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O-Zone: Sunglasses at night

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

_Dakota from Dupree, SD          _

Zone, are the Jags quietly contending to be one of the top teams in the AFC?

The Jaguars entering Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa., are 5-2 and lead the AFC South by a game and a half over the Houston Texans. They are one of three teams tied for the No. 2 seed in the AFC with the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs the No. 1 seed at 6-1. The Jaguars are a game behind the Chiefs along with the AFC East-leading Miami Dolphins and AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens. The Jaguars have a victory over the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons and they beat the three-time defending AFC East Champion Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars are contending. Period. There's nothing quiet about it.

Bill from Ponte Vedra

No, Travon Walker is not a bust. Yes, he is playing like a first-round pick. But those are low bars for the No. 1 pick in the whole draft. You can't blame people who wonder how scary the defense would be with Josh Allen and Aiden Hutchinson coming off the edge.

Playing like a first-round selection is not a "low bar." And no one's blaming anyone for anything. The Jaguars' defense is very good with Allen at one outside linebacker and Walker at the other. Would it be better with Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson? Perhaps it would be in passing situations. Perhaps not in other situations. Would the Jaguars' defense be better overall? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Jim from Jagsonville

I don't know what to believe anymore. Should I listen to all the fans say Travon Walker is a bust, or to Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin say Walker is disruptive and must be schemed for?! What does the -Super Bowl-winning head coach of a well-respected NFL team know anyway? I'm sure the fans know more...

Yes, that's logical.

Aaron from Jacksonville

Am I able to watch away games at the stadium? If so, how would I go about doing that?

The Jaguars hosted a watch party for Thursday Night Football this past Thursday. This does not happen every road game.

Mike from Azores

Hey John, you can say that Travon is playing like a first-round pick, but he's not producing like a No. 1 pick, period! He is not an edge pass rusher and doesn't look like he ever will be! Do you think Balkie is not making a move for another pass rusher because it would mean that he admits drafting Travon was a mistake?

I think Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke hasn't made a move for a pass rusher because he hasn't yet found one he believes will help the pass rush – and the defense overall – enough to justify the investment and compensation required to make the move.

Trevor from Cape Girardeau, MO

Through seven games we have seen this offense not be that elite offense we wanted to see. The previous few weeks though we scored quick but then stalled throughout the game, why is that? Are wide receivers not getting open or do we get too conservative? How can that be fixed?

By continuing to work at it.

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

What is latest on Andre Cisco, he left the game with what looked like a leg injury. There was a noticeable drop off when he was out. Do you know if he is gonna miss any significant time?

Jaguars safety Andre Cisco left Thursday's game against the Saints with cramping and practiced limited Wednesday with a hamstring issue. I do not expect him to miss significant time, but hamstrings can be tricky. Stay tuned.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

This game this weekend is going to be a little weird. The Jags play well in the first half, then take their foot off the gas in the second half. The Steelers play like crap in the first half, then play great in the second half. Something has got to give. Here's hoping that it's team good guys for the win. Should be an interesting and fun one to watch.

I agree.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

Anyone who thinks Trevor Lawrence looks like a game manager or bridge quarterback does not have a "good eye."

We live in an era of instant – and constant – analysis, and in era in which snap judgments spread virally through a Twittery, comment, statistics-driven haze. Seen through that haze, those judgments tend to take hold in people's minds and if heard enough they become – in the aforementioned minds of the aforementioned people – "fact." The Twittery, comment haze is not "fact." The Jaguars are good. They have won four consecutive games. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a major reason.

Levi from Huntsville AL

Ok John, gotta call you on this Travon Walker business. Listen, I want him to work out and hope he improves, I really do. But he is not playing like a first-round pick. PFF has him ranked at 82/112 for edge defenders, with a defense grade of 57.9. He just has not been great, not worth the No. 1 overall pick.

Beware the Twittery, commenty statistics-driven haze, good Levi. 'Tis a dangerous thing.

Chuck from Ponte Vedra beach

I'm hoping we trade for a pass rusher. But after this year's draft, I'm wondering what kind of reputation Baalke might have with other general managers. We had a boatload of picks, but unable to trade up. Other than trading up in the past, has Trent ever traded for a player during the season to fill an important role with us or the San Francisco 49ers??

Baalke acquired wide receiver Calvin Ridley in a trade-deadline trade last season. I don't know if Baalke will trade for a pass rusher in the coming days/weekish. If I had to guess, I would guess it wouldn't happen because much has to be right – compensation, role, salary-cap fit, locker-room fit, etc. – to make such a move. If it doesn't happen, it won't be because of relationships with other general managers.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Hi, John. The offensive line so far this season with injury and other absences has risen to occasion. This line is capable of playing wounded and still winning. They got it.


Brendan from Yulee, FL

We should take a page out of the Eagles playbook on third/fourth and short. Have T-Law sneak it with two big dudes behind him giving him a nudge forward. Seems to work well for the Eagles and we suck on short yardage plays. Go Jags.

The Philadelphia Eagles' "Tush Push" has received a lot of attention, partly because they line up extra blockers behind quarterback Jalen Hurts and push him. But those blockers are the dressing to the meat and potatoes of the play, which is Hurts behind a powerful interior offensive line. Hurts is really strong by NFL standards, and so is the Eagles' front. The Jaguars don't run quarterback sneaks as the Eagles do because they have different personnel.

Brad from The Avenues

Looking at the Week 10 league schedule, John. If it were decided to flex the Sunday night game right now, it looks like the Niners at Jags have the best shot at getting it. With so many prime-time games, I'm wondering if I should start readjusting my whole sleep schedule now. DUUUVAL!!!

I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars-49ers game that week is flexed to Sunday Night Football.

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! Do you think the productivity of the defense this year is due to the offense this year putting us in a lead so they can play more "loose"? Secondly, I know everyone is looking at a pass rusher for the trade deadline, but what if we could really get a dominant defensive lineman – not necessarily a rushing defensive end/outside linebacker – instead? If we got more push up the middle, then it would force the play to the edges? What says you O-Zone?

The Jaguars expect to get defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton back relatively soon. He pushes the pocket effectively and it will be interesting to see the overall effect he has on the pass rush.

John from Cape May Court House

I like to think I'm reasonable when it comes to the offense; it's not realistic to expect them to score on every possession. However, one are they really must improve on is on third down. We are currently 27th in the league in third-down conversions, and that's just not gonna cut it. If that can get to league average, well then we might be on to something. That is all. As you were.

The Jaguars have converted 32 of 94 third downs this season. They have had a few games in which they were efficient in the area. They also have had a couple of games in which they have converted crucial third downs at critical moments. That's encouraging and it has helped them get to 5-2. But overall, this will be an area of focus moving forward. No doubt.

Marcus from Jacksonville

If you are the Ozone, who is the Ozone Late Night?

The one with sunglasses.