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O-Zone: Very cool indeed

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Al from Orange Park, FL

That's more better …

The Jaguars indeed turned in their best performance of the 2021 preseason Sunday with a 34-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game came in the preseason finale and gave the Jaguars what they wanted and needed – momentum, confidence and offensive rhythm entering the regular season. It was unquestionably the best performance for rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence in three preseason starts. Lawrence looked the part of the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completing 11 of 12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. And it wasn't just statistics for Lawrence Sunday. He looked comfortable and confident, making multiple accurate and well-timed throws. The Jaguars got Lawrence outside the pocket, put him in the shotgun and he thrived playing essentially as did in college. He led touchdown drives on two of three possessions Sunday after the first-team offense had just one field goal on eight previous preseason possessions, so yes … it was definitely "more better." The caveat to all this is the performance came in a game in which the Cowboys held out nearly all starters. Still, the Jaguars needed to look good Sunday. Whatever the circumstances, that's what they did.

Vince from Farmington, NM

Wow… And this time the good kind!

It was a good effort. The Jaguars scored many points. They looked good offensively. They looked good defensively. Considering the Cowboys were playing mostly backups and reserves, the Jaguars were supposed to look good offensively and defensively. But they did. So that's what happened.

Brad from The Avenues

I like smiling. Do you like smiling, John? I like smiling so hard that it hurts.

I'm not familiar.

Richard from Jacksonville

Zone. Hope is a dangerous thing. Drive a man insane.

I'm not familiar.

Nancy Negative

Fact: you are never as bad as they say you are when you lose, and you are not as good as they say you are after you win. Happy for the win, but it was against a team sitting 37 of their 53-man roster. Not sure that means much but hey … it looked good! Next one counts. Hopefully, this good look continues. But I won't hold my breath, sadly.

This is not a negative observation. This indeed is an absolute fact. You're never as bad as they say you are when you lose (though I have seen teams that are close) or as good as they say you are when you win, and the Jaguars probably aren't as good as they looked Sunday. Head Coach Urban Meyer was the first to acknowledge after Sunday's victory that the Cowboys were not only sitting most contributors, they also were playing very basic schemes. The realty is as you suggest: This team is somewhere between the one that had fans so disconsolate after Preseason Weeks 1 and 2 and so giddy Sunday. It's an improved one, but probably not a contending one. We'll see.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

What stood out to me about Lawrence was his instincts. I was watching him take the snap and go through his reads and it just seemed effortless. Looks like he's just taking a quick look and lets his eyes tell him where the openings are. It's a very small data set, but he kind of looks like he is beyond his peers in going through the reads and processing and diagnosing the play. You watched Manning all those years, what do you think about Trevor in this area?

Lawrence seems fine in this area for a rookie. I can't rightly analyze how he is going through reads and progressions, because doing those things is dramatically different in the regular season than the preseason. It's also far too early to mention Lawrence in the same breath as Peyton Manning, who was as good as anyone ever to play in this area. Lawrence is good for his age. He undoubtedly will improve. We'll check back in a few years to see how he compares to Manning.

Mark from Archer, Fl

John, let's hope Lawrence's performance for the final preseason game will quiet a lot of people. The kid had a near perfect game. If he can play like that all year the Jags are going to be in a very good spot.

Lawrence's performance Sunday absolutely quieted many people. He played well. He will have games in which he doesn't play nearly as well. Those same people will not be as quiet when that happens.

Lewis from J'ville

John, with both Tim Tebow and Gardner Minshew II gone, who do you think will provide the Mania this year. You can't pick Trevor Lawrence.

Brian Sexton.

Clayton from Shawnee, OK

Phillip Dorsett has to be on the 53-man roster come Week 1. What a play down the Cowboys' sideline, and a beautiful throw from Trevor Lawrence!

I would be stunned if Jaguars wide receiver Phillip Dorsett II isn't on the roster – and this was the case before he made a 38-yard, tip-toe reception down the right sideline Sunday. He has elite speed. That was why Meyer and the Jaguars pursued him as an unrestricted free agent, and that's why he will be on the roster.

Johnny from Westside via East Palatka, FL

Welp, zone, that was dumb. A sixth-round pick (with one glaring exception) is not considered a premium pick. Furthermore, salary cap wasn't an issue. So then maybe we traded Gardner out of respect? Maybe now he can go legitimately compete for a starting job? Otherwise it was exceptional Jaguars faith in C.J.'s skillset, given he's a strained hammy from starting his first NFL game... Which is it do you suppose? Foolishness? Faith in Beathard? Kindness to a really great dude? Love the show

The Jaguars traded quarterback Gardner Minshew II to the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday because he wasn't going to be the backup quarterback and because they received a sixth-round selection in the trade. It was not foolish. It did show faith in C.J. Beathard as the backup. Was there respect involve? I suppose. Kindness? Sure. But mostly they didn't believe he was one of the top two quarterbacks on the roster and that he didn't fit what they wanted to do. Minshew had struggled mightily during the vast majority of his in-game opportunities since early last season. Sometimes it's just time to move on.

Chris from San Diego, CA

Any chance Houston starts its second- and third-string week 1? We could really dominate.


David from Maplewood, NJ

John, he would have been third string? Really? Do honestly think Beathard is better? Hypothetically could we get anything back in trade compensation for C.J.? The answer is no. Not saying they should have kept Minshew, but let's just be honest, can we. We traded out second-best quarterback away, that's what we did.

Yes, he would have been third-string quarterback. Yes, Beathard is honestly better. We're being as honest as we can be. The Jaguars didn't trade away their second-best quarterback.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Is Cotton maybe the looked-over wide receiver that we all haven't been talking about enough? Has he stood out in practice also? He seems like he is going to force himself onto the team.

Jaguars wide receiver Jeff Cotton Jr. indeed flashed Sunday. That's good for him and I expect he will be on a practice squad somewhere this season. I expect there's a good chance that will be with the Jaguars because he played well at times in 2021 Training Camp. I do not expect he will be on the Jaguars' 53-man roster, and I doubt he will be on another team's active roster. Here's hoping he indeed is on the Jaguars' practice squad. He looks like he has potential.

CC from Duval

Cotton has earned a spot on the 53-man roster! DTWD

Likely not.

Amy from Jacksonville

Hey, O. I think you're my head. Heard a lot of my Jags friends saying we couldn't get more for Gardner? And I said apparently not. Get off my lawn.

Well said, Amy. Those who don't understand how the Jaguars didn't get more for Minshew don't understand how trades work around the league and they don't understand Minshew's value around the NFL. The Jaguars got a fair deal for Minshew: a sixth-round selection that could turn into a fifth. That's about his value. It just is.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL (via Fort Lauderdale, Fl)

Zone: I don't recall the last time I watched the Jags play that consistent and well-rounded of a quarter of football (Including in '17). I recognize it's preseason, and the Cowboys held out a lot of starters; but, if preseason struggle can warrant fanning, then I won't feel bad about getting fired up for seeing how the ones played Sunday. Excited for the season. Thanks and Go Jags!!

Winning is cool. People like it. Even in the preseason.