JACKSONVILLE – One more day to Look-Ahead Wednesday. And so on and so on and so on …
Let's get to it …
Mikey from Jacksonville:
While there hasn't been much to write home about this season, I will admit Marqise Lee has impressed me. Early in his career, it seemed he couldn't get on the field due to injuries – and I was done thinking about him. I'm glad the team wasn't as impatient as I would have been.
John: The Jaguars were never going to release Marqise Lee. While many people – Lee most prominent among them – were frustrated during the past two seasons by his inability to stay healthy, there was no reason to question his desire or talent. It was the talent, of course, that made keeping him easy. Lee is a phenomenally gifted receiver. We have seen that in recent weeks, and we saw it again Sunday as he made two highlight-reel catches of rare athleticism and body control. When you have that sort of talent on the roster, keeping it is a very easy decision.
Paulo from Salvadore, Brazil:
Hi O, love your work. The worst thing about being fan of a struggling team is that I don´t cheer anymore. I know the team will find a way to lose. Even in the victories, I didn't cheer because I expected some mistakes that will cost the game. The victories only happen because the time expired first. Does this feeling happen to the players during the game? Can we get some winning to change that perception?
John: Your feelings are natural and stem from being a human being. When you watch a team lose as much as the Jaguars have lost in recent seasons, it's natural to wonder what's coming next. And yes … because they are human beings, players feel those feelings, too. I have sensed for the most part this season that the Jaguars have played through those feelings and stayed motivated, but it would be natural for it to be an issue with hopes of a winning record now extinguished so early in the season. As far as winning changing the perception … yes, winning cures all. It's better than losing – a lot better, actually.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
A lot of fans are grumbling about Gus Bradley and calling for him to be fired, which is completely understandable. What concerns me is the clamor for Dave Caldwell to be fired as well. While it is true that he appears to have missed on the two highest-profile personnel decisions in the head coach and quarterback, the rest of the roster has talent all over. In your opinion, are those two "sins" so egregious as to warrant losing his job or do you believe he has added enough talent to the roster as a whole to get another shot with another head coach and quarterback?
John: I don't know how Shad Khan feels about the future of General Manager David Caldwell – just as I don't know how he feels about the future of Head Coach Gus Bradley. The reason I don't know these things is very few people if any outside of Khan knows how he feels about these things, and Khan may not yet have made decisions in either area. Six games remain in this season. That's enough games that it would be reasonable for Khan to still be watching/evaluating. I have said often and I still believe that Caldwell should be retained. I believe he has improved the roster, and I believe the talent for the most part is enough to win. Quarterback is an exception right now, because Blake Bortles right now is not playing well enough for the Jaguars to win. That doesn't mean he can't improve enough to win, but it does mean it's not happening right now. What all of that will mean at the end of the season I don't know.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
Do you think this team is in danger of entering quarterback purgatory? The defense is extremely young, but already playing well. The wide receivers are in place and the running game may be a player or two away. Special-teams play tends to fluctuate from year to year. By purgatory, I mean building a roster strong enough to win six-to-eight games with poor quarterback play that prevents you from drafting high enough to take an elite quarterback prospect. Teams like the Rams, Bills and Texans are recent examples.
John: The Jaguars are 2-8, so they have to do some pretty significant winning the rest of the season to reach your definition of purgatory. As far as purgatory, I guess I have a tough time defining it. I do think teams that have poor quarterback play do whatever they can to get better quarterback play, and teams that have good quarterback play thank the heavens for their good fortune.
Tony from Jacksonville:
I've always felt that good teams find ways to win, and bad teams find ways to lose. By that definition, we are a consistently bad team. When you have the talent, and many games you are actually outperforming the opponent, could it be that simple? Make plays, not mistakes, when the game is on the line. Is there such a thing as a "winning mindset" – and if so, how does a team develop it?
JT from Jacksonville:
It's getting to the point that we can expect Blake Bortles to throw a ridiculous interception each game. This is not the sign of a good starting quarterback in the NFL.
John: I was going to answer this with a simple, "That's right," but it deserves more than that. This indeed is the bottom line on Bortles tight now. He is doing enough good things to move the Jaguars' offense at times. His play on two touchdown drives Sunday was good – and he has had other such moments. He is completing a good percentage of his passes and he is throwing for a good amount of yards. But as you say, there are too many games when one mistake turns the game. He has 16 turnovers this season and has thrown two interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns in the last two weeks. Those sorts of plays lose games – as evidenced by the results of the last two games.
Sebastian from Mexico:
MJ could play nickel. Why not put him there when Aaron Colvin was injured in place of Peyton Thompson?
John: Myles Jack is a rookie linebacker who has learned all three linebacker roles this season. His coverage skills are very, very good for a rookie linebacker, but to ask him to play nickel would be a big, big ask.
Robert from Fort Bliss:
We have to draft a new quarterback. The sooner we realize this, the better. Blake Bortles will never lead us to the Promised Land. The line gave him plenty of time and good throwing lanes. He plain and simple can't get it done.
John: There are more than a few fans who feel this way, and Bortles has struggled enough this season that the sentiment is understandable. I don't know the direction after the season when it comes to quarterback because I don't yet know the direction the franchise will go in a lot of areas. There remains a belief that Bortles can right this ship. How long he will have to do that I do not know.
Diegus from Duval:
Do you see any chance of the Jaguars exporting a trade for a quarterback such as Tony Romo or someone of his caliber? Also, Chris Ivory needs to go: he has fumbled the ball too much! Offense should be our main focus in the draft: not more defensive players. We need a Leonard Fournette-type of playmaker and we should draft an offensive lineman in the second round.
John: Wow. Many takes and questions in a few sentences. I'll swing at a few. One, I don't know how many quarterbacks the caliber of Tony Romo will be available in the offseason, but I'm guessing not many and I think it's doubtful he will be traded to Jacksonville – if the Jaguars would seek such a trade at all. Two, yeah … Chris Ivory's fumble was costly Sunday – and I think offensive line will be a focus in the draft. As far as Leonard Fournette … while it's too early to get deep into draft talk, I'll be surprised if the Jaguars go running back in the first round – but that's only because I'm always surprised these days when teams go running back in the first round.
Bill from Folkston, GA:
Hey, John: I was just looking at the remaining schedule and have a question for you. In all honesty, without a major improvement in many areas, do you think we have a chance of winning any more games this season?
John: Absolutely. The Jaguars have lost three consecutive games to contending teams with winning records. They have had a legitimate chance to win all three of those games. I see no reason they should have a legitimate chance to win all of their remaining six games. Whether they will indeed win any of them I frankly haven't the foggiest idea.