JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Keith from Jacksonville:
#DraftDalvin – regardless of what the coaching situation looks like next year. Most importantly, he is what this offense needs. He's also what the fans want to see. Why not have three good backs? His game translates well to the pros, and he provides a missing element that a lot of us thought we'd see more of from T.J. Yeldon. Big-game player, reliable, durable ... and with what Zeke is doing in Dallas, prime-time backs may soon be back in high demand. It looks like an easy decision to me.
John: I have nothing against Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and it appears he has a very good chance to be a very good NFL back. Still, even with Ezekiel Elliott's success in Dallas as a rookie this season, I'm not a huge Running-Back-in-the-Top-10 guy for all of the reasons that the NFL generally speaking is usually no longer a Running-Back-in-the-Top-10 League – namely, that no matter how good a running back may be, his success or failure typically depends on his offensive line. It is for that very reason that I'd be surprised if prime-time backs are soon in high demand – and it is for that very reason that I don't see taking a back in the Top 10 being an "easy decision" any time soon.
Branson from Charlotte, NC:
The Jags' defense actually has been pretty dominant when you look at it statistically minus the Oakland and Tennessee games. But while the offense is getting better under Nathaniel Hackett, it's still a work in progress. The root of that problem seems to be generating from Blake Bortles. Do you see next year's coach (whomever he may be) drafting a quarterback early? Not so much in the first round but early third round.
John: That is the most important question currently facing the franchise – and unfortunately, it's an impossible question to answer right now. There's no question the quarterback position must improve. Whoever is making the decisions must decide if Blake Bortles can improve – or if the improvement will come from another player. That decision must be made – soon and preferably correctly – but it's unanswerable until we know the overall direction of franchise leadership.
Mike from Middleburg, FL:
Mr. O, why not give our third-string quarterback some love and rest Blake Bortles' shoulder a game or two? Brandon Allen has a rocket arm. Thank You.
John: The Jaguars are still trying to win games and the consensus within the building is that Bortles gives them the best chance to do that. You're welcome.
Dave from Dave:
But possibly, maybe when it's this many players with issues it's the coaching.
John: Sure. After all, it's always coaching in the NFL.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
As a security professional in the IT world just a word of advice: Don't fall for Gafari's email plan about you being rich. You could, however, give him the name of your good friend Tony Boselli.
John: I already did. Boselli's very excited about it.
Jefferson from Phoenix, AZ:
Next year we spend 12 draft picks on O-Line. 2018 Super Bowl for the win.
Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
In your opinion, does the organization realize that this is the true sentiment of the fan base? It's a busy month, so the wife and I are working out the family calendar. I just sent her the email below regarding our season tix for the upcoming December home games. "I'm going to Denver but putting the last 2 games on StubHub. The whole tailgate group is sort of in the same boat. The team is so disappointing that none of us truly want to go if there are other options. Personally, I'm having fun playing golf on Sundays. If the team were playing for something, we'd all be dying to go. But watching them is just too frustrating for the effort/$ that goes into going to the stadium."
John: The people running the team absolutely understand this; of course they do. No one in the organization ever has doubted that fans are frustrated and no one around the organization will tell you that 2-9 isn't a mammoth disappointment. No one around the organization believes winning is unimportant. It's not the fans' responsibility to attend games when the team is struggling. It's the team's responsibility to win and earn support. Whatever the record on the field, never doubt that this organization fully grasps that concept.
Donny from Heathrow, FL Section 132 and Year 1:
John, after many, many years of reading and writing I have never stated this before but I ... I dare you to print my comments because I doubt you want your pal Duval Doom to look bad. I'm just done with misguided passion and ignorance: Earlier this week the O-Zone had one of the most idiotic questions I've ever read in this column. … Doom guy questioning Mr. Khan's ability as an owner?!?! To say the rebuild isn't working at all just based on the current record is closed-minded at best, ignorant at worst. Mr. Khan is doing wonders for the city and the stability of the franchise. The NFL turns over 20-to-25 percent of its head coaches each year, so does that mean that most of the owners are unfit to own? Why not let the self-made multi-billionaire stick to his plan and decide what to do at season's end instead of looking for more things to question and criticize? Oh yeah, it always comes to m … emotional "fans" are going to fan ignorantly!
John: Who's Duval Doom?
Tom from Jacksonville:
It looks like there are going to be seven-to-nine teams looking for new head coaches next year, which means there is probably going to be a shortage of qualified people. I don't think changing coaches is going to fix Blake Bortles – in fact, it most likely give us another excuse for a losing year (having to learn a new system again). I think we should stick with Gus Bradley and try to find a quarterback that has a couple of good years left and let BB play behind them. What do you think?
John: I think I always lean toward continuity and I am long on record saying that head coaches get far too much blame in times and stretches such as the one the Jaguars are enduring. I also think the reality of the overall record the past four years and the fans' perception of what is going on with the organization will make continuity a very, very difficult call for Shad Khan to make at season's end.
Jeff from Rutland, MA:
It's fitting that it's Christmas time, because any win the Jaguars get this month will be a gift. Yes, they have been close in the past few games, but the real hallmark of this season has been the team's ability to consistently find new ways to shoot itself in the foot when the game is on the line. I don't believe this team can make a play when it matters most. It is possible, however, that an opponent will make the kind of critical, late-game error that the Jags are famous for. And if so, thank you Santa!
John: I have little to add to this. Finding new and creative ways to lose achingly winnable games indeed has defined this season.
Jim from Middleburg, FL:
I have heard a lot of talk about Gus being a "players coach" and nice guys finishing last. Before Jack Del Rio was fired he received complaints of the same, yet he is doing fine now. You played in the NFL so tell me what you think about the validity of this argument. I think it's silly! Players gotta play or coaching doesn't matter.
John: During my distinguished NFL career, I indeed saw both sides of this. I typically played very well for player-friendly coaches – and didn't fare nearly as well when playing for disciplinarians. This made sense because my attributes as a player were speed, agility, athleticism, raw power and strength. These attributes gave me an inherent advantage in a game that essentially was brutal, hand-to-hand warfare – an environment for which my raw upbringing on the 1970s and early 1980s Mean Streets of Arlington made me a natural. Mostly, though, I responded to player's coaches because player's coaches allowed me to tap unrestrained into my inner creative force. A young Zone needed his freedom. To try to hold down a talent like that … well, it just wouldn't have been fair to anyone.
Dave from Duval:
Here's an interesting stat: the Jaguars are 11th in the NFL in plus/minus total yards. It's extremely hard to be 2-9 with those numbers.
John: It's actually not hard at all. All you have to do is have 15 more giveaways than takeaways, mix in a few pick-sixes and continually allow long punt returns to set up scores. If you do those things, you can go 2-9 pretty easily whatever else you do.
O-Zone: Easily done
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Keith from Jacksonville: