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O-Zone: Around the corner

JACKSONVILLE – Last day for Chargers talk. One more day until Look-Ahead Wednesday.

Is there a fast-forward button?

Let's get to it … JT from Charleston, SC:
I hear that one must hit bottom before rising from the ashes like the magnificent Phoenix. Bring on Baltimore!!! #DTWD
John: We'll start here as Look-Back-a-Final-Time Tuesday begins and we begin oh-so-eagerly anticipating Look-Ahead Wednesday: Sunday truly did feel like bottom. It may not have been the most one-sided loss of the Gus Bradley era, but it was the most unsettling because of its unexpected nature. Was the team somehow overconfident based on a close Week 1 loss? Did things snowball early and make things look worse than they were? Was it just one of those one-sided games that happen from time to time? Perhaps there were elements of all of those things in San Diego on Sunday, but whatever happened, it was bad. And it indeed makes this perhaps the most important, intriguing week of Bradley's regime. Players without question were frustrated Sunday. Coaches were, too. There remained a strong sense of shock, disappointment and anger afterward, but the primary feeling was that this team is far too good to perform like that. That's fine, and it means this team still has a chance to turn things around. But at 0-2 – and coming off a performance like that – the Jaguars must really, really turn it around. They must do more than play well and have a close loss. They need to win Sunday – yeah, for the fans but mostly for themselves.
Marc from the US Assure Club:
John, I know it's early in the season, but I am really curious what you think. How certain do you feel right now that Gus will be our head coach next season?
John: This is a legitimate question. If the team plays as it did the first week of the season, I think he has a chance to be the coach next season because I think that version of the Jaguars can win games. If it plays as it did Sunday, I think he has virtually no chance to be the coach next season. Sunday was bad. Really bad.
Cody from Orlando, FL:
Is this rock bottom for the franchise in the Gus Bradley era?
John: I thought so in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's game and I still think so. There have been worse losses, but those came in years when there was not enough talent to play much better. I've said throughout the offseason I thought this was a team that had a chance to win eight or nine games – somewhere in that area. The team that played Sunday could not win that many games – or even close. So, yeah – if that wasn't rock bottom, I don't want to see it.
Mike from Navarre, OH:
It's time for Myles Jack. It definitely can't be worse than what Poz has to offer. The blown coverage is crippling. What do you think about the MLB situation?
John: I think if you're going to start Paul Posluszny at middle linebacker you can't put him many situations where he's covering wide receivers down field. I think the same would be true of any middle linebacker you started. And yes, that includes Myles Jack.
Chris from Houston, TX:
I hope that two consecutive weeks with absolutely no running game has disabused the Jaguars of the mistaken belief that Ivory and Yeldon should "split" carries. Ivory, when available, needs to be this team's workhorse back.
John: Do not put the struggles of the run game in the first two weeks all on T.J. Yeldon. Rushing effectiveness far more often stems from quality run blocking than magical running. I believe Ivory returning will help the Jaguars' running game, but I also think for the most part Yeldon has run pretty well given his room to run.
Austin from Jacksonville:
Do you think losing Prince Amukamara this week played a big role in why our secondary gave up so many plays (besides Jalen Ramsey … he did great)? It did seem that in the game versus Green Bay he was a big part of our secondary.
John: Prince Amukamara had been playing very well, so not having him against San Diego certainly hurt the secondary. When Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Colvin, Amukamara and Davon House are all available the Jaguars are very deep at cornerback. There were certainly situations Sunday in which having only two of those players hurt.
Jessie from Orlando, FL:
John, after the offense exploded onto the scene last year why does it appear the game plan is to run ineffectively for the first two downs and then throw a screen? Even at the end of the first half, why not throw it in the end zone instead of throwing a screen at the 40 with nine seconds left?
John: I didn't have a huge problem with the offensive play-calling in the first half. The Jaguars actually were able to run their way into pretty decent down-and-distance situations on several first-half offensive series – and that's what you're looking to do when you run early in the game. Penalties hurt the offense Sunday more than the lack of a running game – and nothing hurt the offense like the three turnovers committed by quarterback Blake Bortles. Now, as for the multiple screens as the game wore on … not so much. And without question the screen with nine seconds remaining in the first half was a failed call.
Hippy from Fleming Island, FL:
The Jags were terrible Sunday ... but watching Aaron Rodgers get worked put things in perspective. It's a tough league and you better be on your A game.
John: This is true, but there better be some serious A game going on for the home team at EverBank Field Sunday.
Dwight from Jacksonville:
If only our coaches showed as much sideline enthusiasm and – yes – even anger as Odrick, we might actually have a competitive team.
John: I get fans' desire to see emotion, but the sideline "enthusiasm" Odrick displayed is not a path to competitiveness.
Marty from Jacksonville:
John, if Poz finds himself lined up on the other team's fastest player, why doesn't he call time out and go consult with Todd Wash about how that scheme isn't going to work?
John: It's not always so simple as that. In one instance Sunday, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Posluszny wound up in coverage on a wide receiver because the Jaguars were misaligned pre-snap. As a result, a corner or a safety was not in correct position and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers checked to a play that – once the ball was snapped – dictated Posluszny be in coverage. It's difficult to have every defensive player in exactly the right position on every play, particularly against a quarterback as good as Rivers. The Chargers took advantage of several such situations Sunday, which is part of why it's so tough to defend Rivers. Jaguars players being out of position is something that has happened too often, and it's the sort of thing that loses games.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
Twenty-two penalties in two weeks?? Fred Taylor said that this team is "undisciplined" and that "they will not win another game until they find some discipline." One of the players said that some issues on defense are scheme problems and not players, saying that players are not being put in the best positions to execute. These are coaching issues and being brought up by players and experienced past players. Is this a wheel coming off of the "Gus bus?" At best, it is a crack showing in the team's psyche. So John, does this team hold it together and rebound – or is this the beginning of the end for Gus?
John: These are the sorts of things you hear at 0-2 when your team trailed by 35 points in the fourth quarter of Loss No. 2. There's no question the issues you raise are problematic, and there's no question it's the responsibility of coaches to solve the issues. I've said since the San Diego game ended that this is a big week for this team and this coaching staff. Finding answers to these questions is a big reason.
Bill from Rochester, NY:
Am I being overly optimistic or was Sunday exactly what a young, developing group of players needed to keep them grounded after that "moral victory" in Green Bay?
John: It's fine to get grounded. I don't know that you want to be that grounded.
Bill from Saint Petersburg, FL:
Zone ... fans will fan but ... R-E-L-A-X. Your thoughts?
John: I think fans indeed will fan. It's what they do. I also think that fans had every reason to fan during and after Sunday's game. If ever there was a time to fan, in fact, that was very much it.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
Sunday was bad. I'm over it. Greatness is around the corner. It would be foolish to stop walking towards it now. Bring on the Ravens. The Jags'll teach 'em the meaning of "Nevermore."
John: On to Wednesday.

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