JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
Zone, enough already. This team can't win offensively playing this way. Sixteen points in two games? In today's NFL? They must test teams downfield. When are we going to see this? Can T-Law get it done?
Good eye – and to an extent, good analysis. You're correct that the Jaguars will have a difficult time winning playing as they are offensively. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's longest passes the last two games have been 17 and 23 yards, with both passes comparatively short then turned into longer gains by the receiver. That has been something of a season-long trend that has worsened in recent weeks, and it has allowed defenses to blitz Lawrence with little fear of being beat deep. It also has allowed defenses to play aggressive coverage and defenders in the box against run – also with little fear of being beat deep. Why is this happening? A few reasons. Lawrence has missed some receivers when opportunities have been there. The offensive line has allowed some pressure that has disrupted potential big plays. There are also times that the defense just wins or is in the right call; as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell noted this week, sometimes the right call is to not throw deep if the defense is in a certain coverage. But the thought here remains that it's primarily because the wide receivers aren't consistently getting open and straining secondaries. The Jaguars undoubtedly will continue focusing heavily here. Head Coach Urban Meyer and Bevell are well aware of the need to stretch the field – not only to create points but to loosen defenses. I expect to see improved results, though I don't know that it's realistic to expect the Jaguars to suddenly be good in this area. Not this season.
Dave from Jacksonville
Wizard. How much of an influence has Myles Jack had in the development of Josh Allen's linebacker skills? It just seems both players reaction to the ball has improved as this season is progressing.
I don't know how much one has to do with the other. Jack and Allen are both elite talents and very good linebackers – with outstanding football sense. Allen in particularly played a 3-4 while at Kentucky and therefore has experienced dropping into coverage and playing off the ball. Both Jack and Allen are getting more comfortable in the Jaguars' new defensive scheme. As that happens, it's natural skilled players would perform better.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, when a lineman beats another lineman, is it usually because of brute strength or more related to technique?
In the NFL, it's usually about technique – particularly if you're discussing pass rush. There are exceptions, but most offensive linemen are strong enough to not get consistently overpowered by defensive linemen. The best pass rushers are usually the ones who know how to use their technique – particularly their hands – to get the offensive linemen's hands away, or to get the offensive linemen off balance.
Al from Orange Park, FL
Michael hates the focus on taunting. He wants to be entertained. I disagree. I'd prefer to be entertained by good quality football. I dislike the celebrations more than I dislike the taunting. They are lame and egotistical. What I hate even more is players who think that the need to signal all of the ref calls or begging for a flag. You're not helping your case, dude. After a touchdown, Walter Payton would hand the ball to one of his linemen and let them spike it. Now, that was a class act. You stay off my lawn, I'll stay off yours...
I'm OK with a lot of the celebrations. I'm particularly OK with them after a player has done something of note worth celebrating – a sack, turnovers, huge play or touchdown. I find a lot of the celebrations amusing and entertaining. The in-your-face bravado and constant showing up is wearisome, though – and my sense is that's what the league wants stopped. I don't see the league suddenly saying, "Taunting is OK." What's needed is more consistency across all officiating crews about the definition of taunting. I expect this to improve with time moves, though there almost certainly always be some gray areas when this is called. People celebrate in different ways and people are going to interpret celebrations differently. There's not much of a way around that.
Rob from St Augustine, FL
If a team claims a player, does the player get to "say no" and not sign there? Or would he be forced to play for the team that claims him?
You're referencing the NFL's waiver system. This typically applies to players with four seasons experience or less let go by teams – or players let go by teams after the league's trade deadline. A player can theoretically say no if claimed on waivers, but he would be a holdout and not eligible to sign with another team.
Braddock from Jax
Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberry. But seriously, if Cisco is not playing there is probably a reason. Might not be a good reason. You know I used to believe no matter what I see; these coaches are in position to make better decisions than I would. However, after watching the futility of this franchise post-Coughlin and every year begging the Jags to draft guys only to see them pass and miss on almost everyone else … I lost faith. I was the guy begging Meyer to select Cisco on Twitter during the draft and find it really hard to believe that he isn't the best ball hawk on the team. He needs to at least play on third down and nickel situations.
You're loss in faith in understandable based on the Jaguars' performance in recent seasons, but it doesn't change the fact that the coaches are indeed in the best position to make decisions. There remains high faith and belief around the franchise that Andre Cisco, a third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, will be a key part of the defense at some point. He also may have the best ball skills over the long term of any Jaguars safety. But for right now, in the context of what the Jaguars are doing defensively, coaches believe Andrew Wingard gives them the best chance to win.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
If a team has, say, the 38thoverall draft pick and they want to move up to the mid-20s, what typically would they have to give up with the 38th pick to get there?
It would usually take something in the area of a third-round selection.
Michael from Jacksonville Beach, FL
A lot of people picking the Jags, Zone. That makes me uneasy. Set me straight.
People are indeed thinking more highly of the Jaguars this week than a week ago, and the Jaguars very much earned that confidence with a 9-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills last week. With two victories in three games, there is at least a hint of momentum around the franchise. I believe in that momentum in the sense that I believe the Jaguars will play well defensively Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts and I don't believe we'll see a repeat of their last road game – an embarrassing display in a 31-7 loss to Seattle two weeks ago. I doubt we will see a second consecutive victory because the Jaguars' offense is struggling. The offense is such right now that it usually must drive the length of the field using double-digit plays to score touchdowns. That's not always, but it's usually. It's really tough to score in the high 20s playing that way because NFL defenses usually find a way to disrupt an extended drive. The Colts are playing really well offensively. Maybe the Jaguars will turn in a second consecutive stellar defensive effort. But it feels as if that's what it will take for the Jaguars to win and it's tough to expect that every week.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, do you smell that? I think that might be the smell of another sweet victory on Sunday!
I usually blame the dog for any unidentified "smell." More often than not, it's me.
Revron from Mandarin
Ok, O! Fifth-time questioner and even 2 times published. I have been a faithful Jaguars supporter since the beginning and will try to keep my questions objective rather than subjective. Although I should know: what is the "nickel" and dime defense?? Although I am a passionate fan many fans and readers aren't knowledgeable about the terminologies of the finer points. So, Ford played good nickel last week. Was it craps or football?
"Nickel" defense refers to coverage with a fifth defensive back. "Dime" defense refers to coverage with a sixth defensive back. "Dime" might make more sense if there were 10 defensive backs. I suppose whoever came up with "dime" figured that was easier than calling such a defense "nickel and a penny" or something of the like.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Do you bite your thumb, sir?
I'm not biting my thumb at you, but I am biting my thumb.