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O-Zone: Sheer happiness

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Pete from Daytona Beach, FL

O-Man, you said you thought the Jaguars were good for six or seven wins this year. You seem to be an extreme optimist. My question is why?

The Jaguars are 2-4 with 11 games remaining in the 2022 season. To win six-to-seven games would mean a 4-7 or 5-6 record over those last 11 games. The Jaguars have two one-sided victories with one-score losses in the other four games. They are 11th in the NFL in total offense with more than 300 yards offense in five of six games, with their most significant offensive issues that they have struggled in the red zone at times. That makes me think the offense will continue to give this team a chance at the end of games. The defense has been good three games and struggled three other games. It hasn't been a great pass-rushing unit yet and it has allowed late-game scores with the game on the line in all four losses. Late-game issues have hurt offensively, too. The Jaguars are a young team with a second-year quarterback in his first season in a new offense. All those factors make me think the Jaguars will be close late in a lot of games and that they will improve in those late-game situations as the season continues. That doesn't seem like extreme optimism, or a huge reach.

Mike from Martinsville

The Jaguars keep drafting these supposedly super athletes No. 1 instead of good athletes who are great football players. You can't measure heart and drive. These guys step up and make big plays when the game is on the line. The Jaguars are missing this, especially on defense. Agree or disagree?

If you're asking if the Jaguars lack heart and drive, especially on defense, I have seen nothing to indicate that's the case. This isn't high school football. Games aren't typically decided on want-to, heart and desire. Sometimes some of the best players in the world on one side of the ball play better in given situations than some of the best players in the world on the other side of the ball.

Tom from Nocatee

Since we're doing draft talk now, I'm gonna say we need to address the cornerback position.

It's October 19. The 2023 NFL Draft is more than six months away. Eleven games remain in the Jaguars' 2022 season. We're not "doing draft talk now."

Matt from Chandler

Does Doug not have faith in Riley Patterson? I feel these past few weeks that some of these crucial fourth-down tries we should be attempting a field goal. Our fourth-down conversion rate is succeeding at under 40 percent. Patterson has missed one field goal all year.

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson is going to be aggressive in fourth down if the situation makes sense. It's what he's about as a head coach. The situation often makes sense when the offense is in field-goal range and the down-and-distance is fourth-and-sixish or less. Sometimes that will work. Sometimes it won't. He's not going to change. And I haven't gotten the sense that his decision-making has much to do with kicker Riley Patterson.

Noel from Saint Augustine, FL

Hey, Mr. O. Do you see Pederson's aggressiveness on fourth down as a detriment?

Not when the Jaguars make a first down.

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

I've never seen so many quick screen calls in my life. Has the coaching staff lost confidence in Trevor's ability to go downfield?

Many NFL offenses run quick screens and short passes as a fundamental part of the offense. The approach in recent seasons has come to replace a portion of the running game in many offenses. The Jaguars under Pederson have this approach. It's not that the staff has lost confidence in quarterback Trevor Lawrence's ability to go downfield, but they don't want him throwing the ball downfield constantly in the wrong situations.

Guest from Guest

What do you make of Jacksonville Jaguars being the only team with a losing record (2–4) and a positive point deferential (+24)?

That they have won two games by wide margins and lot four games by close margins – and that they're not yet a team that is good in close games.

Jason from St Augustine, FL

Everybody's grooming and dooming about this supposedly lost season but the Jaguars still have 11 games left with a talented quarterback, a talented offense, a very good play-calling coach and a defense that has been overall pretty stout. There's nothing lost about this season.

I groomed and doomed once in college. Then I went and saw the Cure.

Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico

Actually, after essentially a third of the season, 2-4 feels just about right. If you factor in two blowout wins against undermanned teams and being in it in the fourth quarter in all losses, the arrow still feels like it's pointing up. Is that how you see it or do you see some bigger fractures other than growth, inexperience and lack of big-guy talent?

I think the Jaguars' biggest issues are a lack of experience, the fact that a lot of the experience hasn't played together long, a lack of veteran elite players and the factor that Lawrence is still developing and playing in his first season in a new offense. I think those factors add up to them being close and not quite there yet.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

Not to nitpick, but I keep hearing Trevor's last drive was beautiful ... but it was a majority of run plays. Why credit that to him?

Because he would have been blamed if they had gone three and out.

Tom from Jax

I've watched Jaguars rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker closely for the last two weeks. He seems to have been totally ineffective with his pass rush. Not only two ruffing penalties but no sacks since Game 1. He has not shown the potential of a number 1 draft choice. I hope it's not too early to give up on him!

Walker hasn't rushed the passer great this season. He wasn't considered a polished pass rusher entering the NFL Draft, so it's not surprising he's not rushing the passer great this season. That can take time. He has been better in other areas and he has struggled in areas such as recognition where many rookies struggle. He has played six NFL games. It's not too early to give up on him. Not even close.

Audie from Alamogordo

Hey O, I see no relief in site. This week it's the New York Giants, then the Denver Broncos, then the Las Vegas Raiders and of course the Chiefs. Out of those four games, I see our defense not stepping up and our offensive line will be attacked hard and if TL does not release the ball early, he will be on his back a lot. What is your thinking on this?

I think the NFL is hard all the time and really hard when you're struggling. I think if the Jaguars play well, they can win any of those games and that it will be difficult to win in Kansas City even if they play well.

Tim from OKC, OK

Six games played. Two of those games decided by more than one score, and four of them by only one score. We need to get better at winning the close games. I am glad we haven't been blown out yet, but we need to get better at closing, and holding on to close games.


KC from South Florida

The Jaguars need to stop overpaying for free-agent cornerbacks and start drafting and developing their own guys, like Tyson Campbell. He has been, for the most part, pretty good so far this year and seems to be getting better each week. On the other hand, Shaq Griffin and Darious Williams have not looked good since signing here. What's the deal with that exactly? How can two veteran guys, who have been solid in the past, just not look very good all of a sudden?

Free agency is risky. You pay premium prices for players who are not being re-signed by their former team and there are usually reasons teams don't retain their own players. The Jaguars, like most teams, are aware of this. It's also not as if the Jaguars organizationally have ignored the position. They selected Jalen Ramsey No. 5 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, C.J. Henderson No. 9 overall in 2020 and Tyson Campbell No. 33 overall in 2021. One of those players remains on the roster. The Jaguars' current roster doesn't have nearly enough drafted-developed players. It's why they have been one of the worst teams in the NFL for nearly a decade. It must change, and not just at corner.

Eric from Phoenix, AZ

Do you hate overreaction Monday?

I long ago cut the concept of hate from my life. It's why I'm such a happy person.