrow for the season with a wrist injury. But the Bengals are still a proud team with the motivation of the postseason. They still have a lot of talent. They have a lot of players who have played in the last two AFC Championship Games. Teams such as that are very dangerous late in the season. The Jaguars will have to be prepared, mentally and physically – and they will have to play well.

Tim from Oklahoma City, OK

Yo! Zone! I am not sure why people are getting upset about the little things. Do fans not realize with one more win, the Jags will have had two winning seasons in a row for the first time since 2004-2005? Before that was '98-'99. And the last time we had back-to-back playoff seasons was that '98-'99 team. Enjoy the success, we don't know when we'll have it again.

Good eye.

Al from Orange Park

So, if the current O-line jells and is playing phenomenally, and if Robinson CAN come back late in the season, who plays? Offensive line is so much about cohesion, I'd say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." What say you?

Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson being placed on injured reserve this week with a knee injury means he will miss at least four games. That's a long time at this stage of the NFL season. If the line plays well with Walker Little at left tackle and Ezra Cleveland at left guard, is there a chance they stay with the current lineup? Sure, particularly that close to the postseason. Is there a chance the level of play could merit Robinson starting and Little being at left guard? Sure. Is there a chance Cleveland could start next to Little? Sure. Is there a chance injuries could play a role? Sure. Stay tuned. A lot can change in a month.

Scott from Rehoboth Bch, DE by way of JAX

Can you help me out O-man. Why are the Jacksonville Jaguars deemed a small market? What does that even mean?

Market size typically is based on Nielsen television market size. The Jaguars are considered a small market team because they're in the fourth-smallest market in this area.

John from Byron, GA

If Jacksonville's considered a small market, what is Kansas City, Seattle, Cincinnati, Buffalo and New Orleans considered?

Buffalo and New Orleans are also considered small markets, with Cincinnati slightly bigger and Kansas City slightly bigger still. Seattle is a much bigger market than the other four markets in your question.

Paul from Saint Johns

Will DaVon Hamilton have a positive impact this year? Or is the season down the tubes for him already?

My understanding is there is a very realistic chance that Jaguars nose tackle DaVon Hamilton can play effectively and have a positive impact before the end of the 2023 season.

Johnny from Jagsville

Zonio, Don't you think Travon Walker would be a heck of a fullback on the one-yard scenarios, and run ETN right behind him. Feel free to pass that along. Thank You.

I suppose. I prefer Walker focus on being really good at outside linebacker, which is exactly what he's doing.

Mason from Jacksonville

Which players do you suspect we will lose next season? Who do you suspect we will re-sign/extend as it stands today?

I expect there's a good chance safety Rayshawn Jenkins, Robinson and right guard Brandon Scherff don't return because of their salary-cap situation. Roster turnover being what it is in this era of the NFL, there likely will be multiple departures and arrivals – and the aforementioned players wouldn't be the only departures in that scenario. I would expect projected unrestricted free agents such as wide receiver Calvin Ridley and outside linebacker Josh Allen to be retained. There are many other young players such as quarterback Trevor Lawrence, safety Andre Cisco, running back Travis Etienne Jr. and Little whose rookie contracts will be eligible for renegotiation. But those last four players will be under contract for the 2024 season.

Micah from Chicago, IL

I think Travon Walker might be good.

Walker is unquestionably good. He has been really good this season and is a major reason the Jaguars are good defensively.

Karter from Sahuarita

Fans fanning is really something else sometimes. We just beat the team we pretty much never beat, in their house, with the division on the line. I couldn't be happier! Well, unless we scored more points and let them score zero points, but this is a second-best outcome.

Fans fan. It's what they do.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Help me out here. There have been roughly 200 MNF games since the Jags last played one, covering about 400 scheduling opportunities across the 32 NFL teams in those games. The schedulers couldn't think of scheduling the Jags once during that time? Really? Even if we were 0-17 each of those 11 years, you would think maybe once?

I'm sure the schedule-makers thought about scheduling the Jaguars for Monday Night Football occasionally since their last appearance in 2011. I'm equally certain that in most offseasons they looked at the previous season's record, considered the market size and opted against scheduling them for prime time. You can be bad and be on prime time. You can be in a small market and be on prime time. It's harder to be in a small market AND be bad and be on prime time.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: Sarcasm aside, the are numerous cases where players had career years approaching free agency only to flame out after the big money contract. Albert Haynesworth comes to mind.

There are numerous cases for pretty much every scenario in the NFL. This email references a recent O-Zone thread discussing outside linebacker Josh Allen, who indeed is in a contract year. And it's true that he has a career-high 12 sacks through 11 games. But to say Allen hasn't been good in four previous NFL seasons is incorrect. Allen in fact has played very well throughout his NFL career. He hasn't always had huge sacks numbers, but he has pressured quarterbacks consistently. He has been reliable. He more often than not has been the defense's best player. He is getting a few more sacks this season than past seasons, but he always has been really good.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Even in the first Monday Night game in 10 years, you still suck.

Gary is ready for prime time.

Don from Marshall NC

Let's face it: The Jaguars' offense in the red zone is unpredictable to say the least. You have no idea what kind of play you're going to get. That has got to be by design, in my opinion. They have a lot more plays that other teams have not seen. My guess is that red-zone offense will continue to get better as the team marches toward the playoffs. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to the Jaguars' red-zone offense, which has been more sporadic this season than is ideal, Don remains "all in."

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Let me make this very clear. Monday night. We're gonna … moodachay the night away, make the big play, take the ball away, rule the day, find a way, not go astray, do more moodachay, scream hooray. What'dya say? OK? Good eye-A? Be nice-A?

You go, girl.