JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jim from Section 142 and Duuuuuval:
Important question, O-man ... do I break out the paper-bag attire for Sunday? Haven't had to do so in a while with all of the optimism I've had for the team, but it has completely been washed away by a number of factors – with Blake's regression being at the forefront. I wish this team would give us something to be hopeful for, yet every year it's more of the same. I'm happy that I at least got to see a win in Chicago (sad that I can't ever see one in the 'Bank). Sorry for the rant, I'm just about done with them after having season tix for 15 years. They are pushing me to the brink!!
John: Your feelings are understandable. That doesn't mean they're enjoyable, or that they're anything positive for the Jaguars, but considering the expectations for this season, considering the long run of losing … yes, absolutely the brink-ness feelings are understandable. I can't control those feelings. I also can't control what you wear to the game. I can tell you that I have this weird feeling the Jaguars are going to win Sunday. Part of that feeling is I just don't believe this team is far from winning against some legitimately good opponents – and yes, the Texans fit that category – and part of it is I believe that there are a lot of good things offensively and defensively about this team. Part of it, too, is that I just don't believe this team is going to go on a long, downward spiral – and considering the Jaguars have lost three consecutive games, they need to win soon to avoid such a spiral. As for apologizing for the rant … hey, if you've held season tickets for 15 seasons you've had a lot of frustration and you darned sure had the right to expect better things from this season. So, no apologies necessary. Rant away.
Paul from Jacksonville:
One of the reasons that teams stick with a struggling quarterback like Blake is that the number of potential starting quarterbacks out there is really small. Let's say the Jags were completely frustrated with Blake's play this season … who else on this team gives them a better chance to win? Blake was started earlier than planned in his career in part because Chad Henne's play did not live up to expectations when he was made the starter. Brandon Allen has potential, but I doubt he's ready for live, regular-season NFL action. Past those two, the last time I checked, the quarterback tree had already been shaken pretty hard and didn't have a ton of players still available for picking ...
John: True that.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
I am trying to figure out which positions need an influx of talent for us to turn the corner. But, the roster seems solid top to bottom, so how do we improve? Do you think we need more talent or do you think we just need more time?
John: The roster is solid for the most part. It's not great, but it's functional. I don't know if an influx of talent is needed or just improved consistency/experience/play, but the Jaguars need to get better quarterback play, they need to get pressure on the quarterback and they need more production from the tight-end position. They also could use more deep production from the wide-receiver position. It's difficult to determine how much of the tight end/wide receiver issues are because Bortles is struggling, but bigger impact is needed in those areas this season. The running game obviously needs to be better, but Sunday's effort against Kansas City was good. Let's see if the Jaguars can repeat that before we revamp the offensive line.
Aaron from Chantilly:
Dr. O, I know it may be crazy, but if the Jags were to win this game against our divisional foes how far could it take them?
John: It would take them to the point where they trail the AFC South by two games instead of three. Would it take them further than that? Would it be a game that gave them momentum for a dramatic late-season run? Is that possible? Sure, but we've said that a lot in the last season and a half. I can't say it again. At least not yet.
Will from Jacksonville:
Is it at all concerning that Allen Hurns was the guy David Caldwell locked up as our No. 2 receiver? I say this with the assumption A-Rob gets locked up as a No. 1 guy. Because it seems Marqise Lee brings a lot more of a dynamic threat to the offense than Hurns, and Hurns is now the one struggling with injuries, drops, etc. Thanks.
John: There's a while before this plays out, but yeah … it appears there's a chance Lee could look very much like at least the Jaguars' No. 2 receiver by the end of the season. That doesn't mean locking up Hurns was a bad move. Also, remember: the Jaguars are only really committed to Hurns for two seasons under the contract he signed last offseason. There is no dead money involved for the 2018-2020 seasons if he is no longer on the team at that point. That made the Hurns deal a two-year contract worth $16 million guaranteed if the Jaguars want that to be the extent of the contract. I don't see that being an issue at this point, but it does give the team options.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, Troy Polamalu was described as a hybrid linebacker/safety/freelancer. With his innate athleticism, could you see Myles Jack filling such a role? I just feel we are not using his God-given talents properly.
John: I do think Jack eventually could fulfill such a role. I think such a role is very difficult to play eight games into an NFL career.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I'm not thrilled about changing out the coaching staff. They have spent three years adding personnel that play in a specific scheme. Would I be wrong in saying that half of the front seven would need to be changed out? I'm not sure where you would play some of those guys as they don't fit into the more traditional defenses. On top of that, young guys like Myles Jack would have to learn a new defense. How difficult do you think it would be to transition to a different defensive scheme? Would the offense be set back because they would have to learn a new scheme?
John: It's hard to answer this question specifically without knowing the theoretical future scheme. The Jaguars have a lot of good players on the front seven, and there's no real reason players such as Dante Fowler Jr., Paul Posluszny, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyson Alualu, Abry Jones, Sen'Derrick Marks, Telvin Smith, Myles Jack and Roy Miller couldn't return next season and play effectively in a different scheme. As for how much the offense would be set back in the scenario … no, it wouldn't be ideal. There would be an adjustment. That's always the case when you change schemes. The decision that must be made is whether the benefit of a change would outweigh the negatives of a transition.
Josh from Waunakee, WI:
Good Morning from WI! I went to the KC/JAX game the other day and came away feeling OK about the team, but Bortles still concerns. My question: if Bortles can't improve over the remainder of the season, what would your thoughts be on looking at a potential trade for a guy like Tony Romo? The upcoming quarterback draft is bad, and I feel Romo could be a great stop-gap guy IF Bortles proves to not be the future. Thoughts?
John: This question like so many others in the O-Zone these days is impossible to answer because it depends on so many factors that have yet to play out. Yeah, I think Tony Romo's really good. Do the Cowboys want to trade him? Do the Jaguars want to trade for him? Those questions are a long way off.
Matt from Manhattan:
Hi, John. So a lot of people have been talking about the ratings around the league being down. Take this for what it is, as I am a fan who still watches every game (Jaguars and others) but the product just is not as good. Maybe it's a combination of lack of practice with incorrect referee calls, but the game just isn't as good as it was just a year or two ago. It doesn't make me as sad as the Jaguars make me, but it does make me sad. Your thoughts?
John: I have heard this a lot, and while it's possible I'm wrong, I just don't see this great decline in the quality of the game. My guess is that the decline in ratings is far more from a change in viewer habits, particularly people being more highlight/Vine driven than long-event-viewing driven. I also can't help but think people streaming on Roku, tablets, smart phones, etc., has more to do with it than many believe. I'm not saying the NFL will be as popular forever as it has been the last two decades, but I think the stories of its immediate decline are being greatly exaggerated.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire:
C'mon, O Man, even Jaguars Twitter is getting behind Brad Nortman for the Pro Bowl Vote. Surely, we can have a one fer Brad!
John: Hey, one fer Brad!
O-Zone: All fer Nortman
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jim from Section 142 and Duuuuuval: