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O-Zone: Why not?

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

The win against the Texans was huge for so many reasons. After watching previous Jaguars teams lose these types of games in the past, it's so exciting to watch how a good team with good coaching finds ways to win. I believe this Jaguars team will remain focused for the remainder of the year and will make a strong run in the playoffs. One fer Doug and the boys!

The Jaguars' 24-21 victory over the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday was notable for multiple reasons. One reason was certainly it allowed them to take firm control of the AFC South and put them in position to win their second consecutive division title – their third in seven seasons. Perhaps most notable about the victory was it again showed this team's growing maturity, and its ability to take over games with big plays in key moments. The Jaguars not only have won 16 of 22 games, they have won seven of eight games since a Week 3 loss to the Texans at EverBank Stadium. They have trailed less than a quarter in those seven victories. They have trailed just twice in those seven victories and took – or retook – the lead one possession after losing it. That's strong, impressive stuff in the NFL. This team is good in big situations. It has learned to make big plays and to play with – and hold – leads. Remember midway through 2022? When Head Coach Doug Pederson spoke often of needing to learn to win? Those days are long since over. This team knows how to win. Because that's true, the Jaguars are now one of the NFL's best teams.

Also John from Round Here

Remember not so long ago? At Turkey Time, we just wanted to be somewhere on the bottom right of the graphic, and usually were not. Well, Zone for three hours we were on the very top left and it sure felt great!!

I do remember that. The Jaguars for nearly a decade and a half were usually not only not "on the graphic" late in the season, they were far off well before Thanksgiving. They're not only 8-3 and leading the AFC South by two games with six games remaining, they have tiebreaker advantages over the second-place Indianapolis Colts (6-5) and Texans (6-5). They were indeed the No. 1 seed in the AFC briefly Sunday. They're No. 3 now behind the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs. The good news here they are tied with the Chiefs (8-3), Ravens (9-3) and Miami Dolphins (8-3) for fewest losses in the AFC entering December. The Jaguars are absolutely on the graphic and appear likely to be in this conversation through at least mid-January. Cool times.

GungaDan from Sand Dune

Hey, Mr. Zone. Just a reflection on past Thanksgivings. "What do Jags fans talk about at Thanksgiving Dinner?" Old Jags=The Draft, New Jags=Postseason seeding! Go Jags!

These are the good times. Enjoy.

Izzy from GCS, FL

A missed field goal and what? Three missed touchdown opportunities? Do you think the game was close as the score? It felt like the Jags were in control. One for Sacksonville and the Teal Curtain?

The Jaguars woulda, shoulda, coulda had more points Sunday, and they indeed were a play or two here and there from "comfortably" winning. They particularly missed a chance to win "comfortably" when they failed to score after taking possession inside Houston territory with a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. Instead, the Texans got a stop, got new life and nearly forced overtime. That's the NFL. Games that feel one way can go dramatically another way because of a play or two.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

It appeared to me that when we kept Houston Quarterback C.J. Stroud contained in the pocket we had some success on defense and when he broke contain it always seemed to result in a positive play for them?

Good eye. The Jaguars for much of the game did a nice job pressuring Stroud and keeping him from being comfortable. Rushing while keeping contain is difficult because you have to balance taking angles to create pressure with maintaining contain/leverage to keep the quarterback in the pocket. The Jaguars overall did well here. It was a reason they kept Stroud contained enough to hold the Texans to 21 points and win the game.

FreezeFM from Jacksonville, Section 147

Sometimes the bear tries to eat you and you escape with a "BOINK" to the nose.

Good eye – and good "boink."

Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

O, I questioned your prediction for Jaguars wins this year. I don't now. Good for the Jags! With the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals without their quarterbacks, are you thinking about upgrading your prediction? The Ravens appear to be the best upcoming test for the Jags. Do you believe they beat the Ravens at home? Lastly, given the past history of lack of Jags wins on the road, do you find the away wins versus the home wins surprising?

I believed entering the season the Jaguars were an 11-to-12-victory team, and that still feels about right. I expect the Jaguars-Ravens game at EverBank Stadium on December 17 to be competitive. The Jaguars will have to play their best game of the season to win, which they can do. I'll have a better feel for their chances as the game draws nearer. I'm surprised the Jaguars are so much better on the road than at home because that's always surprising in the NFL. That's not because of the Jaguars' past history. I don't concern myself much with history when analyzing this Jaguars team. This is a new era and a new team with new history. What happened before isn't pertinent.

Alan from Jacksonville

Senor Jozono. The Jaguars are currently the third-worst team when going for it on fourth down. Why on earth haven't we added the "Tush Push" to our arsenal? The Philadelphia Eagles have a 93 percent success rate when they've tried it. Has anyone asked Head Coach Doug Pederson at a press conference about using it? I'd be curious to hear his answer. It sure would have come in handy on the last play of the first half in Houston.

Third- and fourth-and-short yardage indeed has been a trouble spot for the Jaguars this season. As for the Tush Push … it's "awesome" when you have the personnel to run it effectively. That personnel must be able to physically drive the interior of the opposing defense off the ball when the defense is bunched at the line to stop the play. Not every team in the NFL has this personnel.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

Are all the people that want Trevor Lawrence to run more sneaks aware that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts came into this league squatting almost 600 pounds? Combine that with three large, strong, fat guys and in the words of the late Billy Mays … Now, that's a lot of damage!


Marcus from Jacksonville

Hey, John. Just curious, do you have any concerns over Travis Etienne's play over recent weeks? There was a lot of concern through the early part of the season that he couldn't maintain the pace he was on, and now his production seems to be dipping more and more each week. He hasn't topped 60 yards in the last three games and hasn't been over four yards per carry in the last six. He hasn't scored a touchdown on the ground since New Orleans. Are you concerned about his production, or is this just a result of the team focusing more on the downfield passing game?

I have no concerns about Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. that better run-blocking more consistently wouldn't solve.

Fred from Naples, FL

With Cam Robinson now designated for injured reserve how brilliant a move was it to go pick up Ezra Cleveland? Hopefully, we don't miss a beat!

The Jaguars showed in 2022 that you often need at least seven starting-level offensive lineman to be effective through a 17-game season, with guard Tyler Shatley and tackle Walker Little playing key late-season roles as starters after starting the season as backups. The Jaguars felt as if they needed another starting-level offensive lineman at the 2023 trade deadline They acquired Cleveland. As a result, they were able to move left guard Walker Little to left tackle Sunday when left tackle Cam Robinson sustained a knee injury. They were then able to insert Cleveland at left guard for Little. One fer Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke? Yes.

Mike from Jacksonville

The next time the Jags have a first-and-goal in close and sufficient time on the clock, why not give each of four backs as shot at making it in different holes into the line, three different running backs and quarterback Trevor Lawrence?

One man's "why not" is another man's "why," I suppose.