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O-Zone: Why?

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I'm starting to wonder about the secondary. There are a lot of times where they look solid and other times where they are getting beat on all types of routes. Is it the pass rush not getting home, or do they have bigger problems?

The biggest issue this season for the Jaguars' defense – and for the secondary, specifically – has been giving up the deep ball. The Jaguars blitz often under defensive coordinator Joe Cullen and play a lot of man-to-man coverage behind that rush. The Houston Texans had success throwing deep in Week 1 – and the Denver Broncos clearly made testing the secondary deep a priority this past Sunday, with limited success at first and great success that changed the game in the second and third quarter. The Jaguars' pass rush actually has put good pressure non opposing passers through two games, just not consistently enough to stop those deep passes. And the Jaguars' secondary hasn't made enough plays on the ball. It's a two-sided issue, as often is the case.

Kathy from Jacksonville, FL

Mr. O: Do you think the outcome of the Jaguars' season has become the "elephant in the room" or is it too early to tell? Of course, if it is the "elephant in the room," I guess you won't tell.

I've gotten multiple questions this week I don't quite understand. Perhaps that's a reflection of frustration setting in among fans, or perhaps questioners have figured out a lot of the obvious questions and are working to stump the senior writer, or perhaps said senior writer just could use a good nap. Either way, I confess I don't know what "elephant in the room" means pertaining to the outcome of the Jaguars' season. Do I think this team is going to the playoffs? No, I do not. Do I think it will lose all 17 games? No, I do not. I projected before the season the Jaguars winning six-to-seven games and it currently appears they must improve quickly to reach that total. If that's the elephant in the room, then we addressed it. If not …

Steve from Nashville, TN

You say Trevor Lawrence smells - I think he stinks.

No, he doesn't.

John from Jacksonville

Being the No. 1 overall pick sure puts rose-colored glasses and a longer leash as opposed to say a sixth rounder huh?

Having generational talent and the ability to make plays above the Xs and Os as opposed to not probably having those things is more pertinent here.

Mike from Neptune Beach, FL

How many players do you think the Jaguars need to add to this team to take them to the next level? I would say a No. 1 receiver, another defensive end teams have to game plan for, two road grader offensive linemen (one if rookie offensive tackle Walker Little pans out) and a tight end.

Somewhere in there, yeah.

Chris from Mandarin

Don't you think the coaches should maybe just possibly make the smarter, safer shorter throw the primary read until the offense starts clicking?

I expect the Jaguars will move a little in this direction, and they almost certainly will work with Lawrence to emphasize taking the checkdown – as opposed to the downfield shot – when the situation calls for it. You don't want to do this exclusively, though. First, defenses will start sitting on that short and safe throw – thereby compressing the field and dramatically limiting the offense. Second, you don't want to take aggressiveness away from Lawrence and the offense. Part of what makes him special is his vision downfield and talent to make those throws. You don't want to bridle the colt too much.

Tom from Mandarin

"Let's not forget that this is a rebuilding year." Every so-called journalist is using that line again this year. Every year since Shad Khan bought this team (except for one outlier) has been a "rebuilding year." That leads to two questions. A) How many "rebuilding years" are the people of Jacksonville expected to endure? and B) Though he may be the greatest businessman in the world when it comes to auto parts, is the con man in over his head when it comes to owning a sports franchise – i.e. football and soccer? He has been pretty much a failure in both arenas.

I don't know how many "rebuilding years" the people of Jacksonville should be expected to endure. I do know it's hard to look at a team that has changed head coaches with a rookie quarterback and as many new players as are on the Jaguars roster as anything but rebuilding. As far as whether Jaguars owner Shad Khan is "in over his head" … I don't know enough about the English Premier League and the Fulham team to comment intelligently. As for the Jaguars … Khan has provided resources and given football people power to run the organization. It hasn't worked out. Losing as often as the Jaguars have lost in recent seasons can be a tough hole to escape. It doesn't mean an owner is necessarily in "over his head." It does mean the previous approaches haven't worked often enough. We'll see if this one does.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

I like that Trevor is always looking to push the ball downfield and trusts his arm to make throws in tight windows. But how do coaches teach him that sometimes the right play is the check down without taking away his aggressive mentality?

You're essentially asking how Jaguars coaches teach Lawrence to be an experienced, veteran quarterback who makes the right read far more often than not. You coach. You discuss. You teach. You show patience and you know that he will get progressively better at this.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

You ready for a 15-2 season, Johnny-O?

Bless you, Zac.

Jason from Green Cove Springs, FL

From 2016-2019, the Jags were pretty much able to generate pass rush at will even though the team didn't blitz much. Why does it seem like it so difficult for the Jaguars to disrupt the opposing teams passing game now? I'm guessing it is as simple as the pass rushers we have now aren't as good as they players they replaced. Do you think the pass rush will still get better this season?

The Jaguars' generally speaking did have better pass rushers in most of the seasons between 2016-2019 than is the case now. And though saying the Jaguars generated pass rush at will during those seasons might be a bit of a selective memory, you're not wrong that the Jaguars didn't blitz all that much during at that time. As for it being difficult for the Jaguars to disrupt opposing teams, that may not be entirely true. The Jaguars have just four sacks in two games, but they're fifth in the NFL with 10 quarterback knockdowns through two games and third with three quarterback pressures. They have yet to force a turnover and need more sacks, but the Jaguars are pressuring opposing passers. 

Logan from Wichita, KS

Rome wasn't built in a day. We get it: this was not supposed to be a quick turnaround. One new player does not a playoff run make, no matter what the prophesies have foretold. Problem is: this has basically been a 14-year rebuild with one fluke miracle run where the clock struck midnight before we got the Super Bowl opportunity. Year after year has been the promise of things getting better. Eventually something has to come from that empty promise other than yet another Top 5 pick. Losing sucks. Losing in blowouts sucks more. Losing for what seems like forever... not fun. As much as we all would love to jump ship and quit, we won't ... we can't suffer this much and just jump ship. That's where you come in, to be our daily dose of fans gonna fan. Because at the end of every Sunday as bad as it gets, and damn has it been bad sometimes, all we can do is cry into our beer and wait and see if things get better next Sunday after some OZone therapy sessions. 0-17 or 15-2 we Jags lemmings march on.

Fair.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, what do you think is keeping defensive end Josh Allen from taking the step from being "good" to being a "star?" Do you think he takes that step?

I write and say repeatedly that it's very difficult for pass rushers to compiling huge numbers when their teams trail more often that not. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts formed the best pass-rushing tandem I ever covered, and their sacks numbers benefited greatly from opponents being in passing situations often because the Colts often scored quicky and help leads. Allen typically has played on a struggling team that trails a lot. He has two sacks this season, which is fairly remarkable considering the Jaguars have trailed pretty much six of the season's eight quarters.

Kenneth from Ashton

Should Trevor been benched?

Because of what? For who? Toward what end?

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