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O-Zone: Well-deserved

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Marcus from Jacksonville:
It doesn't always bother me when the Jags get no respect from the national media – I've gotten used to it for the most part. But after a gutsy win, it is a little annoying to only hear about Ndamukong Suh's "freelancing" on defense being the Dolphins' downfall and the personal foul being the thing that moved the Jags into field-goal range for the win. The Jags were in field-goal range before that play … without the penalty, they would have been kicking a 42-yard field goal for the lead. Give credit where credit is due, people.
John: What better way to finish our Dolphins-Jaguars talk than with a little discussion of national R-E-S-P-E-C-T? It's pretty well-documented that I'm not big on worrying about respect from national media. It will come with consistent winning, and that will take time. Probably, it will take more time than Jaguars fans would like, but hey … there are bigger problems in the world. To your points, people can talk about Suh's reported freelancing and the 15-yard penalty on Olivier Vernon at the end of the game all they want. Yes, the Dolphins made mistakes. You know what? The Jaguars made mistakes Sunday, too. The Jaguars made key plays at the end of the game. As a result, they won the game. That's what matters.
Joel from Boston, MA:
The second-half dips in offensive production are part of the ebb and flow of the game. What's most concerning is that a number of possessions don't even last 60 seconds. The defense gets no rest and you gain no field position. I'd be happy with just a first down or two.
John: I'll double-check this, but I'm relatively sure three-and-out possessions that take no time off the clock are not part of the game plan.
Adam from Bryan, TX:
Hey, John: two questions. Why didn't Gus Bradley challenge the spot of the ball on our last drive when T.J. Yeldon was marked short of the first down? I thought he clearly had the first down; we could have ended the game right there with the first down instead of giving Miami one last chance. Also, why did we keep running the ball in the third and fourth quarter when Miami was clearly stacking the box? It kept putting us in third-and-long situations. We should have put the ball in Blake's hands and maybe we could have won a little easier.
John: Hey, Adam: two answers. Bradley didn't challenge on the final drive because winning spot-of-the-ball challenges is very difficult in the NFL; it better be really, really clear or it is rarely overturned. As for why the Jaguars kept running … an effective running game often is hard-earned through repeated attempts even when those attempts aren't producing breakout runs. In other words, if you're going to run effectively you usually have to stick with it.
Doug from Jacksonville:
I imagine people will be talking about fewer drops, but the huge thing in my opinion is no sacks. Huge. Last week the 'O' line had been dubbed terrible and we were doomed.
John: A lot changed in a lot of areas for the Jaguars from Week 1 to Week 2. One of those things indeed was the sacks allowed. A lot of people laughed, mocked and ridiculed when I said the Jaguars' offensive line didn't play like it gave up five sacks in the opener. It just didn't feel like the same offensive line performance that we saw a lot of last season. On Sunday, it had the zero-sack statistic to back up that feeling. People will still laugh, mock and ridicule me; just maybe not because of what I say about the offensive line. At least not this week.
Paul from Jagsonville:
How many Jaguars players play Madden? My son would like to know.
John: A lot.
James from Destin, FL:
John, hate to be a Debbie Downer. However, I couldn't bring myself to celebrate after this win. There were still too many drop passes and stupid penalties. The only constant shining star I saw was Jason Myers.
John: Really? That's your takeaway? If so, you're interested in the wrong sport. You're not going to watch that many perfect performances in the NFL. The Jaguars Sunday won with a performance that was far-less than perfect. That's a good thing.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Since Chad Henne is one of the best quarterbacks not currently starting for an NFL team, is there any chance the Jags explore a trade with the Cowboys? I imagine their first inclination will be to stick with their backup, who has been in the system, but if he struggles in the coming weeks, do think it's possible?
John: I seriously doubt this will be an option. The Jaguars have two quarterbacks. One is starter Blake Bortles. The other is Chad Henne. If they trade Henne, that would leave the Jaguars with … one quarterback. That would make the Jaguars not very deep at quarterback.
Chris from Jacksonville:
So, TJ is great, don't get me wrong, but I want to see more Denard Robinson in the mix. He's a pretty gifted runner in his own right, and, if they start focusing on T.J., that'll leave openings for Robinson to show off his speed. One carry just made me sad. Make me feel better O-Zone: tell me I'll see more of my boy on the field!
John: I got several versions of this email Sunday and Monday. Denard Robinson sustained what is being reported as a sprained medial collateral knee ligament Sunday and is considered week-to-week. He sustained the injury on his first carry of the game. I have no doubt he would have carried much more if not for the injury and that he will carry much more when healthy. He has earned it.
Kevin from Richland, WA:
I don't think the Miami media is very happy that the "lowly" Jaguars beat up their hometown Dolphins. Apparently it wasn't very nice of the Jags to spoil their weekend and actually have the most competent team on the field. Do you feel bad that you have caused such consternation for your fellow brethren in the Miami media?
John: I don't know that my friends, brethren and cohorts in the Miami media are much concerned about me, but this is not an unexpected phenomenon. The Jaguars haven't been very good for a while and they lost their season-opener. The Dolphins after a high-profile offseason expect to be good and the media that covers the team has similar expectations. Considering those dynamics it's not surprising that the media covering the Dolphins focus more on what the Dolphins did wrong than what the Jaguars did right.
Adam from Section 124:
I'm as giddy as the rest of the fans, and it felt darn good to notch a 'W.' But I hope we are not establishing a trend. Two weeks in a row, our offense decided to hibernate in the second half. We won't win many more if the plan is to build a halftime lead in every game and then hold on for dear life through the last two quarters.
John: That's obviously not the plan, Adam. The NFL is a tough league. It's not uncommon to have stretches where you play well followed by stretches where the opponent outplays you – and vice-versa. It's a game of ebbs and flows and stops and starts, with the better teams figuring out a way to win close games. Look at this week's opponent: the Patriots. They outplayed Buffalo throughout much of the game Sunday and still had to make big plays at the end to win by eight. There's a reason it's rare to play the backup quarterback in mop-up duty in the NFL. It's because there isn't a whole lot of mop-up time.
Dalton from UCF:
I would have kneed the ball to end the half. I guess that would've been a #kindergarden move.
John: I probably would have bene kneeling beside you. The Jaguars went a little against the percentages there, and they took a chance. It paid off.
Jeff from Jacksonville and Austin, TX:
John, I can't express enough my enjoyment of watching our team playing like a "team." It's been a long time since I've felt us a legitimate squad but it was palpable Sunday. I don't care about playoffs right now or having an elite anything. Having a team that I've loved to cheer for so long showing true improvement and grit is a great thing. Am I overreacting? What say you?
John: No, you're not overreacting. You're reacting in fact quite logically to an exciting, emotional victory. The Jaguars actually have been improving since 2013. They improved last season from 2013, and they improved in the regular-season opener from last season. It was difficult to see that against Carolina because of the emotion of the moment and the fact that the Jaguars did not win a game many believed they could win. But the Carolina game was not a repeat of the past two seasons; it was far more about mistakes than it was being overmatched. The Jaguars on Sunday again were not overmatched. The difference on Sunday was the Jaguars made enough plays to win the game. That allowed the improvement to be noticed, and for this fan base, that's a good thing. It deserves it.

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