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O-Zone: Natural instinct

Posted Dec 16, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it…

Robert from Orange Park, FL:
Just about everybody is going to be kicking themselves when they watch tape. As sloppy as that was on offense, the Jaguars still had a chance to drive it down and send it to overtime at the end. The game reminded me of the Cardinals game earlier in the season … a lot of tough breaks.
John: They were kicking themselves afterward. The Bills won, 27-20, and you could point to three or four plays that really changed everything. Head Coach Gus Bradley after the game called it a game of missed opportunities and it absolutely was. Usually, when you turn it over twice inside the opponents’ 5-yard line you lose. The Jaguars did just that. And they lost.
John from Ramsey, NJ:
What's the chance of starting Gabbert for the remainder of the season? Sunday was a typical Chad Henne performance . . . move the ball, but choke in the crunch. We're mathematically out of the playoffs now. We have nothing else to lose. Might as well see if he's learned anything while sitting on the sideline.
John: Look, I wrote for a long time that there was nothing wrong with the Jaguars playing Gabbert as long as they did because he had talent and ability and there had been so much going wrong around him for two seasons that it was hard to judge him. But when the Jaguars made the move to a healthy Chad Henne over Blaine Gabbert early in the season, that was pretty much it for Gabbert this season – and probably in Jacksonville, period – unless Henne was injured. That didn’t change Sunday, and the Jaguars’ approach to the season didn’t, either. They hadn’t been talking postseason scenarios around here, so being eliminated Sunday won’t change anything. But as far as Sunday being a typical Henne performance, I actually thought he played very well for the most part. He played without Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon. Those were maybe your three best offensive players entering the season. And even with that, he put the Jaguars in position to score 20 points and moved them into the red zone two other times. I’m not saying to put Henne up alongside Mark Brunell in the Pride of the Jaguars, but let’s not throw the word “choke” around too wildly, either.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Do I gotta be the clown to say it? Kirk Cousins.
John: We shall see. That doesn’t mean yes. It doesn’t mean no. It means … we shall see.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars should trade for Kirk Cousins? Would he be too expensive in terms of picks? I'm not sold on him, but it might be worth a shot. Maybe trade from him and draft McCarron?
John: Think two consecutive questions on Cousins is a lot? You should see the ones I don’t post. There’s no way yet to know how expensive Cousins would be, so it’s tough to say whether the Jaguars “should” trade for him or not. The biggest factor in all this likely will be the Redskins. Do they want to trade him? Do they believe in RGIII enough to trade a quality young backup? We’ll see.
Bill from Orange Park, FL:
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. #standunited
John: Really? That’s what you took from Sunday, that the Jaguars snatched defeat from the jaws of victory? The Jaguars were playing without four starters – Cyprien, Jones-Drew, Shorts and guard Will Rackley. The Jaguars also, remember, are a team that despite winning four of five games in no way could be called a dominant team. They have been scratching, clawing and scrapping for victories, with their four victories since the bye coming by two, seven, four and seven points. These guys weren’t hanging huge numbers on people, and then they go into Sunday’s game without their leading receiver and leading runner … and still move effectively on offense and still find a way to nearly tie the game in the final minutes. Yes, the Jaguars missed a lot of opportunities Sunday and had they taken advantage of those opportunities they could have won their fourth consecutive game. But at this stage the fact that they had a chance to do those things marks significant progress from where this team was early in the season.
Lewis from the Villages:
If Teddy Bridgewater is considered the No. 1 quarterback in the draft this year, he won't be next year. Jameis Winston will be. He will lose a lot of money if he stays in school another year. What say you, O'man?
John: I say you’re probably right, L-Man.
Doug from Jacksonville:
I signed on tonight to add my two cents to the O Zone only to have the head writer beat me to it. Disappointment not despair. The Jags gave that game to Buffalo. The fumble for a touchback, the pick in the fourth – both were huge plays that gave Buffalo that game. First loss by single digits....and it is a giveaway more than a loss. Those things can be fixed.
John: Yep.
Shane from Los Angeles, CA:
Next time Alex from New York wants to criticize your writing, remind him that it's "seven fewer keystrokes," not "seven less."
John: Indeed.
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
Today's game should show why the Jags will have to draft a franchise quarterback this next year (for those who thought Henne could be a long-term starter). Henne definitely had one of his-less-than average games and made many bad decisions. What concerned me more about this game was overall, on both sides of the ball, it looked like more steps back than steps forward at times. The Jags who were on the field today looked much like the 0-8 Jags from earlier in the season. #disappointed
John: Wow. Did we ever see different games. Regarding your first point, I think most people get that the team is going to try to pursue a quarterback in the draft or via trade/free agency. I’d guess “draft,” but that’s a conversation for a later date. But to completely denigrate his play is a little unfair. His wide receivers were Ace Sanders, Mike Brown, Kerry Taylor and Jeremy Ebert. That group played well, but they are not the Greatest Show on Turf. At least not yet. Henne also was without Jones-Drew and moved the Jaguars pretty efficiently much of the game. On the last drive, in fact, he played strikingly well until the interception. Now, I get that you count interceptions, but considering the circumstance this game was not a black mark on Henne’s record. It’s the reference to the Jaguars looking like the team that started 0-8 that I disagree with most. The Jaguars lost eight games by double digits before the bye. They couldn’t run at all. They weren’t competitive. They didn’t score at home. When things went wrong, they often went really, really wrong. The Jaguars Sunday played a close game and without a couple of key mistakes probably win a game that on paper perhaps shouldn’t have been close. In the big picture, Sunday’s game wasn’t concerning and it wasn’t a step back. It just wasn’t.
Justin from Jacksonville:
Lost opportunity, but no need to over-react today. Young team with a ton of injuries, Robinson pushed into duty when he simply shouldn't be in there, too many mistakes by areas that are sure to be addressed... it happens with young teams. Love what Todman did, love the fight, still feel good about the future.
John: Yeah, but try telling Jeremy.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars have a first down at the Buffalo 1 near the end of the game and they chose a lateral with the potential of losing yards to a quarterback sneak or fullback up the middle?
John: That play call upset a lot of fans and it was a focus of Bradley’s post-game press conference. He said that when the coaches discussed the game plan, short-yardage running situations were a focus. With Jones-Drew unavailable, the coaches decided their best option on that situation was to run on the perimeter with Jordan Todman. He also said that considering the outcome of the play, they may rethink the decision. The idea of the play was to get Todman on the outside and get him away from a Bills defense that would be bunched up on the interior. Had the play worked, it would have been brilliant. Because it didn’t, it’s being questioned. Par for the course.
Giovanni from Fort Lauderdale, FL:
It looked like Denard Robinson did little too much on that fumble? What gave?
John: I heard that theory, too, that Robinson was showboating on the fumble. Gus Bradley was asked that in the press conference after the game and he didn’t see it that way. I didn’t, either. Robinson’s mistake on the play was reaching the ball for the end zone as he approached the goal line. Bradley said that’s not what the Jaguars teach. It’s the natural instinct of a running back to do it, but it increases the risk of a turnover. As we saw Sunday.

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