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O-Zone: Best buds

LONDON – Let’s get to it …

Paul from Ponte Vedra, FL

O’ster, how is another running back going to help if we are not committing to running the ball? Just wondering.

The Jaguars absolutely are committed to running, particularly to a power-running game. This is how the offense was built and the team considers it its offensive identity. The Jaguars indeed have gotten away from the run in recent games, and Jaguars running backs rushed for just 32 yards on 14 carries this past Sunday in a 20-7 loss to Houston. Why so few carries? Why so little commitment? One reason is it’s difficult to maintain commitment to a power-running game when you lack a power-running back – and the Jaguars have lacked a power-running back with Leonard Fournette out five of the last six games. They also have lacked depth at running back in recent weeks with Fournette and Corey Grant both out with injuries. While T.J. Yeldon has been very good this season, he also was playing through an ankle injury in recent weeks – and even when Yeldon is healthy, he’s not a 25-carry-per-game back. When you’re a running team and you lack backs, it’s tough to feel good about what you want to do offensively. It’s also difficult to maintain commitment to the running game when trailing by large margins. The Jaguars believe newly-acquired running back Carlos Hyde will help in this area. They believe the eventual return of Fournette also will help. If they are correct, you’ll see pretty clear evidence of that commitment quickly.

Mariano from Jacksonville

Mr. O, so much for the rest of the AFC South struggling. The Texans are on a roll, Andrew Luck looks like he might be back to his former self, and the Titans keep finding ways to beat us. If we lose this week, is it too early to say our playoff hopes are dead?

Yes, it will be too soon for that – but it will be fair to say they’re barely breathing.

John from Jacksonville

I'm having difficulty understanding our owner's relentless commitment to Jacksonville and the Jaguars. If revenue from the Jaguars isn't sustainable on its own, requiring all kinds of other investments to pick up the gap, what is the incentive to stay and not move on? It sounds to me if/when our current owner decides to move on, the team won't have much of a chance staying in Jacksonville. It would be surprising to see another owner want what seems to be a liability of an investment in our small market.

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has no intentions of selling the Jaguars. As for his commitment to Jacksonville, I’ve always been amazed by – and thankful for – it. He sees potential in this city’s downtown – and its potential for growth – that frankly not everyone in the city sees.

Mid State Office Supply Accounts Receivables

How often did you get beat up in high school? I would imagine it was probably quite often.

Five. Once per year by a gang of school toughs, then the headmaster beat my @$% just before graduation because it was the last @*!# chance he was going to have at it.

Jim from Pahrump, NV

John: You mentioned against both Dallas and Houston, the Jaguars’ defensive front four was unable to get the kind of pressure many thought they would because of the weakness of both Dallas’ and Houston's offensive lines. Are we being "out-schemed?"

No, the Jaguars’ defensive line is fine. The Jaguars’ defense isn’t playing with a lead. When a defense doesn’t play with a lead, it’s difficult to get consistent pressure on a quarterback because teams can throw when they want to throw as opposed to throwing when they must throw. The difference in leading and not leading for a pass rush is all the difference in the world. If the Jaguars’ offense can get a lead and make opposing offenses throw when they don’t want to throw, the Jaguars’ defense will start getting pressure on the quarterback. If they can’t …

Chris from Orlando, FL

by the report of the jags not looking at doing anything before the trade deadline for QB, just goes to show me that at the end of the year when Balke is still garbage, Dave needs to go as well as Blake, and that we are drafting a new QB in the draft, so i am saying it now, if Dave is not fired we are getting the kid Milton from UCF, but here is hoping dave is fired and Tom takes his place as GM and dumps bortles!

Fire everyone!!!!! don’t worry about capital letters, grammar – punctuation so that understand, people can, or saying something in a way that people, understand saying, but just, absolutely and without question … fire everyone!!!

Ray from Pooler, GA

What do you think of the running back situation on Sunday? Hyde the workhorse and Yeldon back to his usual role?

I think it’s a whole lot better than the running back situation last Sunday.

Chris from Mandarin

John, can you explain something please? At the end of the Jets game, when the Jaguars went for a two-point conversion, Doug Marrone said the chart said go for two in that situation. Why then, when it was getting late in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, did Marrone not elect for a two-point conversion following the second touchdown? At the time, it would have put the Jaguars within two scores down with enough time feasibly remaining to make the comeback. Of course, the team sucked it up and didn't score another point afterwards, but it really makes his justification for the Jets two-point conversion seem like BS. Surely, the chart would say make it a two-score game at that point.

The Jaguars’ final touchdown against the Chiefs pulled them to within sixteen points, 30-14. That’s two scores. You go for one there because going for two and missing would leave you down by three scores. Going for one kept you within two. The Jaguars would have gone for two points had they scored another touchdown because the difference in going for one and two there would have been the difference in being down two scores or one.

Josh from Lynchburg, VA

I didn't think the Jags would be drafting in the Top 10 for at least another five or six years, but here we are. Who are some of the top prospects coming out at positions of need?

Where “we are” is 3-4 with nine games remaining in the season. Draft position isn’t remotely set. As far as the top prospects coming out at positions of need, I haven’t the foggiest. Check back when the season ends.

Tom from Charleston, SC

You have defended Blake until now when there is no defense for his miserable career. Now you've moved to a new excuse for poor play, injuries. Injuries are not an excuse, they are a part of the game. Granted it would be better to have all the designated ones on the field, but that ain't going to happen. How many times has Doug said "it is next man up?” The painful truth is that there just isn't enough talent on this team to get the job done – and yes, that includes at quarterback.

One of the best things about this job is seeing on a daily basis how frustrated people get when people don’t do things they want. People apparently want me to join the masses of people saying, “Blake Bortles is terrible” and “it’s all his fault” and “Jaguars officials should be fired because he’s the quarterback.” I understand people want to read that because they’re frustrated. I also understand that there is a place for brief, declarative, black-and-white statements regarding the Jaguars. That place is Twitter, and you can find plenty of people there to say Bortles is bad and to say that anyone who doesn’t think so is an idiot. I prefer in this forum to answer questions and try to provide a level of discussion and objectivity, complete with some explanations about why things are the way they are. Some people see that as “defending” Bortles. That’s fine. That’s OK. It’s not your fault. No, really. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. Because it’s mine. Everything is.

Dave from Chuluota

John, if I was giving my all at work, yet I was being criticized on a daily basis for my incompetence, I would feel hurt, disheartened, angry and longing for a fresh start. Fans gonna fan, but can all this venom actually have a negative effort on a players’ desire to give all?

This is professional football. Players must give effort whatever the actions or reactions of fans. But make no mistake: What’s going on with the Jaguars isn’t the fans’ fault. I know this because it’s my fault. I know this because Tom says so.

David from McAlester

John, we can't be best friends anymore. You don't automatically agree with everything I think.

I already have a best friend. His name is Tom.

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