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O-Zone: Prove-it time

SAN DIEGO – Game-day in SoCal. (There are worse places to be, FYI.) Jason from Orlando, FL:
This feels like a big game to me, Zone. It just feels like the Jaguars need this one.
John: I've had the same feeling all week and it gets stronger as the game approaches. Yes, this does feel like a really big game for the Jaguars – exceptionally big for a Week 2 game and perhaps the biggest of the Gus Bradley/David Caldwell era. The expectations entering the season make that so, as does the fact that the Jaguars lost to Green Bay last week. This team absolutely does not need to slip to 0-2. That's not a season-ending situation, but it's sure a difficult one. But probably the biggest reason this game feels big is the expectations the players and coaches have for themselves. This team expects to be better. It expects to win. It expected to win against Green Bay last week. Basically, the players and coaches truly believe they're good. They have the look of a team that has a real chance to be good – or at least a whole lot better than they were in recent seasons – but at some point that belief has to be backed up by performance. A victory on Sunday would mean flying back from San Diego having showed themselves that they are good and that they probably should have won the opener. A loss wouldn't mean they're not good, but it would mean they've got a lot more work to do to show themselves – and everyone watching – they're right.
Clint from Richmond, VA:
John, I've noticed in games the guard will tap the leg of the center just before he snaps. Why is this?
John: Sometimes a guard-center leg tap is to say, "Hey, I just saw a guy in the stands wearing a funny hat." More often it's a way of communicating. The center is responsible for making pre-snap line calls at the line of scrimmage, which must be given to the guard who then gives them on to the tackle. The tap on the leg most often is to indicate that the tackle has received the call – along, of course, with the man in the funny hat.
Greg from Running Springs, CA:
John, why that Jaguars head come up now every time I open an article or an O-Zone?
John: Magic.
Jordan from Little Valley, NY:
I heard the Dave sent in 23 questionable calls to the NFL for review and was told by NFL offices that the refs missed 16 calls that favored the Packers. If this is true how can this even be acceptable by the NFL? If a NFL player has that many mistakes in one week they wouldn't be playing the following week.
John: It's not acceptable. It is in fact downright difficult to accept and it remains as difficult to accept seven days later as it did in the immediate aftermath of last week's game. I rarely discuss officiating in the O-Zone because generally the NFL is a league of marginal calls and fans/teams typically remember marginal calls that go against their teams and forget marginal calls that went in their team's favor. Last week seemed like a pretty glaring exception, though that doesn't do the Jaguars much good at this point. I look forward to speaking to the Jaguars' general manager about this topic and I look forward even more to joining you in referring to him as … "The Dave."
Keith from Palatka, FL:
In recent years, only 12 percent of teams starting the season 0-2 have earned a playoff berth. Chris Ivory and Prince Amukamara not being able to play really hurt our chances to win against the Chargers. I hope Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue can provide some kind of pass rush. I am not optimistic since they both are playing only their second game in the NFL. I am going to miss Gus and his bubbly personality.
John: My goodness … that escalated quickly. I agree that the absence of Ivory and Amukamara will hurt, particularly Amukamara being out. Even with those absences this is a game the Jaguars should be able to win. Philip Rivers is certainly capable of exploiting weaknesses, but it's time for the Jaguars' offense and Blake Bortles to exploit weaknesses, too. It's time for the Jaguars to win games like these.
Austin from Orlando, FL:
The 2004-2008 Jags were very good at running the ball and the whole NFL knew that to stop them you had to stop the run. Yet, Mojo and Freddy T still posted 100-yard games every single week. It doesn't matter if the opponent knows what you're going to do if they can't do anything about it. Thoughts?
John: I think it doesn't matter if the opponent knows what you're going to do if they can't do anything about it.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire:
Mighty O, damn straight the 24-hour rule doesn't apply to us fans. I'm still seething over the logo change and that was years ago. Don't start me on the non-teal jerseys either. Or those bold mustard abominations we will be wearing on Thursday Night Football. Twenty-four hours indeed.....
John: You keep being who you are, Pedal Bin.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
I've learned three things this week reading Ozone: 1) We need to get Myles jack in the game and 2) We need a better backup running back and 3) CAPTMMP = Caps and punctuation to make my point. Can you see where this is going? CAPTMMP * LETS HAND THE BALL OFF TO JACK !!!!!!!!
John: I actually sort of could see where that question was going – and I do understand the humor involved. I have gotten a multitude of questions about Myles Jack this week with a multitude of suggestions about where to play him to get him on the field. Though the running-back idea was mentioned, the great majority of these inquiries have focused on playing Jack at strong safety. That's a fine idea on paper, but it would entail having him learn a third position while still in the process of learning middle and weak-side linebacker. I'd be surprised if Jack plays a true strong-safety role anytime soon. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars use him in a strong-safety-related role in passing situations at some point. As for how soon that would be, I have no idea.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
So now thanks to injuries House will see more playing time. He was terrible last year – hence a rookie starts over him, and he was even worse Week 1. How can we have any confidence in him going against the Chargers?
John: Have you ever seen a Jaguars game?
Rob from the Duuu:
Zone, I noticed that Bruce Smith was just inducted into the Bills' version of "the Ring of Honor" and if I heard correctly, Jim Kelly is the only other member. Is it possible that Lawrence Taylor is not in their Ring of Honor? How is that possible and are we being too easy on our honor criteria? I kind of think LT might have been the best player ever? How is that possible? Still think MOJO deserves to be in ours, I don't care if it gets packed. What if Mercedes sticks around and keeps producing is he a possibility too? What you think, John?
John: I suppose the Bills' inducing Lawrence Taylor into their Ring of Honor wouldn't technically be against any rules. It would just be really, really weird.
Paul from Los Angeles, CA:
Mr. O, I have been a long-time Jags (since the playoff run of 1996) fan. I am one of the rare Jags fans over here on the West Coast and I'm going to the game in San Diego on Sunday. I am very excited to see Jalen Ramsey start and hope to see Jack get some reps on D as well. What do you think is a good matchup to keep an eye on?
John: Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson versus Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett. These are two of the best players on their respective teams and two of the best young players in the NFL at their respective positions. Verrett likely will shadow Robinson much of the game, so Robinson needs to win these one-on-one matchups.
Don from Austin, TX:
Agree with your comments on what the Jags need to win Sunday. Last year the difference in this game was red-zone scoring. I believe we kicked four field goals and San Diego scored four touchdowns. Get it in the end zone.
John: Red-zone scoring always is a priority and it will be so against the Chargers Sunday. It wasn't a glaring issue against the Packers in Week 1, so I opted not to emphasize it in 10 Things this week but yeah … when you leave four points on the field and settle for field goals over touchdowns it's usually going to catch up with you.
Adam from Lynbrook, NY:
Time to prove it Jags. #DTWD
John: Yes.

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