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O-Zone: Explanation needed

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jon from Philadelphia, PA:
Was Chad Henne running an offensive playbook that was built and catered for Blake Bortles?
John: No. Henne was running offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's offense, which was pretty much the same in the first three games of this season as last season. It's the offense Bortles will run, too, though it's fair to expect it to look different. One thing that apparently will look far different is the read-option play. It's a play Bortles appears to feel very comfortable running, and also a play he seems to run well. It's fair, too, to expect Fisch to call a lot of plays Bortles runs well, but although the plays may have more of a Bortles feel the principles will be the same.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
John, why is it a penalty for a kickoff to go out of bounds, but not a penalty when it sails out the back of the end zone?
John: Because those are the rules – and because if you could kick off out of bounds without penalty, kickoffs would be nothing more than kickers aiming for the corner. It's a touchback when it sails through the end zone because the league wants to reward a powerful kick in that situation.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
Bortles has the chance to be really, really special.
John: Yes.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Where is it written that a rebuild has to mean giving all your veteran players away to improve other teams while starting only rookies and inexperienced players? Dave is learning a terrible, horrible, awful no-good, very bad lesson that not every player that came from the previous general manager is a loser and must be cut. Oh, and the boo-birds should be ashamed of themselves for Sunday's display of poor fan-manship.
John: The boobirds won't be ashamed, and you're right that a few of the players released could have helped the Jaguars. Linebacker Daryl Smith is obviously such a case, and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is, too. The same is true of Rashad Jennings. The Jaguars didn't as much give them away as opt to not re-sign them – and there's a significant difference. I could make a strong case for having re-signed Smith, though I would have been hard-pressed to pay Knighton much after his last two seasons in Jacksonville. And I absolutely wouldn't have re-signed Jennings after his final season here. He had had a chance to really prove himself, did nothing and didn't give the appearance of a player worth re-signing. Are there some players who could have helped? Probably, but you make decisions based on your information at the time and move on. Given the state of the roster at that point, the case for a complete rebuild and cleaning the cap was strong.
John from Gloucestershire, England:
Who is supposed to cover the tight ends during the game? Because no one seems to have a clue on the defense.
John: This varies depending on the defensive call. Sometimes, it's the responsibility of the middle linebacker or outside linebackers. Often, it's the responsibility of one of the safeties. He's always the responsibility of someone, though, and that responsibility has been missed too often this season. It's an issue.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Not only is Gus a horrible head coach, he has shown himself to be a liar and a horrible human being. Way to scapegoat Chad Henne for your horrible coaching, Gus. Oh and Bortles' yards and touchdowns came in garbage time, but that only counts against Henne. This is now a 0-16 team and Gus will never be a head coach in this league after his run with the Jags.
John: Yes, Alex, I'll take "Extreme Overreaction" for 200 please … thanks.
Mike from White Plains, GA:
As for the defense, can it be explained by maybe guys taking time to fit together in the scheme? Fantasy football (lots of free agent signings) doesn't tend to work well in football if you put a bunch of guys together that haven't played together, right? I used to think it was just bad use of personnel, but could there be something to this, O-Man? They can't be this bad all season can they?
John: There could be a little of the Fantasy Football Element, though this in fact was a unit that for the most part played together last season. Also, it's supposed to take less time for the defense to come together than the offense. So, while I have no problem having the offensive line taking time to improve and gel, I can't in good conscience say the problems on defense are about time. This unit was supposed to be better. Can they be this bad all season? Sure, anything is possible, but I don't think that will happen.
Atul from Jacksonville:
So is Tebow still out of the question?
John: What question is that?
Alberto from Harrisburg, PA:
I know Bortles is not the answer to everything, but we did see the best defensive play from the Jags the first half of the first game, then we saw three and out after three and out. Is it possible that the defense was just demoralized, and when they hopefully start seeing Bortles move the chains and give the team something to play for, we'll see a totally different Jaguars squad on both sides of the ball?
John: It's possible, and I suppose we'll find out for certain starting Sunday. But it shouldn't be that way – and if the defense was "demoralized" … well, that shouldn't have been the case. This defense wasn't put together with the idea that the defense would carry the team early and that it was OK to wait until the offense got moving before the defense played well. This defense was put together with the idea that it would be improved and keep this team in games while the offense matured. It hasn't done that.
Benjamin from Section 438:
The other day you said if all wide receivers are healthy and active you believe the pecking order is Shorts, Lee, Robinson and Sanders. I find it hard to believe Hurns isn't in the Top Four on this team, if not at the top. He has had a couple of drops, but has consistently gotten open and made plays. Also, considering the others, the best ability is availability.
John: That was an error on my part. I'd say the pecking order right now is Shorts, Robinson, Hurns, Lee and Sanders.
Perry from Orange Park, FL:
Can you expand a little on what makes you excited about Allen Robinson?
John: Size. Hands. An ability to shed tacklers. Seems to have good body control. Already producing early in his career. Mature. All good signs for a wide receiver.
T.J. from Cherry Point, NC:
Now that Bortles is starting, do you think we have a chance against the Chargers?
John: Yes, it's the NFL. There always is a chance.
Tanner from Utah:
Based on what you're hearing and seeing, do you think Gratz and Evans are draft busts for Caldwell? Is it too early to tell? How long should we give them?
John: Safety Josh Evans was drafted in the sixth round. He can't be a bust. Cornerback Dwayne Gratz has struggled a bit. I don't know that he's destined to be a No. 1 corner, but if he's a starting, contributing player as a third-round selection I also wouldn't call him a bust.
John from Ramsey, NJ:
I'm excited to watch Blake Bortles and this offense grow. But I've had about all I can stand of Andre Branch's antics following a sack or tackle for loss. Will you please tell this showboat captain that when the team is already trailing by 17 and has yet to force a punt, there is no time for windmilling his arms like he's the defensive savior of the world? Thanks!!
John: It's not ideal.
Shane from Corpus Christi, TX:
Don't you think that now that our offense has Bortles we should be able to stay on the field longer? And with that happening our defense should in turn stay more rested and more productive?
John: Yes, that could happen if Bortles plays well. I don't know that it's realistic to think he's going to play consistently enough as a rookie to cure all that ails the franchise. If he does, terrific, but remember: he also threw a couple of interceptions Sunday that gave up points. He also had had a fumble that would have led to a safety if not for a defensive penalty. Those are things that are supposed to happen to a rookie quarterback, but they're not things that automatically will make every facet of this team better.
Tres from Lake Butler, FL:
If Bradley says that they feel the corners aren't challenging routes enough, do you think that could be because of the emphasis on contact with the receiver by officials and a desire to not be penalized? I know during the offseason officials said the Jags were practicing clean, but is there a chance they are being overly cautious now?
John: No, I don't think they're being cautious. I think they're missing assignments some times and not covering very well other times.
Mark from Connecticut:
Now that Bortles is the starter and the whole debate on when he'd start is over, what do you think will be the next hot topic of the team?
John: Restroom etiquette. I just got back and someone's got some 'splainin' to do.

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