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O-Zone: Quibbles and bits

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

D from Jax

The only thing I see that Trevor Lawrence is consistent at is turnovers and inconsistent play. Do the consistent turnovers and play worry you at all?

If that's really all you're seeing from Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, you're missing a quarterback who led his team to the AFC South title last season and has his team in first place in the division with four games remaining this season. Lawrence indeed has been inconsistent at times in two and a half NFL seasons. He's still young. He had a long way to go in terms of the mental part of NFL quarterbacking when he entered the NFL, and he has come a long way during the past two seasons. Hint: Look around the NFL this season and see how many "consistent" quarterbacks you find. As far as Lawrence's play this past Sunday in a loss to the Cleveland Browns, he was playing the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense six days removed from a high-ankle sprain. He took extremely limited repetitions all week. He gutted through the situation and gave him team a chance to win. Were there some timing and accuracy issues for Lawrence Sunday? Yeah. They were in this case perhaps at least somewhat understandable.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

I thought that this team had an incredibly long streak of good luck with injuries. It was noticeable because we had a streak of bad luck with them 10 or more years ago. I guess it was time to pay the piper. The number of injuries has been obvious during the last couple of games. Down to third string on 40 percent of the offensive line, the secondary was fairly unrecognizable, the most consistent receiver is out. I don't think they can just power through this. Seems like they may limp into the playoffs and hope enough players can come back to make a push.

This is pretty spot on. Injuries aren't the only reason the Jaguars have struggled in the last two games, but it's naive and misinformed to ignore their impact. Contending teams often hit patches like this. This is adversity. Contending often means fighting through that adversity and finding ways to win enough to get into the postseason. The positive for the Jaguars is they won enough before this patch to have a well-earned lead in the division. They must grind, limp, strain, stagger – whatever it takes – to push through. The NFL in December often is about managing attrition. It's about that for the Jaguars right now.

Richard from Orange Park, FL

The issue isn't just that we are losing to contending teams with stout defenses, the issue is that we are going to go nowhere in the playoffs if we can't beat "contending" teams in the regular season. As you have stated, we have no push in the run game, primarily in the middle, which makes us one-dimensional. I have faith in Head Coach Doug Pederson to put the team in the best position to succeed, but at the end of the day, we are only as strong as the players on the field making the plays.


Terry from Cordele, GA

Facts: We are in control of our own destiny, and our division. We are a very good football team, our record proves that. Are we great? No! Do we continue to move in the right direction over all? Yes. The NFL is hard every week. So, my question is, do you think most fans would rather be here now or back a few years? I am happy to be a Jag fan! It's easier now!

Fans love when their team wins. They get angry, sad and irrational when their team loses. There is nothing wrong with this. This is entertainment. It's emotional. Any Jaguars fan would rather be 8-5 than heading toward the No. 1 overall selection the draft. But they would rather be undefeated than 8-5. Fans fan. It's what they do.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

I heard something on the radio that really resonated with me. The difference in this team and last year at this time. Hunger, desperation, sense of urgency. During the last five games of the season the Jags were in win-or-go-home mode. We got out to this early comfortable lead and it feels like they let up on the gas. Am I saying they are not trying? No. But the same intensity and sense of moment feels lacking. I am hoping the pressure of Indy and Houston being on their tails will shake them out of this and get that magic back Sunday night. Heck, if the Tennessee Titans can shock the Miami Dolphins, there is NO REASON we can't do the same against the Ravens.

The Jaguars have lost to two teams the past two weeks that are very much in the postseason chase. They played poorly at times, but they lost in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals and they had possession late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the Cleveland Browns. Teams that play poorly often look as if they lack intensity. Sometimes they just play poorly.

Losing faith from Chippewa

Has the downhill spiral begun? Looks like after next week the Jags will be third place in the division. Defense is consistently bad and offense disappears for most of the game.

The Jaguars will not be in third place in the AFC South after Sunday. The worst they can be is tied for first place in the division with tiebreaker advantages over the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans. In other words, first place.

Dan from Greer

I'm sensing a trend here. Last year, the Jags did not play well in the first half and finished strong in the second half. This year, they played well in the first half, and are not doing well in the second. Is this something we can expect from this team in the future?

Which one?

Paul from Washington, D.C.

Doug knows this team needs more beef and talent at center and guard. Can't you see it on his face?

The Jaguars' interior offensive line often does not seem to play strong enough. I haven't examined Pederson's final expressions through that lens to verify this. The better evidence is that the Jaguars are too inconsistent running when they need to run and often don't get push in the middle of the line.

Steven from Upper Tract

Since you don't have the foggiest idea what the Jax media has to do with it, my point is the Jax media just shrugs off two very sub-par performances by the defense and an offense that looks lost at times. They have adopted a sense of 'better luck next time' attitude, most likely from years of irrelevance. Will this city ever really be a true NFL city? Will this team even make the playoffs?

I don't have the foggiest idea how the media "shrugs" off the Jaguars' performances. The media I hear and read discusses the team, criticizes and questions when warranted and praises when warranted. And while what the media says or does might – or might not – be entertaining or informative, what the media says or does has nothing to do with what happens on the field. Why some fans become so upset with this topic is beyond me. The Jaguars are in the NFL, which makes Jacksonville a true "NFL city." I expect the Jaguars will make the playoffs.

Heather from Honeoye Falls

It seems the last few weeks there has been a lot of miscommunication between teammates. What can the guys do to work on this and get back to where they were? I would like to give them credit for always accepting blame and fault and saying they will work to fix their mistakes. Proud to be a Jags fan!!

What to do to work on the miscommunications and mental errors? Keep working, keep practicing, keep studying, keep meeting and keep communicating. That it. That's what you do?

Pookie from Panda City

Sometimes the bear eats you, and sometimes you eat the bear. Me? I sit in my bedroom watching out the window with binoculars as the bear eats my neighbor, and I chuckle smugly. I know it's not going to change, but Pederson's decision-making is hurting us more often than not.

The Jaguars have won 17 of 30 games since Pederson's arrival, including 15 of the last 22. They were 4-29 in two seasons before his arrival. They won the AFC South in 2022 and lead the division in 2023. They won one division title in 22 seasons before his arrival.

Marty from Jacksonville

John, love your work, but I have a tiny quibble with your use of the word "inconsistent" when talking about deficiencies in our offensive line. That seems to be sugar-coating things. If a player cannot carry out an assignment consistently, that is not a good player. Why not just say our run-blocking has been bad?

Because it has been inconsistent.