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O-Zone: Family man

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Kevin from Jacksonville:
John, you make zero sense. You wrote that we will not see Blake Bortles until some stuff around him gets better. Think about that line for a minute. If "stuff" around him gets better, it will also mean that Henne would be playing better. If Henne is playing better, why on earth would we bench him and start Bortles? Again, I repeat, you are trying too hard my friend. Some of us don't enjoy cool-aid.
John: I'm honestly not trying too hard. I might consider trying too hard … if it didn't go against every belief I hold dear. Fortunately – evidence to the contrary notwithstanding – this point I was trying to make isn't too complicated. The "stuff" around the quarterback to which I refer doesn't have much to do with Chad Henne at all. Until the young wide receivers are more familiar with the offense, and until the offensive line gels a bit, I doubt you will see Bortles play. Those things happening would certainly qualify as "stuff" getting better. Now, none of that is about me trying hard at all. That's just me telling how I imagine it will play out. That conclusion is drawn from a lot of things that have been said around the Jaguars the last few weeks and months. And incidentally, it's "Kool-Aid." I didn't try too hard to find the spelling that. I already knew it.
Warren from Section 150:
Johnny O, just wanted to point out we are currently tied for the league lead in sacks. That's not normal.
John: No, it's not. And it's a good sign.
Kyle from Clearwater, FL:
Bold prediction: If the Jags continue to struggle on third down AND lose to Washington, then Bortles will start Week 3. Sound reasonable to you?
John: It's not unreasonable, but it's not going to happen. I get the feeling from reading tweets and some emails there is a belief that the Jaguars secretly have Week 3 circled in red for the Jaguars to shock and satisfy the world by starting Bortles. I don't see it, and I don't see your scenario prompting a change, either. The Jaguars did struggle on third down Sunday, but that was as much about early downs and the running game as it was the play of Henne. Very few quarterbacks fare well on third-and-long consistently. When I was in Indianapolis, I heard Peyton Manning talk for years about the importance of third and manageable. It was a weekly focus of his to fare well enough on early downs so that he wasn't facing 3rd-and-7 or longer. That will be a focus for the Jaguars, too, but I digress a bit. To your point, the Jaguars didn't see the opener as an awful game for Henne, or even a poor game. Not remotely. And they didn't see it as some sort of first step in the process to moving toward Bortles. The game didn't spark emergency meetings and hallway whisperings among coaches. Henne is the quarterback, and he'll have to play significantly worse than he did in Week 1 for that to change in the short term.
Poor College Kid from Jacksonville:
Mr. Oehser, looking at the back and forth between you and the readers I think the aspect missing is this: You get paid to give logical and informed opinions, while we have to pay (and many have for the last 6 years of blight). We can only suffer the "getting better decimal point by decimal point" for so long. Thanks for keeping us sane-ish.
John: Yes, that is the difference. I think I've always been pretty up front and aware of that.
Mr. Padre from Kingsland, GA:
I understand we aren't starting Bortles until the rest of the team, especially the offensive line, is better. In the same vein, I think we need Denard Robinson getting more carries until the offensive line is able to run block better. They pass-blocked well Sunday, but D-Rob can make more out of less better than a road-grater like Gerhart in my opinion. Gerhart needs bigger holes and can't use his speed to get outside like Robinson … don't you agree? Couldn't they have used him at least a little even after Toby came back?
John: I don't think you go away from Gerhart. You need to get that established, and you need to keep working your offense with that in mind. You saw a little glimpse of that early in the fourth quarter when the Jaguars ran into Eagles territory before Allen Hurns couldn't hang onto what would have been a difficult third-down catch. That little glimpse is what the Jaguars will try to build on. As far as Denard Robinson, yes, I think the Jaguars could have used him a bit more and I imagine they will.
Greg from Jacksonville:
John, I wanted to make a legitimate point, I tried to dig up opinions from my old football coach, my personal trainer and other various experts such as neighbors, little league coaches and the copy repair guy. They all said Bortles should play, the Jags are out of shape and mental errors have no place in professional sports! .....OK, I made it up. None of them would talk to me.
John: Yeah, I sort of figured.
Scott from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Do you think for a team to be a playoff contender it needs a running back who at least can threaten to go all the way? It seems the Jaguars no longer have that in any of their running backs and this is a position we should look at strengthening in the near future.
John: Denard Robinson certainly has his weaknesses as a player. Most players do. One of his weaknesses is not an inability to go all the way.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
You say having an elite quarterback gives you a better chance to get to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl, but the Giants have won two with an at best average quarterback.
John: Eli Manning wasn't average the years the Giants won Super Bowls.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I want to see improvement. I did see improvement in the play of the linebackers. Outside of that though, what other position groups looked improved? The d-line looked improved in the first half, then disappeared the second half. The o-line, the running backs, the quarterbacks and the wide receivers did not look improved. The secondary looked better until the mistakes. Even the special teams didn't look much better. I would love to see what you and Angie are seeing.
John: I saw a team have a very real chance to beat a potential playoff team. I didn't see that last season. Sometimes people see different things. I suppose it happens.
Artis from Alexandria, VA:
Putting the Jaguars that high on power rankings was a reach. The only team we are definitely better than with Henne at quarterback is the Rams. Thirty-one seems the better spot.
John: Sure, why not?
Chris from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Was Storm injured last week and if so do you expect him to see the field this week?
John: Storm Johnson missed last week's game with an ankle injury sustained in the preseason finale. He could return to practice soon, and we'll know about his status later Wednesday and/or this week.
Greg from Jacksonville:
John, I feel like this organization is giving its season-ticket holders and loyal fans a year-long preseason and they couldn't care less.
John: I never say it's ridiculous for fans to feel a certain way; people feel what they want to feel. There's no right or wrong. I can say the Jaguars aren't approaching it that way. I can say they're doing what they feel gives them the best chance to win each week. But I won't discount your feelings. As someone who has his feelings stomped on almost daily, I wouldn't do that to someone else.
Tim from Newton, PA:
O-Man, I survived. I'm sure you've been worrying about me.
John: Whew.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
When does the "almost real" injury report come out? Poz, Cyprien, Toby … We are dead if these guys are not functional.
John: I don't know that it's fair to call the Jaguars' injury report "almost real." My experience here is that it's usually as accurate as possible, and there are usually pretty severe ramifications from the league if injury reports are found to be otherwise. I would be surprised if Cyprien plays Sunday, and I would be very surprised if Posluszny and Gerhart do not.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
I feel for you O-man. You took quite a beating Sunday and Monday. It was painfully evident in the somber connotation your words took on in both the plane ride and A.M. posts.
John: I should probably clarify something here. Fans get upset in the O-Zone and I answer questions here. Fans are angry after losses and they are giddy after victories. Right now, a lot of fans are angry about Blake Bortles not playing, and they write angrily about that in the O-Zone. Sometimes they direct the anger at me. But it's really not a beating. It's football. It's entertainment. There is back and forth. Sometimes we have fun and sometimes people vent, but it doesn't drag me down or scar me emotionally. That's what family is for.

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