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O-Zone: Didn't see it coming

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it... Sam from Glendale, AZ:
This team is so much fun to watch. The draft doesn't matter right now, because Gus and Dave are proving to be both great at what they do. So, with a great coach and GM, we'll be fine going forward no matter where we draft.
John: Funny: the more the Jaguars win, the more emails I get with people not qui-i-i-i-i-ite as worried about whether the Jaguars will pick first, third, sixth or whenever. I guess winning really is fun. I guess it really does make people happy. But on a serious note, what the Jaguars wanted to see happening in the second half of the season is happening – and that would have been true whether or not Cecil Shorts III caught that game-winning touchdown late Sunday. They wanted to see improvement and they wanted the foundation of what Gus Bradley is trying to build to be in place. That's very much happening – and that, believe it not, really is more important than one or two positions in the draft.
Will from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I see progress even though the level of competition has dropped since the bye week. But it's also time for some people to admit the decision to finally start Henne was also progress.
John: The Jaguars can't control their competition. They can control how they play and they have played better since the bye. That has meant victories – and yes, part of that is due to the competition dropping a bit. But that's OK. You have to win so-called "winnable" games first. That's a step. As for Henne, yes he has had two of his better games the last two weeks. No question it's progress. I don't think many people aren't admitting that right now.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Need a touchdown to win. Eighty yards to go. Four-minute drill. Score a touchdown leaving only 40 seconds on the clock. Closing it out on the road for a win. #betterteamsightings
John: Yes, that was big-time stuff. The Jaguars had won a couple of games, but they had been sort of holding on at the end during the first two. The game Sunday was about pulling one out at the end and doing it on the road. That's an important thing to be able to do, and now this Jaguars team has done it.
Matt from Bloomington, IN:
It's important to talk a half-step back and realize that a new general manager and new coach that chose to blow up last year's roster and start anew just passed last year's win total in Week 13.
John: You don't have to step too far back to see that. It's pretty evident no matter your perspective.
Brent from the Southside:
Does this mean the Jags are officially better than they were last year?
John: I suppose. I don't care too much about the "officially" part in this case. What I wanted to see was tangible signs of improvement and you're darned sure seeing those. The defense has shown real strides and Sunday was a step forward for the offense. Yes, the offense struggled at times. At the same time, the touchdown drive at the end of the game was a big-time drive that the team probably couldn't have pulled off two months ago. The Jaguars also have run better the last two weeks than any point this season. Again, this may not be playoff-caliber stuff, but it's improvement.
Adam from Dallas, TX:
Hey, three in a row? Maybe the coaching staff and Dave Caldwell might know a thing or two. In all seriousness, that was a good win. Cecil Shorts III has had a few "D'oh" moments, but he seems to have a knack for making some big plays. This is exactly what you told us to expect. A team that might struggle early on but what we needed to see was improvement as the season progressed. I think the Jags are in good hands.
John: I'll preface this answer by stating the obvious – that this is not a time to get too, too carried away with this. Anyone around the Jaguars would tell you this team has a long way to go and that it will take time to get there. But yes, within the context of this season, what you have seen the last four weeks is what you wanted to see, and what you needed to see. Now, they need to continue to see it.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
You say that MJD's willingness to accept fewer touches is evidence of his support of the team and the coaching staff. I have to wonder if it's more so evidence that he sees only a few more games in a Jaguar jersey. Not saying that's the case, but either argument can be made.
John: Yes, you can argue either side. I'm arguing right now that there's a pretty good chance Jones-Drew will be back. Not saying that will be the case, but I like my argument.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
How should we feel when we see so many players that the Jaguars gave up on succeeding with other teams?
John: I don't know. How should I feel when I'm asked how to tell you how to feel?
Keith from Forest Hill:
I am sure you will get a lot of these types of questions today, but what happens if you're on your own one-inch line and you commit a false start? Is that a safety?
John: No. Officials would move the ball to the half-inch line, which means they wouldn't move it at all. But the only penalties that result in safeties are those that the offense commits in its own end zone.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
So the Jaguars find a way to win vs. a close loss. The arrow is pointing up.#ArrowUpJags
John: Yes, it is.
Mark from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Alone in the stadium, shirtless, and covered in crimson tide paint. Sobbing uncontrollably. #shadricksightings
John: Yes.
Safa from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
How are compensatory picks determined? Does it depend on the former free agent's performance for the new team or the size of the contract he get? Which one of 2013 free agents are the Jags eligible to receive compensatory picks for?
John: Compensatory selections are decided on a formula that involves playing time, salary and postseason honors, with the main factor being salary. The players who signed elsewhere who will figure in the compensatory selection are cornerback Derek Cox (Chargers), running back Rashad Jennings (Raiders), defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (Broncos) and fullback Greg Jones (Texans). Linebacker Daryl Smith (Ravens) and cornerback Rashean Mathis (Lions) won't figure into the formula because they signed with new teams after June 1.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
I don't see the Jaguars worried too much about quarterback in the draft. Chad Henne will have one year in the system and if Justin Blackmon returns, he's at his best with Henne. I believe we will solidify both the offensive line and front seven on the defense. Henne's not the franchise but like any quarterback, the longer he is in the system the more accurate and less mistakes he will make, this gives us the luxury of bringing a later round quarterback project to sit back and learn. We are rebuilding, you can't compete without winning in the "trenches."
John: You make good points. That being said, I think the Jaguars might take a look at quarterback next offseason. I've got a gut feeling on this one.
Jon from Fort Irwin Army Base:
Loved your comments on how could a team tank a season. It got me thinking about how that process would even work. If I'm a player I'm not gonna lie down for some college stud. If I'm an assistant coach I'm not gonna jeopardize my job by calling bad plays or not coaching a player like he deserves. I can't see how it would be possible for a team to tank without setting off alarms to the league. Wouldn't there be some kind of rule being broke if they tanked on purpose?
John: It's not a rule, per se, but the Commissioner certainly would get involved. It's not a huge issue, because teams don't lose on purpose – for pretty much the reasons you cite.
Greg from Asheville, NC:
It is not out of the question the Jaguars could win three of the next four games. It is also quite possible they could wind up second in the division. I don't think anyone would have even suggested that could happen four weeks ago.
John: No, they wouldn't have, but teams and circumstances can change quickly in the NFL. That's a huge reason why whenever I was asked about 0-16 during the first half of the season I was able to confidently answer that I doubted it would happen. Injury can drastically change teams' fate, and teams often look dramatically different in December than they did in September. That's not to say I predicted the team would win three of four games out of the bye. I must admit I didn't see that coming.Then again, on that front, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.

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