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O-Zone: True confidence

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Rob from San Antonio, TX

What do you expect from Eagles fans towards DP on Sunday? I'm thinking they'll be sentimental to see him at first but will be acting like Philly fans usually do by halftime. I hope you and yours stay safe with the hurricane coming!

Good eye. This is a popular topic this week in the O-Zone and among pretty much anyone interested in the Jaguars' game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., Sunday. Pederson was the Eagles' head coach from 2016-2020, leading the team to three postseason appearances and a victory in the Super Bowl following the 2017 season before being fired following the '20 season. While Pederson's departure – and status as the opposing coach – certainly raises the possibility of Philadelphia's infamously "rowdy" fan base greeting him with boos Sunday, those who follow the Eagles closely don't expect. This is because Pederson generally was-liked in Philadelphia, which is as expected because he generally is likeable. He also gave the city its greatest football moment since the late 1940s with the victory over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in February 2018. Philly fans won't soon forget that, if ever. How will he be received Sunday? I think you have it right. I would expect fans to cheer Pederson before the game as someone who forever will be beloved in their city. I expect him to be booed once the game begins as a member of the Jaguars. That's what Philly fans do, as pretty much all fans do for that matter.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Jags weren't predicted to win last week (not by me) and people (you included) think we won't win this weekend, either. Eagles are undefeated, but looking at who they played, I'm not entirely convinced that we won't win this weekend. Sign me up for another Jags W. Eventually you will join the train.

I said before this two-game road stretch versus the Los Angeles Chargers and Eagles that if the Jaguars won one of those games, I would believe they are good. They beat the Chargers by 28 points Sunday, so punch my ticket; I'm on board the train. I still expect the Eagles will win Sunday because they're fully healthy, playing well and playing at home. If the Jaguars were to play four of five road games against opponents playing as well as the Eagles are playing, I would expect them to win a few and lose a few. I also don't expect the Jaguars to go 16-1 this season. Because I believe they will lose a few more times this season, it's reasonable that one of those losses could come Sunday. But I think the Jaguars will play well Sunday and continue to play well moving forward. And I expect they will win more than they lose. So … sound that whistle. Woo, woo.

Bob from Neptune Beach, FL

It's great to play meaningful football games in October finally.


Johnny from Westside AFC South Leading Side

I have fanned for the Jags from the beginning and through Mortens's miss and AFCCGs but also through Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles and Urbane Miller, so it's really hard to believe. I believe, but it's like Charlie Brown and Lucy: it still feels like the ball will get yanked away at the last second (a la Myles Jack). I think that's why we fans are so ... wonky right now. It's near-impossible to really believe.

Fans fan. They also get wonky. It's what they do. But this Jaguars team is doing winning things for solid, sustainable reasons. Trust it. There's no reason not to do so.

Chuck from OP South

This can't be real, because you know, we cancelled three minicamp practices.

I smiled at this.

David from Jacksonville

John, the Jaguars have played absolutely amazing so far this season. I'm genuinely excited about the team for the first time in a long time. One thing I saw while watching the past three games, Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell has given up a touchdown on a go route in each game. Each time he does not get his head turned toward the ball. Is this a technique or awareness? On all other type of routes he is very strong in defending.

Ball awareness in this situation has been an area where Campbell has struggled since the beginning of his 2021 rookie season. He made strides in the area last season. It seems to again have been an issue at times this season. Campbell so far in his career has shown the ability to improve. Considering his talent level and focus, I would expect he will focus here and improve. Stay tuned.

Four-putt from Jacksonville

Thank you, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan for hiring Doug Pederson. Everything in the past is forgotten and forgiven. My goodness … we look like a REAL NFL team!

Hey, one fer Khan – and Pederson.

Robert from Moorpark, CA

In spirit of Papa Pederson's philosophy, "So what, now what?" … if I and many Jaguar fans were worried this team would not be competitive against the Chargers, I am even more anxious about our next matchup. As a fanbase, we're used to extreme highs and agonizing new lows. Is there any evidence this team will not be competitive in Philadelphia? Please, for the love of Duval, don't mistreat me Jaguars. Just be competitive against the Eagles. With that said, absolutely loving this new era in Jacksonville!

The only "evidence" available for the 2022 Jaguars is how the 2022 Jaguars have played in three games. They have been balanced, playing well on offense and defense. They have a plus-eight turnover differential and are leading the NFL in run defense. They didn't play particularly well against Washington Week 1 and lost. They played very well in Weeks 2 and 3 against Indianapolis and the Los Angeles Chargers. There is no evidence to suggest they won't be competitive Sunday.

Rook from Greenville, SC

Let's not give 'ol Trent a break just because we're finally winning. A broken clock finds a squirrel twice a day, or something like that. Just because we're winning now, doesn't mean we didn't suffer under his hand this whole time.

How you feel about Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke is your business. But I don't quite understand your phrase "this whole time." Baalke has served as the Jaguars' "permanent" general manager the past two seasons. The 2021 season was a disaster for many reasons, but he served as interim general manager for five games in 2020 after joining the franchise as director of player personnel in the 2020 offseason. Like Baalke or dislike him, but it's incorrect to associate him with any of the franchise's difficulties before he joined the organization.

Daniel from Jersey City

O-man, are you ever going to listen to Coach and move ahead on Tuesday instead of Wednesday?

Pederson knows where to find me.

Nick from Palatka, FL

So Zone: What excuses are the national media going to offer for the Eagles when we annihilate them at Veteran's ... er ... Lincoln Financial Field this weekend??

If that happens, there won't be any "excuses" – nor would I expect the national media to offer any. While I understand this fan base's tendency to believe the Jaguars are "disrespected," the national media is not invested in disrespecting the Jaguars. They try to cover/discuss teams of national interest – and if they missed on the Jaguars' storyline the last two weeks, a major reason was that the Jaguars haven't been particularly interesting nationally until now. There were very legitimate reasons many national-media types analyzed the Jaguars' last two games as they did. The Indianapolis Colts in Week 2 were without linebacker Shaq Leonard and wide receiver Michael Pittman; when the Jaguars beat the Colt 24-0 it was enough of a surprise that it was easy to talk about the injuries and the Colts' long road losing streak to Jacksonville then move on to the next game. The Chargers in Week 3 had an injured quarterback, Justin Herbert, whose profile was significant enough that that was an obvious postgame storyline whatever the outcome. The Jaguars will play a healthy Eagles team Sunday and the national media now had two weeks to mentally come to grips with this team being good. If the Jaguars win Sunday, they'll get their coveted "respect." And thou shalt sing Hallelujah choruses. And it will be good.

Earl from Middleburg, FL

O, it may not be obvious to some but one thing I've noticed on Jaguars fourth downs is that Coach Pederson doesn't do what soo many coaches I've seen do: That is bend over with hands on knees staring down the line of scrimmage with what looks to be hope in their eyes. Coach P is either checking the play card or talking to other coaches. Players respond to "true" confidence. Coach P talks it and Coach P walks it. Ay?