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O-Zone: Endurance test

Posted Sep 20, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Daniel Since Day One:
You can't finish .500 if you have to depend on your defense for points. Most professional football teams have at least one quarterback who's not gonna give up the ball regularly. So, how soon do you see the new guy playing?
John: Ryan Nassib has been a hot topic the last couple of days, because when teams with a struggling quarterback sign a new quarterback – any new quarterback – it’s a hot topic. But the Jaguars did not sign Nassib on Monday with the idea that he will take over the team’s quarterback position. And I would be surprised if Nassib starts for the Jaguars this season. Or ever. This is not meant as a knock on Nassib, but he has thrown 10 NFL passes. Head Coach Doug Marrone made it clear on Monday that Nassib was signed for practice and in the event that the team needs a third quarterback. Perhaps something will change and Nassib will play. But don’t hold your breath.
Dylan from Tulsa, OK:
Mr. O, the more of Telvin Smith I watch, the more I want him to stay in Duval. The dude is an intense leader and great football player. What is your over-under on him being re-signed?
John: Thirty-seven.
Mike from Cortland, NY:
Hey, O: Obviously, teams can't run their organization based on what fans or popular opinion thinks as far as schemes, personnel decisions, etc. But do they ever take bits and pieces of advice from the media? Of course not from you (no offense), but former Hall-of-Fame players and coaches doing analysis work on ESPN? For example: If Bill Polian and Bill Cowher both agree on national television on a game plan Jacksonville should adopt for the upcoming game, would the team possibly kick the tires on the idea or completely shut out the noise?
John: While analysts such as Cowher and Polian are knowledgeable, they rarely go into enough details about specific game plans early enough in a week to offer any useful advice to teams. Remember, too: coaches spend hours, days and weeks on game plans and know their own personnel intimately. Analysts are discussing all 32 teams in general terms and know comparatively little in detail compared to those coaching the teams.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
This is our team with Blake Bortles or Chad Henne at quarterback. Stop pretending we will be more than what we saw Sunday without bringing in a new quarterback.
John: OK.
Michael from Port Orange, FL:
Time for my annual frustration as you and management hype the London game as a “home game.” It really is the example of the organization adding to its coffers by stealing a home game from the season-ticket holders and the other fans of the Jags. Please don't present it as good thing for the fans; just tell it like it is: it’s a great money-maker for the owners and the league.
John: First off, Michael: I don’t “hype” the London game as anything. I do refer to it as a Jaguars home game because the team and league designates it as such. Hence, I refer to it as the Jaguars’ home game at Wembley Stadium in London. This understandably is frustrating to some fans who dislike the concept of a London home game. I can’t control that frustration. I also can’t control if fans like it or not – or if individual fans don’t believe it’s good for them. And what I do know beyond a shred of doubt is that the London game is good for the Jaguars’ stability in Jacksonville. That’s because the London game has helped stabilize the team’s local revenue, which has helped stabilize the Jaguars financially. Is the London game a money-maker for Khan? Sure. That’s what stabilizing revenue means: making money. Bottom line: if you like the idea of the Jaguars being in Jacksonville, then you should like the idea of a home game in London.
Bill from Hammock, FL:
O, why is it that Bortles can play relaxed and confident in "garbage time" when the outcome has been decided? In your opinion, is it the more-relaxed defense or a mental issue?
John: The more-relaxed defense.
Jess from Castle Rock, CO:
Your response to Sid was kind of flippant, but his concern has merit. Look at the past couple of years and you can find – more often than not – games where we were outcoached, by far, in the second half of those games. Being able to adjust your game plan and schemes at halftime is critical to winning games, not to mention the initial game plan and having a balanced offense. We have a quarterback who, in his first full season as the starter, set five franchise records, had the second-most touchdowns in the league and was top seven in passing yards. That proves he has the ability to be a top-tier quarterback. Protect him, provide him a balanced attack, catch passes, and plan better, and we may actually have a chance at the postseason and winning our division. Everything starts with the line of scrimmage, and that has been our biggest weakness for several years. Our defensive line is much improved, but our offensive line still needs improvement. I welcome you to tell me where I'm wrong.
John: Everything in the NFL does start with the line of scrimmage, but quarterback play is sort of, kind of part of the equation, too. And while I would agree that Bortles at times has been under too much pressure, I can’t in good conscience say that any of the statistics you cite remotely prove he has the ability to be a top-tier quarterback. While he has compiled impressive statistics at times, his decision-making and accuracy are issues that have yet to be resolved. It’s not over for him yet. Perhaps he resolves these issues, but it’s difficult at this stage to not at least wonder if he will improve enough to be a solid NFL starter. As for telling you where you’re wrong, I’d only say this: It’s always coaching in the NFL. I’m on record saying as much. Many times.
Richard from Myrtle Beach, SC:
Could we transfer to a league that we'd be competitive in?
John: You mean a league where they could be 1-1 and tied for first in their division with a positive point differential through two games? I’ll Google this and find out.
David from Broward County:
O-Man, the Jags went into this offseason with a plan to have a running game that takes pressure off Bortles. Part of that plan was the HOPE – I repeat, HOPE – that Bortles would respond by being a game manager who was efficient while limiting turnovers. I say “hope,” because there is zero evidence to suggest that he could do this, including training camp and the preseason. Hope is not a plan and Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone should know better. When a cornerback from your last opponent calls this out publicly, you know it’s obvious and bad. Bortles will not be the answer and this very-good-to-great defense is going to have a season wasted. This is a shame. Your thoughts?
John: My thoughts are that you’re sort of crossing your points a bit. Yes, the Jaguars appear to want Bortles to be a game manager, but I don’t know that Titans cornerback Logan Ryan’s comments this week show that Bortles can’t manage the game. Ryan pointed out that the Jaguars appear to not want Bortles to throw downfield, and that they don’t want him to lose the game. It’s hard to argue with that statement, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Bortles can’t manage games. But whatever: If you’re asking why the Jaguars think Bortles can do what they’re asking him to do – i.e., play smart, not make mistakes, etc. –- consider this: Bortles played pretty efficiently in the last two games last season under Marrone and did so again in this season’s opener. He played a game Sunday when he had three turnovers, with one that would have been tough to avoid, one that was unlucky and one that was on him. I understand skepticism over whether or not Bortles can play as he is being asked to play, but the Jaguars’ last few regular-season games are why the Jaguars believe there is at least some level of hope on this front.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
Would you sacrifice above-average blocking for sure hands from a tight end on this year's roster?
John: Would I? Yes, because I’m a passing-game guy and I believe this team could really use a receiving threat at the position. Would the Jaguars make that sacrifice? I doubt it, because this team wants to run the ball and a big-time run-blocking tight end at the point of attack is a good thing for a team that wants to run.
Chris from Mandarin:
How many 20-plus-point losses do you think the fan base can endure this season?
John: I’m not sure. How many 20-point victories can it endure? So far this season there has been one of each.

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