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O-Zone: Problem solving

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

James from Destin, FL

Hi, John. I've got a big bag of popcorn. Let's get to it!

It appears you believe this Monday morning, next-day O-Zone will be so full of vitriol – and perhaps even violence – as to be "popcorn viewing." And the emails indeed were angry and pointed after the Jaguars' 37-17 loss to the Houston Texans at EverBank Stadium Sunday. But that was to be expected. The Jaguars played as poorly as they could possibly play for a half Sunday. They then started to look like they were playing well enough to get back in the game and possibly win only to have a weird – and maybe a little fluky – play go against them with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Jaguars never quite recovered from that play. It overall was an awful loss to a previously winless team. The reaction among fans was negative, and those reactions were supposed to be negative. Those sorts of inbox days aren't weird or surprising. It's when fans are angry after a victory that's weird. Fans angry after Sunday? Hell, why wouldn't they be angry? This was a bad day.

Daniel from Jacksonville

At least in 2018 they had the decency to beat the team that eliminated them the previous year before they imploded.

The inbox was mostly ire, sarcasm and unbridled anger Sunday evening. And with reason. You're referencing the 2018 Jaguars team that indeed imploded after winning the AFC South title the previous season. That team had a resounding Week 2 victory over the New England Patriots before the season went bad. I don't sense this team will follow that team's lead to a dismal season that led to more dismal seasons after that. This doesn't feel like that. But it's fair that Sunday's performance conjures such thoughts. Sunday was bad.

Reese from Lutherville, MD

What a joke.

I'm not laughing.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA TREVORTOWN), GA

The Dolphins hung 70 points on the Denver Broncos and Tua threw for over 700 yards. That's mind blowing. Is that an aberration or something new? Are there any other quarterbacks out there waiting their turn to throw 700 or is this a Tua thing? That's hard to wrap the brain around.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 309 yards Sunday. More than 700 yards passing indeed probably would have been an aberration. The Dolphins did have 726 total yards offense in their 70-20 victory over the Broncos Sunday, though. Aberration? Possibly? Hard to wrap the brain around? Uh, yeah.

Gage from Raleigh, NC

First time, long time O. What was up with Calvin Ridley? He had two massive drops and two false starts in the first half. Trev didn't play great, but I don't think his receiving corps has helped him out the past two games. Guys not getting feet in and dropped passes have been killer.

Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley struggled early Sunday. He indeed had two big drops and two penalties. I haven't rewatched the game as of this writing. My sense in real time was that quarterback Trevor Lawrence was under pressure enough throughout that it was difficult to get into a rhythm. Lawrence completed 27 of 40 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown with an interception. His day would have looked a bit better without about 40 yards of drops – including a dropped touchdown pass – by Ridley. That dropped touchdown came on the first drive of the game and would have given the Jaguars a 7-0 lead. Would that have changed the dynamic of the game? It wouldn't have hurt.

Glenn from Exiled in Tampa

John, I thought this team was supposed to be good? Kinda looks like they're … bad.

They looked bad Sunday. Weirdly so. One game is not the whole season.

Jaypee from The Vortex

After all the reports from camp, Ridley and Lawrence seem off. Who's more to blame?

I don't know that either is to "blame" here. Ridley appears to be pressing a bit the last two games. He really struggled early Sunday, dropping a would-be touchdown pass and a would-be first-down converting pass. "Blame" him for those, I suppose. But as far as who or what to blame because two players who have played three regular-season games together aren't in perfect synch … I don't know. Time, I guess.

Mark from High Springs

Reminds me of an old saying, on paper we're a good team, but the game is played on grass.

Fair, so far.

Brad from The Avenues

I watched the fourth quarter from my bed ... in the fetal position.

OK. I sort of laughed at this.

Mike from Hometown: Jacksonville

Touchbacks are good, right? Isn't that why we brought in a big legged kicker?

Touchbacks are good. Teams also sometimes like to try to kick short of the end zone and tackle the returner deeper in the opposing team's territory to improve field position. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi Zone, no question or comment, just big LOL for one of the most overrated teams in the NFL.

This is a deserved email considering how the Jaguars played Sunday. My sense is they will play better and not seem so overrated moving forward. They have to prove that statement correct. The start overall hasn't been great and Sunday was the opposite of great.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey John, I have seen a lot of games over the last 10, 15 years but this is one of the most frustrating and embarrassing games into can remember. There was really nothing positive.

No, there wasn't.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Who's the starting quarterback next week?


Ryan from Kansas City, MO

"Ope he dropped the ball but has enough time to pick it up and dust it off before running in for a touchdown." Impressive waterboy reenactment. Is that the worst allowed kickoff return in NFL history?

You're referencing an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Texans fullback Andrew Beck. I can't say it was the worst, but it was bad. Beck fumbled, then picked it up at the Houston 15 and managed to escape tackles by multiple players – including linebacker Caleb Johnson, cornerback Tre Herndon, kicker Brandon McManus and running back D'Ernest Johnson. It was play that probably couldn't be repeated. And it's one you won't see often. We got to see it Sunday. Goody for us.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

John, we thought this team had learned to overcome small mistakes by shaking them off and moving on. I expected more from the team against the Texans. But again, dropped balls, missed coverages, turnovers, and sub par special teams was a complete lack of detail. I know it's a long season and we're only three games in but how do they fix this? Does Doug need to sit players or how do you hold them accountable?

It's a fair question. There were too many mistakes Sunday. They're professional football players. Holding them accountable by benching or releasing often is unrealistic because the players who play are your best players. You rely on professionalism and preparation.

Capt B from Fernandina Beach, FL

From the beginning it was obvious Houston was playing with more energy and passion. SORRY performance. This team needs looked like the team with eight starters out and a rookie quarterback prone to mistakes and Houston looked like the team that was leading the division! No excuse for that performance. BAD!

I didn't sense this. I sensed the Jaguars were playing with more energy early until Ridley dropped an early touchdown pass and Brandon McManus missed a 48-yard field goal. The Texans followed that with a quick touchdown drive that I thought lifted their effort a great deal. But that's nitpicking. It wasn't a good performance. At all.


I had to check the calendar. That sure looked like Urban Meyer's 2021 Jaguars.

Sunday was bad.

Don from Marshall, NC

What can you learn from that beatdown? How do they let a slow guy pick up a return fumble and ramble all the way down field? Division beat down!

When it comes to one-sided losses to division rivals full of mistakes and special teams woes, Don is not "all in."

Pete from Jville

Fred Taylor stated during the halftime that the Jags did not practice well. Is there a locker room problem? Seems like something is off.

The Jaguars did not practice well in the week leading to a Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Head Coach Doug Pederson and players said this, and it was notable because it was unusual. Pederson and players did not indicate at all Sunday after the Texans game that the team practiced poorly leading to Sunday's loss. I don't sense that there is a locker room problem. This isn't saying there is no problem anywhere. They haven't played well enough thus far, so there is some problem. That doesn't mean it's a catastrophe. It means it's a problem.