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O-Zone: The hot guy

JACKSONVILLE – One more day until Look Ahead Wednesday.

As expected, Sunday’s angst and anger still ruled the day Monday – and understandably so.

Let’s get to it …

Chris from Mandarin

You keep saying the Jaguars haven't scored a meaningful touchdown against the Titans since 2016. Call it semantics, or whatever, but that's not really accurate. Yannick Ngakoue's touchdown return on Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry's botched exchange occurred when the score was 12-3 in favor of the Titans last January. This made the score 12-10 and the Jaguars could have won with a field goal. Instead, they gave up an ill-timed first down and the Titans were able to score another field goal. Yeah, the Jaguars lost, but it wasn't a meaningless touchdown. The Jaguars still had an opportunity to win the game after scoring it.

What I “keep saying” – and I know this because I’m the one who has been saying it – is the Jaguars haven’t scored a meaningful “offensive” touchdown against the Titans in three games. I’m aware that Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue scored a touchdown in Week 17 last season, and I’m equally aware the touchdown was meaningful. I think you’ll find that I specifically said “offensive” in most of my references to this, and that I clearly was talking about the offense in most other references. It’s entirely possible I didn’t refer specifically to offense on every mention before, during and since the loss to Tennessee Sunday. I realize this because while I am undeniably good and arguably great, I’m not perfect. Not yet, anyway.

Moshe from Mexico

Where is the Jags’ running game?

Thirteenth in the NFL.

Steve from St. Mary’s, GA

I never expected the Jags to win EVERY game, but I did expect them to win this past Sunday against the flaming thumbtacks. Hopefully, this loss will light a fire under their butts and they'll be ready to play and win against the Jets. I made a bet with my next-door neighbor (a Jets fan). I don't want to have my picture taken wearing a Jets jersey. GO JAGS!!

I expect the Jaguars to be ready to play against the Jets, and I expect them to win. Though I didn’t love the Jaguars’ chances Sunday, I expected them to be ready to play the Titans – and I believe they were ready.  You don’t always lose in the NFL because you’re not ready. Sometimes you lose because you don’t play well or because the other team outplayed you.

Mike from Eagan, MN

While we scoff at Brian from Round Rock's response about losing support of the fan base, I'd argue there may have been an issue before the game was over. The stadium looked empty going into halftime (especially in the 400 level), and it looked even more empty into the third quarter. Where were the fans this week? A close, hard-fought defensive game against a division rival, and the local fan base doesn't make it out? Only show up for who THEY determine are the "big" names in the NFL? This game was way bigger than the Patriots game, in the grand scheme of things. C'mon, Duval, where the heck were you??

The fans were there Sunday – an impressive number of fans, actually. Many were inside at halftime and some stayed inside in the third quarter. You know why? Because it was hot – and to listen to those who were outside, it felt hotter than it did against New England the previous week. There were those who considered it one of the hotter games in Jacksonville in recent memory. And before you scoff and say the fans should have been in their seats, remember: Heat is a real issue at NFL games in Florida in September whether you’re in Jacksonville, Tampa or Miami. It always has been this way, and I don’t anticipate it changing.

David from Jacksonville

Any chance for some shade? If they are going to keep scheduling 1 p.m. September games, we have to find a way to get some shade over TIAA Bank field. The heat I can take; the sun was just too brutal. Usually if I miss a Jags game it’s not because of the opponent, our record or how we are playing. It’s because of the sun.

This is absolutely a fair point. I get the idea this will be something the team and city will address eventually, though I don’t have a sense that it’s imminent.

Sadjag from Duval, I guess

Does Blake have a hurt throwing arm? I ask because I’m looking for reasons why he was so terrible this past game. Is his arm weakened by an undisclosed injury and that is why he couldn’t get it over the line of scrimmage? I drank the Kool-Aid last game and actually thought Blake might be making strides towards being good but then Sunday happened and all the same feelings about Blake came back.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles does not have a hurt arm. What he had Sunday was a bad game on a day when many other Jaguars offensive players also had a bad game. Bortles has made dramatic strides over the course of the last season or so. He is by any definition much better now than he was in 2016 or any time before that. But he still almost certainly is not going to play every week as he did against the New England Patriots Saturday. He and the Jaguars’ offense probably are going to have a couple of more games this season that draw a lot of angst and criticism from observers. But just because this is true doesn’t mean he’ll be bad every week or that he’s bad overall. He’s inconsistent and the Jaguars’ offense is, too. But you know what? A lot of NFL offenses – even a lot of pretty good ones – are sometimes inconsistent. The Jaguars’ task this season is to get it as consistent as possible, get to the playoffs and string a stretch of consistent games together. That’s very doable. We’ll see if they do it.

Kris from Neenah, WI

After careful thought and deliberation, I too have decided I hate the Titans.

Yep.

Mike from Jacksonville

I was wondering why we didn't try to push the ball down the field more often. It seemed as though the Tennessee defense was playing close to the line and that we should have taken some shots downfield. What are your thoughts?

I think Bortles should have thrown downfield more Sunday. I also think the Titans’ secondary typically plays in such a way to limit big plays and keep receivers in front of them, therefore making it trickier to try to throw downfield even when those shots are called. I do think sometimes Bortles errs on the side of checking down to the lower-risk option rather than to take the chance throw. The benefits are that overall you reduce turnovers, which is key to what the Jaguars want to do offensively and defensively. The downside is that sometimes you get games when you feel like the Jaguars didn’t throw downfield enough.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

It almost appeared the team did not prepare at all for the possibility that Marcus Mariota could play. Once he came in the game we seemed to lose all control and ability to stop a mediocre offense, without a tight end. The Titans literally were using third and fourth options at that position due to injury. Just proves that old saying "Any Given Sunday."

The Jaguars prepared for both Blaine Gabbert and Mariota. They were more effective early when Gabbert was playing because he’s less mobile and they were able to pressure him more. Mariota, remember, was effective on Sunday mostly because of his ability to make plays with his legs and to make “adlib” plays. When quarterbacks are making plays like that, defenses sometimes look unprepared. They’re not. Sometimes it’s just the other guy making plays.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I watched your pregame show. It strikes me now that Jeff Lageman was the only one not predicting a major blowout. Jeff cautioned that Tennessee had a very good defense, and pointed out that Bortles, while greatly improved, still hasn’t proven he can be consistent. In hindsight, and with all due respect to our Senior Writer, Jeff kinda looks like the smartest dude in the room.

Wow. All Hail Jeff Lageman – and you’re correct that he talked on the pregame show on the Jaguars Radio Network about being concerned about this game. Still, I absolutely had a similar feeling about this game and expressed as much not only on the pregame radio show, but here on this (free) website in written and video form. I actually don’t recall a recent Jaguars game that I had a worse feeling about in the days leading up to it than Sunday’s game – and I said so often enough that I worried I was repeating myself to the point of being more irritating than usual. I did say – and did believe – that I thought the Jaguars would figure out a way to win, but predicting a major blowout? I said nothing to remotely indicate that. Either way, yeah … All Hail Jeff.

Tom from Charleston, SC

Last week you were very quick to point out how Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone outcoached Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, how Jaguars offensive coordinator Nate Hackett called a near perfect game, how Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles outplayed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and how execution was near perfect. Can you admit that this week the team failed in each of those areas? Oh, and what happened last year has no bearing at all in what happens this year.

Of course the Jaguars failed offensively on Sunday. That’s what happens when you score six points in an NFL game. And of course what happened last season has no bearing on this season. I’m trying to remember where I argued this point, though I’m sure someone can remember. Say … maybe Lageman did. Word is he’s on a hot streak lately.

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