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O-Zone: Turn it up

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it … Neil from Orange Park, FL:
Not so much a question, but a thought. The Patriots feel like the 1980 Russian hockey team, where the team’s history and mystique would more often than not carry them to victory. Teams would know they were going to lose before they ever got on the ice. Teams seem to feel they will lose before ever arriving at New England. I think the first team that can go in there and ignore everything they have done is the team that can beat them there.
John: Plenty of teams have beaten the Patriots in Foxboro in the last decade and a half – and the Baltimore Ravens won the AFC Championship Game there following the 2012 season. This is not the 1980 Russian hockey team. It’s professional football and players don’t see other professional players as unbeatable; this group of Jaguars players sure doesn’t see other teams that way. The Patriots win at home and on the road because they’re disciplined, organized and play as one – and because they have an all-time great quarterback who is poised under pressure and remains calm in chaotic situations. I’m not trying to say your point has no merit; certainly there are cases in which teams have been overwhelmed by the Patriots in Foxboro. And yes, observers would consider the Jaguars beating the Patriots an upset. But let’s not attach undue mythology to these guys. They’re beatable – and they’re beatable by the Jaguars on Sunday.
Pradeep from Bangalore, India:
Hi, John: Self-proclaimed Killer Bees burnt by silent Double B (Blake Bortles)… you beauty ... All Blake Bortles haters: be ready to eat your words.
John: #DTWD
Michael from Middleburg, MFL:
My wife tells me I act like I have manic depression during the game. I just tell her “Fan gonna fan.” This is fun. Bring on New England. DUUUVAL!
John: If this isn’t fun, being a fan is a waste of time, emotional energy and money because it doesn’t get much better than this. And you tell your wife she can—
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
John: Please explain to me why the Jags’ brass would open the stadium and then allow the players to speak? The one thing they all talked about was that the talking the Steelers did drove them. Now, Jalen Ramsey – whose defense got destroyed by Big Ben – goes and guarantees a win, giving the Pats fuel to their fire. A not-so-smart move by Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin to allow that. You won a game. That was talk enough. Afterwards, go home and prepare for the GOAT at quarterback and coach. They have lost before they ever played the Pats.
John: No, they haven’t – and you know why the Jaguars’ brass allowed the players to speak to the crowd? Because players are allowed to talk in the NFL; Jalen Ramsey and other players talked after the game Sunday and they will talk this week. These are grown men and you can’t legislate what they will or won’t say. They also did what they did Sunday because it was cool; these fans and this team have connected and Sunday was another case of that. And do you know why what Ramsey said was OK? Because this Jaguars team talks, struts and backs up what it says. This is who this team is – for better and sometimes for worse. Here’s another thing about what Ramsey said: I don’t doubt that the Patriots will use it as motivation, and I don’t doubt it will be a topic. But I doubt the Patriots will get seriously angry over it because this isn’t going to be a situation this week where the Jaguars tweet and talk about playing some specific opponent in the Super Bowl. They’re not going to talk about playing the Vikings/Eagles in some matter of fact way like it’s a foregone conclusion. A lot of talk from the Steelers had that overtone last week and the Tweet from Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell Saturday about looking forward Round 2 had an arrogant, disrespectful tone where the Jaguars’ players to a man finally seemed to say “enough is enough.” Also, it stretches reason a bit to think any team is going to overlook a team with a quarterback who has won five Super Bowls and is pretty much a legend.” No one disrespects the Patriots. They may talk about it all week and it may be a topic, but it’s hard to believe Ramsey saying the Jaguars are going to win the Super Bowl is really going to stir the emotional fire in the Patriots’ belly. But who knows? Maybe it will, and if it does … so be it.
Will from Corpus Christi, TX:
I’m extremely happy about the victory. However, I must say I’m upset about our defense giving up three of the most ridiculous touchdowns I have ever seen. We are not going to get away with that against the Patriots. You can’t give up those kinds of touchdowns to any team, let alone the Patriots. Our defense is going to have to play their best defense over the next two games if we are going to be Super Bowl champs. Our offense needs to play as well as it did today. It’s doable. Let’s do it!
John: I Googled this and it turned out I was right: the Steelers are really good offensively. And wide receiver Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are in fact quite likely headed for the Hall of Fame. Great players make huge plays in huge games – and that’s what happened in Pittsburgh. And your premise is inaccurate: you can give up those kinds of touchdowns and win against good teams. The last team to do this? The Jaguars on Sunday in Pittsburgh!! You win in the postseason however you can – and you usually win by responding to great plays made my other teams with great plays of your own. Somewhere along the line you hope you gain enough of an edge or a lead to have more points than the other team when the game ends. I think the Jaguars’ defense must play better against New England than it did against Pittsburgh to win Sunday, but allowing touchdowns to the Steelers doesn’t mean the Jaguars’ defense is horrible. It just doesn’t.
Terry from Miami, FL:
OK, I have had some hours now. The win against the Steelers makes the game plan against the Bills that much more genius! Each game was called exactly the way it needed to be to get the "W"! Our coaching staff has been fantastic; the Bills win showed that as much as the Steelers win did. One for the coaches!
John: The Jaguars approached the Bills game in a way they believed gave them the best chance to win. That was a plan that emphasized the run and made sure they didn’t commit turnovers. The belief was if they did that there was a very low-percentage chance of Buffalo winning. There was never a thought that such a plan would work against the Steelers. And yes … one fer the coaches, because it’s always coaching in the NFL. Win or lose.
Al from Orange Park, FL :
What's the schedule for the Jags this week up to kick off?
John: The Jaguars’ schedule this week will be the same as any week. They will practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and travel to Foxboro, Massachusetts, Saturday. They will play the game Sunday at 3:05 p.m.
Terry from Jacksonville:
Is there a reason Chris Ivory has not played in the last few games??? He has been very good this year backing up Fournette.
John: Game-day actives are about numbers and needs around the roster. It’s difficult for the Jaguars to activate four running backs and have the depth and numbers they want at other positions. Ivory was active a lot this season, but the team’s belief is that the best running-back combination now is Fournette, Corey Grant and T.J. Yeldon. Considering Grant’s speed and how Yeldon played against the Steelers, it’s hard to argue that belief.
Biff from Jacksonville:
Riddle me this, Mr. O-Zone: Who on the defense can match-up with Gronk? Maybe Telvin for length, but not size. And does your wife or son ever call you Mr. O-Zone?
John: The Gronk Issue will be the Question of the Week, and I doubt we get a straight answer from the Jaguars’ coaching staff. In fact, I’d be stunned if we get anything close to a straight answer. The Jaguars love safety Tashaun Gipson in coverage on tight ends, but he left Sunday’s game with a foot injury and did not return. Would the Jaguars dare put cornerback Jalen Ramsey in coverage on Rob Gronkowski? We’ll see. As for your final question, as far as my wife and son are concerned, I can—
Joey from Greenville, SC:
Well, I heard Mike Mitchell sing about her… Well, I heard Le’Veon put her down … Well, I hope the Steelers will remember … A Southern team don't need them around anyhow …
John: Turn it up.

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