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O-Zone: Seeing the light

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Jacksonville

How many questions have you gotten about bad officiating? You should have gotten more.

I did receive a few questions about the officiating Sunday, and I didn't like a few calls – three actually – that went against the Jaguars in a 37-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. I thought quarterback Trevor Lawrence may have scored when officials ruled him short on what appeared to be a four-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. I thought Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill may have fumbled when hit by Jaguars linebacker/defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson in the third quarter. I also thought the first-quarter fumble by Jaguars tight end Dan Arnold that Titans safety Kevin Byard returned for a touchdown perhaps should have been an incomplete pass. But you know what? Calls don't always go your way. The Jaguars had a chance to score on the play after Lawrence's touchdown got reversed when a score would have gotten them back in the game. They had multiple chances after the other calls. They could have stopped Titans running back Derrick Henry from scoring three times. Cornerback Shaq Griffin could have caught a would-be interception and scored with it. Make your own breaks. All teams have plays that go against them; the good ones make enough plays that their fans don't notice the officiating as much. Play so well that you're not operating on such a tight margin. Overcome the officiating. Good teams do.

Levi from Huntsville, AL

Man, Shaq Griffin has GOT to make that pick. It doesn't get any easier than that. He was paid big bucks to be the No. 1 corner on this team. I'm angry our "best" players don't make the plays they should.

I received multiple versions of this email Sunday, but while there was frustration over Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin dropping a first-quarter interception, remember: a cornerback's first job on a play is to prevent the receiver from making the reception. If he did that, he did his job well – and Griffin made a nice break on the ball to break up the play in question Sunday. He also held Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown to three receptions for 38 yards. Yes, the Jaguars need him to make that play in the first quarter; he might have scored on the play – and the Jaguars absolutely need those sorts of plays. But anger over a cornerback not making an "easy" interception should always be countered by remembering that very few interceptions are actually easy. The Jaguars lost for a lot of reasons Sunday. I wouldn't necessarily count Griffin not completing that play high among them.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

The quality of the play at quarterback has improved so much. Trevor Lawrence isn't there yet but we're getting better quarterback play than we've gotten in a long time. I figured if he threw enough interceptions, he would naturally come around to the check downs. Now that he's cut out the game-changing interceptions, he looks good. That touchdown throw in the back corner was beautiful and it isn't the first time he's made that exact throw. He still needs to get the ball out at the top of the routes as opposed to being a little late. He seems to be more comfortable in the pocket and seeing the defense better. I like where this is going. Out of all the positions on the roster I am least worried about quarterback.

Good eye.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

Mr. O, that was a tough-fought game. It feels like the missed field goal late in the first half was a momentum-changer. Things didn't quite unravel after that, but it seemed to change the tone of the game.

Yes, it did. Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright not only missed an extra point in the first half Sunday, but he also hit the crossbar on a 53-yard missed field goal in the second quarter. The missed field goal had the added effect of giving the Titans good field position that they turned into a 34-yard field goal and a 24-13 halftime lead. It's OK to punt there and play defense.

KC from Orlando, FL

So, I read that Aldrick Rosas got released. Time to bring in another kicker?

It would be surprising if that didn't happen.

Gus from VALRICO

We don't have the horses on the offensive line, and we can't cover anyone.

The Jaguars' secondary indeed remains an issue, with miscommunications a major issue Sunday and simply getting beat having been an issue in multiple games early this season. You can fix the communication stuff, though I'm not sure if you quickly fix just getting beat. As far as not having the horse on the offensive line … I don't know. The Jaguars rushed for 198 yards and Lawrence seemed to have at least adequate time on a lot of plays Sunday. This wasn't a bad performance for that unit.

Genuinejag13 from Duval

Did not see improvement this week, Mr. O, did you?

No. The Jaguars played well for stretches offensively Sunday and they were good defensively for a stretch early in the first half. They rallied and had a chance to get to within a score in the fourth quarter. It felt like they had momentum. But getting close and feeling like you had momentum isn't success in the NFL. And it didn't feel like improvement Sunday.

David from Broward County, FL

This is supposed to be a blitz-heavy defense. I have never seen a so-called blitz defense that never gets home with the blitz.

Blitzing is not a magic elixir. Players must execute a blitz. If they do not, it just becomes a lot of guys running into the offensive backfield and leaving few defenders in coverage.

Steve from Jacksonville

I'm just so, so tired of watching a bad football team. Trying hard and improving don't matter anymore.  It's just sad that no matter who the execs, coaches or players are we just can't get this right. I've been here since the beginning and through it all I've never felt so down on this organization. How long are we as fans expected to just hang in and hope?

The Jaguars have lost 20 consecutive games. I can't imagine some fans wouldn't feel this way.

Gary from Fleming Island

They're getting better every week. By the end of the season, we may get a win.

The Jaguars indeed are improving each week, but winning one game isn't enough. The idea is to win a lot of games.

KC from Miami, FL

This team has a kicker problem. They also have a defensive problem. Most importantly, this team has a head coach problem. Five weeks into the season and Meyer still seems so disconnected with his team. It's really starting to feel like this is not going to last very long.

It's hard to tell how connected or disconnected a coach is with his team. When teams lose, things feel disconnected and messy. When they win, all is well. As for "how long this lasts," Owner Shad Khan hired Head Coach Urban Meyer less than year ago and clearly opted by issuing a statement last Monday to not make a change. It would be surprising if Khan changed course so quickly – even with an 0-5 start and some obvious accompanying off-field goings on.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

How do we throw for about 280 yards and run for nearly 200 and manage to put up 19 points? We had the fumble early, but the pick on the last play hardly mattered. What am I missing?

The phenomenon you cite came from failure in the red zone. While the Jaguars' offense was efficient for a few stretches Sunday, they also had two long fourth-quarter drives – of 66 and 69 yards – that ended with no points. One was the drive that ended with running back Carlos Hyde's four-yard loss from the one-yard line and the other was the game-ending drive that ended when Lawrence was intercepted in the end zone. That's 135 yards with no points. If the Jaguars got, say, 10 points from those drives things look a little different.

Leon from Austin, TX

We are the Jags Fans, and we have had enough.


Nathan from Atlanta, GA

James Robinson had earned the right to get that fourth-and-goal carry! If Meyer hasn't already lost the locker room (my guess is he's close), decisions like that will lose what respect is left from the players.

I've gotten multiple emails along these lines, too – and I get that the hue and cry here. Running back James Robinson indeed rushed for a career-high 149 yards and averaged 8.2 yards per carry Sunday. So, many observers and fans wondered why Hyde was running on fourth-and-goal from the 1 early in the fourth quarter. Remember, though: While the Jaguars' offensive line run-blocked very well Sunday, it didn't get that play blocked particularly well. Robinson is good. Very good. I don't know that he was good enough to score on that play.

Ray from Jacksonville

392 days!!! Sheesh … while I can't deny to see a glimmer of light, that's a long time not to have a victory. Any encouraging words?

Run to the glimmer.