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O-Zone: No regrets

Posted Dec 17, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Joseph from Jacksonville:
Considering the circumstances (mostly injuries), I wasn't upset about the loss Sunday. The Jaguars hung in there and gave themselves a chance. One thing I took out of this as well as previous recent games is the offensive play-calling. It leads me to really believe they will draft a quarterback who has quick mobility. Building the Seattle of the South perhaps?
John: There would be far worse things than to follow the Seattle model, though the reality is every franchise is built differently as players’ strengths and weaknesses show themselves on the field. I mention this because of your question about the quarterback. Yes, I think ideally the Jaguars would like a quarterback with quick mobility in the pocket, but if the guy you like isn’t as strong in that area as he is, say, reading the field, etc., you may have to build a bit differently. The most important thing about a quarterback remains his ability to make proper reads and throws at the proper time. You don’t choose mobility over that.
David from Jacksonville:
Pass Rush!! I want to see about six defensive linemen drafted … kidding, of course. If I’m not mistaken we had four sacks Sunday, but we do not get anywhere near "consistent" pressure. Some plays, E.J. Manuel had entirely too long to throw. Even a struggling rookie with that amount of time is going to find someone open. It is in my opinion the position in most need of addressing going into next year.
John: Pass rush does indeed remain a need, but I don’t know that that was unexpected entering the season. The Jaguars are a better pass-rushing team than a year ago and they are certainly better in that area than they were at the beginning of the year. That’s because of players finding their way in this system, and it’s because as a whole the front gives very consistent effort. What the front doesn’t have right now are superstar pass rushers along the lines of Von Miller, Robert Mathis, etc., who are going to get pressure more often than not on pass-rushing downs. That was pretty much known going into this season. Those are hard to find, and the Jaguars – like everyone else – certainly will look for them until they find one. And they’ll probably keep looking after that, too.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Denard has fumbled on 17 percent of his touches. That's unacceptable. How do you teach ball security at this level?
John: You’re right that it’s unacceptable. That’s the word Gus Bradley used when talking with Robinson about it immediately after the fumble Sunday, and it’s the word that he used when discussing it with the media Monday. The Jaguars have worked with Robinson on this since his arrival on this issue, preaching for him to keep the ball “high and tight.” It’s a mantra for Bradley to all players. He emphasizes ball control on offense constantly. Robinson did not keep it high and tight on Sunday. He extended the ball toward the end zone, and the result was a fumble.
Chris from Crestview, FL:
It's a game of inches. If Robinson had crossed the tip of the goal line he would have been a hero. Since it was a bit short he is the goat. I can't fault a person for trying; sometimes the darn ball bounces that way.
John: Robinson indeed would have been praised by the fans, but Bradley and the coaching staff still wouldn’t have liked it. The backs are coached to hold the ball close and high. In this case, had Robinson done that his momentum likely would have carried him into the end zone.
Derek from Arlington:
OK, the Jags are out of the playoffs now. The season is over. Chad Henne is not doing it. The Jaguars should just try Denard Robinson at quarterback just to see how good he is at it. Why not?
John: Because he wouldn’t be good at it. That’s not a knock on Robinson; it’s just reality. Bradley outlined his thoughts on this sort of matter pretty well Monday when he was asked about playing younger players in the final two games. He said his approach is that will happen over the course of time naturally the way it happened Sunday with Kerry Taylor playing for Cecil Shorts III. Bradley’s approach to coaching and running a team is based on competition, which doesn’t mean just playing guys to see what they can do. It means players earning the chance to play in practice and it means playing time being based on merit whenever possible.
Richard from Jacksonville:
Help me understand why a pro player that has played football his entire life with thousands of snaps of the football can get a motion penalty. If there is anything that can be corrected by coaching, this should certainly be at the top of the list. We get one or two every game.
John: Players make mistakes. Ideally, they wouldn’t. They do.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 147:
Several of us in section 147 see the difference in the current Jags and the 2012 team is that last year the Robinson fumble would have been the end of the team. That team would have lost by 20 or more –not come back and have a chance at the end.
John: That’s absolutely the biggest difference. Not only that, it’s the biggest reason you know this coaching staff has the confidence of the players. The players aren’t quitting on this staff – not even close. This team in general responds to adversity well and has done so throughout the season, particularly since the bye week. There’s little reason to think that won’t carry forward. When Gus Bradley and David Caldwell talked this past offseason about wanting to establish the core and the foundation, understandably that felt a little hard-to-define for most people. But that ability to play through difficult situations, that’s the start of the foundation.
Ken from Summerville, SC:
Did you see that Packers game? I think we ought to trade for Matt Flynn!
John: Go Jags.
Mutton Man from Fort Lauderdale, FL:
Could you explain how Johnny Football is eligible for this draft this year, even though he is only a sophomore? I thought in college football you had to be a junior to come out early. I think the Jags should draft Johnny Football. Talk about electric.
John: Players are eligible to declare for the draft three years after their final high school season. Manziel redshirted, so he will be eligible after his redshirt sophomore season.
Graham from Perth, Scotland:
Joe Haden ... Is he as good as he is made out to be? After Cecil turned him outside-in, he got beat by Marshall a few times Sunday.
John: Yes, Joe Haden is good. Cornerbacks get beat. Remember, Shorts isn’t a bad player and that Marshall guy you mentioned … he’s good, too.
Jesse from Panama City, FL:
I've gotten grief from friends, family and other people for being a Jaguars fan in recent years; the previous two years, I had nothing to stand on. This year is different! We are on the right track. We can groom talent, and players can get better, but you can't teach heart and effort!! That's something to be proud about!! Good things in our future! #StandUnited
John: #Standunited
Tommy from Jacksonville and Section 122:
O-man, I'm a little frustrated in hearing that Chad Henne gives this team the best shot at winning. When the game is on the line the only thing you can depend on him to do is throw that interception. At least he's consistent in that.
John: I’m sorry you’re frustrated. Frustration can be, you know … frustrating. Yes, Henne threw an interception late Sunday, but the Jaguars have won four games since the bye and he has managed game situations well with a team that wasn’t expected to win those games. Right now, it’s not unreasonable to say he gives the Jaguars their best chance to win.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I know you already talked about this but first-and-goal on the 1 … seriously, this is a no brainer. Even without MJD, you run the ball off tackle to whichever side is getting the best penetration. If you don't get in on the first try, do it again, and again. If you can't get a yard on three running plays, you have no business playing in this league. Seriously lost opportunity.
John: Sure, in retrospect … and if the Jaguars score on the play, then Jedd Fisch is a creative genius for realizing the interior was struggling and that the best chance to score was outside. While this was a hot topic Monday, I included it in Tuesday’s O-Zone because Bradley addressed it again on Monday. Upon reviewing the play, he said he liked the call and that the play failed because guard Uche Nwaneri got off the ball late and fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou blocked low when he could have blocked high. Bradley hasn’t been shy about taking the blame and being up front about his reasoning, so his explanation here has a lot of merit.
Keith from Summerville, SC:
I saw you at the game. You were walking out of one of the tunnels on the home team side of the field before the game. I screamed “John O” as loud as I could. You didn't hear me. You missed the best high five of your career.
John: I heard you.

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