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O-Zone: Different perspectives

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … William from Morriston:
John, do you believe that a lot of the offensive line problems are due to the zone-blocking scheme? Maybe our players just aren't the right personnel for the scheme. Could you see us maybe going back to the more traditional (and effective) gap blocking? Also, after watching Bradley's press conference Monday, it didn't seem like Gus isn't too sure how much longer Henne will be holding on to the starting job. Thoughts?
John: I understand the point you and many others are making about the zone-blocking scheme. So far this season it looks like it's not working and it looks like the players don't fit. It looks that way because they're struggling. But the Jaguars drafted and signed these players to play this scheme, and I don't know that it's realistic to think they're going to scrap it two games into the season. They need to get better at something in a hurry, though, and it wouldn't shock you to see more gap and one-on-one elements. Something is needed. As for Bradley's press conference, it appears there's little question Bradley and the coaches are more seriously considering playing Bortles than they were a week ago. It was apparent after Bradley spoke Monday that a lot of discussions are going to take place, and quarterback certainly is a topic.
Rameses from Norfolk, VA:
Not a "play-the-kid" guy, but he can move the pocket and help cover up some of our holes on the offensive line. I'm starting to think change is going to come sooner than even the patient fans expected...
John: Me, too.
Chuck from Summerville, SC:
The past several years I have defended MY TEAM. This week I said that I think MY TEAM will surprise some people. Sunday they surprised me. I'm still a fan and always will be but I am more disheartened after that game than I have ever been. And yes I know, you're sorry and feeling disheartened can be disheartening....
John: You have every right to be disheartened and disappointed. I wouldn't throw out a silly, gimmicky line to address that.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
I don't have any comments or questions since it will involve a lot of profanity and be totally unprofessional. So I'll leave it with… "Hi John"
John: Hey.
Paul from Orange Park, FL:
Please clarify the difference, if any, between a quarterback going through progressions and checking down.
John: A quarterback going through his progression means looking for his first read, then his second and then if there is time looking for his third or fourth. The fourth read often would be a check down to a back out of the backfield. If there is less time, a check-down could come more quickly.
Chen from Narnia:
I thought the goal was to be more competitive this year. What happened?
John: So far? Not much.
Derek from Albuquerque, NM:
I re-watched the game trying to find some positives, and I gotta say, John, I didn't see any. This one was just awful.
John: Yeah, if you see anything, email me.
Will from Lake City, FL:
It appears to me that at least three of the sacks were on Henne. The last one he ran into the sack with what appeared to be a clean pocket. Some of it seems like it comes from Henne not throwing before the receivers come out of the break. It looks like he waits too long to throw it, then by that point the receiver is not close to open and he gets sacked because he holds the ball too long or double pats it. Does that sound like an accurate assessment of Henne?
John: Bradley on Monday said some of the 10 sacks Sunday were on the line, while some were on decision-making and still others were on receivers making mistakes. When you have 10 sacks, there is plenty of blame to go around. That's the intriguing question now: while Bortles perhaps remains inexperienced, are his strengths such as quicker release, more lively arm and tendency to look downfield quicker enough to help the offense perform better? That's the debate the Jaguars' staff must be having.
Brett from Ridgeland, MS:
Thinking back over the many games of football I have watched, I honestly cannot think of a worse game as far as offensive line play. I don't care if you have Manning, McCoy, and four All-Pro receivers out there; even they would have struggled mightily with that pathetic blocking. I guess the good news is at least we had to have hit rock bottom on the offensive line so it cannot get any worse... right?
John: Let's hope not.
Bernard from Tucson, AZ:
Does it hurt so much more than usual because the first week's performance against the Eagles made STRONGER BELIEVERS out of us than normal? Hope is an evil thing...
John: Sure, that's why the loss Sunday to Washington hurt. The Eagles' game was great for a half, and then it wasn't. The Eagles game also showed how good this team can be if it plays to its potential – and for a half it did just that. The Redskins game showed what can happen to this team if it doesn't play to its potential. That's what bothered Jaguars players and coaches so much – that they don't in any way believe Sunday's game is what this team is about. Not on offense. Not on defense. Not anywhere. Remember this, though: Sunday's game can be a couple of things. If the team plays that way the rest of the season, then it will be seen as the start of something disturbing and disappointing. If the team plays better, it will be remembered as a blip, or even a turning point. The Jaguars' focus this week is ensuring it's the latter.
Jim from Jacksonville:
The worst part of the game was the Hurns injury on a completely meaningless play. Shouldn't they have put in replacements?
John: Such as?
Tim from Jacksonville:
John, a big step backwards, and I see more of the same until there is significant improvement on the offensive line. Did you see improvement in any phase of the game?
John: No, I did not, and I don't know of anyone else who did, either. It was a major fail and one that wasn't expected. I was most surprised that the defense played so poorly. That was the side of the ball you felt would be strongest, and you felt it would carry the team when the offense was struggling. That wasn't the case Sunday. The feeling in the building is Sunday it won't define the season. The objective now is to make sure that it doesn't.
Harvey from Tampa, FL:
Marcedes being out significant time hurts our chance at improving our run game more than our passing game. Huge blow.
John: It doesn't help.
Rick from Muskogee:
That wasn't Henne's fault.
John: A lot of it wasn't. Some of it was. That's usually how it is in the NFL.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Two drafts, two rounds of free agency and another year of double digit losses. What gives?
John: What gives is this was going to be a process, and it is.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Is composing a competitive team that will at least contend for victory all that difficult to do? As bad as Shack Harris was, the team under him never really gave the fans this sense of helplessness that these past few seasons have. So if a colossal failure like him can compose a competitive team why can't Caldwell do it?
John: Well, the past few seasons aren't on Caldwell – and it's honestly hard to pin all of what has gone on the last 18 games on him, either. He was pretty up front in stating the obvious when he took over – that there was a long build ahead. We're still pretty early in it. Not that that makes days such as Sunday easier, but it's true.
Stephen from Glorieta, NM:
John, do you think enough attention has been given to the dropped passes in the first quarter? People can blame Henne all day but had those passes been caught the game would have looked a lot different. Your thoughts?
John: I think it would have looked a little different, but I can't with a straight face say that the Jaguars would have won had Allen Hurns caught the pass he dropped on the first series. The game would have been closer, but the Redskins could pretty much do what they wanted offensively much of the game. A touchdown in the first quarter wasn't going to change that.
Donny from Heathrow:
See ya, Johnny....I'll still be the guy still spending thousands of dollars supporting the Jags at every home game this season, but I will not continue to read all the bitching and moaning you choose to post in the O-Zone (because fans gonna fan?!?!)....it makes a rough but understandable start to the season 10 times worse. See ya, and good luck....you'll need it if you gonna kowtow to the whiners!
John: An email complaining about complaining emails. How good is that?
Mikey from Tallahassee, FL:
Thanks, John. No question, but thanks for weeding through our rantings and ramblings to keep this column going every day. Keep it up.
John: Mikey, meet Donny … Donny, Mikey.

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