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O-Zone: Admiration zone

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
John, since you are so adamant about the Jaguars being able to add "multiple wins" by the end of the year, please name the two opponents left on the schedule you think the Jaguars will beat.
John: I don't know if it's correct to say I am "adamant" that the Jaguars will get multiple victories the rest of the season. I have said that they have a chance to win any of their remaining games – and that I do not believe they will finish 2-14. As for which teams specifically they will beat, I have no idea. That's because I believe the Jaguars' success or failure in their final five games largely will depend on how they play as opposed to the quality of their opponents – or even how their opponents play. I believe this because the Jaguars have played four consecutive decent-to-good teams very tough with a legitimate chance to win those games. The Jaguars have lost those games, but it wouldn't have taken an absurd happening for them to have won. Therefore, if the Jaguars play well, they absolutely can win any of the remaining games – and I do mean "any" of them and I do mean including Sunday. If they do not …
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
John, at this point with nothing to play for – i.e., playoffs, winning record and with the coach and general manager being fired at the end of the season – the Jags should continue to lose to set up a high draft pick. What's your thought?
John: I think you're assuming one or more things that aren't set in stone yet, and I don't think the Jaguars should continue to lose for draft positioning.
Josh from Grand Island, NE:
Don't beat yourself up, Zone. That's what we're here for.
John: OK.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
The Broncos will contain Blake Bortles and take away the short routes. … GO LONG!!!
John: This is a wonderful idea because of its simplicity. It's also an exciting idea – as evidenced by your use of CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!!!!! A long-pass-only game plan is perhaps not as appetizing an idea for Bortles or a Jaguars offensive line that must figure out a way to protect Bortles against Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. We'll see.
Abe from Mobile, AL:
I get that people question a lot about a two-win team. But Dave Caldwell has done a great, admirable job at building up the roster thus far. Consider the wide-receiver position as a good example. After Keenan McCardell left, we began trying to find a good complement for Jimmy Smith. Then Smith retired and we went through a huge rotisserie at the wide-receiver position for a decade. We had draft miss after draft miss and high-profile free agents. But in one offseason, we got Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, and Allen Robinson. That's what Caldwell does.
John: Hey … one fer Dave!
Will from Calgary, Alberta:
Most of a team dragging around on defense, improper route-running offense … who is to blame?? Head coach takes blame for team loses.
John: Yes, a head coach takes the blame for a team losing, but if you think the Jaguars are "dragging around on defense" then apparently we have watched different teams for pretty much the last month.
Chuck from Tennessee:
Do you think Coach Gus Bradley keeps his job if he wins the remaining five games?
John: Maybe, but I'm not betting my house.
Chris from Los Angeles, CA:
Enough of the "what-can-we-do-to fix-this" commentary or questions. So to make lemonade, I think it's time take the spoiler approach and it's time to take out all our frustrations on the next five teams. Don't care about their records or who their quarterback is or what their defense is ranked or not ranked. It's time to come into these last five games like rabid, feral dogs with rabies and every team we bite poisons their playoff push. The best revenge is massive success. No more woe is me.
John: #DTWD
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
I asked you a couple years ago with the quarterback position SO important, why we didn't go ahead and draft another top quarterback prospect high in the draft to basically "hedge our bets." You said it won't work because there just isn't enough practice time to go around. I didn't get it then and I still don't. I understand they can't both/all practice with the ones at the same time but if the quarterback means the difference between competing and 4-12 every year I still think it makes more sense to keep drafting them until you find "the guy." We have three quarterbacks on the roster right now, anyway. If the roster is pretty much built now then we need to find "the guy" for this team. Either way … this four-year cycle could be shortened if we didn't keep waiting four years to see if the guy we took was the right guy and then started all over again. #frustratedjagfan.
John: I don't know how passionate I was against this idea a couple of years ago, but I'm probably warmer to it now. I still don't think you're going to see struggling teams take quarterbacks in the Top 10 in two or three consecutive years, but would it make sense to draft a guy early – say in the top couple of rounds – back-to-back seasons? Perhaps – or perhaps I'm just tired.
Andrew from Matton, IL:
I seem to have misplaced Shad Khan's phone number. Will you let him know I'm OK with guys staying another year? I'm sure he'll want to know.
John: Which guys?
Ross from Jacksonville:
I've seen Blake Bortles, Gus Bradley, Dave Caldwell and Shad Khan all blamed for our unsuccessful run in 2016. I propose it's your fault. With your power naps, stealing from the fridge and leaving early constantly ... these set a bad example and break down the foundation of the organization. I'd send a strong worded letter to Shad, but I'm afraid he wouldn't know who I was referring to.
John: Fair point.
Bobby from Doboy Island, GA:
2-14 or 3-13 or 4-12 ... who cares? All those records stink.
John: This also is a fair point.
Ed from Section 144:
Ok, John: I'm biting. Which teams do you think we match up well enough with that gives us a good chance of winning?
John: All of them, pretty much – and I'm not being sarcastic. The Jaguars have played well enough to be really close with their last four opponents. If they match or come close to that level defensively and play a tick better offensively in the final five weeks they can win multiple games. There's not a team left on the schedule against which I believe the Jaguars have no chance.
Mark from Charlotte, NC:
What is the most disappointing and/or unexpected thing this year that you did not foresee prior to the opening day?
John: I didn't expect Blake Bortles to struggle quite to this degree. I didn't think he was elite entering the season, and I thought he needed to improve in many important areas. I also thought and wrote often that I thought the improvements he needed to make would be difficult, but I also thought – based on his improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 – that he would get at least marginally better in accuracy, decision-making, etc. I thought if he marginally improved that would get the offense at least consistent enough to complement what I believed would be an improved defense. As for the defense, I didn't expect it to improve this much quite so quickly. I thought the defense would be better than last season, but it's a lot better and I didn't expect that.
David from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
In a league where collective bargaining determines salary and player movement, and with the player's non-union as weak as ever, how can you characterize signing unrestricted free agents as overpaying? Free agency is actually the most accurate player valuation available. To say otherwise is to be spoiled by all the salary structures that grossly underlay player's.
John: I characterize signing unrestricted free agents as overpaying because you're paying premium prices that are often driven up by lack of supply – and you're paying those prices for players who weren't wanted by their previous teams for one reason or another. As a result, you more often than not sign players who aren't as good as the players who resigned as core players with the team that drafted them. For those reasons and more, those players rarely develop into core players for your franchise – but you are paying them "core-player" salaries. You can characterize it however you want; I'll characterize it as "overpaying." It doesn't make them bad people or even bad players. In fact, God bless those overpaid bundles of awesome. We should all be so lucky.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
I admire you Zone.
John: I'm aware.

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