Not a day for sugarcoating

Sigh.

Let's get to it . . Matt from Wichita, KS:
Ok John, What now?
John: I nearly bypassed this email, then I decided to lead with it. Because while the inbox was a dark, angry place today, there is an answer to, "What now?" Now, the Jaguars have to evaluate and try to use the bye to get better. Fans and observers will talk about how bad things are, and there is nothing to be gained from me arguing that this morning. Today is not the time for that. It's also not the time for talking about the positives of the first 40 minutes, not when you lose by 38 points. But the answer to, "What now?" for the players and coaches isn't to talk about 1-4 or what happens after the season or free agency and the draft. For them, the answer is to go back and try to get better. That means playing better, game-planning better and maybe making a lineup change or two over the bye. You can't go back and redraft or redo free agency. You just have to work harder and figure out how to make the first 40 minutes last 20 more minutes and get this thing turned.
Mark from Westendorf:
That was... I just... sigh it's gonna be a long season. I don't envy your inbox this week.
John: No. No, you don't.
Bryce from Algona, IA:
Stat of the day: Gabbert scored 12 points for the Bears and zero for his own team. Ouch.
John: That unquestionably was the statistic of the day, and while we're on the subject, we'll address Gabbert and eliminate, oh, about half of the rest of the emails. He has to improve. No sugarcoating. He's not getting the help other quarterbacks are getting, but he has to be better. He said as much himself. I don't know that it's fair to blame him solely for the two pick sixes. One bounced off Maurice Jones-Drew's hands and from what Mike Mularkey said, the one to Justin Blackmon that turned the game around was as much on Blackmon as Gabbert. But 142 yards and no touchdowns – that has to improve, young quarterback or not.
Alan from Jacksonville:
Mr. O, I think I will pass on watching the Locker room videos this week because I know what will be said: "We need to execute, we need to get on the same page and same old, same old . . ." Something has to be done and done soon because as a fan I just cannot watch this team go out and do this again and again. Like MJD said he is tired of it and it has been going on for five years and the fans are tired also.
John: I thought Jones-Drew spoke for a lot of fans on Sunday when he talked about being tired of losing. Everyone is. It's draining. It's frustrating. It has to change.
:
Each week I see more reasons why we drafted Bryan Anger. Pinned deep in your own end zone is usually a huge momentum shift, but when your punter can flip the field with a 65-yard punt, that can save the day.
John: No question. Whatever went wrong Sunday Anger wasn't to blame. He flipped the field with a first-half punt that kept the Jaguars in it in the first half. Debate his draft position if you want, but he has the look of a longtime Pro Bowl selection, and in the long run, he will help the Jaguars win games.
Talha from Piscataway, NJ:
...What happened?? It was tied at the half! 3-3! It was 41-3 at the end!! We got DOMINATED in the second half.
John: I think you answered your own question. They got dominated in the second half.
Chris from Mansfield, TX:
As a student studying law in Philadelphia, I don't have much time to devote to football nor do I have easy access to the Jaguars on TV. So, I followed an online game tracker. At halftime, the game was tied at three. I looked down to study Contracts and Torts only to look up an hour or so later to see my Jaguars down by 38. In the name of John Marshall, what the heck happened!?!
John: It would take a while to explain. Long story short, it made Contracts and Torts look pretty darned good.
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
Mail it in...the season's over.
John: That's the easy thing to say, but that's not the team's job, of course. There were positives on which to build early, and this was a 3-3 game late in the third quarter. The disturbing thing is how quickly things got out of hand after one play. I won't sugarcoat that into a positive, but the coaches and players have to look for something to build on and this game had a different feel for 40 minutes than for the final 20.
Don from Jacksonville:
This team lacks fire and passion. They cannot sustain drives, make yards on first down, are predictable and fear failure resulting in failure. Is there any hope for this to change any time soon?
John: I don't agree with the passion and fire part, though today's obviously not the day to argue that too vehemently. The Jaguars played with a great deal of fire and passion for 40 minutes, and if they had taken advantage of opportunities early, they had a very real chance to have control of the game. But you know what? They didn't, and that's why they're 1-4 right now.
David from Jacksonville:
I don't see us winning with a current coaching staff, they might be good coaches, but we punt when we shouldn't ever take any risks, only play it safe, and the NFL is not a safe league. I'm sick and tired of losing.
John: I'm not ready to give up on this coaching staff. I get the frustration and everyone's frustrated. I'm not even going to say, "Give it time and be patient," because I know how sick everyone is of hearing that. But the Jaguars were in that game for two and a half quarters and I didn't see any glaring coaching points that cost them the game. When things go bad, it's easy to blame coaching, but you have to let that play out over more than five games.
Corey from Fort White, FL:
OK, has anyone noticed that this week the Jags now are at .500 all-time regular, and post-season games with a record of 144-144. Is this email going to buried like all my others, or thrown away like a Gabbert pass?
John: Congratulations, Corey. You've now had a better day than me.
Nicholas from Anchorage, AL:
So, is it panic time yet? For the last two weeks you kept telling us it's still early in the season. Is it safe to say the season is over as far as playoffs go? Let's let Gabbert throw 40-yard passes for the rest of the season.
John: I never know when to tell people to panic. I don't know what panic means within the context of the NFL. It's not good. You're 1-4 with three one-sided losses at home. None of this is pretty, but I will say this about the 40-yard passes. Fans wanted 40-yard passes the first four games of the season, and they got one on Sunday that was returned for a touchdown. I'm not saying Gabbert doesn't need to throw deep. He does. But it has to come within the framework of the offense, as it did in the first half. To simply throw it deep arbitrarily because nothing else is working is a recipe for a season of pick sixes. And yeah, you can make the joke that that's what the Jaguars are doing anyway, but as a team you have to try to figure out a game plan that gives you the best chance to win each week. Constant deep passes is not that game plan.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Wow. The Bears game highlights everything a struggling team cannot do wrong. Did well in the first half, but the fumble took points off the board; a nine-minute drive in the second half. Now the Jags offense has a dozen fewer plays than the Bears defense. Jags press, Bears press, and the wheels come off. Gotta, gotta, gotta make a couple of those plays.
John: Dead on, dead on, dead on.
Avi from Jacksonville:
I am currently in the midst of watching a team that looks to have clearly given up (looks like Bears just scored another touchdown). When I say give up, I do not mean that they do not want to win, but rather the players seem to be unable to mentally stay in the game after enough plays do not go their way. Is this coaching or simple human emotions?
John: Honestly, I don't know what the fourth quarter was, and I understand your analysis. The Jaguars allowed 244 yards in the final 20 minutes. No one's going to tell you that should happen. The defense played horribly the final 20 minutes and a line that played good run defense didn't. That can't happen.
Job from Trinidad & Tobago:
No need sugar-coating it anymore....this is simply the worst team in the league and there is no team in the league that you can say with confidence that we can beat.
John: Well, evidence suggests they can beat the Colts.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
John, good luck Monday, just witnessed a bad team playing Sunday.
John: That's an easy assessment, and for the day at least, it's tough to argue. The Jaguars were decent for 40 minutes and awful for 20. On Sunday, that added up to a 38-point loss. There's still time for getting better, but today isn't the day for sugarcoating. Sunday was tough, and for 20 minutes it was tough to watch. Not much other way to say it.

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