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O-Zone: Always and forever

JACKSONVILLE – Look Ahead Wednesday

Let’s get to it …

Ryan from Jacksonville

John, this team looks more like the 2016 Jaguars that only won three games than it does the 2017 team that nearly won the AFC Championship.

The Jaguars in the last three games have looked worse than that 2016 team. This team has trailed 57-0 in the first half of the last three games, trailing at the half in those games 20-0, 24-0 and 13-0. That’s three consecutive games essentially over in the second quarter; that’s difficult to do in the NFL. This is a crisis point. The offense must find something it can do well to try to find some identity – and just as urgently, it must figure out how to score early. It’s hard to imagine this team overcoming a deficit right now. The defense must figure a way to get an early stop or a turnover and not allow opposing offenses to get the early lead that causes the game to feel out of hand. The offense is not playing well and it’s hard to see how that will change given the personnel available. The defense is playing very good at times, but not as great as it needs to play considering the level at which the offense is playing. That’s a bad combination, and one that has this season very much on the brink.

Robert from Sacramento, CA

Why haven't the Jags re-signed Marcedes Lewis?

Because he plays for the Green Bay Packers.

Shane from Atlanta, GA

Can people really say this defense is bad when they are on the field most of the game? They can't even catch their breath before they are back on the field ...

I haven’t heard people saying the defense is bad. If they are saying that, they are wrong (must be someone in the national media). There have been times the defense hasn’t been good enough this season. The Texans’ touchdown drive at the end of the first half was such a time. Houston ran far too easily on that drive, and I considered that and a couple of series against Dallas the low points of the season. But overall, no: this defense isn’t bad. It’s not great as great as we expected – and it’s getting zero help from the offense right now – but it in no way is it bad.

Joe from Jacksonville

Last year was a fluke. We are the same old Jaguars.

Teams don’t make AFC Championship Games on flukes. That didn’t guarantee anything for this season, but that doesn’t mean it was a fluke.

Eric from Columbus, IN

Not trying to overreact but an honest question ... have you ever covered a team where things went from so good to so bad so fast?

I’ve covered a few teams with high expectations that have gone bad quickly: the 2000 Jaguars and 2001 Colts come to mind. When things go bad in the NFL, they tend to go really bad really quickly. But considering how good the Jaguars were last season – and how good they looked through most of the first four games – this is a big surprise. Just a real big surprise. And not like this surprise, either.

Holger from Zurich, Switzerland

Has the NFL become nothing else but an endless quest to find your franchise quarterback?

I wouldn’t say “nothing else,” but …

Ray from Jacksonville

John: Good drafting vs. bad drafting: The Texans would laugh out loud if the Jaguars offered two top five picks (Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette) for Deshaun Watson, who was selected 12th. Heck, throw in two more of General Manager David Caldwell’s top five picks (Dante Fowler Jr. and Big Luke [Joeckel] - if he was still here) and the Texans would laugh some more.

They might laugh, but I wouldn’t offer a lot for Deshaun Watson. He’s good. I’ll wait to see if he’s a lot more than that.

Jessie from Orlando, FL

John, drafting players that can't immediately contribute appears to be a bad plan.

That’s almost always the immediate perception for that plan. What will matter is whether the players can contribute in the future. Even if you draft rookies with the idea that they will help immediately you’re fortunate if one makes a notable immediate difference, so drafting for the future – while frustrating in the short term – often makes more sense in the long term.

Justin from Jacksonville

No question, John – but our fan base is out of control. Yes, "fans gonna fan" and all that, but the "The-sky-is-falling-down-put-Bortles’-head-on-a-spike" mantra is getting old. I'm not happy about the lack of success, either. Far from it. But the offense is in shambles all around. But you know … the next Aaron Rodgers is out there somewhere and damn us for not having him.

Fans fan. When they fan, they’re often out of control. Skies fall. Calls get made for heads on stakes. It’s what it is.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

How can the offense look so good against New England and then so bad against everyone else?

The Patriots were struggling defensively at the time, and the Jaguars’ offense had far fewer injuries. Teams also hadn’t had time to figure what the Jaguars were going to do offensively in the absence of Fournette. And tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. And running back Corey Grant. And wide receiver Marqise Lee. And both left tackles. And the reserve tight ends. And …

Rene from Jacksonville

Hey John, where did our team go? They’re lost. I don’t know if they can find their way. Love my Jags. I hope they can find themselves because I still believe in them. Go Jags

I don’t know if they can either, Rene. For it to happen, this offense needs to find something it doesn’t seem close to attaining. We’ll see.

Bill from Dansville, NY

If you told Paul Posluszny he had a "soft" tissue injury, would he punch you in the face and run back on the field? #Toughness

Yeah, probably.

Sam from Jacksonville

O, this season is teetering on the brink of disaster, and all I can think about is how I think is while he's an exceptional talent I can't stand Jalen Ramsey. It is the first time I can recall feeling such disdain for a player on my favorite team. He's a loudmouth, rude and disrespectful jerk. As much as I want the Jags to win, I root for him to be toasted. It's not a good feeling, Zone. I wish he'd just shut his huge mouth.

That’s fair. I can tell you that my impression is that Ramsey’s not a bad guy – but I don’t worry about how players act in press conferences or when being interviewed as much as a lot of other media types worry about such things. But if people don’t like Ramsey, that’s not people’s fault. The way he behaves when in the public eye is going to alienate some people. And some of those people are likely to be Jaguars fans.

George from Savannah, GA

I’m not yelling, not screaming and certainly not excited but as a calm fan we could have certainly traded for Nick Foles, who would have been a significant upgrade at quarterback. Just saying. And yes, he throws great spirals and has a much faster release than old B.B. negating a poor offensive line.

Meh.

Kratos from Palm Bay, FL

I smelled this poop party coming as soon as they extended Blake and didn't draft or sign a viable backup in the offseason. This is what we get when our general manager tries to prove that the quarterback he drafted is a good quarterback. Everyone knows that Blake is an average backup at best. #benchBlake #fireDave

The Jaguars do not have an elite quarterback. They instead built around an offensive approach built on running effectively and passing well at times with a complementary quarterback and complementary receivers. This approach helped them to the AFC Championship Game last season when most of the complementary pieces stayed healthy. It has turned into an offensive disaster this season when many of the complementary pieces have been hurt. Bortles not being an elite quarterback didn’t hurt the Jaguars last season when the offensive overall was functioning. Him not being an elite quarterback has hurt very much when they’re not. I agree and have long said it’s better to have an elite quarterback than to not have an elite quarterback. The Jaguars chose in the 2017 offseason to take this approach and it produced the franchise’s best season in two decades. They maintained the same approach this offseason and it hasn’t produced the same results. It makes sense to criticize the approach now because it’s not working, and time will tell what the coming offseason will bring. And I do imagine many people smelled the poop coming this season. I also wonder sometimes if they smelled last season coming, too.

Dwayne from Jacksonville

Hey, Zone: You said "thinking that doesn't make it true. That doesn't apply to being cool, does it?"

I wouldn’t know. I’ve always been really cool.

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