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O-Zone: A loaded question

LONDON – Looking ahead from across the pond.

Let's get to it . . . Matt from Maidstone, England:
Are any the practices this week open to the public? If so when/where/what time? I'd love to get along to see them before the game Sunday! #nfluk
John: No, the Jaguars are sticking to their normal practice schedule and routine, and that means closed practices during the week.
Jimmicane from Cardiff, CA:
People talk about the loss to the Broncos as a step in the right direction, but it was a 16-point loss followed by an 18-point loss to an average team. This team is historically bad and there are no signs of being competitive in the near future. I feel for Gus and Caldwell. They are essentially hopeless. The NFL doesn't allow the time needed to rebuild this team and retain a job. Clock is running.
John: Thank you for the blow-by-blow rundown. I'll keep it on file. I've been getting variations on this question a lot, and what I'm struck by is that many take on a tone of assuming that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is somehow shocked, amazed and on the verge of panic over what's going on. This was the path the Jaguars chose, and it was chosen by Khan, David Caldwell and Gus Bradley at the beginning of this process. It is about changing the culture in the building, and it was about building with the draft and not signing veteran free agents that could potentially restrict that process. The Jaguars didn't choose the course with the hopes of struggling to this degree this season. But they did choose the course with the idea that this year could be very, very difficult. But when Khan talked in the offseason about Caldwell and Bradley being the right choices, he was talking about the long-term and he was talking with the knowledge that the short-term could be very difficult – yes, even this difficult.
Troy from York, PA:
Hey O-Dog, they're reporting the Redskins are actively shopping Fred Davis, so wouldn't it make sense for us to give them a fifth or sixth-round pick for an explosive tight end to make our offense a little more dynamic?
John: There seems to be a continuing disconnect here. I continue to get questions about the Jaguars trading draft selections for this veteran or that veteran. It would take a very, very unusual scenario involving a young, talented player that Caldwell loves for the team to trade picks for players – and frankly, I don't see such a scenario.
Sol from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Comparing the Jags and Chargers rosters Sunday was really instructive. Since the Chargers have their quarterback in place, they picked up plenty of free agents with five or six years of experience. If the Jags were to load the current roster with those players, they would be on the downside of their careers as a new quarterback hits his stride. It would also slow down the development of the Jags younger players. However, would this team have benefited from more experience at certain positions?
John: Sure, they would have. In the very short-term, the Jaguars might have been a few points closer in some games, and veterans might have been able to help squeeze out an extra victory. But they would have been no closer to their long-term goal, and the long-term is what matters.
David from Neptune Beach, FL:
I understand the "feel" in the building is vastly improved from last year and I don't believe guys will give up, mostly because they are all fighting for their jobs. I also believe Dave and Gus improved this organization, but what tangibly has improved on the team since the day they were hired?
John: The future.
Mike from Orange Park, FL:
You know, Mr. O: the Jags have been drafting to fix the pass-rush problem for as long as I can remember and we are no closer now than when it started. I've just about given up on ever having a decent pass rush and without it you can't compete in this league. Do ya really think we are any closer now?
John: Right now? Not a lot. Sen'Derrick Marks is getting pressure pretty consistently, but other than that, there's not a huge increase from last season. My guess is that if neither area improves, then that and quarterback will be primary offseason issues.
Evan from Yankton, South Dakota:
Alex Smith is 7-0 with a 2-14 team from last year. Geno Smith beat the Patriots and is 4-3. Then there is Brian Hoyer, who anyone could have picked up. E.J. Manuel looks very promising. Josh Freeman started Monday night. Do you see how frustrating this is? Caldwell didn't even try to go out and get a quarterback. All these guys were available!
John: Yes, I see how frustrating it is. Caldwell knows a quarterback is necessary to be successful long term. He is trying to find one for the long-term, and this season was at least in part about determining if there was one on the roster. The idea is to build this for long-term sustainability, and Caldwell's belief is that the players available were not necessarily that guy.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Someone needs to tell the Chiefs they are rebuilding the wrong way! What were they thinking bringing in a proven head-coach with the audacity to sign a free-agent quarterback after simply having watched tape on the previous year's group, who would actually re-sign veterans based on their ability to help now? Their fan base needs to be informed that it is supposed to be about building for the future, and that going from first overall pick to being the sole remaining undefeated team is the wrong approach!
John: Clever use of sarcasm. I'm a big fan of the genre. The Jaguars' roster absolutely was as good as the Chiefs' and the players they let go were absolutely Pro Bowlers. See what I did there?
Sunil from Section 240:
The sad part is the extremely loyal Jaguar fan base continues to show-up week in and week out. We have "Stand United" Fridays. We buy tickets. We sit in the brutally hot sun. The games are usually over by the middle of the 3rd quarter. But...we still show-up. Though the national media would never admit this, the Jaguars have an extremely loyal fan base that has not deserved the poor product we have been watching on Sundays for the last two years. Even the coach admits that the team acted like they didn't care to play. I am just so sick of this. When will it change?
John: There's no questioning the Jaguars' fans loyalty, at least not here. Sunday was rough, but it's not fair to call the effort issue a trend. As for when it will change? When the talent improves. That obviously will take time. It's a cruddy answer, I know, but that's what it is.
James from Destin, FL:
On this trip to London, does everyone go on one plane? If so, is the sitting order, coaches- first class, cheerleaders- cabin first rows then players and last but not least senior writer- bathroom?
John: Yes, pretty much everyone goes on one plane. And the senior writer has pretty much been treated on this trip as he deserves.
James from Socorro, NM:
Austin Pasztor: second-best offensive tackle grade of the week by Pro Football Focus. That's something.
John: It is something, and it's fairly significant. The Jaguars would ideally not want to have to draft another right tackle this offseason. If Pasztor can play as he has, that could help that objective.
Brad from Key West, FL:
Hey John, there is no way to sugarcoat it (though I'm sure you will), the Jaguars are BAD.
John: The Jaguars are 0-7 and have lost all of their games by double digits. How is it going to make you or anyone else feel better if I accentuate that with CAPITAL LETTERS?
Sherick from Jacksonville:
I will NEVER understand the obsession with texting. (Or tweeting for that matter)
John: Hold on. I'm texting.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
John, I think you're a good dude. But I think I speak for many people when I say that your constant defending of Blaine Gabbert, and the fact you think another quarterback isn't the answer, is very annoying. I don't know if your supervisor asks you to be politically correct or not, but you know this team has great talent in every spot except quarterback. Also, condolences to Gus' father.
John: I'm sorry you're annoyed. That's a difficult feeling to deal with. I think I've been pretty clear in the last few weeks that Gabbert hasn't played well enough, and that if he doesn't play better when he gets another chance that there may not be any more chances. But frankly, I don't know that another quarterback is "the answer." A quarterback on the level of, say, Peyton Manning, would probably be huge difference, and there are a few others who would make a big difference. Would a quarterback such as Alex Smith put this team at .500? I don't know that that's true, because I wouldn't say the talent is "great" at every spot other than QB. Although I'm sure you're a good dude, too.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
How's the pub?
John: Which one?

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