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O-Zone: Stay bold

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jerell from Columbia, SC

The season is over, so let’s get to the brass tacks. What players do you think are gone at the end of the year? With Yannick Ngakoue, Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey The Front Runner all having bad seasons, do you see any of them getting paid?

We’ll touch on the three first-contract players you mentioned – Ngakoue, Jack and Ramsey – first. All three have a season remaining on their contracts after the 2018 season. And though I don’t know that they have played as poorly as your question indicates – there’s a difference between a bad season and not playing as well as expected – I do think the chances have dimmed that the Jaguars will be in a rush to sign the players to long-term deals this offseason. I’m not sure how many players who aren’t on rookie contracts absolutely will return next season. Center Brandon Linder, cornerback A.J. Bouye, nose tackle Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle Abry Jones, guard Andrew Norwell, running back Carlos Hyde, safety Tashaun Gipson, wide receiver Marqise Lee …. Those are a few more-experienced, “second-contract” veterans I expect have a good chance to return next season. Beyond that … we’ll see.

George from Harrisburg, PA

John, if the Jaguars can find a way to beat the Steelers Sunday, they have two very winnable games after that. If the Jags can get to .500, the Jags will be very much in the hunt for the playoffs. Agree?

Sure. Why not?

Conrad from Blue River, WI

“The rule is written that way to ensure the right team has possession in the case of an inadvertent whistle. The official made the correct call." ~ Funny, that didn't happen for us when the refs, on more than one occasion as I recall, blew the whistle and we weren't treated similarly.

I don’t recall the Jaguars being on the wrong end of the rule to which you refer in recent seasons, but hey … maybe I’m wrong. It’s a clear-cut rule: if a player fumbles and a defensive player recovers who clearly would have recovered had the whistle not blown … then the defensive team will gain possession if the play was inadvertently blown dead. The play ends except for the fumble recovery. Many people might reference the “Myles-Jack-Wasn’t-Down” play in New England in the AFC Championship Game in January as a case of the Jaguars getting the wrong end of the deal on such a call, but the rule worked for the Jaguars on that play. The Jaguars were awarded possession after officials ruled running back Dion Lewis down because replays clearly showed the ball out and Jack recovering. Once the whistle was blown, the play was dead except for the recovery. That means Jack couldn’t advance the ball even though he, well … wasn’t down.

Logan from Wichita, KS

From the Steelers’ perspective, will beating us when we are so atrociously bad feel to them like us beating the Patriots Week 2? Or are we such a disaster right now that beating us will just feel like beating anyone else. "Win is a win so whatever" or "REVENGE!!!! WOOOOOO!!!! START THE PARADE!!!!"

I haven’t the foggiest. I don’t cover the Steelers.

Don from Ponte Vedra, FL

If I recall correctly Tom Coughlin was 3-7 and on the hot seat when the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. You have to believe you have a chance or you have no chance. Run the ball and play good defense always gives you a chance.

While Coughlin indeed was on the hot seat before the New York Giants got and won the Super Bowl following the 2011 season, the Giants were not 3-7 that season – though they did lose four consecutive games the second half of that season. But yeah … you have to believe in these difficult situations because what else is there but to believe? And if the Jaguars are going to do anything with the rest of the season, they absolutely must run and play good defense.

Sean from Jacksonville

Jalen has some education coming his way one day regarding fans. "Come on, now. I’m not saying we don’t care about the fans being frustrated, but we’re frustrated in here. That’s what y’all fail to realize." That is what we fail to realize? Seriously? And "But like whoever – the fake fans, y’all, whoever .. if y’all want to jump ship, it is what it is. But y’all gonna miss us when we’re either gone or when stuff’s back poppin’ – we don’t want y’all anymore." Wow. Sure Jalen can walk the walk, so his talk is tolerated, but dissing the fans is never a smart move.

OK.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Umm John, we must live in some sort of parallel universe that the Jags have "fake fans." With all the losing this team has done in the last decade we have anything but fake fans. Disgruntled fans, maybe.

Fair.

Marcus from Jacksonville

Regarding the defensive breakdowns, I have heard that players have been going rogue, that there is a bad scheme or poor play-calling, and that communication is an issue. I'm sure it's all those and more, but in terms of the communication on the field, can you explain how that works? How much responsibility is on Myles Jack, or is he just responsible for repeating what he hears to the rest of the guys on the field or is there more to it than that?

Defensive coordinator Todd Wash addressed this Thursday and said the responsibility for calls depends on the situation. Sometimes it is Jack’s responsibility to read a key and get the call to the entire defense. Sometimes it’s the responsibility of the free safety. Sometimes the coverage depends on the offensive formation, meaning the defensive backs must read where the receivers are lined up and get into the proper coverage. The Jaguars’ scheme is relatively simple and hasn’t changed much over the last several seasons. The problem Sunday in Indianapolis was mostly individual breakdowns and mental errors. When receivers run as wide open as the Colts receiver ran Sunday, those are typically the issues.

Eder from Mexico

John, is the new All-Pro guard – Andrew Norwell – the team signed playing at the All-Pro level expected?

No, but it’s not like he’s flying solo.

George from Jactionville

What’s the story on Ereck Flowers? Any comments on his performance? How bad was his injury?

This could be an important week for Flowers. He played OK at left tackle against the Indianapolis Colts last week while rotating with starter Josh Walker, and Head Coach Doug Marrone talked afterward about liking some things Flowers did in the run game. Flowers had tendinitis in his knee quickly upon playing Sunday, which Marrone said made it difficult to get a good feel for how he played in pass protection. Flowers practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, so he apparently will be able to play Sunday. Walker missed practice both days with a foot/ankle issue, so perhaps Flowers could get a start or a longer look Sunday. We’ll see.

Jason from Yomitan, Okinawa

My biggest fear is that Blake and the offense will do just enough to maintain his starting role next year. I really don’t have any faith in General Manager Dave Caldwell to properly evaluate talent and everyone got three-year extensions last year, so Shad won’t be making any changes. We are over the cap and don’t have anyone on the defensive line or the linebacking corps who is ready to step in. Where is the young talent? Dave has had six years to put this together and we are back where we started: bloated salaries, a quarterback who can’t elevate an offense and the worst receiving corps in the NFL.

I expect the Jaguars to have a complete look at pretty much the entire roster, and I would expect some significant changes. The Jaguars made moves the past two offseasons with the idea of building around the existing talent on defense and utilizing a running game offensively. I would expect that approach – and everything else – to be reexamined, particularly if the season continues in the current vein. A year ago, the Jaguars made moves that indicated they believed they were “close.” I don’t believe this offseason’s moves will reflect such thinking.

The Third from Boston, MA

When passing through Reno this summer, I stepped into a sportsbook to wager on the Jags winning the Super Bowl. I suppose I don't need to hang on to it much longer...

Wow. Bold.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

I think the Jags can win out or at least win six of seven. The offense has been decimated by injuries, but the defense can instantly go back to dominant and I believe they will. Bold prediction: The Jags go on a win streak starting Sunday, win the last three division games and squeak into the postseason a hot team.

Wow. Also bold. And I hope you weren’t in Reno with The Third this summer.

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