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O-Zone: Two-way street

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jami from Wye Mills

Pitiful. This team isn't even mediocre.

This was a common sentiment in the inbox following the Jaguars' 30-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at TIAA Bank Field Sunday – and understandably so. The 49ers thoroughly dominated in every phase – to the extent that I would call it the Jaguars' most one-sided loss of the season. The score perhaps didn't reflect that, but the game certainly felt that way. The 49ers outgained the Jaguars 333-200 and had a 38:22 time-of-possession advantage – an advantage built largely on a 13:05 game-opening drive and maintained the rest of the game. The game marked the sixth time this season the Jaguars have lost by double digits, so where is this team? Pitiful or mediocre? Well, the truth is they're not mediocre because mediocre teams are average. The Jaguars are 2-8 and 2-8 teams aren't average. They are bad because good teams win games. The Jaguars' reality right now is they are capable of playing good defense as often and not, but they do not appear remotely capable of playing good offense. They have not done that often this season – and not at all since running back James Robinson sustained a heel injury early in Seattle just after the bye. So, pitiful? Mediocre? I don't know. They played poorly Sunday. They played a lot better than that multiple times in the last month, so maybe that's what they are. A team that can play OK when it's playing well and is bad otherwise. That feels right.

Chuck from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Isn't it hard to believe that our offensive talent is as poor as it looks? The offensive game plan hasn't looked impressive in any game. It also looks like coaches have handcuffed our QB, and he's regressing. Speed or not, there have to be plays 20+ yards called regularly. What's to lose?

The Jaguars' certainly currently have a talent issue offensively – and they have a corresponding speed issue. Game plans tend to look unimpressive when that's the case – and there's no question rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence looks uncertain compared to a month ago. I imagine some of that is the lack of success and some of it is the talent issue. I'm sure he also has lost some confident in what's going on around him – and perhaps a bit in himself. As for calling 20-plus-yard plays regularly, that's perhaps more difficult than your question indicates. A lack of speed and playmaking ability at receiver has the effect of defenses playing tighter coverage – and the corresponding effect of allowing defensive coordinators to pressure the quarterback with more blitzing at the line of scrimmage. That in turn gives the quarterback less time to throw and the receivers even less time to get open. When people talk about offenses getting compressed, this is what they mean – and it's happening to the Jaguars' offense in recent weeks.

Tom from Nocatee

Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. displays a callous disregard for the football.

There are times.

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

I'm trying to think of reasons to keep Bevell as OC. I'm not finding many besides not wanting Trevor to have to learn a new playbook, but what a stagnant offense. No movement, nothing creative

I get a few of these after each loss, too – and I got many on Sunday. The Jaguars' offense is struggling – and because it's always coaching in the NFL, many fans are speculating about offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. I don't anticipate the Jaguars' offense improving much the rest of the season. The issues at receiver – lack of playmaking speed, drops, etc. – aren't likely to be resolved in the next few weeks, and Robinson appears significantly slowed since injuring his heel. Could Bevell do a better job? I suppose. Play-calling in the NFL is always up for criticism when it doesn't work. Could many coordinators do better in this situation? Really?

Scott from Jacksonville

Trevor hasn't played long enough or established any kind of standard from which to "regress" at this point in his career. He's a rookie who is naturally going through his ups and downs. Labelling the downs as "regression" feels a bit ridiculous right now. Hopefully Trevor bounces back and gives us a few more ups before season's end.

Good eye.

David from Wallingford

John, I have been a fan since Day One. I tend to believe it's not all coaching but it's players. But how do you not target tight end Dan Arnold once? He has been our best pass catcher last three games. That is the coaching. Man, they are just wearing me out.

Sometimes, it's coaching. Sometimes, defensive coordinators look at video from previous games and say, "Say, the tight end is the best receiving option, so maybe we should take that away?" Perchance – just perchance – there was an element of the latter involved Sunday?

McRib from New Mexico

Trevor Lawrence is the second coming right??? Maybe the second coming of Blaine Gabbert!


Clay from AB, FL

When Jenkins - a captain - was ejected, he happened to walk right by Meyer on the sideline. The exchanges no words. Zero. Is Meyer's level of (dis)engagement on the sideline not very odd?

You're referencing safety Rayshawn Jenkins' ejection after he punched 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings Sunday, a play that not only drew a 15-yard penalty but led to the 49ers' second touchdown. Meyer addressed this afterward, saying that the days of coaches yelling at players in that situation are pretty much over – and he's right about that. He said the reality is NFL players are grown men who know better than to do that in that situation – and he's right about that, too. Either way, Jenkins – a captain – has been penalized in very avoidable situations too often this season. This team can't win giving away points, and Jenkins' penalty was just one instance of the Jaguars doing that Sunday.

David from Eau Claire, WI

This is a historic Jaguars offense.

You're implying that the Jaguars' offense is historically bad. I don't know if it will finish that way statistically. My sense is it won't because there have been a few games in which it has been able to piece together extended drives, and because Lawrence was able to hit some plays early. But throughout the last month or so – particularly since the injury to Robinson – the unit has struggled to an extent I didn't expect. Perhaps the most telling statistic is that the Jaguars haven't scored a touchdown trailing by fewer than 10 points since the victory over the Miami Dolphins on October 17. That has a lot to do with Robinson's injury; the offense just isn't effective right now without him. But whatever the reason, it's a real struggle.

James from Titusville, NJ

Was Peyton Manning's team when he was a rookie as devoid of talent as the Jags are now?

No. Not even close. The Colts had two Hall-of-Fame players at the skill positions – wide receiver Marvin Harrison and running back Marshall Faulk, and Manning talked later of how much Faulk's football intelligence help him that season.

Mike from Boscobel, WI

Losing wouldn't be so horrible if we didn't look so pathetically inept. Would it?

Probably not. The Jaguars didn't look nearly as inept in a loss to the Colts last week and fans generally weren't so upset. The 49ers loss was bad on many levels. Was it horrible? Yeah, pretty much.

Mark from Kansas City, MO

WOW! On television, it looked like the Jaguars were playing in San Francisco because of all of the 49ers jerseys in the crowd. Then I saw the end zones with the Jaguars logos. Embarrassing! That goes for the game, too.

I received multiple emails along these lines throughout and after Sunday's game. You're right. There were a lot of 49ers fans there. And there were a lot of Buffalo Bills fans at TIAA Bank Field a few weeks ago. The reality is those are traditional, established teams with fan bases built on years of success. The Jaguars have struggled a lot in recent years and many fans locally are understandably waiting for this version of the Jaguars to succeed before filling the stadium. When the Jaguars win, this will change. Quickly. Dramatically. Perhaps not until then.

Rob from San Antonio, TX

Are the 49ers that good, or are the Jaguars just that bad?

On Sunday? Both.