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O-Zone: Answer Man

Posted Sep 23, 2017

LONDON – Let’s get to it …

TJ S from Orlando, FL:
Run game and strong “D” versus run game and strong “D.” This seems like a more favorable matchup with the exception of Joe Flacco being in the pocket.
John: I can’t honestly say Sunday’s game is an overly favorable matchup for the Jaguars, but it does appear to be a relatively even matchup of teams with very similar approaches. And I do think it’s a game the Jaguars can and ought to win. The matchup I’ll watch: Jaguars defensive line against Ravens offensive line. The Jaguars had a major edge in that area in Week 1 and parlayed that into a dominant victory over Houston. They failed to get an advantage in in that area in Week 2 against Tennessee and never took control of the game. Considering the makeup of this Jaguars team, I anticipate a pretty direct correlation between the number or Jaguars victories and the number of games the Jaguars’ defensive line is a matchup advantage against the opposing offensive line. As for Flacco … yes, he’s a matchup advantage for the Ravens. If he’s not elite, he’s a veteran enough quarterback to make a difference. The Jaguars must first stop the run enough to make Flacco throw, then pressure him enough to make him ineffective. That will be part of the Jaguars’ winning formula in most games this season.
Dave from Vilano Beach, FL:
The roster is much improved. The defense is poised to be very good. The offense has some tools in place to be effective or potentially good. With that said, the most critical position on the field will cause the entire offense to suffer if the level of play is not enough to be respected by an opposing defense. Clearly, we do our best this year, but the true turning point will be if the next quarterback we pick is the man. Oh, sorry that's rational thinking. I must not be a true fan. One Fer Oehser!!
John: I’m sorry, I got caught up in the whole One-fer-Oehser thing. That was cool. I liked it.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
How about this, O-bro? The price of concessions is based off the previous season's win total. So you set the scales so beers are $2 if the team has below two wins, and full price at 10 wins or more. Each win below 10, drops the prices down a percentage. I think it would be a good-faith gesture to a long-suffering fan base. We see the prices the Falcons rolled out plastered across national headlines and it is a little disheartening that they have made an affordable model work there, in a city with higher incomes, while we pay double or sometimes triple – and while our owner has seen his investment in the team triple to the tune of $1.3 billion in asset appreciation. I never said this in all the years I have written in, but I bet you won't put this in the column.
John: Why wouldn’t I put this question it in the column? Because like a cunning sleuth, you have unearthed some earth-shaking, franchise-altering secret? Because I might get in twubble with the higher-ups for mentioning that the Jaguars have increased in value since Shad Khan bought the team? Neither is correct. It’s also incorrect to insinuate that somehow fans at EverBank Field have it worse than most others when it comes to the game-day experience. Yes, concession prices there are … well, pricey … compared to Atlanta. But ticket prices at EverBank are among the lowest in the NFL (just over $61 in 2016 compared to $78 for the Falcons, for example), and the Jaguars long have allowed fans to bring in outside food. Look, there’s little question the Jaguars’ fan base is long-suffering in terms of the on-field product. This team hasn’t won nearly enough and that sucks. But the fact that the Jaguars have increased in value is a reflection that the franchise is solidifying in Jacksonville. Is this supposed to be interpreted as a bad thing?
Bryan from Reston, VA:
I follow you every day – and have since you've been here – so I have a pretty strong pulse on all topics O-Zone. One thing that was brought up this week is a stacked front versus the Jags. We never really covered this completely in the offseason, but hinted on it at times. So, the question remains: What do the Jags do against a stacked front that they are certain to face every single week this season regardless of the opponent? Unless we have a solid answer to this question, I'm afraid our approach is unlikely to win many games this year.
John: The first thing you do against a stacked front is figure out a way to run at least marginally well against it. That’s because you’re going to see it a lot on first and second downs. The Jaguars have done a nice job of this so far this season with rookie running back Leonard Fournette being able to batter his way for yardage against stacked fronts. Fournette hasn’t always gotten huge yards, but for the most part through two games he has been able to be productive. The second thing you do against a stacked box is game plan against it by creating one-on-one matchups – or complete passes downfield to get safeties out of the box as much as possible. There’s not a magical scheme. You must execute.
Jason from Salem:
Okay, so I am going to beat a dead horse – aka, Blake Bortles – and ask what quarterback can Jacksonville draft or pick up via trade or free agency this upcoming season. I have been a faithful fan since 1995-1996 and I have had enough of terrible quarterback acquisitions. Let's step it up, just like the Jaguars have done getting premium players on the defensive side of the ball and some offensive players. C'mon mannnn. Enough is enough.
John: There’s a reason the Jaguars haven’t found an elite quarterback while they have been able to find front-line players at other positions: Quarterback is the most premium of all positions and teams typically don’t let great ones – or even good ones – leave. I don’t know what the Jaguars will do in the offseason at the position because we don’t know yet who will be available. Alex Smith? Someone else? I do imagine they’ll do something, and that something might be a veteran. Stay tuned.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, you said for a while that there was no real downside to the Jaguars signing Bortles to the fifth-year option, but there is for us fans. As you state, there could come a point in the season where the team sits Bortles to avoid the risk of paying him the 19 large. If that time comes, though, it would be a pretty big signal to the rest of the team that there is no reason to continue to play hard this season, no reason to allow fans to enjoy even otherwise meaningless wins the risk of getting injured, and that it's best to just phone it in and hope that next year is different. That would stink. Why would anyone even bother watching or attending a game under those circumstances? It can't be to watch Chad Henne or Ryan Nassib carrying a team they can't carry.
John: I don’t know that this is as much of a concern as your email indicates. Firstly, there’s no guarantee this scenario comes into play. Secondly, if it does come into play, it would only happen once the season was lost to the point that everyone knew it was lost whoever happened to be playing quarterback. Any season risks getting to that point if losing gets out of hand. Fifth-year options have little or nothing to do with it.
Jimi from Bondo to Philly:
Yo, pour some sugar on me... Since it's London week … Def Leppard: Discuss ... And what are your fave UK bands?
John: I can’t say I’m overly passing about Def Leppard one way or the other. UK bangs: Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Beatles, Clash, Housemartins, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Smiths.
Jackson from St. Augustine, FL:
WHY THE HECK IS BORTLES STILL THE STARTER?!!?! Chad Henne could indeed throw the ball with accuracy with around four-to-five of protection from the offensive line. I was at the game and the only passes I saw were screens and slants. It doesn't matter how great the defense and run game are, if you can't pass the ball, you won't win games! Thoughts?
John: Why ask my thoughts? You not only used CAPITAL LETTERS, you used exclamation points and question marks !?!?!?! You have it all figured out.
Ryan from Fremont:
It seems like Blake Bortles has had a lot of his interceptions due to tipped passes, or weird bounces off of people’s feet, hands, etc. Is there a specific reason for this, or is it simply coincidence?
John: I won’t argue the fact that Bortles has a lot of weird interceptions, and that somehow his mistakes turn into tragic mistakes at a weird rate. Why? This, I do not know. What! Ask Jackson, doesn’t he have all the ANSWERS!?!???!

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