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O-Zone: Two more days

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Hermun from Live Oak

O, mighty prognosticator and King. I really, really want this one. I know the Patriots game in 2018 ended up not making a difference for that season, but c'mon. This team is supposed to have the "character" and quarterback the 2018 team didn't have. Sigh. I know I can hear you now. It's the second game of a 17-game season and lots of things can happen.

A lot of Jaguars fans really, really want this game. Coaches and players really, really want it. There are some similarities between the game in which the Jaguars beat the New England Patriots in Week 2 in 2018 at EverBank Stadium and Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the 'Bank. That Patriots team had dynastic qualities, as does this Chiefs team. That Patriots team beat the Jaguars in the previous postseason and this Chiefs team beat the Jaguars last postseason. Your question suggests you know my response. I don't know that that's true. I do know the Chiefs have played host to the last five AFC Championship Games, Head Coach Andy Reid is one of the best head coaches in NFL history and quarterback Patrick Mahomes is currently the NFL's best quarterback. They're a force, and if they're not a dynasty, they're close. This doesn't make beating them impossible. It makes it difficult. These Jaguars do have character. And quarterback Trevor Lawrence is ascending rapidly. Those elements give them a chance Sunday. But the Chiefs are really, really tough.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF - Hopefully, I won't have to roll my eyes this time as I watch the Jags play the Chiefs. As if thumbgate wasn't bad enough with quarterback Tom Brady when we played the Patriots for the AFC Championship in 2017, we had anklegate with Mahomes when we played the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional round this past season. Seriously, rewatch the tape of the game as he alternates between walking normal and then remembering he is supposed to be in pain and walking with a limp. You won't convince me otherwise. I guess even the best players starve for that extra attention for those big games.

To think that an NFL quarterback in any game – much less a postseason game – would occupy his mind faking an injury for attention is to approach a topic from a place I can't hope to understand. Mahomes is a two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time NFL Most Valuable Player. He's trying to win Super Bowls, not garner "extra attention."

Fred from Naples, FL

Last year we gave up over 1,000 yards to tight ends, which was the fourth worst in the league. With basically the same secondary how do we stop Travis Kelce, assuming he plays?

I doubt the Jaguars will stop Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. This is not because the Jaguars aren't good defensively. It's because Kelce is the NFL's best player at his position and he plays with the NFL's best quarterback in Mahomes. Few teams stop them, which is why they have hosted the last five AFC Championship Games and won two Super Bowls in that span. I expect the Jaguars will try to contain and limit Kelce. I expect varying degrees of success.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

What uniform color combination are we wearing for the Chiefs?

Teal on teal.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I really hope Fortner can play. They're all big, but that one is big.

I expect center Luke Fortner, who sustained an ankle injury in Week 1, to play Sunday. I also expect guard Brandon Scherff, who also sustained a Week 1 ankle injury, to try to play and have a chance to play. They are both important.

Mike from Omaha, NE

As my junior high coach used to say, to be the best, you have to best the best!

You go, girl.

Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland

O-man, how does the team typically go about learning from the last game and preparing for the next?

Coaches review video of a game immediately upon its end, with the team plane on road trips filled with coaches watching the game on IPads and taking notes. Monday therefore is a day for corrections and reviewing that game with players before coaches immediately beginning studying the opponent. Coaches work late Monday night, all day Tuesday and into Tuesday night to have the game plan/approach for the following week's opponent ready when players report to the facility for meetings and practice Wednesday. That day and Thursday are the major practice/meetings days, with Friday a lighter day and Saturday a walkthrough with final meetings on Saturday evening. That's the typical preparation schedule for a "typical" regular-season week, which means a game Sunday with another the following Sunday. It's compressed by a day for Saturday games and by two more for Thursday games. The compression of schedule is one of the teams Thursday games are a bit silly and often sloppier than other games.

Shawn from Jacksonville

Hi, John. Have not seen this mentioned except in my first comment to you on Sunday afternoon. On rookie running back Tank Bigsby's first run at the goal line before his touchdown run, he was basically carried forward by rookie tight end Brenton Strange. I know Bigsby was driving his legs, but Strange's heads-up play to grab Bigsby and dragged him almost to the goal line was magnificent. GO JAGS!!!!'


Bruce from Saint Simons Island

O, the Jags are a young and improving team. The Chiefs are not. To me, the key to this week's game is whether Kelce plays and plays well. Father time may be catching up to Kelce. Agree?

The Jaguars are young and improving. The Chiefs may not be improving at as fast a rate, but they're the NFL's model franchise so you wonder how much room there is to improve. Kelce absolutely is a key. He's an all-time great. No players play forever, but Kelce showed no signs of slowing from age last season.

Matt from Orlando, FL

Can you give us some insight into the logistics of getting the team back home after a 1 p.m. road game (or even a late-afternoon game)? I assume it takes a bit of time and teams get a Monday rest day, yeah?

The traveling party – players, coaches, football operations, support staff, etc. – board buses at the stadium an hour-and-a-half-ish after game's end. The buses take the traveling party to the airport, where the team charter departs two-and-a-hours-ish after the game. The plane then flies immediately to Jacksonville. This is essentially the schedule no matter kickoff time. Players typically have a light day Monday or a day off depending on arrival time – with Tuesdays off.

Esteef from AB

Bone bruises can linger if not given appropriate time to heal. Here's hoping Mr. Kelce gives his injury plenty of time to heal. Am being nice.


Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

What do you think was learned in the last meeting of these teams (the playoffs) and Week 1 this year for the Jaguars? Also, do you anticipate the return of Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones to be significant enough to make this an impossible task? One thing is clear, the offense is going to have to play better and more consistent. Rookie mistakes like the fumble/touchdown can't happen because we are not paying attention. Not against the Chiefs. Not only are they the world champs, they also lost week 1 which means they will be extra motivated not to go 0-2.

I think the Jaguars learned that to beat a team as good as the Kansas City Chiefs, you must take advantage of opportunities when they arise. The Jaguars had a chance to win both games in Kansas City last season, but if you let opportunities pass against the Chiefs, they have a way of pulling ahead and making the game feel like it's slipping away quickly. I don't think Jones playing makes the Jaguars' task impossible. Not even close. It does make it more difficult. He's really good.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Why did the Jaguars move on from Quincy Williams?

They didn't think he was one of their best linebackers at the time.

Bo from Winter Springs, FL via India this week

Did you ever get any fan emails complaining about how Jawaan Taylor lined up and started moving a hair before the snap when we played the Chargers and beat them last year in the playoffs? Remember how upset Joey Bosa was about it?

I do recall Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa being upset about then-Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor Bosa during an AFC Wild Card Playoff game last January. I don't recall Jaguars fans writing to the O-Zone complaining. I'm not sure why.

Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland

O-man, I love my Jags, but last year, Mahomes literally beat us on one leg. Have we improved enough this year to overcome his play on two legs?

We'll soon find out.