JACKSONVILLE – Next-day O-Zone. Sigh.
Let's get to it …
Chad from Jacksonville:
John: Good question. Actually, in the wake of a 38-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday it might even be considered a great question. It's certainly something Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and Jaguars players seemed to be seriously considering late Sunday afternoon. As I've written several times since the end of Sunday's game, there was an urgency and irritation in Bradley Sunday I hadn't seen before. It was clear he knows something isn't right, and that something has to change with regard to the errors and missed opportunities. How that will manifest itself, I don't know, but it was definitely there.
Shane from Lusby, MD:
Not really a question but, I'll take this kind of losing over last year any day. This team and the quarterback are improving. This team is going to get hot; it's just a matter of when.
John: "When" needs to be soon, Shane.
Scott from London, England:
Oh my! Tell me is this on Bob Babich or is this on the players? Clearly Poz would have made a difference against the run but what about the other regulars who seemed to play questionably? Cyp certainly didn't have one of his better games. And before we all start crowning Bortles the savior of the franchise, let's not forget he missed a wide open A-Rob on the pick and another wide open A-Rob when he tried to force it to Lewis.
John: A loss such as Sunday's is on everyone. A defensive performance against the run such as Sunday's is on everyone, too. Coaches, players, everyone. And while Paul Posluszny undoubtedly is very important to the run defense – and while he would have helped Sunday – one player should not have been the entire defense. As far as Bortles, you're right: he missed some throws and the interception was a bad one because of throw and the read. At the same time, the progress overall is still good and it looks as if he has a chance to keep developing. That doesn't send much sunshine anyone's way this morning, but in the long run it's important.
George from Duval:
I can't imagine your inbox, but even though I'm a diehard. What in your opinion needs to change fast before it's a staff rebuild? #exhaustedseasonticketholder
John: The mistakes and missed opportunities. That encompasses a lot, but that's what has to change.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
I can't tell you what's wrong with this team, but I can tell you they are underachieving. We finally have the talent on the field and they ain't making it happen, O.
John: They sure haven't the last two weeks. That doesn't mean they can't and it doesn't mean they won't. But are they doing it? No.
Jeff from Rutland, MA:
I'll be like Gus and stick with the positives. The offense looked much better. And I'm positive the defense sucked.
John: Cute. I can't say I laughed at this, but I appreciated the effort.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Two straight games …stretches of games like this are what get coaches fired. This team has too much talent to lose like this …
John: These last two games have had a lot of disturbing elements. Mistakes and missed opportunities are the things that turn seasons, and the Jaguars without question lost two games in the last eight days they should have and could have won. You couldn't listen to Bradley and Jaguars players Sunday and not realize that they know something's not right. It has to get fixed and fixed in a hurry. How will that happen? That remains to be seen, but there was a sense of urgency in Bradley's voice to go with the frustration. We'll see what gets done.
Zach from Pisgah, AL:
This team is difficult to watch, and has been for quite some time.
John: They ain't making it easy, Zach. I'll grant you that.
Stan from Jacksonville:
Clearly, this team is improved. It is truly sad that individual errors, happening way too consistently, have caused us to lose at least two games this season to teams which we were better than on that day. It seems clear our starters are generally pretty good. Backups, not so much. Next draft? Young, big and reasonably fast defensive line guys, I think.
John: I'm not quite ready to think about next year yet, and I agree there's some truth in what you say. There are improved elements, particularly on offense. What I can't say is the Jaguars were better than the Buccaneers Sunday. Maybe they would be better most days, but the Jaguars on Sunday made enough poor plays at the wrong times to get themselves beat. That means they weren't the better team.
Bill from Sarasota, FL:
That fumble by Grant cost us the game. The defense didn't help the cause either. I see the improvement and I'm still excited, but is it safe to say now we're still a year away?
John: Unless something pretty remarkable happens … yeah.
Renee from Jacksonville:
John, turnovers suck.
John: Yeah, they do – and they without question bit the Jaguars' big-time Sunday. As much as the defense struggled Sunday – and there certainly were times when the unit's struggles were really, really real – the Buccaneers got 21 of their points off dramatic "flips of the field." A 58-yard punt return. A 41-yard drive after an interception thrown by Blake Bortles. A touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone. You know what those kinds of mistakes do? They lose games that you otherwise could have won. They also make you a bad team, and for a long time on Sunday those mistakes made the Jaguars look really, really bad. Are they better than that? Is there a better team waiting to bust out? Maybe, but if so, it's time for them to show it.
Steven from Duval:
You're right John, they are clearly improving. Remind me how you get paid to write the stuff you do?
John: Direct deposit. I value the convenience.
Brian from Section 238:
Part of our problem is when Brent Martineau on 1010XL last week says "I don't know what fans expected" when talking about this year's potential record. Well Brent, we expect more than this. Pathetic.
John: I consider Brent Martineau a friend, but I don't consider him part of the problem. At least not when it comes to the Jaguars.
Nick from Fort Polk, LA:
I wanna be mad John; I really do. Then I remember the legendary '96 season, when the Jags were 4-7 losing a bunch of close games. Then something clicked and those close losses started turning into close wins. I'm not saying the Jags are going to make a run to the AFC championship, but they are playing well enough to not be counted out just yet.
John: I see your point, Nick, although I doubt many others will this morning. The Jaguars need to grow up – and clean up – in a hurry. Yes, it can be done. But until the team starts doing it you can't assume it will. They have to make it happen and they need to do that soon.
Willis from Jacksonville:
Would Poz have made the difference?
John: Some, but not THAT much.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I'm speechless. This team is just bad.
John: I didn't have much to say Sunday, either. It wasn't good.
Thomas from Madison, WI:
I said it last week and I'll say it this week: We are the worst team in the league. The embarrassment continues! Here's to another year of being the laughingstock of the league!
John: You did say it last week. I believe I said, "Nah." This week … well, Sunday wasn't good. It was bad. No arguments.
Erik from Jacksonville:
Mop this one up, John. The Jags have played the best and the worst teams in the NFL. The Jags have officially been gauged: bottom three in the NFL. But they are number one in finding any and every way to lose each week. So tired.
John: I sincerely wish this email wasn't accurate. I wish that for the many Jaguars fans with whom I spoke before the game in Tampa Sunday because the energy, enthusiasm, loyalty and dedication they showed was – and has been for a long time – remarkable. Yes, the fans are tired. There's no other way to say that at 1-4. There are things going right in some areas – particularly the play of Bortles – to give people reason to believe, but for now? On this day? On this Monday? Yes, you have every reason to be tired.