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O-Zone: Rooting interest

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chris from Jacksonville:
I think that was improvement ... and we're playing meaningful games in December, Zone.
John: Well, what do you know? The Jaguars indeed are playing meaningful games in December. That's the overarching takeaway from a 51-16 victory over the Colts Sunday coupled with the Houston Texans' loss to the New England Patriots Sunday night. That's a good thing for this franchise, because it gives the coming weeks added urgency and excitement. Now, exactly how meaningful these games turn out to be … time will tell. That also may not be up to the Jaguars. Even if they win out, they don't control their destiny. That's the bad news. The good news is the Jaguars can control whether they remain in this thing for a while. When they play the Falcons Sunday, they absolutely will not be eliminated from the playoffs. And if they beat the Falcons Sunday, they again absolutely will not be eliminated from the playoffs – and there will be some simple, relatively attainable scenarios in which they can get in. So, could the Jaguars have done more to help themselves throughout the season? Sure. But are they in it in mid-December? Yes. Yes, they are.
Corey from Orange Park, FL:
I just want to say you have been right this entire time. Sunday was a blast, and if anything shows improvement, I think being able to dominate good teams when we need to across the board shows the quality of this team, and what it might become. No question, just wanted to say we've definitely improved, and I seriously think playoffs is something we will discuss next year as long as Gus Bradley is the head coach, and David Caldwell is the general manager
John: You had me at, "You have been right this entire time."
Michael from Newport News, VA:
Who should we root for this weekend: Texans or Colts? I think the Texans.
John: I'm going to fight the urge to talk playoffs too much this week, but I'll probably lose the urge because playoff talk is fun – and I like it. Still, before I begin the fight, I'll go over the most obvious scenarios. The best chance for the Jaguars to make the playoffs is to win the AFC South. To do that, the Jaguars almost certainly must win their final three games against the Falcons, Saints and Texans. The Colts finish against the Texans, Dolphins and Titans and the Texans finish against the Colts, Titans and Jaguars. If the Jaguars win all of their games and the Texans win Sunday, the Jaguars get in provided the Texans lose to the Titans and the Colts lose to either the Dolphins or the Titans. If the Jaguars win all of their games and the Colts win Sunday, the Jaguars get in provided the Colts lose to the Titans and the Dolphins. So, Jaguars fans should probably be rooting for the Texans Sunday. Probably.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
Is Telvin Smith the Jaguars' defensive MVP this season? Whether it's covering the flat, sniffing out a screen, or blitzing he seems to consistently sniff out the ball and make a play.
John: I wouldn't look past nose tackle Roy Miller on this. The Jaguars' run defense has been a staple of the unit this season and with only a couple of exceptions – Tampa Bay and Tennessee, really – it has played consistently well. Miller is a big reason for that. But in terms of playmaking, impact players – no doubt Smith has been absolutely huge, so yeah … he probably would be the Defensive Most Valuable Player.
Joel from Boston, MA:
After watching the replay of the Allen Hurns reception, what struck me most was that the difference between an 80-yard touchdown and a potentially serious injury was less than a foot. The speed of the game is impressive and terrifying.
John: It is not a game for those fearful of injury.
Rudolpho from Jacksonville :
Do you think the team saw enough from James Sample this year to know if he is the free safety of the near future?
John: No, I do not. The Jaguars drafted Sample hoping he could be that player, and there is a lot of thought in the building that he can be very, very good. But he did not play enough for them to know for sure, which leaves that a very big question mark entering the offseason.
Brian from Orange Park, FL:
I recall a few years ago reading that Jerry Sullivan was excited to be working with Cecil Shorts III. If he was excited then, he must be overwhelmed with enthusiasm now – and just a bit proud. He really seems to love his guys. Great job, Coach.
John: He should be more than a bit proud, and I'm sure he is. Sullivan does love working with this receiving corps, and he would be the first to tell you that the success of Hurns and Robinson is as much because of the approach of the players as with Sullivan. Yes, Sullivan is one of the NFL's best receivers coaches and he has done a remarkable job with Hurns and Robinson in a short time. At the same time, Sullivan has said from early on in his time working with the duo that each has a remarkably professional, dedicated approach to the game for players so young. The result has been a remarkably successful union.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
Those missed field goals in Indianapolis certainly loom large now, don't they?
John: Yes, and there seemed little doubt all along that would be the case.
Chris from St. Augustine, FL:
One of the Jags biggest wins EVER?????
John: The Jaguars' victory was big Sunday. No doubt. It was the biggest victory in some time because they hadn't beaten a contending team late in the season – a team playing for a playoff berth – in a long, long time. But it wasn't a postseason game and it won't necessarily get them into the postseason, so it's difficult to say it ranks among the biggest ever. It was the biggest for this regime, though, and for now that makes it really, really big.
Derek from VA/SC:
O, I just would like to say that after driving four hours alone from South Carolina to my first Jags home game, EverBank was everything I could've ever hoped for. Wow.
John: #DTWD
Matt from Maidstone, England:
Dave seems to have hit on his fifth-round draft selections – Shoelace (Denard Robinson), Telvin Smith and Rashad Greene. I'd say they all impacted on the game well Sunday. Everyone knows he will probably be ultimately judged by Blake Bortles - but hitting on later round selections like this doesn't hurt.
John: No, it doesn't hurt at all. To build a winner in the NFL, you generally must at least get production from your first-round selections - and you almost always have to have a quarterback who approaches elite level. You also have to hit a few times outside the first day of the draft. Caldwell absolutely has done that.
Michael from Port Orange, FL:
Great game. Too bad we won't get see it again next year! Hope the British will enjoy it.
John: It was a great game Sunday! What's awesome for Jaguars fans in Jacksonville is because the Jaguars play a game a year in London the franchise is becoming more and more financially viable in Jacksonville, which means there will be games such as Sunday's in Jacksonville for a long, long time!
Genesis from Jacksonville:
So, Denard Robinson looks like a real running back.
John: To be fair, Denard Robinson looked like a real running back in four or five games last season. The passing game was struggling at the time and once teams focused on taking away Robinson, the running game stalled. The Jaguars then committed to T.J. Yeldon as the feature back this season. I don't know if that changes because Yeldon has the look of a long-term every-down back. But right now Robinson looks like a very strong option at backup running back and with Yeldon spraining a knee Sunday he could have a big role in the coming weeks.
Allen from Section 150:
Our section started the wave on Sunday. There are so many that seem to hate it, but I think it is a great way to celebrate a victory. What say you, sir?
John: When your team scores 50, you can celebrate however you want.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
When Rashad Greene is running full speed on the field, it appears as though the other players around him are standing still.
John: Greene's speed is interesting. He doesn't strike you as the fastest player on the team when you just watch him run routes in practice, but he's so smooth and instinctive on punt returns that he seems to be running much, much faster than those around him. Whatever his time in the 40-yard dash, he has given this team a more dangerous threat on punt returns than it has had in some time – maybe ever.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
I know we'll need some help, but the Jaguars have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. For now, all they can do is keep winning their games and hope. It's been a long, long, long time since we've been able to be this optimistic this late in the season. For this coming weekend, go Texans.
John: Pretty much, yes.

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