Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Accurate assessment

JACKSONVILLE – Whoa! Look-ahead Wednesday already. Here we go.

Let's get to it … Laughingstock from Jacksonville:
This team is obviously worse than last year's. Didn't think that was possible.
John: I understand this sentiment, but with the skies at last clearing on Look-Ahead Wednesday, let me offer another theory. Let's assume a couple of things – that the team with Blake Bortles at quarterback is the team around which you will build going forward. Let's also assume that the Colts and the Chargers are two of the best teams in the AFC. If that's the case, then you have six quarters of a relatively reasonable quality of football from the Jaguars. By reasonable I mean you played relatively evenly for two quarters against the Colts, albeit in garbage time with the score being 30-0 at halftime. And against San Diego, the Jaguars played evenly for about a half, then a young offense couldn't get things going into the second half after a few really bad defensive first-half meltdowns. None of that is acceptable because it meant losing, but it also can't accurately be called worse than last year. Only time will tell if that theory has merit. If the defense continues to struggle and gives up big plays, then it holds no water whatsoever. If the Jaguars improve off the last two weeks, then maybe the first three games of the season will be seen as a low point from which the Jaguars climbed. That's one theory …
Jason from Jacksonville:
Wow, the Jags looked sooo much better on Sunday with Bortles starting. Glad to know that Chad Henne was the sole reason why this team sucks. Did Henne not turn the ball over enough? Because Bortles certainly is. Gus can't coach and has no eye for talent, so he is so desperate to appease the fans and media he put in Bortles. This team is now looking like it's going to go 0-16.
John: … that's another theory.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I understand we have the largest amount of cap space in the NFL. Why did Dave Caldwell leave so much money on the table and not go after more/better FAs this past offseason?
John: There are many reasons, but the main one is that the Jaguars' focus during this building process was to focus on drafting and developing young players to build a sustainable roster. In doing that, the idea was to not create future cap problems by overpaying aging players who weren't significantly better than free agents available at a smaller price. The Jaguars spent a bit more in free agency this offseason than last, but the basic approach – to not pursue long-term, high-priced players who don't live up to their salaries in free agency – remained the same. When you begin 0-4, that approach is going to get questioned; it's not easy to watch a team continually struggle while the draft-and-develop process takes place. Still, that's the approach and the Jaguars have for the most part stayed true to it.
Tom from Boca:
O-man, who do you think the Jags will draft with the first pick next year?
John: Cute.
Brandon from Section 122:
Do you see Ace Sanders immediately in the starting lineup upon his return or will it take some time for him to get back up to speed?
John: I anticipate Sanders needing time to get to condition where he can play a full game in his normal role. That's to be expected for a player who has missed four games. But even when he does get back to 100 percent, I don't anticipate him being in the starting lineup unless others are injured. The Jaguars' top four receivers right now are pretty clearly Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Cecil Shorts III and Marqise Lee in no particular order, and I'd say those players will have starting roles over Sanders.
Maggie from Annapolis, MD:
Watched Gus's press conference Monday. I have to ask....where or who does Vito's fashion?
John: This is a question that gets asked often. He won't reveal the answer. Genius must have secrets.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
From starter to cut. That's life in the big leagues, I guess.
John: It is now. Whereas last year there was certainly a feeling around the Jaguars of allowing a young player a little more leeway to make mistakes, there is this season more of a tone of, "Produce or be gone." That's part of the transition from the first year of the build to having more of an idea who your core players are going to be and where you're going as a franchise. Accountability. It's real.
Help from Jacksonville:
When the going gets tough...
John: I weep.
Scott from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Besides having a good quarterback, don't you think a team has to have some elite level talent in order to be a contender? If you look at all of the last ten Super Bowl teams they all had some elite level players on their team. Why have the Jaguars continually missed in this area and can this be addressed in free agency or do we keep trying our luck in the draft?
John: I get people's frustration with hearing about drafting and developing, but it is very difficult to procure elite-level talent through free agency. It happens, but the misses are frequent and they're expensive. Teams are reluctant to part ways with elite players. As they should be.
Josh from Fort Lauderdale and Fernandina Beach, FL:
An alleged theme of the defense's ideology is 'corners on top,' but we lead the league in giving up big plays? No matter how you cut it, there is a real breakdown occurring (i.e., ineffective coaching, misidentifying talent, etc). Is it reasonable to accept the status quo? Thanks O-Man.
John: No, it is not.
Craig from McCurtain, OK:
If our offensive line improves and Toby Gerhart still continues to struggle at running back, do the Jags stick with him, play the backup, or look for another back somewhere else? Also what was the reason we didn't resign MJD???
John: First, while I've never said Gerhart was an elite player at his position, I tend to think the reports of his "struggles" are a bit overblown. He's running behind a line that has barely played together, and cohesion in the running game often is the last element of a line "gelling." However, if indeed Gerhart struggles, the Jaguars almost certainly would look to Denard Robinson and Jordan Todman – with perhaps Storm Johnson in the mix – to search for the right combination in the backfield. As for Jones-Drew, the Jaguars didn't re-sign him because he's a running back in his ninth NFL season who hadn't been consistent the last two seasons. There's a window of productivity for NFL running backs, and Jones-Drew seemed past his.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
I've got a lot of patience in the rebuild process; how long till people start complaining?
John: Week 1 of 2013.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
With CS3's history of injuries, I don't see how the Jaguars can consider a contract extension for him unless it involves very little guaranteed money. And then, what incentive would he have to sign it? I don't see him being here much longer.
John: I wouldn't be so sure. No, Cecil Shorts III's injury history won't help him in contract negotiations, and yes, he'll probably have to play for less than he would have had he been more durable. But it's not as if some other team is automatically going to offer Shorts' more guaranteed money than the Jaguars. They see the same injury issues as the Jaguars do.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Three years ago, a new owner and coach got us back in the door; last year, a new coach and GM got us to re-new; this year, new quarterback, video boards and pools got us hooked back in. Any idea what the plan is to hook us for 2015 ... based on four games it will be hard to sell the product on the field.
John: The season is 16 games, not four.
Shaun from Jacksonville:
I think when it's all said and done the two Allens will be the starting wide receivers. Don't get me wrong: I like Shorts, but he's not a No. 1 receiver. And I get that he had experience, but Robinson and Hurns seem too have the most talent and consistency. What do you think?
John: If "all said and done" means the next three or four years, I'd guess Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee at some point settle into the starting wide receiver roles if everything stays status quo. If Shorts were healthy, I'd say he would be the third receiver with Hurns a very good fourth. As we've seen the last two months, things don't stay status quo in the NFL. Injuries and availability cause lineups to be juggled. The depth chart is your depth chart in the offseason and then reality dictates everything.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Drafting and developing.....developing and drafting.....drafting and developing.....sigh....
John: The right road often is a long one.
Craig from Holly Springs, NC:
The two biggest things I took out of Sunday's game: Our secondary is just not good right now. Second, Bortles' pocket awareness is incredible. He looks like a 10-year vet the way he is able to slide while going through his progressions. I am thoroughly impressed thus far.
John: Good eyes. One needs to change, the other will only get better.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content