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O-Zone: Direct and to the point

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jeff from Orange Park, FL:
Hey, Zone: I'm tired ... going home. Can't see this getting any better next year – too many glaring holes on both sides of the ball. Can you please send Luke Joeckel back to Texas A&M?
John: I'm tired, too, Jeff. It has been an up-and-down, emotional, frustrating, hard-to-explain season – and there wasn't much about Sunday's 30-6 loss in Houston that was very pleasant. In fact, the whole game was decidedly unpleasant. But don't gauge the entire season on one game – or even the last two games. I trust that after a few days the bad feeling of that loss will fade and we'll all – most of us, anyway – remember more about the progress that was made throughout the first 14 games than we will about the struggles in the final two games. In retrospect, this Jaguars team looked like one that ran out of gas in the last two weeks; I didn't expect that, but perhaps it wasn't entirely unexplainable upon being eliminated from the playoffs after a season's worth of close games. Still, the reality is there aren't a lot of glaring holes on offense; the interior of the line must improve, but the play of the tackles wasn't nearly as bad all season as it was on Sunday. And no, the Jaguars aren't ready to give up on Joeckel. That's not going to sit well this morning because Joeckel had a bad day Sunday. Really bad. But overall, he wasn't nearly as bad this season as many people assume.
Kyle from Ohio:
We are so, so, so, so, so far from being a quality team. We only have four starters that would even be a backup on other teams.
John: I understand Sunday's game was a mess, but you are so, so, so, so, so, so incorrect.
Job from Trinidad and Tobago:
Joeckel has shown he isn't an NFL-caliber tackle for a playoff team. They're definitely going to have to consider getting someone in free agency. Don't you agree?
John: No, and I'll make every effort not to turn this O-Zone into all-Luke-Joeckel-all-the-time. We have plenty of time in the offseason to discuss him, and I'm sure he'll be a pretty regular topic. The truth is he had a bad game Sunday. Really bad. Memorably bad. But the Jaguars aren't going to try to replace him in the offseason. He's not an All-Pro. He's not elite. But he's pretty OK overall when it comes to NFL left tackles right now.
Todd from Jacksonville:
John, after Sunday's dismal performance, what are the chances of Mr. Khan having a change of heart and giving Bradley his Black Monday notice?
John: None.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Poz on Gus Bradley being more involved with 'D' in 2016: "To have his input would be unbelievable." That comment is generating a lot of negativity. Coach not giving input?
John: Times-Union Jaguars beat reporter Ryan O'Halloran was asking Posluszny about Bradley possibly taking over play-calling or being more involved on a daily basis. Posluszny was making the point that no one knows more about this scheme than Bradley – and that Bradley has a great defensive mind. He was not saying or implying that Bradley currently has no input.
Parker from Boston, MA:
I understand you are using the 13 consecutive field goals made to end the season to claim Jason Myers "continued his strong finish to his rookie season," but that statement is really, really reaching for a guy who missed four extra points in Weeks 12, 13 and 14, which would be included in your noted field-goal streak. That isn't a strong finish at all. I expect another kicker to be in camp with a serious chance to push Myers out. Your thoughts?
John: Myers had a strong finish to his rookie season. He made 13 consecutive field goals and missed just four on the season. Yes, he missed seven extra points and I'm not sure that's any sort of a secret. I also think I mentioned that when discussing Myers on the site Sunday. I expect another kicker in training camp next offseason, but I also expect Myers to be the Jaguars' kicker next season. I'd actually be pretty surprised if he's not.
Cory from Madison, WI:
Jags brass can spin this any way they want. That was a team that played like its coaching staff didn't prep much after hearing Khan's vote of confidence.
John: The Jaguars didn't play well Sunday, and I don't know that I sense any inclination to "spin" that in any direction. I don't know that it had as much to do with the vote of confidence as it did the playoffs being out of the question and maybe – just maybe – a few players having a sense they won't be back. That last part is speculation, but whatever … it wasn't good. In fact, a lot of it was bad.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Don't talk about the draft, please. I see no hope coming from another first-round pick that is surely going to be yet another bust. Justin Blackmon, Luke Joeckel (possibly Dante Fowler Jr.). This team needs a defensive coordinator with a clue, an offensive line coach that can maybe figure out a way for us not to give up 100-plus sacks a season and some coaching classes for Gus Bradley so maybe he won't make so many gaffs in judgement. Under .500 won't cut it anymore. Under .500 is sickening for one season alone and we are on year ... well, it's a pretty long streak. Let's just go with that and it's not OK anymore.
John: You're right that under .500 won't cut it anymore. I think that's pretty much a consensus around here, but I'm not sure I get people's conviction that the next first-round selection will be a bust. Is Bortles a bust? He has a lot of improving to do, but it's hard to call him a bust. And Fowler hasn't been on the field yet, so it might be a touch early to write him off. I know Sunday's game was ugly, but let's just come in off the ledge.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Running back is still an issue … quarterback still too many picks … defense will be better with Fowler, Marks, free agents, and draft picks. What say O-Man?
John: There's little question the defense will be addressed in a major way in the offseason, and there's every reason to believe it will improve with the return of some key injured players – and with some key additions. And obviously Bortles threw too many interceptions this season; when you lead the NFL in interceptions, that's by any definition too many. But I don't see where running back is a huge "issue." T.J. Yeldon played pretty well for the most part until missing the final three games of the season. The offensive line absolutely needs to run block better, particularly on the interior – which, incidentally, is another area that could be addressed in the offseason.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
The Jags came out flat Sunday. The end of the season showed decline in a period where the playoffs were in reach. A bit disappointing...
John: Sunday was disappointing – and last Sunday was, too. The decline actually came in the last two weeks when the playoffs were eliminated as a possibility; before that, they were actually pretty much the same team much of the season … but yes, the last two games were absolutely, inarguably disappointing.
Cade from Orlando, FL:
What is your honest assessment of Johnathan Cyprien and expectations of him for next year?
John: I think Cyprien struggles at times playing the way the Jaguars have been forced to use him. I think the Jaguars will try to get a free safety next season that will allow Cyprien to play less in coverage and closer to the line of scrimmage. I think he would play better if that happens.
Kathy from Jacksonville:
It sounds more responsible to say what Bortles said: "We got beat in every phase of the game." I think we can accept a loss better when there is a "The-buck-stops-here" attitude. I don't think that is a negative attitude, do you?
John: No.
Stan from Jacksonville:
Explain to me why Gus is safe. The coach is a loser.
John: Bradley will coach the Jaguars this season because when Shad Khan sees the overall body of work he sees enough to believe that the Jaguars made progress this season – and that Bradley is the right person to allow them to make more progress this season. That's a "hard sell" in the wake of a 30-6 loss on Sunday, but Khan is looking at the big picture and that's what he sees.
Richard from St. Augustine, FL:
I saw a mock draft Sunday that had the Jaguars taking an offensive tackle from Mississippi with their first pick. I thought that was crazy. Now I am not so sure. What say you!
John: I say the Jaguars won't be taking an offensive tackle with the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Josh from Lynchburg, VA:
John: Actually, you have an excellent point.

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