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O-Zone: Violation!

Posted Sep 10, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

James from Austin, TX:
If Henne is productive against Oakland following whatever that was on the field against Kansas City, do you think they will name him the starter? I know Bradley has said they are not a kneejerk-type coaching staff but it will cause a HUGE debate among the fan base and sport analysts.
John: I do not think they will name Henne the starter. I think this staff believes in Gabbert. Could Henne play so well that the staff has no choice? Sure, but right now, I don’t see that happening. The entire offensive unit played poorly Sunday. Gabbert got no help. I don’t believe his days as a starter here are over. And you’re right that it will be a debate among the fan base and analysts. I don’t think the people making the decision will care about the debate. I hope they don’t, anyway.
Paul from Gainesville:
On the bright side, now it's clear what the baseline for measuring improvement is.
John: The Jaguars sure hope so.
Joe from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Gabbert certainly was not very crisp or sharp; however, to my untrained eye from the 200 section, there was not a whole lot of time to throw. In addition, there were not a whole lot of receivers getting open during those milliseconds he wasn't running for his life. What was your take?
John: My take is people are worn out hearing my take on this, but it’s the hot topic, so I’ll try to sum it up for the day and move on to other questions. Gabbert wasn’t good Sunday, and as I’ve written before, I can’t honestly say I’ve seen evidence to suggest he’s going to be an elite quarterback. That’s not to state that it can’t happen. But the 25 games he has played don’t show it. And he could have played better Sunday. At the same time, it’s just very difficult to look at Sunday’s game objectively and say it was all him. The two interceptions were bad. I will say that. But there were too many drops, and way too much pressure. It was all a mess on Sunday. Gabbert was part of it, but I don’t know how many quarterbacks fare well given the circumstances.
John from Merced, CA:
And that is why it made no sense to me when the Jaguars didn’t try to get more help on the interior offensive line. The center and guard positions got abused all day. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is if the offensive line can’t block. It’s gonna be a long season.......again.
John: You know what, John? You’re right. If the offensive line can’t block, it will be a long season. The Jaguars didn’t address the interior of the line in the offseason because you can’t address everything in one draft, and they didn’t feel there were free agents who were superior to what they had in-house. I don’t think the offensive line will continue to play as poorly as it did in the opener. Often, that’s a place where continuity and playing together makes a difference. We’ll see.
Ryan from Duville:
I know a lot of people will want to blame Blaine, and he does deserve some, but what about our other two first-round picks that were open doors for Kansas City’s defensive line? I'm talking about Monroe and Joeckel! This is Monroe's fifth year and his blocking isn't getting better. Why is he getting off so easy while Blaine is getting killed? What's his excuse?
John: Actually, of the Jaguars’ six sacks, only one came against the tackles. I originally thought Luke Joeckel gave up two sacks to Justin Houston, but he gave up one. Monroe gave up a hit and a hurry, according to Pro Football Focus, but overall won his battle. Pro Football Focus’ analysis supported the eye test that most of the pressure came from up the middle. I know Monroe is going to get criticized, but he’s not a liability. Joeckel is young and didn’t play great, but his performance isn’t reason for panic.
Randy from Jacksonville:
Thanks for the overtime work, O-Man. Some are writing that Eric Fisher badly outplayed Luke Joeckel at right tackle. Although it's difficult to argue the point, it should be mentioned exactly who each player was blocking. Seems to me Joeckel had a much tougher assignment. Your thoughts on Joeckel's progress?
John: It’s not difficult to argue the point. Joeckel got beat once. Fisher didn’t badly outplay him, and yeah, I think it’s safe to say Joeckel’s assignment was tougher.
Brandon from Tallahassee, FL:
I think the play of the quarterbacks we have had recently has made the offensive line look worse than it actually was. Remember, we didn't start noticing how "bad" the offensive line was until Gabbert took over. Now, the offensive is facing eight and nine in the box almost every play because no defensive coordinator in the league respects Gabbert enough to play the pass. Once we get a better quarterback, expect the offensive line to look better as well.
