O-Zone: Straight truth

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Zone!? What a day for the Jags at no credit to themselves. Luck retires and Miller appears out for season. Bummer for both guys but certainly looks like an on-paper improvement on our chances of winning the division. Miller going down somehow makes Doug look like a genius doesn't it? Go Jags.

I’m not trying to be dim, but I just don’t spend much time looking at the Jaguars through the lens of their opponents. I’ve always figured the best teams do whatever they can to be as good as they can and let other teams worry about them as opposed to spending time worried about who is or isn’t playing for the Jaguars’ opponents. Yes, the shocking retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck makes the Indianapolis Colts significantly weaker. And to a far smaller degree, the possibility of running back Lamar Miller being out for the season with a knee injury weakens the Houston Texans. But the Jaguars still have to win a bunch of games to get to the postseason and there are still a bunch of good teams out there with AFC Championship and Super Bowl aspirations. As far as Miller’s injury making Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone look like a genius … I suppose. But no one ever doubted that preseason poses an injury risk to player. Marrone will look smart if the Jaguars are healthy and playing well entering the regular season. If they lose the first couple of games of the season, the narrative will be different.

John from Jacksonville

Big news in the division, looks like a couple other teams LUCK may be running out?

Forgive me if I don’t revel in Luck’s retirement. It couldn’t have been an easy decision for him, and it’s never cool to see someone have to step away from doing something he loves to do. And I certainly don’t revel in a player such as Miller sustaining a season-ending knee injury.

Red from O-Zone Comments Section

John, you can try all you want to convince we Jag fans that Taven Bryan has a lot of physical ability, but we have eyes, too, and what we see is a player who is ineffective and appears to have poor awareness of what's going on around him on the field during a play. You'll come around eventually.

I couldn’t possibly care less if anyone is ever convinced that Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan has athletic ability. I can’t control what people believe or accept. All I can do is write the truth. I never wrote that Bryan was effective or that he had good awareness. I wrote that he has physical ability. You are arguing a point that I’ve never tried to make, so there’s no way for me to “come around.”

James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

I know it's way too early for comparisons. But did I see the ghost of Jevon "The Freak" Kearse out on the field Thursday? Josh "The Beast "Allen. Go young man, go.

This isn’t a bad comparison. Allen strikes me as playing a bit bigger than Kearse in terms of pure size and strength, but time may have dimmed my memory of Kearse.

Chris from Space City, TX

What we learned ... Josh Allen is going to be a force.

Fair.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Is it OK if I get more excited about JA 41's sacks and tackles for losses this season than Nick's touchdown passes??

Sure.

Steve from Nashville, TN

How do the Steelers get away with never renegotiating players under contract salaries and still field a competitive team?

They draft well, have a system they believe in and stick to – and they have had a franchise quarterback for 15 years.

Stephen from Hamden, CT

How does Josh Allen's performance in his debut impact the contract negotiations with Yannick?

Little-to-none in the short term. You don’t base long-term contract negotiations on one game, particularly one preseason game. It could affect them in the long term. The Jaguars would love to have Ngakoue for the foreseeable future. But will it be as much of a have-to if Allen is elite? Obviously not.

John from Jacksonville

I've been hoping for wide receiver Keenan Cole to make the team this season but it's looking like he will not. When on the field, he is missing in action. He seems to have went poof.

I believe Cole will be on the roster as the fourth, fifth or sixth receiver.

Daniel from Urbandale, IA

Didn't get to watch the game up here in Des Moines, IA but if the offense could manage a touchdown a quarter in the regular season, I like the odds of a positive season (28 ppg).

While it obviously doesn’t work precisely that way, you make a good point. Remember, too: You don’t really know much about how team is going to fare offensively until a team starts game-planning – i.e., playing to its own strength and its opponents’ weaknesses. I doubt the Jaguars will score 28 points a game this season, but if they get to around 23-to-25 – a little more than a touchdown per game than they scored last season – that could mean five or six more victories. That would work.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Do you believe defensive coordinator Todd Wash will try to manage Calais Campbell's reps during the regular season to try and keep him fresh all year?

Absolutely.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

With an underwhelming performance from our reserve offensive line and an injury to Ogbuehi, who do you think makes the final 53?

Left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann/Will Richardson, right tackle Jawaan Taylor, center/guard Tyler Shatley, swing tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and swing tackle Josh Wells.

Bill from Hawthorne

Assuming Allen’s star continues to rise, what effect do you see on Yann’s contract negotiations?

Very little in the short term.

Royce from Jacksonville

Mr. O: One thing that I have notice is that it does not take long to recognize talented player that may be a star in the NFL, but it takes a lot longer to recognize a less talented trending toward bust type of player. Are the same coaches evaluating both players?

The Bryan obsession among fans has gone a little off the deep end. He’s inconsistent. He has potential. He’s not terrible. He also was a low first-round selection and not a Top 10 selection, so while his inconsistency is disappointing it’s not shocking that he’s not All-Pro or Pro Bowl selection yet.

CD from Fleming Island, FL

Hey John, this probably isn't a popular opinion right now, but besides the obvious takeaways from Thursday night, I thought Taven Bryan looked encouraging when he was playing with the starters. Of course the two roughing penalties were bad, but he seemed OK next to Calais et al. Did you see anything encouraging or am I being overly optimistic?

Bryan is getting some penetration and has made some impact. He also has made some mistakes he can’t repeat in the regular season. He’s going to be on the roster and he needs to be more consistent.

Limpy from Duval

Fournette was playing like a top-five back the first several weeks of his rookie season. It wasn’t until he had that awful-looking ankle injury that his yards per carry dropped off. It seems that he’s been dealing with physical and attitude (I hate that word couldn’t think of another) issues. If he can fix those, I remember very clearly how hard and violent he was running those first several weeks. Let’s give him a chance.

This is incorrect. Fournette didn’t average more than 3.8 yards per carry in any of his first four games in his 2017 rookie season. He averaged more than six yards per carry against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams in Weeks 5 and 6, but after a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the Rams game, the rushing offense largely was ineffective in that game. You’re correct that his ankle injury seemed to slow him after that. All of that said, I don’t think we know yet Fournette’s possible NFL potential. It appeared Thursday he was back to running violently. If he does that, he can be a key and productive part of this offense. And he should be facing defenses far less stacked to stop him this season. That can’t be anything but good for him.

Bruce from Surf City, USA

I thought the definition of "negotiations" meant one side would not normally walk in, accept the demands of the other side without debate, question, or counter-offer? I wonder how many of these folks walk in to the car lot and after the salesperson cites a number they say, "Oh, no you are a great salesman, you deserve more, here's another 10k?"

This.

Stephanie from Nashville, TN

Forty-one is not a very sexy number for a very sexy player?

There are no sexy numbers; only sexy senior writers.

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