JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Michael from Orange Park, FL
What's your honest assessment of Trevor midway through his second season? He seems very up and down. Where's his ceiling?
My honest assessment is your assessment is accurate. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence indeed has been up and down in his second NFL season, sometimes looking really good and sometimes really struggling. He has had three or four games with high-end accuracy – the Indianapolis Colts twice, the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers – and those not coincidentally have been the Jaguars' best offensive games this season. While he also has had a couple of really tough games, the reality is the moments that have defined his season on the negative side have been three red-zone interceptions that cost the Jaguars dearly in losses to the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. Take those three moments away and there likely is a consensus that he is improving at a reasonable pace for a good, young second-year quarterback. And the reality is those moments count – and he must dramatically reduce those moments. Because of those three games, and because he hasn't yet had a Signature Fourth-Quarter Comeback, there has been a lot of noise about him being a bust. He also hasn't consistently made plays downfield, partly because the Jaguars coaches haven't asked him to do that much this season. Bottom line: He's not a bust and he's not yet elite. He's a developing player in his first season in a new offensive system and there's nothing to indicate that development won't continue. Where's his ceiling? Stay tuned.
Randy from Jacksonville
I don't like this matchup, Zone. No way they win this one.
I wouldn't say there's absolutely no way the Jaguars win Sunday. Teams always have a chance in the NFL, and the Jaguars have played more than well enough this season that a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs is certainly possible. But it's absolutely a difficult matchup in a lot of ways, primarily because Kansas City's offense is a difficult matchup no matter the opponent. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is perhaps the NFL's best quarterback along with Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and his outside-the-box playmaking is good enough that he can beat you even if you're playing well defensively. Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid is an elite play-caller and Travis Kelce is a Hall of Fame tight end very much in his prime. The Jaguars have been playing well enough consistently enough offensively that I think they will have opportunities to score in the 20s Sunday. They need to score touchdowns in the red zone to take advantage of those opportunities. Can the defense get the Chiefs off the field in a few big situations? The answer to the last question could determine Sunday's outcome.
John from Daufuskie Island
In the November 11 O-Zone you mentioned Bullet Bob beer at Strings. As a new Jags fan, I had to look both up. I will be travelling through Jacksonville on Friday November 18. I have decided to stop and have a bite to eat and a Bullet Bob that evening. My question is, is this a place frequented by Jags fans and a great place to start on gameday when going to a game?
Good plan. Yes.
P Funk from Murray Hill
What would be a surprising element to Sunday's game, our defense holding strong against the Chiefs or their defense holding strong against the Jags?
This depends on who you're asking. I suspect national/casual observer will be surprised if the Jaguars' defense stops the Chiefs or if the Jaguars' offense moves effectively against the Chiefs' defense. The Chiefs are a perennial Super Bowl contender and the Jaguars have selected No. 1 overall in the last two NFL Drafts, so the general perception is that Sunday's game is a mismatch. I would be surprised if the Jaguars don't move offensively. Their offense has been able to move between the 20s against every opponent this season, and I expect their chances Sunday to depend largely on whether they can score touchdowns and not commit turnovers in the red zone. I also would be surprised if the Jaguars can consistently stop the Chiefs. That's not as much a reflection on the Jaguars' defense as respect for the Chiefs' offense and Mahomes, who are as consistently good as any team in the NFL.
Greg from Fernandina Beach, FL
You were right about ETN. He good.
I can't take credit for being right about Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. I thought he would be good. I didn't think he would be anywhere close to this good.
Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA
I think the Final Analysis comments about the Jaguars needing to conduct long drives that score touchdowns are spot on. Mahomes could throw 68 passes against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday because Kansas City had a full 15 minutes more of time of possession. Titans drives lasted four, seven, five, four, one (half), three, four, three, three, five, three, three and four (overtime) plays. A clock-eating Jags offense could be its best defense.
Time of possession will matter for the Jaguars Sunday. If they hold the ball longer than Kansas City, it probably will mean they're limiting the Chiefs' possessions. But scoring touchdowns is far more important. If the Jaguars have 17 minutes of possession to 13 for the Chiefs at halftime and trail 14-6 because they didn't score touchdowns, they will have gained no real advantage. I expect the Jaguars to have opportunities. If those opportunities end too often in field goals – or if they ever end with no points – the Jaguars will be in trouble.
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
Does the senior writer have any interaction with the CBS crew this week (Jim Nantz, Tracy Wolfson and Tony Romo) to assist them in preparing for the broadcast?
Network broadcast crews work with public relations departments and speak to coaches/select players from each team to prepare for games. The crews, like most people, decline interaction with the senior writer as a matter of course.
Tom from Nocatee
You know who could make the transition to cornerback IF he wanted to? Gene.
Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette indeed could make the transition from safety to cornerback. But this never would be an issue. His quick-twitch athleticism, fluid hips and ballet-dancer feet actually would mean he would be placed at corner first. He's a difference-maker. Throw his way at your peril.
Rob from Orange Park, FL
Concerning all the opposing team's fans for our home games: I know a number of people that relocated to the area that are Jaguars fans unless their previous hometown team is playing. I think this leads to a substantial "other team" presence." I have not seen you make this point prior although I could have missed it. Do you think that is a big factor?
A bit, but I think the biggest factors that lead to a strong "other-team" presence" at some Jaguars home games is that they are in a non-traditional market and that they have lost a lot in recent seasons. The losing has created a "wait-and-see" approach for many fans, and it's common for traditional teams' fans to have strong presence in road stadiums when non-traditional teams are struggling. The way out of this situation is consistent winning.
Sonny from California
Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot is becoming a fan favorite. That's cool. He has earned it and he has reached the point that he is pretty damned good.
Big on Blake from Philly
Zone, what's the balance or do you suggest should be the balance in collapsing the pocket with a strong edge rush from both sides versus maintaining contain of the quarterback in the pocket while applying pressure, but avoiding a true all-out quarterback rush. Sometimes watching it seems certain the Jags have a sack with an all-out pass rush only for the quarterback to simply step up and find daylight to escape. Is this youth or a missing piece in the middle of the DL?
It's difficult to have a great pass rush without edge and interior rushers being equally effective. I haven't noticed the Jaguars being overly deficient on the interior rushing the passer this season, though they certainly as a whole could be better on the outside and inside – and more consistent overall – in this area.
Biff from Jacksonville
Forty-degree day in Kansas City. Is football better when it's cold? Does Johnny O prefer that?
Johnny O is an old, bitter man who prefers 60-degree days in Jacksonville with 1 p.m. games that last two-and-a-half hours so he can be home with Rat Dog at a reasonable hour. If he must be on the road and away from Ozone Manor and five minutes from the 'Bank, forty-degrees at Arrowhead is a fine alternative.
Jerry from Orange Park, FL
Are you serious with this?