John: There certainly is something to what you’re saying. Nothing in football is in a vacuum and the quarterback rarely is blameless when there are six sacks. But I can’t honestly tell you that Gabbert had enough time, either. There were too many plays when Gabbert dropped and he was immediately under pressure. And while Gabbert is not as good at buying time with pocket presence as many elite quarterbacks, there were too many players where no quarterback could have danced a step or two in this direction or that and gotten out of trouble.
Steven from St. Augustine, FL:
Blaine hasn't grown up a lick. As the pass rush closes in, he drops his head before he starts moving out of the pocket. You can't see your targets when you're looking at the ground in front of your feet. If he hasn't learned that yet, he never will. Sigh.
John: Gabbert could be better in this area.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
I put this loss on the Jedd Fisch's new zone-blocking scheme. It worked alright in the preseason against vanilla front sevens, but our guys get lost on more exotic blitz packages and defensive stunts.
John: I’m not sure I buy that theory yet. Zone-blocking schemes have worked pretty well against pretty exotic defenses for some time now. The one used by the Jaguars Sunday sure didn’t, but I’m not ready to completely blame zone blocking for what happened Sunday.
Rook from Chicago, IL:
0-16
John: No.
Mark from Chicago, IL:
I thought I'd offset the hate in your inbox with positives. Justin Forsett and Ace Sanders showed they can be great playmakers. And Gabbert seemed improved from last year in pocket presence. Obviously he didn't have much of a pocket to work with – no thanks to a horrendous o-line performance – and his receivers had too many dropped passes, but overall I liked what I saw from Gabbert. Still looking forward to seeing what the Jaguars can do this year.
John: I included this email to prove that not every reader was despondent Monday – and not everyone was completely down on Gabbert. I won’t use “great” to describe anyone on the Jaguars Sunday, but if a few other things get right, Forsett and Sanders can be productive.
Ryan from Enid, OK:
The truth is, it wasn't Gabbert OR his offensive line OR whatever demon alchemy turned the Jag receivers' hands into stone. The truth is much, much uglier. It was all of the above, and the unfortunate likelihood is the offense won't improve without substantial turnover.
John: That’s how it looked, and who knows? Maybe you’re right. There’s also the chance that if the Jaguars can get Marcedes Lewis and Justin Blackmon back, and if the offensive line can hold blocks a touch longer, then there may be improvement. What we do know is turnover on the scale you’re thinking doesn’t come during the season, so we’re going to see which scenario plays out.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
On the final play of the first half, the Chiefs rush three against the Jaguars starting offensive line and get a sack. I don't understand that. Please help us to understand how that happens.
John: I can’t. It shouldn’t.
Roger from Augusta, GA:
Hi John, I'll just ask some questions...How did Blaine Gabbert do against the Chiefs? How did Blaine Gabbert do last season? Is Blaine Gabbert really a better option at QB than Tim Tebow? Does Tim Tebow have a winning record as an NFL starting QB? Is Tebow a hometown hero in Jacksonville? Would Tebow sell jerseys and seats? And lastly, what do the Jaguars have to lose by giving a Tebow a try? Thanks, Roger.
John: You asked “some” questions. I’ll provide one answer. It’s not happening.
Brice from Gotham:
"Not what they wanted"...wasn't that a title of a story last year as well...felt too much like last year don't you think?
John: Yes, it did. I don’t expect that to continue, but for a day, it was too much like last season.
FiLtErDeViL from Las Vegas, NV:
Do our boys have any heart and soul or is the locker room just a bunch of guys collecting a check? I watched that program about the Bengals and those players and coaches were hungry. Watching all the games this week I saw many team that lacked talent but showed "hunger." It flashed (rarely) versus Kansas City, but it wasn't what is required to win in this league.
John: The Jaguars don’t have a hunger problem. When teams lose, it looks like players don’t care, and it’s the first thing fans jump on. For the most part, players in the NFL want to win very badly and no question, the players in this locker room want to win. It’s not a concern.
Johnny from Section 101:
John, I feel violated!
John: Yeah, so do I. And the game was tough, too.

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