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O-Zone: Gauging the temperature

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jeremy from Miles City:
Johnny-O … We haven't played a game on the West Coast since 2013 when we played Seattle and Oakland. We also played our first game in London that year. Every year we have looked more and more comfortable playing in London and the time difference. Do you think that will help us at all this week or is it different because we are going the other way?
John: The Jaguars actually lost to the Chargers in San Diego in 2014 Week 4 in Blake Bortles' first game as the starting quarterback, but your point is a real one: the Jaguars for the most part haven't looked good on the West Coast in recent seasons. But you know what? The Jaguars for the most part haven't looked good in a lot places in recent seasons. West Coast. East Coast. Florida. Whatever. The difficulty of jumping time zones is a real thing in the NFL and it's difficult to play three time zones away from your home stadium. Most people you talk to in the NFL agree with that, and results usually show that to be the case. At the same time, the Jaguars should start looking better everywhere – West Coast, London, East Coast wherever – as they get … better. I've said all week and I'll continue to say it: it's time for the Jaguars to start winning in situations where previously they have struggled. Sunday is as good a time as any to get over the whole West Coast Thing. This team is capable of doing that. It's just a matter of, you know … doing it.
K.J. from Lake Worth:
I'm confused, John. If we drafted Myles Jack Top 5 wouldn't it be pointless to not play him?
John: I googled this. The 2016 NFL season is not over.
Dustin from St. Augustine, FL:
Considering the way our pass rush looked Sunday, do you think there's gonna be any talk about bringing Greg Hardy in to get pressure on the quarterback?
John: Oh, there's quite definitely talk about it. Fans are talking about it. Media is talking about it. What I haven't heard is very serious talk from the Jaguars. One major reason for this is the state of the Jaguars' pass rush remains to be seen. It wasn't overly effective against the Packers Sunday, but part of that was the team's approach of bracketing and containing quarterback Aaron Rodgers rather than taking a pin-the-ears-back-and-go approach to rushing him. I expect a more all-out approach to rushing the quarterback as the season wears on. If the pass rush remains ineffective after several weeks of that approach, then perhaps the conversation changes.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi John. I, like everybody else, want to see Myles Jack in the game on defense. I'm sure Gus and Todd Wash want that also. They just have to feel he's ready and can contribute. I'm pretty sure they know better than most when that time will be.
John: Hmm. I'll check this out.
Mike from Lancaster, PA:
Many thought bringing in Tashaun Gipson would help the whole defense, especially Johnathan Cyprien. Did we see this on Sunday?
John: I thought Cyprien for the most part did OK in the opener Sunday with the oh-so-glaring exception of not wrapping up on Eddie Lacy. I don't know how much of how Cyprien played in that game can be directly attributed to Gipson's presence, but the Jaguars continue to like the concept of being able to play Cyprien more truly in the box. As far as Gipson helping the whole defense … the secondary seemed for the most part to cover really well Sunday. Prince Amukamara, Jalen Ramsey and Davon House were big parts of that, but having a free safety that's aware of situations and able to roam sideline to sideline … no, that doesn't hurt.
Sonny from Melbourne, FL:
I don't understand all of the Gus Bradley bashing. If he is replaced, the team would have to learn new systems and we would be starting all over again. The team has not had the talent to make a coach shine. But I guess the fans don't want a coach that hasn't had a winning record in his first three years, or even one winning season in his first five. That's good because I don't believe Bill Belichick is available anyway.
John: I'm not ready to compare Bradley to Belichick – and the reality is few coaches go on to legendary success after struggling as Belichick did early in his tenure. But you know what? Few coaches go on to legendary status, period. It's very difficult to project a head coach's career based on his early success or failure. Coaches such as Tom Landry and Belichick had relatively long struggles before attaining success. Coaches such as Joe Gibbs and Tony Dungy turned things around more quickly. The long-early-struggles-to-success stories are rare because those coaches don't often get second chances. I think we'll know more about Bradley in the coming months. Stay tuned.
Shaun from Jacksonville:
With Keenan Allen out, Antonio Gates is sure to be the main target for Philip Rivers Sunday. It was said during the draft that Jack was known for covering wide receivers. Do you think the Jaguars could lock Jack on Gates to shut him down or is he still not mentally prepared enough to get such an assignment?
John: We'll see. Fans understandably want to see Jack lock down a tight end. The coaches want to see it. Shoot, I want to see Jack lock down a tight end. At the same time, the Jaguars' linebackers played very well last Sunday, and for that reason there's not a panic within these walls to force Jack into a role. The defense also played well as a whole for the most part – so while there seems to be groundswell of angst over Jack not yet starting, I guess I don't see it as a crisis. I don't have any question that Jack will play a key role this season. I suspect he'll play a role in San Diego. As for putting Jack on Gates … yeah, I'd like to see it. I don't know if it will happen, but I'd watch it.
Emiel from Jacksonville:
Ramsey's a beast.
John: Yup.
Cassie from Jacksonville:
Will Chris Ivory be back this week?
John: Ivory missed practice Wednesday after being released from the hospital Tuesday. The Jaguars have said nothing officially regarding his status, but I'd be very surprised if he plays Sunday.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, don't know if you heard or saw this. On the FOX broadcast of the game Sunday, John Lynch said if it weren't for his injuries, Tony Boselli would have been considered best tackle ever in history of NFL.
John: I didn't hear it or see it. As for what Lynch said, I don't know that Boselli would have been considered hands-down better than Anthony Munoz or Walter Jones, but he darned sure would have been in the conversation.
Mike from Horseheads, NY:
Jacksonville goes 9-7 with two wins against Houston. Are we in??
John: Sure.
Jason from St. Augustine, FL:
A complaint I have had with Coughlin, Del Rio and Bradley is predictable offensive play-calling. At least eventually Coughlin realized his team's success was about their talent and let them play. With Del Rio, the first-down rush telegraph was blatant, boring and cut MoJo's career short. Finally, we are seeing some play- action from this team but the play calling is much the same. It seems these defense-minded coaches want to 'establish the run' and thus run always on first down to predictable results like this week's. We don't have some dominant o-line where we enforce our will. This team has five, six-plus awesome receiving weapons, running backs included. You can't cover all that talent. Pass to run. As this o-line gels, reassess. What say ye?
John: I say you've pretty much disliked the offensive creativity through 20-plus years of Jaguars coaches – and I say while it probably has been predictable at times, Coughlin overall was a pretty darned good offensive coach. I also say it's not uncommon for fans to find their team's offensive playcalling predictable. I can remember disliking what I believed was Gibbs' predictability in the early 1990s, and the 1991 Redskins offense was one of the most productive in NFL history. This is not to discount your thoughts on the offense. Perhaps it could be more creative. But this offense needs to establish the run and it needs to force defenses to believe the run is a threat. That helps the pass protection. Remember, too: one of Blake Bortles' strengths is as a play-action passer. It's very tough to be an effective play-action quarterback if the other team has zero belief your team can be effective running.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
They damn well better play well next Sunday. I realize even going 0-2 wouldn't be the end of the season, but it would be the end of the world.
John: I know, Doom. I know.

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