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O-Zone: Stay tuned

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Just in time for Halloween, this magical year-and-a-half run has ended and our team has reverted back to its original form ... the pumpkin.

Ah, gallows humor rears its inevitable, ugly head – and that’s fine. These are tough times for the Jaguars. Sunday’s 40-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was a tough game. Tough times are when we retreat for comfort in said gallows. And perchance the Jaguars indeed are destined to endure a long, difficult season. But the sense from here is this season isn’t over yet. This defense didn’t suddenly become talentless and inept. There is plenty with which to work. My sense is the Jaguars need to change the approach in some areas there – perhaps play more man-to-man coverage – and they certainly need to address the defensive miscommunications that were rampant Sunday. I don’t know how that will be addressed, but this is a week in which much must be on the table. That’s what back-to-back, one-sided October losses mean for contending teams. The second thing that must happen is the Jaguars must figure a way to find an offensive identity. Maybe that’s the return of running back Leonard Fournette. Maybe that’s figuring out a way to get to the bye at .500 and get healthier on the offensive line. That’s not impossible, but it sure makes this week important. The Jaguars need to get the defense right and beat the Houston Texans Sunday. Those things aren’t impossible, but they’re sure tougher tasks than they seemed a month ago.

Scott from Wichita, KS

The nine experts regarding Jags versus Cowboys??? Wow. Time to rethink that or at least rename it.

We “experts” struggled Sunday. We weren’t flying solo on that front.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, after the Jets game I wrote in about the classlessness of Doug's move in going for two points at end of game. What made it worse was his weak reason of "it what the card said to do.” Hopefully with tongue in mouth you stated that it was great that he did it. It has been downhill since then. Karma is a pain.

My tongue indeed was in my mouth when I said whatever I said after the Jets’ game. That’s my usual speaking style. I haven’t thought that much about that game since it was played. One reason is it hasn’t had anything to do with the last two games. Actually, that’s reason enough.

Emil from Tallahassee, FL

They told us repeatedly you can't build a team in free agency. Maybe they were right.

What were they saying last season when the Jaguars were playing in the AFC Championship Game? Free agency isn’t this team’s problem. Getting this defense on the same page and figuring out this offense in the wake of a slew of injuries are the issues.

Jamal from Brooklyn, NY

I'm at a loss for words. Flew from New York to Dallas to watch that embarrassment. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles always gets the blame, but can we really blame him for that loss? Is the loss more on the coaches or the defense?

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said afterward the blame pretty much could be cast everywhere. Sometimes things like that sound like Coach Speak. It sounded in this case as if he was just spitting facts.

Tim from Section 123

Are you as disappointed in this team as we the fans are? 

I don’t get as excited about victories or as low about losses as fans, so I’m probably not as disappointed as the fans. I am surprised. Sunday really surprised me. I thought the Jaguars would play better than many expected offensively. They didn’t. They played worse. I assumed the Jaguars’ defense would play an inspired game. Sunday was anything but inspired. I’m not big on saying a team looked flat, but the Jaguars sure did Sunday. I expect this team to respond because I think the defense is too talented to play as it did Sunday. But Sunday wasn’t good. It was terrible.

Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey, Mr. O: Should we be making better use of Tommy Bohanon?

In what sense?

Chris from Nashville, TN

"Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs. Are you kidding me? Playoffs ... we're lucky if we can win a game!"

You’re channeling your inner Jim Mora. I smiled at this email. I liked Mora. And you’re right: The Jaguars need to focus on winning a game right now. The playoffs aren’t out of the question. The Jaguars are still very much in the AFC South race. But they need to win a game first, then another, the let whatever happens after that happen.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Everyone is going to blame the injures and Bortles, but the fact is this loss is on the entire organization. They went to Dallas with their heads up their back side. They lost in EVERY possible way. This was disgusting, disgraceful, disastrous, pathetic, horrible, THROW THE NEGATIVE THESAURUS AT IT!!! Flat out bad.

Well said, Logan.

Paul from Section 148

Well, on the bright side, we're tied for first in the AFC South. Win the division and we go to the dance.

This isn’t something that gave the Jaguars much solace in the wake of an ugly loss Sunday, but it is something that can’t be ignored. And it’s a very real thing. The reality of the NFL is you play to get into the playoffs – anyhow and anyway. Once you’re there, it’s about health, matchups, breaks and who’s hot. The Jaguars showed last season that it’s not how you win or how you enter the postseason; it’s how you play once you’re there. Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin knows this better than anyone; his New York Giants teams went on the road to win both of his Super Bowl titles. The Jaguars must improve dramatically before they think about those things. Hell, they must win a game before they think about those things. And no, this 3-3 does not feel like a “good 3-3” right now.” But they’re still very much in it. And that means there’s hope.

Brian from Greenwood, IN

I understand the loss to the Titans. I even understand the loss to the Chiefs. This one though, this one has me scratching my head. First, obviously the Jaguars have serious issues on offense. Injuries have changed that dynamic. On defense, however, it is obvious the Jaguars have serious issues with quarterbacks who can extend plays. Most disturbing, however, is the regression in pass defense. In particular, third-down pass defense the past two weeks has been poor. There have been people running wide open on third-and-long the last two weeks. To what do you attribute that?

Miscommunication. Rampant miscommunication.

Chris from Section 437

I liked the uniforms Sunday. That was about all I liked, unfortunately. I know the offensive line has been banged up this season, but the interior line has been getting beat a lot and that's supposed to be a strength. Can this be fixed this season?

Yes, areas of a team can improve during a season. And yes, the Jaguars’ offensive interior can play better. All three starters – guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder and guard A.J. Cann – have been playing with injuries. Logic would tell you that’s at least part of the reason the group is struggling. Maybe a bye week will help, but the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles are on the schedule before the bye. Those are two dangerous defensive lines.

Jacob from Auburn, AL

I have been patient. I have not said anything ill towards the Jags this year. I know we are injured on offense. But defense looked terrible Sunday. Really the whole team looked awful Sunday. Is this a sign of things to come? Or just an anomaly?

If the defense plays as it did Sunday, it’s a sign of things to come. There’s no reason it should play like that moving forward, but there was no reason it played like that Sunday, either.

IToldYouSo from Sad in Section 114

Do we still think Bort-o-potty gives us the best chance to win or we still shilling for the front office? We are either lying to ourselves or stupid. Which is it?

I saw a lot of issues in Dallas Sunday. I’m not sure quarterback was on my Top 5.

Steve from Atlanta, GA

Wow. Didn’t take long to get back to being the same old bad Jags. Offense stinks. Defense is overrated. All talk, no bite makes for a great 7-9 season. Go Jags.

Sunday was bad. Really bad.

Ted from Jacksonville

This is a bad, bad team... all that money for this?

It’s not a bad team. It’s an injured team that compounded that by playing poorly Sunday. It’s a team that still has time and enough talent to be a better team than it was Sunday. Stay tuned.

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