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O-Zone: Ready already

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Reese from Lutherville, MD

John, the run blocking is the greatest issue with this offense. We're one-dimensional and any attempt to run the ball feels like a waste. Travis is continually hit as soon as he touches the football. This has been an issue before the problems on the left side of the line. None of this seems fixable in season but what Band-Aid can they throw on it to at least make the running game serviceable?

Your frustration is warranted, The Jaguars' running game this season has not been as consistent, reliable or effective as is necessary – and it struggled again in a 31-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday. It indeed has made the offense one-dimensional. This is not all on the offensive line, just as few issues in the NFL are one particular thing. But the interior of the offensive line has struggled to get push in the run game much of the season – and what might have been a special season for running back Travis Etienne Jr. seemingly has stalled as a result. That also has made it difficult to trust the running game in short-yardage situations, which has hurt the Jaguars' ability to be consistent offensively and to stay on the field on third down. As far as Band-Aids, I wish I had a good answer. The Jaguars have focused on this area. One way to focus on the run game is to be persistent even when it's struggling and the Jaguars have done this as much as is reasonable. What to do now? Keep working on it. Hope it improves. That's not ideal. It's what it is.

Herbert from Newton, KS

Why are we playing so bad??? How come we don't attack instead of just reacting? Why are we not aggressively going after some better tackles and guards to protect T-Law and open holes for running back Travis Etienne Jr.?

The Jaguars are struggling defensively and allowed too many big plays Sunday. I don't know what the second question means. It's December in the NFL; there are no guards and tackles growing on the guard and tackle trees in the NFL in December.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

AFC North > AFC South. At least this week. I am concerned about the Ravens game. Is there any merit to the idea that the Bengals showed the blueprint to how the scheme against our defense?

Not really. The Cincinnati Bengals were effective offensively against the Jaguars two weeks ago largely because they ran well, which allowed quarterback Jake Browning to pass in positive down-and-distance situations against a secondary that also had to focus on the run. The Browns didn't run as effectively as the Bengals, and they didn't do anything all that exotic or scheme-oriented to beat the Jaguars' defense. The Jaguars had three defensive breakdowns that allowed touchdown passes of 34, 34 and 41 yards. The Browns also had a 22-yard touchdown drive. Those were the Browns' four touchdowns. The Jaguars made it easy enough on the Browns that the Browns didn't need much of a blueprint.

Steven from Upper Tract

Same ole Jags and still the Jax media could care less. Finally got to watch Monday Night Football after a 12-year absence and then got to finally watch a game in my area against the Browns, and both games were a bust. Thanks Jags!!!

I'm sorry the Jaguars lost two close games that came down to the final minutes when you were watching. I haven't the foggiest idea what the media has to do with how the Jaguars played.

Nic from Phoenix, AZ

I think the Jags would've won the last two games with a healthy wide receiver Christian Kirk. Do you agree?


Darren from Fort Worth, TX

Everyone is complaining about the miscues on offense, but all I can think about is how bad our defense has looked. Do you think we stand a chance in the playoffs with a defense like this?

The way the Jaguars have played defense the last two weeks isn't good enough for either the regular season or the playoffs. They weren't close to stout enough against the run against the Bengals last week and they had mental errors that led to breakout plays that were costly against the Browns. They hadn't played like that defensively very often this season. They have to stop playing like that defensively moving forward to make the playoffs and have a chance to win there.

Steve from San Marco

I'm not being a fan that's fanning as fans will do, but simply expressing some of the mistakes are also on Doug. I know his analytics may say something else but to go for it on fourth-and-three from the Jaguars 38 with 3:30 on the clock and three timeouts was absurd. When we didn't get it, they were already in field goal range to go up by two scores. Ninety-nine percent of other coaches would have punted, hoped to hold and get the ball back down by seven, not 10. What are your thoughts?

My instincts are the same as yours, that I would have punted in that situation and played defense. But I don't agree that ninety-nine percent of other coaches would have punted. Head coaches increasingly are aggressive in so-called "manageable" down and distances, and three or four yards to go is usually considered manageable. Head Coach Doug Pederson after the game said he would have opted to punt had it been fourth-and-10 but that at fourth-and-3 he felt there was a strong chance of converting. The best way to understand Pederson's approach in these situations is he plays to give the team a chance to win. His thinking is if you get a first down there, your odds of winning increase significantly. The counter to that is they go down if you miss, but in an increasingly offense-oriented and aggressive league Pederson's approach isn't all that unusual.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

The Houston Texans may be out of the AFC South race due to a rash of injuries. It is the Indianapolis Colts that worry me. Three of their four remaining games are at home and they play the Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders and Houston Texans – certainly a manageable schedule.

The Jaguars will win the division if they win three of their last four games so long as one of those victories is over the Tennessee Titans in Week 18. If they do that, what the Colts and Texans do doesn't matter.

GungaDan from Sand Dune

Hey, Mr. Zone. These have been a couple of really bad weeks. I feel we aren't the team that we thought we were earlier in the season. That said, we have won eight, and stayed in the Browns game in spite of four turnovers. Also, the lowly AFC South has three teams in the top 8 currently. Maybe the NFL is just hard.

The Jaguars' two consecutive losses are two teams very much in postseason contention. They weren't ridiculous losses. The losses don't mean they suck. It means they lost to two teams in playoff contention and need to win three of their last four games to ensure they're in the postseason.

Jami from Claxton, GA

I've decided that I'm not going to be negative about the way the Jaguars are playing. They will win out and head into the playoffs on a hot streak.

Jami, like Don before him, remains "all in."

Jami from Claxton, Ga

Time to mail it in for this year. Pitiful.

It is not "time to mail it in." The Jaguars lost Sunday on the road to a contending team. This always was going to be a difficult game with the Browns ranked No. 1 in defense – and with the Browns being a very good home team. The Jaguars remain in first place in the AFC South. Making the postseason won't be easy. It's not supposed to be easy. But it's still very attainable.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - I don't share your optimism with the Jags in the playoffs. We happen to be trending opposite of last season (this time hot early and cold later). We lose against the Ravens this Sunday and odds are we will be tied with the Colts and/or the Texans on record with the tiebreaker advantage only and three games left. On the chance we stumble after that, our wild card placement options would look bleak compared to other contenders if we drop from winning the division.


Nick from Palm Coast, FL

When is Jamal Agnew able to come off the injury list?

Pederson on Monday said there is a chance wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew could be designated for return as early as this week.

Kerry from Mount Airy, NC

Dear KOAF, we've been waiting all year for Sunday night! Bring on the Ravens.

Kerry is already ready for some football already.