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O-Zone: Simple kind of plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Let's get to it …

JT from Palm Coast, FL

This feels like a trap game. We will see what this team is made of. One team has everything to play for. One team has nothing to play for. Division rival spoiling it for the other team seems to happen every season. Hope I'm wrong. I pray I'm wrong, honestly.

Sunday's game indeed will show us much about this team. But while fans – or anyone for that matter – can feel about game however they choose, the Jaguars' game Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., from this view doesn't really qualify as a "trap game." A "trap game" is more about one team looking past an opponent because of a bigger game ahead – and about the overlooking team not realizing the importance of the game in question. The Jaguars know well that this is a win-and-get-in-the postseason game. It will be the difference in a successful season in the eyes of many and a disappointing one. If they win, they win a second consecutive AFC South title. Period. This doesn't make this an easy game for the Jaguars. It's a rivalry game, and the Titans likely will be motivated to ruin the Jaguars' season. That means it will be a difficult game. The Jaguars might win. Or they might lose. But if it's the latter, it will mean they lost – not that they got "trapped."

Scott from Jacksonville

Win or lose on Sunday, this organization has to come to an agreement on Trevor's future with the franchise this offseason. Do you think the poor play of December will have an effect on Trevor's contract negotiations, O-man? I'm really hoping Trevor puts December behind him and lights it up this Sunday and all through the playoffs to prove he deserves a big contract and stop being compared to Daniel Jones.

Many factors will be considered on this issue. That includes how quarterback Trevor Lawrence has played. It also will include his statistics. It will include injuries. It also will include the play of those around him. It will include times he made good and bad decisions. It will include times his receivers made mistakes that led to interceptions. I expect the Jaguars to sign Lawrence to an extension this offseason, though that doesn't have to happen this offseason. That expectation could be wrong. We'll see. I don't have a great feel about specifics of an extension. That's more of an offseason topic than a Week 18 topic. Stay tuned.

Johnny from Jax

Gene is certainly a legend … but do you write his questions for him?

Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette needs and seeks no help. He's his own man.

Rob from St Augustine, FL

What's the purpose of alternates if the Pro Bowl isn't even "played?" The whole process is ridiculous.


Andy from Halifax

I know you say stats aren't always an accurate representation of production but MAN I hope the Jags win AND that outside linebacker Josh Allen gets the sack lead this year and that outside linebacker Travon breaks 10-plus.

Walker and Allen have been very good all season in multiple areas. They specifically have been good rushing the passer. Being good – and even being good rushing the passer – isn't always defined by sacks, but the duo also has been good in that statistic. Allen already has the franchise single-season record with 16.5 through 16 games and is a half sack off the NFL lead this season held by T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Trey Hendrickson of the Cincinnati Bengals. Walker has 5.5 sacks in the last seven games and nine for the season. The duo now has the sacks statistics to go with their performances, which means observers now realize they're as good as they have been all season.

Kevin from RVA

Want to know Cam Robinson's worth to the team? Just look at this year. When he plays, we win. When he doesn't, the offensive line is in shambles. Pay this guy, but the Jags will make an excuse and let him go in free agency.

Left tackle Cam Robinson matters to the Jaguars a lot. They are a better running team when he plays, a better team when he plays and a better overall team when he plays. His contract runs through next season – the 2024 season – but he has a $21.6 million salary-cap figure for 2024 with a dead cap of $5 million. That difference understandably has caused many to speculate that Robinson won't return in 2023. That makes sense on paper. The game is played on the field. Stay tuned on this one.

Sean from Saint Johns City

How much have Trevor's injuries contributed to his disappointing games this year?

This is difficult to say. It's a little unrealistic to think playing shortly after a high-ankle sprain and a concussion, which Lawrence did late in the season, would have no effect on his play. It's also logical to conclude that not practicing – or even practicing limited – would affect his sharpness and timing with receivers. A lot of factors go into quarterback play. Lawrence's results late in the season have been disappointing at times. He was playing really well before an ankle injury in Week 13 and didn't play as well after that. That is a logical cause-and-effect scenario. At least from this view.

Brian from Round Rock, Texas

It feels like the playoffs have started. I'm excited for the game. A win Sunday will erase all negativity of the season. The playoffs are a new season and we could consider the regular season a success. If they win Sunday, will the Jags be a new team for this new season? I saw signs on them being new and maybe finding a new formula for success: Play to the defense, the heart and soul of the team.

Anything can happen in the postseason, particularly this season. Do I think the Jaguars would have fresh life if they make the postseason? Yes. Do I think they could beat any team in the AFC playoffs? Yes. Do I think they could lose to any team in the postseason? Yes. It's that sort of season.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, that is why you are the King of All Grand Funk! I watched that game and many more like it. It is why playoff football is one of the greatest entertainment environments known to man and beast, and you are the KOAGF. Perhaps the Jags can force a rule change under such circumstances soon.

I think you're referring to the 1978 Holy Roller Game between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, the forward-fumble game that caused the NFL to mandate that the only offensive player who could advance a fumble in the final two minutes of either half – or on fourth down – was the fumbling player. It was a Week 2 game.

Brendan from Yulee, FL

Is it time to start throwing around the term "Sophomore Slump?

In what sense?

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I always wondered if a starting quarterback sitting out a game would also benefit the mental part of his game?

Maybe. Maybe not. Or sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Limo Bob from Neptune Beach

Sportscasters last game pointed out the very weak pass blocking of our running backs. How much of a reach would it be as Derrick Henry coming home to be back up running back and blocking running back?

I would think Henry, being from near-to-Jacksonville Yulee, would think it would be pretty cool to play for the Jaguars. I also would think he would think it would be cooler to be a feature back – and considering he had a Pro Bowl, 1,000-yard season in 2023, I would expect him to go that direction.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

I thought your comment about Trevor playing or not playing on Sunday was funny. Either way you could be wrong and right since it is literally an either-or scenario. I would sit Trevor this game and let him get healthy. C.J. Beathard has shown he can play smart, high-percentage football that focuses on time of possession. That is what will be needed against the Titans. Get the ball, get a lead, increase that lead and destroy their morale. They are already going home after this game. It wouldn't take much to take the fight outta them. Trevor needs to be ready and as full go as possible for the Cleveland Browns. Maybe if we get up by like two-or-three scores, sit him. We just don't need to risk our quarterback if it can be avoided. I think the team has this regardless of who plays quarterback.

If the Jaguars didn't need to win Sunday, I don't think Lawrence would play. The Jaguars need to win. If he can play Sunday, and if he can throw effectively, I expect him to play.