JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL
You think "contending for a winning record" would mean Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has "gotten the team right???" Please explain that one. I would define "getting the team right" as a five-to-10 year stretch where we consistently make the playoffs and contend for the Super Bowl (though not necessarily win one because that can require some luck). But to say that contending for a winning record, especially with quarterback Trevor Lawrence on a rookie contract, counts as any type of accomplishment seems like a ridiculously low bar. You said earlier this year (or maybe in the offseason?) you were done grading the Jags on a curve. So much for that. Or is it only Khan himself that you're grading on a curve now? And does the record the last two years play into your answer here? Khan chose to keep General Manager David Caldwell/Head Coach Doug Marrone and then hire Urban Meyer as head coach. It is his fault that we're having to rebuild from that situation again. So when looking at Khan, it's hard for me to see how coming close to a winning record next season would count as a good on-field performance.
Breathe, Michael. Breathe. Better? You're referencing a recent O-Zone answer in which I was asked what Khan would "get right" first: The team, the stadium or the uniforms. I chose to ignore what was perhaps a tinge of snideness in the question and innocently (or so I thought) answered that I believed the team would get right first because I believe the Jaguars will contend or start getting close to contending next season. It wasn't meant to say that one near-contending season would be the end-all. It wasn't meant to "grade" anything or to imply that it's OK to lose. It wasn't meant to give anyone a "pass." It was simply meant to make the point that I expect this to start feeling right under Head Coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. And of course "getting it right" is about more than one season. I expect the Jaguars to contend next season and for that to be the beginning of the team being out of the NFL's lower tier and into the group of teams that can contend. That was it. That was the answer's intent.
David from Chuluota, FL
Ozone – Although this season hasn't gone the way fans had hoped, many of us are encouraged by the progress with most believing the arrow is pointing up. However, the way the arrow is truly pointing will be determined in the next seven games. How many of the remaining games do the Jags have to win for you to feel confident this team is on the rise?
The Jaguars are 3-7 and I'm confident they're on the rise because I have seen significant improvement overall offensively – and I like what I'm seeing overall. If we see in the final seven games what we have seen in the first 10 – competitiveness, solid performances and progression from Lawrence, steady offensive production – then I'll remain confident they are on the rise.
Kevin from Jacksonville
Kenny Landreaux doesn't get nearly enough credit for what he gave to the game.
Damned right he doesn't.
Nate from Orlando, FL
I don't get it, Zone? Why can people not see that D-Money has this thing turned around? Do they not have eyes?
I'll assume that D-Money is Pederson. Why can people not see that he has it turned around? Probably because at 3-7 he doesn't yet have it turned around and it's sometimes difficult to see progress amid the frustration of losing. I suspect Pederson fully understands that some observers can't see it yet. My impression is he is a bit frustrated that the Jaguars don't have two or three more victories, though I do believe he likes a lot of the strides the team has made in 10 games.
Kyle from Orange Park, FL
I don't know why, but I like the Jaguars' chances Sunday. What say you?
I like the Jaguars' chances to compete Sunday. I like their chances to be close in any of their remaining games and to have a chance at the end of all games. If they can convert red-zone opportunities and get late stops, they can beat any team on the schedule. It's hard to pick them against the Ravens because the Ravens are a tough, veteran team that wins games late in the season. That's less a thought on the Jaguars and more a nod to the Ravens.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
A variety of NFL experts and insiders said Lamar Jackson would never be an NFL quarterback. I thought the Jags might have drafted him even though quarterback Blake Bortles had just been extended because the biggest need for the Jags was an offensive spark and it was thought Lamar could be used in a variety of ways while he learned to be an NFL quarterback. The Jags were always loathe to bring in anyone who might threaten Bortles fragile psyche, and they selected defensive tackle Taven Bryan. Bortles won three or four more games while Lamar has won 50 and is an elite quarterback and arguably not only the most exciting player but also the coolest. I hope the Jags beat Lamar and the Ravens on Sunday but my guess is Lamar will rip them up with a classic game-winning drive in the final moments and Jags fans will be left to wonder what if.
I expect the Ravens to win against the Jaguars Sunday and I wouldn't be surprised if Jackson beats them late. It's what he does. I never expected the Jaguars to select Jackson in the 2018 NFL Draft, but it wasn't as much because of Bortles' psyche or being "loathe" about anything as it was because they had just re-signed Bortles and therefore weren't going to draft a quarterback. And yes … Jackson is cool. And exciting. He's better than Bryan. No doubt.
Nick from Virginia Beach, VA
One fer Ellie no doubt. DUUUUUVALLLL
Ellie is coming home soon after ninety days in NICU. We gave a one fer Ellie Saturday. I feel like giving another. One fer Ellie.
David from Orlando, FL
Zone – It seems that within a the span of a few weeks rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd went from being in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year to being in danger of losing his starting a job. This reminded me of the "fall from grace" of offensive tackle Walker Little. In the preseason, many thought he would win the starting left tackle job, then he has a bad preseason game, and his name is mud? What's going on here? Is a rookie quarterback the only one that's given the room to grow while everybody else we can be quick to demote?
I don't know that Little "fell from grace." Cam Robinson was pretty much the starter at left tackle after he signed an extension in the offseason, and Little – a second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – competed with 2019-2021 starter and 2019 second-round selection Jawaan Taylor for the starting right tackle position in 2022 Training Camp. Taylor earned the starting position, which has left Little as the swing tackle behind two more experienced and similarly drafted players. As for Lloyd, he has struggled in recent weeks with some of the looks and speed of a vastly faster game than he played in college. As a result, he is expected to split repetitions with Chad Muma Sunday and perhaps moving forward. I get zero indication that the Jaguars see the move as anything but temporary and a chance for Lloyd to further adjust to the NFL. It's more about playing players who should be playing and who give the team the best chance to win than anything to do with rookie quarterbacks.
Dave from Jacksonville
Zone, you are spot on with your take of the Jags not scoring in the red zone. Perplexing considering the success of the running game. I think it is because Trevor's sweet spot is the 15-20 yard pass. As he ages, he will develop a short field touch. If he does the sky is the limit.
I don't find the red-zone issues perplexing. While the Jaguars are a good running team, they're not yet a great power running team and when the opposition knows they're going to run they're often less effective than they are otherwise. But yes … the Jaguars will improve in the red zone as Lawrence develops. Red-zone effectiveness typically improves as quarterbacks mature. It's difficult down there.
Greg from Fort Worth, TX
Do you think Travis Etienne has a shot at rookie of the year?
No. While Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. is having an outstanding first season in the NFL he is a second-year veteran by NFL rules because he spent his rookie season on injured reserve. Etienne is making a strong case for Comeback Player of the Year, though. To come back from a Lisfranc injury and reach his level of production is impressive. Really impressive.