JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Trevor from Jacksonville:
Greg Olson. Fired.
John: This was a common sentiment in the inbox Saturday, and I get it. Many readers had focused on offensive coordinator Greg Olson as the reason for the Jaguars' issues this season – and the team indeed parted ways with Olson on Saturday and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett. I long have said I'm not given to a midseason coordinator or head coaching change because it's usually change for change's sake – and because such changes often produce little long-term gain. Hackett is very smart and very capable of running the offense, but I am skeptical Saturday's move will have an earth-shaking impact on the offense. That has nothing to do with Hackett and everything to do with being skeptical that what ails the offense – quarterback Blake Bortles' struggles and the offensive line's struggles to run block – will be magically fixed. At the same time, the Jaguars' offense had reached a point where nothing was working. The unit scored six first-half points in the past three games and the performance in a 60-yard, zero-points first half against Tennessee Thursday clearly had the effect of frustrating players on both sides of the ball. Maybe this move is change for the sake of change, but – as many readers have noted – there seems little harm to the team in changing. Perhaps the change will yield earth-shaking results. Perhaps it will spur players to respond. Perhaps Hackett will find something to help Bortles regain confidence. That's certainly possible. Here's hoping for the sake of this offense, the franchise and the quarterback that it happens. The aforementioned group and anyone associated with the Jaguars sure would think that was cool. They would like it.
Hank from St. Augustine, FL:
Gus Bradley said Friday he planned no staff changes. You wrote on Saturday there would be no changes. On Saturday, the Jaguars fired Olson and promoted Hackett. What happened?
John: Bradley changed his mind.
Scotty from Points North:
Sometimes, the fans are right. Sometimes, the pros are wrong. I think the Jag fans had this scented out a long time ago with Gus Bradley. I think it is unfortunate because I think we all hate to start over. As far as Blake Bortles goes, I think we all fear a prolonged rehash of the Blaine Gabbert situation were the organization keeps giving him more and more time to prove himself at the cost of the team. I want Bortles to be the man but I don't want this to drag into the next season. Full disclosure … I looked at the draft boards for next year about a month ago. Never too early for a Jags fan. Thanks.
John: Many fans indeed gave up on Gus Bradley long ago. Many just as certainly did not. Many pros gave up on Gus Bradley a while back. Many did not. As far as Bortles … sure, it's fair to fear that the Jaguars are traveling a road right now where they must give a young, highly-drafted quarterback a chance to prove whether or not he's the guy. That's the deal when you draft quarterbacks early. They must be given time to prove if they're the guy. The signs haven't been good the last two weeks. They were better last year. Which are right? The rest of the season could determine the answer.
CJ from Singapore:
Ok John, I've been a fan since the expansion year and I'll admit this is by far the hardest year to remain a fan. I can't think of a time more depressing for a true JAGS fan. Can you please tell me a time in Jaguars history when coaching change was needed more than now? The lack of discipline and accountability is embarrassing.
John: This is a brutally tough season so far – and indeed, the masses are expectedly roaring about coaching. And that roar has reached deafening levels. But that roar gets deafening whenever teams lose and whenever fan bases grow weary of a team's direction. I won't argue the fact that the Jaguars' discipline on the field has been troubling this season. The unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties point to that. If the season continues in this vein, I can't imagine changes won't be made. Nine games remain. Time will tell.
Jeff from Rutland, MA:
I wish there was even one credible reason to believe this team could do better in any of the nine remaining games. There isn't.
John: The way the Jaguars have played the last two weeks makes this point difficult to argue. What needs to happen to make the Jaguars play better? Improvement at the quarterback position would be a start. Improved run blocking would help, too. If those areas could have some success early in games and give the team a chance to play with a lead, it's my belief that the Jaguars' defense is more than capable of playing well throughout an entire game. That combination could move this team a lot closer to being competitive. This didn't remotely happen Thursday but it has happened enough that it's not insane to think it could happen again. It's very difficult to win scoring two points per half offensively. That has been the Jaguars' offensive production in the last three games. If that improves, everything else will look much better. Will it happen? I can't predict that. If it doesn't, it's going to be a long nine weeks.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
O ... I heard the press conference. I hear what Coach Bradley is saying. What I don't get is why we – and in this 'we' I'm including you and media more broadly in addition to the fans – are expected to buy into the CoachSpeak stuff? It never has been converted to action on any level of consistency or sustainability. I'm starting to tune it all out and becoming a bit apathetic. I fear I am far from alone.
John: There's little any coach can say in a press conference to inspire confidence if results aren't happening on the field. A press conference is by definition "talk" and therefore words. Action is what happens on the field. Actions speak louder than words.
Zach from Baltimore, MD:
I'm giving you a shot here. For the fans, can you make a valid point that Blake Bortles stats are not inflated because of garbage time/prevent defense?
John: Not in the last two weeks. As for last season, his statistics indeed were partly compiled late in one-sided games, but by no means were all of them overly inflated. He wasn't great last season. He needed to improve entering this season. Those things are true, but to paint all of last season as being worthless and inflated is incorrect.
Jacob from North Carolina:
Too soon for draft. Too late for this season. No head coach changes. So, what do you think? Over or under: we win two more games.
Emile from Tallahassee, FL:
I'm not the oldest guy you'll meet and I'm sure there are many people who've watched more football than me. However: I've seen a few good, franchise quarterbacks go through slumps - that's not what this looks like to me.
John: No, this does not look like a slump. This at best looks like a young quarterback still finding his way and needing serious work on throwing motion and mechanics This at worse feels like a young quarterback who won't develop into a franchise quarterback. Because of the last two games many believe it's the latter. It's up to him to prove it's the former.
Ross from Fleming Island, FL:
More of a thought as opposed to a question. I do not expect Mr. Khan to make a change midseason. He is a brilliant businessman that realizes his product is failing. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction, I expect he is working on a plan to make changes, and will patiently wait (though painfully) to execute his plan when he believes it is in place and the time is right. I believe he hates losing as much as every Jags fan everywhere (maybe more), but he will approach this rationally. What says you?
John: I say you're right. I don't know that that means Khan absolutely has decided to make changes, but there's little question he has a plan.
David from Jacksonville:
John, I can't help but think if only we had beaten Green Bay we would be looking at a completely different season right now.
John: When the Washington Redskins lost to the Chicago Bears 73-0 in the 1940 NFL Championship Game, Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh was asked if the outcome would have been any different had a Redskins player not dropped a touchdown pass early in the game. Baugh said it would have been different. The score would have been 73-7. Had the Jaguars won against the Packers they would be 3-4. Would that make the last two games feel different or changed their outcome? I can't say that.
Shawn from the Lost:
Full analysis and tell us all the answers. GO!
O-Zone: Full analysis
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Trevor from Jacksonville: