Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Four games remaining

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Brian from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Dear O, there is so much talk going on about our abilities and our issues. I'm so confused as to what is right and what is wrong. Can you tell me which is correct … is it Jimmy's and Joe's or X's and O's?
John: It's understandable to be confused by the Jaguars this season, but while absolute explanations are cool – and while indeed people like them – there are few absolutes in the NFL. The Jaguars' 4-8 record is confusing because this team is beginning to look like it has enough talent to win, particularly on offense. At the same time, inconsistency on offense has hurt this season – as has the defense's consistent inability to get off the field on third downs. If I have an overarching take on the season, that's it – that a bit more maturity and better run-blocking are needed offensively, and that a pass rush that can affect the quarterback on third down is needed defensively. There is more, but those are the high points. If the Jaguars had those things – along with consistency at kicker – I believe they would be no worse than 6-6. So, to answer your question: Jimmys and Joes or Xs and Os? The easy thing is to blame coaching, and I wouldn't say the Jaguars have been coached perfectly this season. But this is a player's league and it's very difficult to win without impact players. Jimmys and Joes always outweigh Xs and Os in the NFL. Always.
Shrubs from Jacksonville:
Hey! Big optimism for this team going forward. With this seemingly high-powered passing game coming along, will the Jags still want to be a run-first team? It feels like our passing game should open up a run game – not the other way around.
John: This is a legitimate question. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley very much wanted this past offseason to be a run-first team this season. That made sense with a young quarterback who had been prone to interceptions last season. It also made sense because the defense played pretty well at times last season, and with the team bolstering the run defense it seemed reasonable to think the defense would be at least improved this season. The defense hasn't improved and the passing game has proven far more explosive than many could have anticipated. I think they absolutely will want to improve their running game next season; specifically, they will want to be able to run when they want/need to run. But with the Jaguars developing into a team that produces explosive plays I imagine the goal will be to achieve balance rather than veering to a run-heavy offense.
Steve from Defuniak Springs Walton:
When asking about a fourth elite wideout, is there no chance any more of this being Justin Blackmon?
John: What year is this?
Will from Jacksonville:
I saw that you used Pro Football Focus to compliment Jeremy Parnell's strong play, so how do you defend Johnathan Cyprien? By the same token, on PFF he is the last decile of all safeties (in addition to Evans and Brown). He consistently misses tackles, takes bad angles, rarely if ever makes any game-changing plays, yet you and the team continue to laud him as if he is even an above-average safety. If you are willing to use the same means to highlight a good player, why does he get a free pass?
John: I don't know that I've ever given Cyprien a "free pass," and the team was pretty pointed throughout the offseason that he needed to be more consistent this season. He has played better at times this season, and he had one really good stretch around mindset. He also has had some difficult games, and Sunday didn't appear to be very good at times. Cyprien is not a Pro Bowl safety, but he is far from the biggest problem on the defense. He actually is a fine strong safety for this scheme, but the Jaguars have had to use him out of the box a lot; it's when he tries to do things to make up for what's going on at free safety that he most often struggles. As far as my use of PFF, the truth is I rarely use their grades anymore to discuss players; nothing against the website, but it's very difficult to accurately grade players without understanding assignments. I cited Parnell's run-blocking grade as being PFF's best for a Jaguars offensive linemen as a way of noting that he had been decent in run blocking. In no way was that meant to say Parnell was good because of something PFF said, just as something PFF said in no way makes Cyprien bad, either.
Adam from Sachse, TX:
I'm no advocate for firing Bradley but let's say hypothetically it were to happen. Is there precedent for a new, incoming head coach to retain the previous regime's offensive coordinator? Considering Bortles' development losing Olsen perhaps wouldn't be crippling, but it sure isn't going to help.
John: Yes, coordinators can be and have been retained. It happened once on a team I was covering: when Tony Dungy took over as the Colts' head coach in 2002 and retained Tom Moore as offensive coordinator. A couple of things have to happen for such a scenario to take place. One is the coordinator must want to remain and the other is the new head coach must want to retain the coordinator. Such a thing almost certainly would be part of the negotiations/discussions during the head coach's interview process. That's the answer to your question, though with four weeks remaining in the regular season I continue to say I will be surprised if Gus Bradley isn't the Jaguars' head coach next season.
Kyle from Ohio:
Assuming that time comes when Gus Bradley is deemed too inept to coach – whether this offseason or next – do you believe he and Caldwell will be a package deal? Personally, I like what Caldwell has done and I don't want to see him go down with Bradley this offseason or next.
John: I do not believe they are a package deal.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I've been hearing a lot of talk about the Jaguars being big spenders in free agency this coming offseason. If that's true, where do you foresee the majority of the money going? Resigning our own free agents or pursuing new ones?
John: I imagine most of the spending will be pursing free agents from other teams at positons such as, say, center, free safety and perhaps cornerback. And perhaps anything on any level of the defense that improves the team's play-making ability.
Dane from Jacksonville:
That 17-yard gain to the 1 that you reference: my eyes popped on that play. Marqise Lee has got some serious juice and it didn't even look like he hit a second gear on that play. Now, I understand why the coaches didn't want to end his season on injured reserve.
John: Marqise Lee is a serious talent. His challenge is to stay on the field. The coaches' challenge is to find a way to get him on the field. The first has proven difficult, and with Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson playing at a high level, the second could prove difficult, too.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
All I want for Christmas is to click on a video here and when the "We Want More" Jaguars promo video starts, there's one with that footage Scobee took of you jogging down Baymeadows. That would be awesome!!! #WeWantMore
John: Well, it'd be something, I suppose.
Joel from Jacksonville:
The reason for the decline in sacks isn't so much that our Leos have gotten worse. Sen'Derrick Marks was a huge factor in disrupting and making the Leos look better. Odrick was picked up for that role, and he has played well, but you now get an idea of how really, really good Marks was. Sure hope he comes back full strength.
John: Odrick was not signed to play Marks' role. He was signed to play strong-side defensive end opposite the Leo. He was signed to strengthen the defense against the run and provide more pass rush than his predecessor, Red Bryant. He was signed to possibly move inside and play the three-technique at times, but that absolutely was not Odrick's primary role when signed. Now, has Marks' absence hurt? Absolutely.
Mike from Section 238:
A Styx reference is symbolic of how disappointing the season has been. At least we haven't sunk to Bee Gees references yet.
John: Nobody believes what you say, Mike. And you know what gets in your way? It's just your jive talkin' … that's what.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
We know the pass rush is bad. So, why don't we blitz? It seems anytime something good happens on defense we sent more than four.
John: It's well beyond Look Ahead Wednesday, but when Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota ran 87 yards for a touchdown, that was not "something good" happening for the Jaguars.
Kyle from Jacksonville:
Is it next year yet?
John: No.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content