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O-Zone: Slow the roll

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gero from Wenden, Germany

Hello, John. If I'm not wrong, we played the two games we won with white jerseys. For Sunday against Philadelphia, the white tops were chosen again. A good omen? Also, the players apparently said in the locker room that they want to get a win for Doug Pederson.

I'm not big on uniform-based omens, superstitions or witches' brews. My father used to keep his glasses in a certain place when we watched Washington games, and we both sort of believed the positioning mattered in the outcome. This system worked well in 1991 when the team was one of the best of the modern era and worked less well the next season when a veteran team suddenly became an aging one. My wife has worn a black shirt with a Jaguars logo the past two Fridays and hasn't watched the Jaguars play Sunday. She firmly believes if she watches Sunday's game, the Jaguars will lose. This is silly thinking from a woman typically not given to silliness. If Jaguars players believe they play well in white jerseys, I suppose it could help. Until it doesn't. And yes … Jaguars players want to get a victory Sunday for Head Coach Doug Pederson, who was the head coach in Philadelphia from 2016-2020. Eagles players also want to get a victory. The Pederson-versus-his-old-team thing is a cool storyline. If the Jaguars win, it will be played up. If they lose, it won't have mattered much. That's typically how these things go.

JR from The Squatchlands

What are the odds the '72 Dolphins will be popping champagne this weekend?

Members of the 1972 Dolphins – the only team in NFL history to finish the regular season and postseason unbeaten – famously "pop" champagne each season when the NFL's last unbeaten team loses. The Eagles are the NFL's last unbeaten team this season. I'm bad at odds. I think the Eagles will win because they're good, healthy and playing at home – and because I expect quarterback Jalen Hurts to strain the Jaguars' defense in a way the unit hasn't faced yet. I expect the Jaguars' offense to not quiiiite be as efficient as last week because it's difficult for a young team to be consistent enough to get into the 30s on the road against good teams in back-to-back weeks. But while I expect the Eagles to win, the Jaguars are playing well enough that I wouldn't be surprised if they win. So, I suppose I think there's a decent chance the '72 Dolphins will pop champagne Sunday, but I sure wouldn't guarantee it.

Bo from Winter Springs, FL

Remember all the preseason chatter about how it was the same old Jags? And how people were saying that in training camp that the Jags' bad offense against the Jags' bad defense would be us having high expectations and then disappointment again? And many people getting so upset about the "whole" game instead of focusing on the first quarter where we played better than every team we faced until the backups and guys who are no longer on the team played? Those were fun days.

Were they?

Bill from Hammock, FL

Zone, our first three games have been against fairly immobile quarterbacks. This week we are facing a very mobile one. How big of an issue, if any, do you see?

This is a big issue. Hurts indeed is the most versatile quarterback the Jaguars will have faced this season. Teams must account for his running ability and none of the Eagles' first three opponents really have stopped him or the Eagles' offense this season. I think the Jaguars have the skill set at linebacker with outside linebackers Travon Walker and Josh Allen and inside linebacker Devin Lloyd to play well against Hurts. I believe they can keep Hurts' mobility from wrecking the game. But in a close game, I do wonder if Hurts can find a way to make one or two plays that could be the difference. That's how I could see his mobility being an issue Sunday.

Kinney from Westside

I know you said be nice and I don't mean it in a disrespectful kind of way but I am so happy we hired Urban Meyer last year. His lack of talent as an NFL head coach is the reason we were able to land not only our draft picks but the coach of the year. No way we get him last year if we didn't get Urban. Doubt another coach would have wet the bed the way he did and get fired after less than one year.

Your first sentence aside, this was kind of disrespectful. And it certainly was not "nice."

Sean G from Saint Johns City

If you look at teams playing back-to-back road games over time, I'd expect that record would be fairly low. This one sets up really good for the Eagles.

Back-to-back road games are difficult and – as with most things in the NFL – how difficult depends on the quality of your team. Good teams typically fare OK in back-to-back road games and struggling teams, well … struggle. This game sets up well for the Eagles because they're playing well and they're at home. The Jaguars have a decent chance for the same reason they beat the Los Angeles Chargers on the road last week – because they're confident, healthy and playing well.

Charles from Port St Lucie, FL

These are the things about the national sports media that really irritate Jags fans. Adam Caplan on drive time this week said our punt game and return teams have been inconsistent. That's a really dumb take that anyone familiar with the Jags wouldn't make.

I was on Drive Time with Caplan this week, and I admit I missed this "take." I also admit that when assessing heinous crimes against humanity, I would rank this comparatively low. But what irritates you irritates you, I suppose.

Charles from Port St Lucie, FL

So ... we were at six-to-sevens wins before the season. A win this week … where are you at?

I'm probably around eight-to-ten now, up from six-to-seven before the season. If the Jaguars beat the Eagles Sunday, I probably would go up to ten-to-11. I would do so reluctantly, because I am at heart an aging pessimist who like to see things before I believe them, but go I probably would.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Considering his age and ceiling, there are only three NFL quarterbacks I would trade Trevor Lawrence for without thinking about it (Lamar Jackson of Baltimore, Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City, Josh Allen of Buffalo and only two more I would strongly consider (Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers, Joe Burrow of Cincinnati). Thoughts??

I like Mahomes and Allen much better than Jackson, because I still wonder if Jackson will be as effective if injuries/wear and tear hurt his ability to run. While Mahomes and Allen are mobile, they seem to rely less on the threat of the run to dictate defenses. I would put Herbert and Burrow in the same conversation as the above three players. I might take any of the five over Lawrence because all five have proven themselves over a sustained period whereas Lawrence has begun to show consistency over his last three or four games. But if Lawrence is what we have seen the past two games …

Richard from Jacksonville

Do you think we will see a trick or "gadget" play if the situation arises?


John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - Enjoying the success this season so far but sticking with your concept of waiting until about Game 6 to see more of a better sample set. When do you think we'll see the return of the long ball (both attempts and an actual completion)?

The Jaguars will throw long passes – and complete them – in due time. Lawrence, remember, connected on a 49-yard pass to wide receiver Christian Kirk against Washington in Week 1 – a play-action pass set up by two strong runs by running back James Robinson. Deep shots weren't really part of the Week 2 game plan against an Indianapolis Colts defense designed to consistently allow underneath throws. The offense was working again with throws to the sideline and intermediate routes in a Week 3. We're three weeks in. Game plans and opponents often dictate this. There's no reason to believe it won't happen.

Chris from Mandarin

If we beat Philly on the road, I'm going to poop my pants John. Please send help.

I didn't see the part about "if we beat Philly on the road" when first reading this email. I thought it would be less disturbing with that part. It was not.

Chris from San Diego, CA

For the record, the Jags have won exactly one more game than at the same time in 2020 when the team went 1-15. How about we slow down the playoff/Super Bowl talk?

Chris is not "all in."