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O-Zone: Easy answer

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Alan from Jacksonville:
I think what we learned in this game is that we are a good team, not a great team: 8-8 or 9-7?
John: When did anyone watching this Jaguars team this season believe it was a great team? I don't say that to be snide, but since the first week of this regular season it really has been the same team – i.e., one capable of winning when playing good defense, running the ball well and not making mistakes in other areas. It's not a high-powered offense. It's not equipped to rally from double-digit deficits. It's a team that can force turnovers when it can rush the passer and a team that can be effective offensively when it can stick to the running game. When it's not in those positions, things get dicey. Because of that … yes, the way it's playing now, this is a team with a chance to be good. It has a chance to push for seven, eight or maybe nine victories. If it can reduce mistakes and play to its formula more often than not, then perhaps it can win more games than that. If it can find more productivity in the passing game occasionally, then perhaps it can win more games than that. If it gives up two special teams touchdowns or commits a bunch of turnovers offensively every week, then perhaps it will win fewer games than that. We'll see. There's a long way to go. This thing really is just getting started.
Sid from Sidsonville:
These Jaguars gave up! Way to show yourself for the home fans.
John: Nah. The Jaguars didn't quit Sunday. They were done in by a struggling passing game and struggling early special teams play. They're built to withstand the first, but they're not built to withstand both. This team's defense is good enough to make up for deficiencies in the passing game. But 17 points off special teams? It can't make up for that.
Amiel from Jacksonville:
I'm trying to understand what the coaches see in Jason Myers for them to be keeping him this long.
John: Myers has converted 15 of 17 extra points this season, which is two short of what you ideally want. He has converted 11 of 15 field goals, with three of his four misses from beyond 50 yards. He also has touchbacks on 26 of his 35 kickoffs, a very respectable number. Through Sunday, what the Jaguars have seen in Myers is he's a better option for the position than what's available. I don't know how they'll see it after Sunday. I didn't get a real vibe listening to Head Coach Doug Marrone after the game that he was overly down on Myers. Stay tuned.
Justin from South Florida:
After this game, I was upset for about five minutes - in a good way. This is the team we have, and it's trending up despite the loss Sunday. We have weak spots in very important positions, but they'll get fixed. Maybe not before March, but they'll get fixed. In the meantime, it's going to be up and down, but absolutely competitive. I say we stack 'em up and see where we are at the end of the season - and maybe that's the playoffs. As a Jags fan having seen what we've seen the last decade, I'm OK with that. For now (still gonna Fan). What say you, O-Man?
John: I say you're a very reasonable fan, and one with the right perspective. This is an improved team. Most significantly, it's a team that has a formula it knows can work. It has seen it work in a big way in victories over Houston, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. It has seen it go awry three other times. I got no sense from the postgame locker room Sunday that this was a team without hope. I got the feeling it was a frustrated team. These players understand what this team is. They understand they can't allow two special teams touchdowns and expect to win. They understand they can't get down by double digits and expect to pull off miracle comebacks. The frustration Sunday was that this team played well enough defensively – and even offensively – to give itself a chance. It gave away the chance by giving away 17 special teams points and by missing two other field goals. That's 23 points lost on special teams. That doesn't fit the formula.
Bobby from Crawfordville, FL:
We have possession receivers so why aren't we running a West Coast offense with a heavy focus on the run?
John: The West Coast offense is about precision and timing, with an emphasis on short- and intermediate accuracy.
Chris from Houston, TX:
Much will be made of how terrible special teams were Sunday – and rightfully so. They were unacceptably awful. But I can't help but watch in disgust as the Rams loaded the box with eight or nine men to stop the run. No respect for Bortles and the passing game – and I can't blame them. They were pretty pathetic along with the "special" teams on Sunday. My question is have you ever covered a team with as this one with so little respect for passing game and quarterback? Did that team overcome it during the season or did it have to wait on the new quarterback to come in?
John: Well, I covered Mark Brunell and the 1990s Jaguars – and Peyton Manning and the 2000s Colts. Those two teams obviously don't qualify. And this team without question faces more eight-in-the-box defenses than the past four or five Jaguars teams I've covered. Look, the passing game is a problem. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars' wide receivers must figure out a way to at least somewhat consistently make enough plays to get defenders out of the box. I won't insult the readers' intelligence and say there's a good chance of this becoming a consistently dynamic passing offense, which means the rest of the season is likely to have a lot of games like the first six. That means when the team plays good defense, it has a chance to be in games and win them in the fourth quarter; when it plays good defense and creates turnovers, it has a chance to get ahead and pull away. When it plays good defense and special teams or offense has a bad or mistake-filled day, well …
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
This is not a team that is built to come from behind. This is a team that needs a lead early and then hold it. The missed interference call on Lee right before the blocked-punt touchdown was big. That score never happens in that case. It seems the offense had some early balance, but found itself in a lot of second-and-12, third-and-11 kinds of situations. Thoughts?
John: The non-call on Marqise Lee late in the first half was big. But bigger was the Jaguars' inability to scare the Rams with any downfield passing game after the first quarter. The Rams were able to stack the box against Fournette the entire game. It didn't work early; it worked late. Really well.
Jeff from Rutland, MA:
Leonard Fournette is special. He will be even more special when we have a credible passing attack.
John: Yep.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Giving up 17 first half points to the Rams special teams is simply too much for the Jaguars to overcome. Thanks kickoff coverage! Thanks Brad Nortman! Thanks punt team blockers! Thanks Jason Myers! Another disappointing home game for the Jaguars.
John: This team isn't built to overcome 10-point deficits – or 17 points allowed by special teams. Then again, few teams are built to overcome the latter.
Richard from Orange Park, FL:
O'wise-one, in what I am sure is going to be a negative in box, I'd just like to point out when beasts play football they have Leonard Mode. I don't want to hear any more complaints about our record-setting running back being taken at the No. 4 slot. He already has a jersey in Canton and though it's early, notice the caps for emphasis, as a fan fanning, the things he's doing if he has the longevity it makes you wonder if you might not see a second jersey there one day. Get this man a consistent passing game and pass the popcorn. Wow.
John: It's often tough to sift through the inbox and answer questions on all appropriate topics on the Monday after a game. It's not difficult to pick a question that involves running back Leonard Fournette. I'm getting a ton of questions lately on whether selecting Fournette over Deshaun Watson was a wise selection. On that topic, only time will tell. Watson right now appears to have a bright future and perhaps the Jaguars someday will regret it. I don't know the answer to that and no one yet knows the answer. I do know Fournette appears to be a special player capable of being one of the best players at his position for a long time. He has the mindset and the skill set to handle being the focal point of the offense, and his physicality is a big reason that this team is 3-3 and vastly improved from last season. Was it a good pick? Well, it sure as hell wasn't a bad one.

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