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O-Zone: Still in

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Stevie from Narragansett

Do you think the Jags will win the Super Bowl?

Based on the season to date, I would project the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and perhaps the San Francisco 49ers as the current favorites to win the Super Bowl. I can't yet objectively put the Jaguars on the level of those teams. But Week 7 Super Bowl favorites often do not win the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl champion is often the team that improves in the second half of the season, stays comparatively healthy and peaks in the postseason. Based on that, I consider the Jaguars one of a half-dozen-ish teams that I wouldn't be surprised to see win the Super Bowl.

Tom from Cairo, Egypt

Coach Caldwell says Travon Walker needs to be schemed for. Doesn't every player need to be schemed for? Isn't that kind of the coach's job?

I believe you're referencing Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin this week saying that teams had to scheme for Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker. Coaches indeed scheme against an entire team, so yes … in theory coaches scheme against all players. But in reality, there are certain players who stand out from others as being capable of changing games. When teams play against those players, they often game plan specifically for those players more than others. That's what Tomlin meant this week when discussing Walker as the Jaguars' game against the Steelers Sunday approaches.

Tom from Moncks Corner

Thanks, I knew that there was no intelligence required to do your job. No wonder that you don't have a legitimate job.

/Checks phone shortly after lunch. /Smiles. /Resumes nap.

Bill from Springfield, VA

Zone, Will Zay Jones play Sunday? I say his presence in the lineup takes pressure off Ridley. If he does play, both have big games. What say you?

Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with a knee issue. I don't expect him to play Sunday. Yes, Jones' presence helps the entire Jaguars receiving corps and the offense, wide receiver Calvin Ridley included.

Marco from Lima, Peru

John, longtime reader here. I've noticed that in the last few weeks you've sucked less. I even laugh at some of your jokes. My only logical conclusion is that they've replaced with an AI trained with all of your O-Zone material in the web. How can we know it is still you?

I am the king of all funk.

Zach from Omaha, NE

Johnny O! I'm born and raised here in Omaha, NE, and I became a diehard Jags fan when I was nine years old. I was bored at my Grandpa's retirement party until I found the only TV at the reception hall to witness Mark Brunell and the 1996 Jags upset the Broncos. I'm now 36 with a wife and an eight-year-old son, and they too are both diehard fans. As of today, I STILL have not been to Jacksonville to witness a 'Home' game. Well, that's going to change… I just booked a trip and bought tickets to the Titans game on 11/19. The three of us are BEYOND excited, and I had to write in and share the news! The question(s) I have for you: how should we spend our Saturday, and which restaurants should we consider? We are staying in the Southbank area. Also, as far as pregame, we want to be with THE PEOPLE! Which lot should we make our way to? Thanks for all of your work – I read the O-Zone every day! #DUUUUUUUUUVAL

Because I adhere to a strict rule never to leave my home turf of Springfield on Saturdays, I'll suggest Strings on Main Street for the restaurant. I've heard tell of other Jacksonville eateries, but I can't confirm their existence. If readers email suggestions, I'll be happy to share. As for pregame, head to the slab. I'm terrible with directions but if a reader emails those, I'll share those, too.

Clay from Pensacola, FL

Are statistics counted for two-point conversation attempts? For example, the player scoring, yards, sacks, etc.? If not, why not? Things that keep you up at night ...

Points, yes. Other statistics, no. Because those are the rules.

Hill from Denver, CO

Question about the possibility of the Jaguars-San Francisco 49ers game getting flexed to Sunday night. Would the fact that it's a 1 p.m. game hurt the chances due to the scheduled game taking place in Las Vegas? That game would have to go into the 4 p.m. slot based on geography. Is that an issue with the TV networks? Could the league move another 4 p.m. game into the early slot, or is that too much to move around to bring the game to prime time?

No, that would not hurt a game's chances of being flexed. Games scheduled for prime time can be moved into either the 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. slots.

Jordan from Mandarin

If Danielle Hunter was on the team today and the question was should we sign him or Calvin Ridley to an extension, I would choose Hunter because a great pass rusher is more important than wide receiver. With that mindset, I would pursue a trade with the Vikings and sign both Josh Allen and Hunter to extensions even if that means losing Ridley and other players.


Brian from ROUND ROCK, Texas

The defense is the soul of this team on and off the field, isn't it? Based on the interviews, I love the defense's fighter mentality. The offensive side still seems obsessed with last year and feeling really impressed with themselves about how much they have grown.

This team's ability to play complementary football in the last month, along with an ability to make plays when it matters, is the soul on and off the field. It never occurred to me the offense is "impressed with themselves." Maybe I'm not close enough to it. Perhaps the view is better from Round Rock.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. I think the Jags' version of the "tush push" should be to take quarterback Trevor Lawrence out of the play and to bring in one big guy to take the snap and two or three big guys behind him to push. Maybe all defense players.

I don't expect the Jaguars to use any version of the "tush push" any time soon. There's a reason the Philadelphia Eagles use it with few others following suit. The Eagles' interior offensive line is perhaps the strongest in the NFL. That's needed to make the play as effective as the Eagles' version.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Yes, sacks aren't everything. But if you didn't take Travon Walker for sacks, why did you take him No. 1 overall? Run defense? Has anyone ever been selected No 1 overall due to run stopping prowess?

The Jaguars selected Walker No. 1 overall with the idea that he would be the player in that draft to most help the defense – and team – overall.

Jeff from Orange, CA

Do you think part of why Walker is viewed as a "bust" by so many is his position as a pass rusher? You seem to highlight his effectiveness in the run game as validation of his value, which made me think of players like Marcus Stroud or John Henderson, who were not big sack players but never considered close to "busts", despite their lack of splashy stats.

Yes, I think that's part of why.

Don from Marshall NC

Travon Walker is a better football player than Hutchinson everyday and twice on Sunday! He is a dominant physical force on the defense. Teams worry a lot more about Walker than they do Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. Go Jaguars!

This seems like a decent time to turn down the volume for a while on the whole Walker give and take. There's little more I can add to the current discussion. He's really good. He's a big reason the Jaguars' defense is playing well. As Tomlin said this week, offenses must scheme for him and there are times he's a "wrecking ball." As Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell said this week, Walker's effectiveness against the run and overall level of play allows the Jaguars to play the defensive style they want to play. He doesn't have big sacks numbers, but he affects the passer. He helps the Jaguars' pass rush consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks. From this view, this how Walker is playing. I don't know if he was "worth" the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. I don't know if the Jaguars would be a better defense had the Jaguars selected someone else. I just know he helps the Jaguars. He's not a bust and he's not close. Those who disagree appear unlikely to be swayed by anything more I can write/say here for a while. Perhaps ever.  That's OK. People don't all have to see things the same way. Meanwhile, when it comes to Walker, Don remains "all in."