JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
David from Ada, OK
Man, that Calvin Ridley has been disappointing. Not sure he was worth that fifth-rounder, not to mention next year's pick. I mean, he has yet to score three touchdowns in a game and he has only broken 100 yards three times this year. Big deal. We only win 57 percent of the time he is held to 40 yards or less. Dude is not a Hall of Famer, and when we spent a fifth-rounder on him, he darn well better be.
Your sarcasm here hits pretty much the right notes. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, acquired in a trade from the Atlanta Falcons last season and now in his first season with the Jaguars, indeed was roundly criticized at times this season – particularly during a two-game stretch in October in which caught five passes for 30 yards. This criticism has quieted in the last month with Ridley catching 20 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the last four games. Those three touchdowns have come in the last two games. Ridley has had up-and-down games this season, which wasn't unexpected considering he hadn't played in nearly two NFL seasons entering this season. But Ridley has had a huge impact in at least five Jaguars victories – Week 1 at Indianapolis, Week 5 at Buffalo in London, Week 4 against Atlanta in London, Week 11 against Tennessee and Week 12 at Houston. Maybe the Jaguars would have won those games without Ridley. The thought here is they probably would have lost at least one without him – maybe more. That's significant impact. He looks more comfortable in the offense by the week. That bodes well for this offense moving forward.
Scott from Rehoboth Beach from Jacksonville
Do the Jags practice the brotherly shove? I mean we all know where Head Coach Doug Pederson coached before he came to Jacksonville.
I continue to receive multiple emails along these lines. This stands to reason because the Jaguars have been ineffective a lot in short yardage this season – and because the Philadelphia Eagles' success with the so-called "Tush Push" has been so high-profile. Yes, Pederson as the Eagles' former head coach is well aware that that team has had success lining up heavy people behind quarterback Jalen Hurts and pushing their way to a yard or two. The Jaguars don't do this because they don't have the same personnel along the offensive line as the Eagles. Philadelphia has perhaps the NFL quarterback with the strongest legs and lower body in Hurts. They also have a mauling interior offensive line that would be good in short yardage whether or not their tushes were getting pushed. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is not as strong as Hurts because pretty much no NFL quarterback is as strong as Hurts. The Jaguars' interior offensive line is not as brawling and physically imposing as the Eagles because most NFL lines aren't as strong as the Eagles' offensive line. The Jaguars' offensive line has strengths, but interior push in the run game is not foremost among them.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
After everything we've endured for the last 15 years. 8-3 is like a fairytale. We've seen some of the worst teams fielded in the sport. I'm not taking any of it for granted and hope the majority of the base can just enjoy it. We're not far removed from 1-10.
Andrew from Hilton Head, SC
Hey Zone, I may have missed something along the way, but is there any update on Cooper Hodges? If my memory serves me correctly (a scary thought!), he had gained some favor with the coaching staff in preseason before his injury which I didn't believe was a season ender at the time. Do you believe he was trending toward being ahead of Tyler Shatley on the depth chart for some interior depth? Thanks.
Hodges, a seventh-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft from Appalachian State who played at Baker County (Fla.) High School near Jacksonville, sustained a knee injury in the Jaguars' second preseason game. The original hope was that he would return this season, which was why the Jaguars carried him on the active roster through the original cutdown to the regular-season roster limit of 53 players. Hodges later underwent surgery that will not allow him to return this season. I do believe the Jaguars liked the idea of him being depth this season, though I don't know that he would have been ahead of Shatley. I think there's a good chance Hodges will be a starting guard in the near future.
John from Cape May Court House
If the Jags O-Line continues to block the way they did against Tennessee and Houston, the Jags might not lose again the rest of the year. That is all. As you were.
Steve from Nashville, TN
I notice that "best win percentage in conference games" appears to be a common tiebreaker for playoff seeding. The three games ahead, all against the AFC North, will go a long way in determining where we end up after Week 18?
Conference games are the second tiebreaker after head-to-head play when determining playoff seeding. The Jaguars are tired with the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for fewest losses in the AFC with three. All six remaining games figure to matter, with conference games mattering perchance slightly more.
Brian from Round Rock, TX
To win a Super Bowl, this team needs is a vertical passing game, a power running game and a coach that will make sure Trevor always has a chip on his shoulder. Can Press make that happen? If not, I'd give him the boot in the offseason and find someone who can.
Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor is a lot closer to being an NFL head coach than he is to being given "the boot" this offseason.
Lawn Grub from Ozone's lawn
Brian from Round Rock sounds like a fun guy to have a beer with. If you don't like fun. Or beer.
KC from Orlando, FL
KOAF - with the impending extension/resigning of Lawrence and outside linebacker Josh Allen, do you think this will probably be the final season for Scherff and Zay Jones?
Because of his 2024 salary-cap figure, I would be surprised if right guard Brandon Scherff is with the Jaguars next season. I would be a lot less surprised if wide receiver Zay Jones is with the Jaguars next season.
Bob from Sumter, SC
I didn't really appreciate how good Fred Taylor was during his career. When I watch his highlights now I'm struck by his combination of size and speed. I hope he gets the HOF recognition he deserves.
Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor was a rare talent and player. He was special. He should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jason from North Pole, AK
I think what is most impressive about our run defense is the Jaguars interior defensive line is mostly journeymen. I thought losing DaVon Hamilton would mean a huge drop off. Roy Robertson-Harris has stood out this year. Is Foley Fatukasi living up to his contract this season? Is there a particular depth player who has been a pleasant surprise? It feels like I keep seeing guys rotate in and wondering who they are.
The Jaguars being a top-tier run defense without Hamilton is impressive, though Robertson-Harris and Fatukasi's contracts probably removes them from the "journeymen" category. As for reasons the Jaguars are good against the run, the interior matters. Don't discount the impact of outside linebacker Travon Walker on this front. He essentially often takes away a side of the field on run plays. Allen also is very good against the run. This is a team effort and the Jaguars' front seven as a team is really good against the run.
Daniel from Johnston, IA
Speaking of tight end Brenton Strange, on the TV broadcast I swear I heard the announcers saying something about the Jags selected Strange with the goal of making him a lineman. Is that your understanding? Are they wanting him to be on the O line?
Richard from Orange Park
Zone, how good of a pickup is Ezra? Gotta give our GM a LOT of credit for that one.
Ezra Cleveland, an offensive lineman who was acquired in a trade-deadline deal with the Minnesota Vikings, replaced Walker Little at left guard Sunday after Little replaced injured left tackle Cam Robinson (knee). The deal to acquire Cleveland was always important; you need six or seven good offensive linemen to get through a season. One for General Manager Trent Baalke on this one? Sure.
Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA
Fun fact time: the only quarterback to beat the Eagles this year is Zach Wilson. Speaking of, remember when there was a contingent here that said the Jaguars should have drafted Zach Wilson instead of Trevor Lawrence? Where are they now? I demand you all come forth and show yourselves. Answer for your crimes!
Fans fan. It's what they do. What they don't always do is remember their pre-draft thoughts after the draft.