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O-Zone: Dim bulb

Posted Dec 31, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Game Day O-Zone.

Let’s get to it …

Chris from Norfolk, VA:
I’m starting to think we should ride with Blake Bortles next season and go all in on offensive line. I guess I’m asking if you feel he has done enough to get another year, or if he’s still playing for it?
John: I think Bortles will be the Jaguars’ quarterback next season, though I don’t know if that will mean him playing for his $19 million guaranteed or negotiating a new deal. That’s to be determined after the season. If I had to guess, I would guess he plays for the $19 million and renegotiates during or after the season if he continues to improve at the rate he has improved this season. It’s my thought right now that he has played well enough and shown enough signs of continuing to improve to merit continuing as the starter. It’s hard for me to see a free agent being available who is a serious upgrade and it’s really hard to see a rookie starting at quarterback for this team next season. I don’t know if I’m correct, but those are my thoughts.
Gabe from Neptune Beach, FL:
Hey, John. I think this city is gearing up for a game like it has NEVER seen before. Even back in the ‘90s when we had home playoff games, I think the city took for granted the early success of the franchise. This fan base has a large younger generation that barely remembers those games and a fan base that will surely not be taking this home playoff game opportunity for granted. It could be another 20 years … you never know. Anyway, whatever team decides to roll into Jacksonville next weekend better be ready for this fan base. We're bringing it! #DTWD
John: #DTWD
Jeff from Jacksonville:
In Week 2 it seemed the Jags were nowhere near the Titans’ level. My how things have changed. What would you say the Jags have improved the most since then and what has caused the Titans to lose the edge they showed in Week 2?
John: I would say the key word in your question is “seemed.” While 37-16 victory over the Jaguars in Week 2 made it seem to many that the Titans were 21 points better than the Jaguars, that was far from the case. The Titans, remember, led that game 6-3 in the third quarter and the Jaguars committed a slew of penalties on offense that had them in long down-and-distance situations through much of the second half. This wasn’t a team at that time that was going to overcome that – and I doubt it could overcome those sorts of mistakes now. The reality is these were evenly-matched teams at that time, and they’re probably more evenly matched now than many believe. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has had issues with interceptions this season and the Titans haven’t been as dominant running as was expected. If those two areas are issues for the Titans Sunday, I expect the Jaguars to win. If Mariota plays mistake-free and the Titans run as they did in Jacksonville earlier this season, I expect the Titans to win. We’ll see.
Renee from Duval:
Good Morning, John! I am drinking my coffee cruising the internet, reading about our Jags … then it hit me: Jacksonville Jaguars and Super Bowl are being mentioned in the same breath and it is legit! I know the defense can be the best EVER and I am a BB5 Believer! I am giddy! My grin is making my face hurt! The drought has been too long, I can feel myself standing in the middle of the field looking up to the heavens, arms outstretched – and the grime of many fruitless seasons slowly being washed away. It builds to a torrent and the swell begins to rise, immersing Nashville, building through Wild Card weekend, forming tall on Divisionals, cresting on the AFC Championship, crashing into the Super Bowl with the Jags emerging from the wash with arms raised triumphant! That would be epic. I am ready to enjoy the ride, John are you? GO JAGS!!
John: I indeed am looking forward to the postseason – certainly more than I am looking forward to Sunday’s game. That’s because I worry from the Jaguars’ perspective whether their motivation Sunday will be real enough to trump what I expect to be an emotional, desperate Tennessee team – and emotional, desperate teams are tough to beat. I have no such reservation about the postseason and I look forward to seeing what this young, talented, brash Jaguars team with much to prove will do on the biggest stage it has seen. I think no matter what happens Sunday the Jaguars will play well in the postseason and I continue to think they have a chance to win whatever matchup comes their way. There of course is nothing guaranteed because there never is anything guaranteed in the playoffs. The competition is phenomenally difficult no matter the opponent or site and the stakes are phenomenally high. The good news for the Jaguars and their fans: they are in the tournament and their team strengths are strong enough to win once they get there. If things go their way, this could be a memorable January. Stay tuned.
John from Ponta Vedra Beach, FL:
Zone, I never gave up on Blake Bortles and I am not giving up on you. Best to you, the missus and junior in 2018. I'll be pulling for you no matter how bad it gets. #dtwd #zonation
John: That’s good. Because it will get bad.
Kyan from LeMars, IA:
Not that I'm over this year, because I'm ecstatic for the playoffs, but due to recent events no west-coast games on the schedule next year looks like a positive!
John: I suppose so. I’m not a big believer the Jaguars’ West Coast doldrums will be hard to escape in the future. People believed the Jaguars couldn’t win at EverBank Field earlier this season when the reality was they simply had been bad for a long time and struggled to win anywhere. Now that they have played a bunch of games at EverBank as a good team, they have started to win there because that’s what good teams do – they win. If the Jaguars stay good and play a bunch of games on the West Coast, they will start winning those games because that’s what good teams do.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
I moved to Nashville about 10 months ago and the thing I was most excited about was the opportunity to finally get to see my Jaguars play when they came here. Sunday is gonna be my first NFL game. Even though it's expected to be around 27 degrees I couldn't be more excited!!! Especially the way this season has gone and the chance for us to kick the Titans out of the playoffs!! #DTWD Go Jags!!!!
John: Enjoy.
Frankie from the Mean Streets of Ponte Vedra, FL:
How much should we expect Henne to play this Sunday?
John: I don’t expect to see Chad Henne playing for Bortles Sunday unless the Jaguars are way ahead or way behind.
Roger from White House, FL:
John, all the talk and comparison of the 1985 Bears, 2000 Ravens with the 2017 Jaguars … I will still take the ‘85 Bears. Opposing players were literally scared of the physical punishment they were going to take.
John: OK.
Greg from Waycross, GA, and originally from Sacksonville:
Hey, John. A little Diddy for the Big Cat City. Taking a look at the AFC South … we've won the division so shut your mouth. The original kingpins not looking so stellar … both are hanging out down in the cellar. Some call us trash, but it's the truth … still the AFC South belongs to Sacksonville! So stop the complaining and just relax … and smile as the Jags collect more sacks. Hopefully, we'll be more than one and done … but needless to say this season’s been fun. So, with dreams in our heads and stardust in our hands … let's enjoy this ride for Super Bowl Land! #DTWD
John: Sometimes I have no idea what to say.
Romeo from San Diego but born in 904:
I think the Jags need to get back to basics starting this week versus the Titans and in the playoffs. Run the ball, get a lead and let BB5 be a 18-to-25-pass-attempt type of quarterback. What say you?
John: I say the way the Jaguars have run recently their best chance to get a lead and to win games is to hit some plays in the passing game, after which they can use the running game and their defense to stretch and protect the lead. I don’t think the Jaguars’ formula for winning has to include limiting Bortles’ attempts anymore. In fact, I think his success must be a large part of the formula.
InaneAnnie from JacksonTEAL, FL:
How about renaming the city and team to Jacksonteal … JacksonTEAL Jaguars. Get it?!
John: I don’t get it.

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