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O-Zone: The fun of it

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from Tavernier

Hi, John. Been out of the Zone loop a while. I have heard comments that Trevor needs to throw long because defenses are starting to stack up on the short passes, and also heard that he has not been very accurate on long passes. Do you have any thoughts on all this?

The theory that quarterbacks must hit some deep passes to prevent defenses from crowding receivers at the line of scrimmage is valid. This certainly happens if defenses aren't worried about the threat of long passes. But I honestly haven't sensed this happening with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars' offense this season. Although it did seem the Philadelphia Eagles played tight near the line at times this past Sunday, my thought at the time was that was at least partially due to the Eagles figuring the wet/cold conditions that day would make it tough for Lawrence to consistently throw deep effectively. This is always something to watch, though. Absolutely.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, do you think we can beat the Texans by fifty? That would be sweet because I dislike the Texans more than I dislike the Titans and everyone dislikes the Titans. Now, if we could beat both by fifty that would be nicer. Any chance you could make that happen?

I do not think the Jaguars will beat the Houston Texans by 50 Sunday. I do believe they will win, and I believe they deserve their status as favorites because they have played well enough to earn that. This game is important for precisely that reason – that the Jaguars under Head Coach Doug Pederson haven't played a team that pretty much all observers thought they were "supposed to beat." Even so, this game won't be easy. The Texans have been competitive in all four games this season and they have no reason to believe they won't play well Sunday. How the Jaguars handle this moment will tell us something about this team.

Boxcutter Bill from Mass

The NFL.com power rankings have the Jags at 20 behind a bunch of teams, like the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants. I know you always preach about power rankings and the unimportance, but C'mon!! I know we are supposed to be nice here in the O-Zone, but I hope we beat the brakes off the Texans, and Trevor goes wild. Go Jags!

What are "power rankings?"

Sam from Orlando, FL

The only result that matters this season is if Trevor Lawrence is THE guy. We still await confirmation.

Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, indeed is the overriding storyline this season. He has progressed this season and is showing serious signs he will be the guy. I believe more strongly that he be the guy than I did in the offseason. But no … he hasn't yet proven this beyond a doubt.

J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL

I used to wear my Fred Taylor jersey every game and then I stopped wearing it because we started losing every time I wore it. Then we still were losing. Then I started to pray to win. We were still losing. Then I just stopped going to church. Now I can watch the games.

Do what ya gotta do, J.

Crash from Glen St. Mary

I listened on the radio during our two wins. I watched our two losses on the tube. I promise to be listening this Sunday.

Do what ya gotta do, Crash.

Scott from Palm Coast

Hi John, can you please remind Doug to wear his visor on Sunday (visor 2-0, hats 0-2)?

He's gonna do what he's gotta do, Scott.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - I think the team has had a good start and what will matter is if they improve as the season moves forward to be a true contender for possible playoffs. A big test will be winning at home on Sunday against a weaker opponent and getting a second division win. If they let this get away from them, it will be a low and a setback like other seasons.

Sunday is a big game for the Jaguars for multiple reasons. One indeed is that they're "expected" to win. Another indeed is that they can improve to 2-0 in the AFC South. Still another is that they can move to 2-0 at TIAA Bank Field this season, and it's important for a young team to start proving it is tough to beat at home. A loss wouldn't be the end of the season and it wouldn't mean this season is like "other seasons." But it absolutely will be interpreted as such by many fans and observers.

JR from Callahan, FL

Z one - I'm surprised at how many fans appear to expect a 17-0 season. We're at the first quarter of the season. We haven't won the division and we sure as the sunrise haven't LOST it. This team feels like an early Manning era team EXCEPT we have a legit D. These guys are fun to watch; the Pick 6 had us jumping out of our seats. And Doug Pederson is holding guys to a high standard. Sour Grapers ease up.

One not fer Sour Grapes.

Marcus from Jacksonville

John, it sounds cool and all, but can you explain the mantra, "you throw to score and run to win?" It seems like you do both to score, and you win by scoring. Is there deeper meaning behind it, or is it just a cool catch phrase?

Pederson has said he believes in this. Like most mantras, and like most things in life, the phrase "you throw to score and run to win" isn't perfect and doesn't apply perfectly to all situations. What it generally means is you throw in the modern NFL to get the offense established, score and keep pace/get ahead. It also means throwing short passes on first down to stay in manageable down and distances, with the running game working as a part – and as a complement – to that approach. That's a contrast to the "old-school" mantra that a team had to "establish the run." The "run-to-win" part means you must be able to run enough late in games to control the clock and keep opposing offenses off the field. It is in a sense similar to saying you must "run when you need to run." I suppose those are the "deeper meanings" to the mantra, and it absolutely is a cool catchphrase.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

The Jaguars are 2-2. I admit that is a lot better than I expected. I expected to think you still suck. And you do.

Go Jaguars.

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. If you graded the Jags' quarterbacks would you agree to the following order: Mark Brunell first, David Garrard second, Blake Bortles third, Byron Leftwich fourth? Just assessing the quarterbacks with substantial tenure at the position.

Those are definitely the top four. There could be a discussion about the order Garrard and Bortles, and Lawrence is very much to be determined.

Julianna from Baltimore , MD

John, maybe you can help me understand this better. It seems that the tone when it comes to Jamal Agnew among fans or commentators is negative. Why is that? It seems to me that he is a playmaker when he is on the field, whether on special teams or filling in for the wide receivers. Can you explain that to me? He looks like a solid, reliable playmaker when I've seen him play (especially Sunday with two touchdowns).

I haven't noticed a negative tone with Agnew as much as one that has been slow to acknowledge that he is legitimate wide receiver. This is understandable considering this is just his third full season playing the position after transitioning from defensive back. And while most observers likely wouldn't place him among the Jaguars' top three receivers, that's more a reflection on Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones Jr. But fans seem to like Agnew, and rightly so. He is a high-level returner and is becoming a significant weapon as a receiver.

Bo from Winter Springs, FL

It's the lows that make the highs so good and the highs that make the lows hurt so much. I've enjoyed and hated this season already so much, but the fire is starting to burn again. Let's go!

It has been a while since the Jaguars have been competitive, so it's understandable Jaguars followers have forgotten that pretty much every championship or playoff season features highs and lows. The exception was the 1972 Miami Dolphins, but it has been 50 years since that lone unbeaten NFL season. There have been many great NFL seasons since then, and all have had lows. Those ups and downs are what make the league great. As for the euphoria and heartache of the Jaguars' season to date … this is what it's like to matter. If this season hasn't been fun so far, you probably don't like the NFL.

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