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O-Zone: Familiar song

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jon from Southampton, UK:
Wow. 0-3.
John: Your one-word, two-digit, one-hyphen statement pretty much defines the mood of the fan base not to mention the team. There is disbelief among players that the team is 0-3 and absolutely no one expected this start. There is anger among the fan base because people expected better. I wrote often following the first two losses of the team's resolve and the urgency players felt for the upcoming games. I wrote before the Baltimore game that it was a must-win game for a lot of reasons. I believed that and I still do. The 0-3 start does not mean the season is technically over. There are of course 13 games remaining. But there's no question that the fans are understandably angry and disillusioned – angrier and more disillusioned than I can recall. I honestly right now don't have much to write to make them feel differently. Perhaps I will in a day or two, but right now this is a 0-3 team that must figure out a way to improve fast. We'll see if that happens by Sunday.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
It's time to accept the Jags aren't 0-3 by fluke or schedule. They are 0-3 because they've earned it.
John: Who said or thought anything different?
Jeff from Rutland, MA:
People say the Jags aren't consistent. But that's not true. They're very consistent in all the wrong ways.
John: This is true this season. The Jaguars have found many ways to lose their first three games. Sunday was the easiest to explain, though. The Jaguars for the most part played well enough to win except for the offense. The offensive struggles were keyed by a young quarterback who's really struggling right now.
Travis from Boynton Beach, FL:
Blake needs to grow up. He cost the team the game. C'mon, MAN.
John: Sunday was a tough day for Bortles. That followed what was pretty much an equally tough day for Bortles a week ago in San Diego. Bortles is not delusional about this. He knows he is playing poorly and knows he must play better. Teammates and coaches believe he will play better. He must work through this. He must reduce his interceptions. He must improve his pocket awareness. He must improve his decision-making. That's a lot of musts and they all must happen quickly. It's impossible to win consistently in the NFL with quarterbacking such as the Jaguars got Sunday.
Lance from Lebanon, TN:
So, I guess this makes next week's game a must-must win doesn't it?
John: Yeah, pretty much.
Kyle from Palm Harbor, FL:
This team is bad. There is too much talent on this team to be so bad at football. It's on the coaching.
John: This question/theme dominates the O-Zone these days. I understand the sentiment and I don't know what the future holds on this front. I do know 0-3 starts after so much losing weigh heavily on everyone involved – players, coaches, fans, etc. Is this start to be blamed on coaching? The NFL is so complex with so many moving parts that assigning blame is difficult. I don't think anyone would say coaching is blameless. There indeed are still too many mistakes in key situations. There's no question about that. Those have shown up all season, and there is little question that the team as a whole – coaches and players – struggled mightily in San Diego. I don't know that I agree nearly as much about the two losses at home. I thought the Jaguars had a good defensive game plan against Green Bay and that Bradley's aggressiveness gave the team a chance to win. I also don't know how much of the offensive struggles on Sunday were attributed to coaching. One thing is certain, though: the Jaguars are 0-3 and they shouldn't be 0-3. Maybe it's the fault of the coaches or maybe it's the fault of the players, but when you don't win in the NFL the coach gets blamed.
Lance from Lebanon, TN:
Before you use the excuse that two of our starting offensive linemen were out, do you still think Gus and Dave still believe this O-line is good enough to win? That was garbage!
John: I don't write excuses in the O-Zone, common perception notwithstanding. I do know that two starters indeed were out, which never helps anything. If anything, though, I thought the offensive line played OK in pass protection Sunday. It seemed above average in the first three quarters and I thought Bortles moved into a lot of pressure in the fourth. As far as run blocking, no … it wasn't good. It hasn't been good enough in any of the first three games of the season and it wasn't good enough Sunday.
Tim from Winston-Salem, NC:
Is Blake regressing before our eyes? Is that why the coaches went conservative in the fourth quarter?
John: I don't see Bortles regressing this season as much as I see him still needing very much to improve on some things we knew were issues entering the season. Pocket awareness, efficiency, accuracy, decision-making – all were issues last season and all have shown up this season. But no, I don't think that's why the Jaguars tried to run late in the game. They were in four-minute offense and playing with a lead. In that situation, you want to be able to run down the clock, impose your will and win the game. The Jaguars clearly were not able to do that on Sunday, so question the strategy if you must – but I don't think the strategy was because they think Bortles is regressing.
Theo from the Midwest:
How many emails have you gotten asking if it's Chad Henne time? And is it Chad Henne time?
John: This is the first – and no, it is not.
David from Maplewood, NJ:
John, you can keep saying Khan won't make an in-season change but that doesn't necessarily make it true. There is a time where patience changes from a virtue to something else. Count me with those that think that time has come. If the Jags go to 0-4 next week going into the bye then I don't see how he doesn't make a change in the bye week.
John: What I have said regarding this issue is that Khan's past statements indicate he doesn't believe midseason change generally is the right way to go in the NFL. Because of those statements, I have said that I believed it would take something of disastrous proportion for Khan to make a midseason change. I don't pretend to know what Khan considers a disastrous situation. I also know that he has believed strongly in Gus Bradley being the right person to be the head coach of this team. I know he takes the goings on of this franchise very seriously and I know this record isn't what he wants. I don't know enough beyond that to speculate on what happens if the Jaguars are 0-4 after the bye.
Justin from Jacksonville:
Tired of feeling this deflated, John. Tired of the offseason being the best time of the year. When the best part of football is when your team isn't actually playing, it's really demoralizing. Sigh.
John: You're right that it's tiring. You're right that fans have put up with a lot of losing for a long time. You're right that this was supposed to be the year when that changed and you're right that 0-3 is not a record that indicates that has changed. I don't have anything to write to make you feel better. I'll try again Tuesday.
Brett from Canton, MS:
Bortles' play is starting to be concerning. I like the guy. He seems to have the drive and the ability but sometimes his vision or decision-making just don't work it seems. At what point does the topic shift from Bortles is a young guy with improvement to make to is Bortles not franchise-quarterback material?
John: Not yet.
Mr. Padre from Kingsland, GA:
Could you please help us less-knowledgeable fans understand why the quarterback would take a sack on that second-down play at the end of the game rather than throw the ball away? Wouldn't that have saved us yards AND time? I wouldn't pretend to know more than Bortles but it seems like the obvious thing to do … what am I missing? #because jaguars
John: It absolutely was the obvious thing to do. Bortles was trying to extend the play for a big play. That's an area where he has succeeded in the past and that's his instinct, but in this case – yes, you absolutely must get rid of the ball.
Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington:
Are they not who they thought we were? Or they are not what they thought they are? Or they're not what we thought they would be? You get the drift?
John: Right now, I'm just tired, Shawn. And I don't think I'm alone.
Tom from Section 141 and the Mean Streets of Nocatee:
Tonight I'll drink myself to sleep and pretend I don't care the Jags are 0-3.
John: It seems I've heard some version of this before. If I have, I don't care. I laughed. Besides, it's not like I've never re-used a good joke. Or driven one right into the ground, for that matter.

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