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O-Zone: Enjoy the moment

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Kyle from Ohio:
Looking at our schedule, I see no reason we shouldn't go at least 3-3 down the stretch. Every game is winnable, but we aren't solid enough to actually win the games we should yet. However, most of the teams are train wrecks right now. So, if we finish 7-9, do we win the division? Yes or no?
John: No. I think it will take at least a final record of 8-8 for the Jaguars to make the playoffs. I say that because the Colts seem to have a knack for winning tight games with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback and because I think the Houston Texans are playing pretty well right now. That would mean the Jaguars going at least 4-2 down the stretch, and you know what? That's OK. You're supposed to have to play well down the stretch to make the playoffs.
Bill from Melbourne, FL:
Combine those gold jerseys with black pants and I think they'd be on to something …
John: This might be something worth considering. We'll see.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
Is the plan with Marqise Lee to still develop him as an outside receiver? I think moving forward it will be difficult to move Allen Hurns inside with the success he has had playing on the outside. Also, I think that Lee's speed and quickness make him more valuable as a slot receiver than Hurns. I think Lee could have a good career playing the middle of the field.
John: I'm not sure what the long-term plan is with Marqise Lee, and I'm not sure that's set in stone yet either way. The first order of business is for Lee to remain healthy enough for an extended stretch to earn more playing time – and I do anticipate his plays increasing Sunday. When he is healthy for an extended stretch, who will play where and how much will shake out. He and Hurns both have skills that would enable them to play the slot or outside.
Brad from the John Oehser Fan Club:
While watching Jaguars All-Access Monday I learned that Blake's real name is Robby. Did you know about this, John? If that's your REAL name?
John: John is my real name. People don't change their real names to "John." They only change them to things that are cool, like … you know … "Blake," "Nick" and "Timmy the Very, Very Frightened."
Bill from Rochester, NY:
Is Phllip Rivers an elite quarterback in your opinion – elite, meaning Top 5 every season? Analysts and coaches love him, but at what point do you really need the Super Bowl win to cement that kind of status? Is he the modern day Dan Marino? Happy Thanksgiving, but still looking toward this Sunday.
John: Yes, Rivers is elite. I don't know that he has been Top 5 every season but I do know that for a very long time he has been a guy who can elevate players around him and keep his team in the playoff chase under difficult circumstances. I don't believe you need a Super Bowl victory to "cement" elite status. That's rooted into me because I believed Marino was elite and I don't believe John Elway needed Super Bowls at the end of his career to validate what he did for a decade and a half. I do believe elite quarterbacks should get their teams to the postseason on a regular basis and elevate their teams. Then again, Rivers hasn't gotten his team to the postseason much lately and I consider him elite, so I guess my definition is pretty much I know it when I see it.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK:
Sex Pistols or The Damned? Do you think the mighty Bryan Anger will get a contract extension? #AngerForProBowl Vote now! Vote often!
John: Sex Pistols. I don't know about Anger's contract extension, because while I believe Anger will punt in the NFL a long time, it's hard to know his thoughts on an extension or whether or not the Jaguars will want to pay a veteran's salary at the spot. My guess is probably not, but stay tuned.
Desmond from Spring Hill, FL:
What are your thoughts on our offensive coordinator?
John: The Jaguars in their first season under Greg Olson are vastly improved offensively in a new offense and with a slew of young players. I think Olson has done a very, very good job. Very good.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL:
They still are not as consistent as they should be. They still need more speed on the defensive line, and more depth for the entire defense and for the offensive line. I can see the Khan/Caldwell/Bradley plan coming together, but they are not there yet. But man oh man, John, are they exciting to watch. Amazing that they are still in it in the second half of the season, but how can we as fans not be thinking about next year?
John: I suppose the Jaguars could use more depth on the offensive line, but there aren't many teams with a bunch of high-level offensive linemen sitting around not starting. I honestly haven't begun to think about next season yet because I think we've got at least three or four more interesting weeks, but add some pass rush on defense and this team gets really interesting as the offense adds experience.
Alan from Jacksonville:
After the game Thursday, I stayed up fairly late to watch the highlights and postgame interview. The next day at work, I hated myself, but Blake's response to Deion's question made me feel our franchise is in good hands with Blake. Deon asked what he needs to do to take this team to the next level. He said, point blank, "I need to stop throwing picks." He knows it; he explained that he needs to value the ball more. He could have made excuses and blamed other position groups but the fact that he took ownership makes me feel confident that he will do whatever it takes to bring a championship to Jacksonville. #DuvalTilWeDie #Blake4President
John: Blake Bortles is advanced beyond his years at quarterback intangibles such as leadership, interviews, dealing with teammates, etc., etc. He also has taken an enormous step on the field this season. The things that need improving – a touch of pocket presence and a substantial amount of improvement in ball security – are things that can/should improve with experience. That takes time.
John from Jacksonville:
John, has anything been discussed about the poor officiating during Thursday night's game? This was evident, especially during the Titans' touchdown drive.
John: I tough the pass interference penalty on Aaron Colvin was a difficult call, though I understand how the official thought he saw what he called. Overall, I don't discuss officiating much. It usually evens itself out and there are usually calls fans and teams are going to dislike.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
I haven't said this before, but Cyp is playing really, really good football.
John: Yep.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Your answer to Greg got me thinking. I've been telling anyone that would listen there is a game coming where this team would both limit mistakes and make big plays – and that when that happens we will beat someone bad. I've thought that game was possibly coming this season, but I guess based on your answer maybe not.
John: It's possible. I'm of the belief that the Jaguars' struggles to get pressure with four linemen – coupled with the offensive inexperience/red-zone difficulties – will make one-sided victories very difficult. But hey … I've been wrong before. We'll see.
Dave from Duval:
Why can't the Jags (insert complaint)? Does the fact that there are eleven of the biggest fastest, strongest, most athletic people on the planet trying to stop them have anything to do with it?
John: Nah.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
There is a noticeable drop off in the running game whenever T.J. Yeldon leaves the field. How difficult is it to find another running back with Yeldon's skill set and offensive capabilities, either through the draft or via free agency? Would it be worthwhile to invest in another young running back this offseason who could reduce Yeldon's workload, prolong his career, and lessen any effects of personnel changes?
John: Yeldon and Denard Robinson pretty much had the same yards per carry Thursday, but your point is well-taken: that Yeldon is the best runner on the team. You can perhaps find another one like him in the draft or free agency, but you might have to give up premium equity – money or draft selection – and I don't know that the position will be a priority on that level this offseason.
Kait from Jacksonville:
I gotta say, I'm getting R-E-A-L-L-Y sick of Greg from Section 122. He must not have been watching the last few seasons, because this one is quite bearable in comparison. #DTWD
John: Greg is an avid fan. He lives and dies with the team's fortunes the same as many O-Zone readers. It's OK for him be frustrated, though I would advise anyone to enjoy playoff contention in any fashion – enjoy the moment, if you will. As we all know, it doesn't always happen every season. Or even every other season.

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