JACKSONVILLE – Game Day Ozone.
Let's get to it …
Super DJ Romeo from the 904 living in the 619:
Hey, "O" Man, in my opinion this Dolphin game is critical. A loss plus two upcoming road games including the Patriots could spell an 0-4 start.
John: This is as good a place as any to start this Game Day O-Zone. There is an understandable tension among fans about Sunday's game against Miami – a feeling it is indeed maybe even a must-win. There's also lingering disappointment over the season-opening loss to Carolina. Toss in KindergartenGate and a lot of losing the past few years, and there's a pretty tangible edginess in the O-Zone and among the Jaguars' fan base. All of those are legitimate feelings and there's a lot of truth in all of it. Is it critical to win Sunday? Sure, in a lot of ways. A 0-2 start will feel worse with three road games next on the schedule. But I still say what's most important is that the Jaguars play well. They didn't do that against Carolina. Start doing it consistently and a lot of other things will take care of themselves.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, I'm surprised no one mentioned that the "Culligan girl" was in the background of several photos of you that made your recent video. I thought I would point this out, since you probably didn't notice.
John: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Sebastian from Long Island, NY:
I'm really hoping we stick to the run on Sunday. We might actually have a chance!
John: It has been vogue this week to say the Jaguars didn't run enough against Carolina, and I was also surprised they didn't run a little more early in the second half. At the same time, 15 of the Jaguars' runs Sunday were on the final drive of the first half and final drive of the second half. Running made little sense on those drives and if you take away those runs, the run-pass spit actually was 21-25. Yeah, the Jaguars could have run more Sunday, but it wasn't as if they completely eschewed the run to throw every down. Still, I'd be very surprised if the run wasn't a huge emphasis in the game plan against Miami.
David from Broward County, FL:
O-Man, in Friday's O-Zone question from Rob from Orange Park, you hit on something I was thinking about after last week's loss to the Panthers. I as a fan, Rob as a fan and other fans are gonna fan. We may get tired of what we perceive Coach Bradley's message to be, but – as you said – he can't change who he is. The message, even when he delivers it to the fans through the media, is not a message for us. It's for the players, and if he changes who he is and what he's about that could kill him with the players. I hope he doesn't/hasn't lost them. But as much as I may not like it, it's really not for me to like. When it comes to the coach's message/philosophy, it's all about the players. Thoughts?
John: Bradley has been consistent in his approach since arriving as head coach in January 2013. He has kept his eye on the big picture with the idea that the only way to win long term is to continue to improve and build in the short term. His approach is to preach competition with the idea that the best pressure is pressure that creates urgency rather than stress. To suddenly begin berating players, criticizing them in public or launching into sideline tirades would be to change for the sake of change. There's little point in that.
Roger from Valdosta, GA:
Why does the NFL require teams to submit an injury report? Doesn't happen at any other level. I mean, are they going to be trading playbooks next? Ideally, don't teams want every advantage they can get?
John: The NFL requires teams to submit an injury report to be as forthcoming as possible and limit the ability of er … unsavory elements … to get behind-the-scenes information to use to their … er, advantage.
Aaron from Chantilly:
Zone, we have to get rid of the conversation that David Caldwell has improved the roster from over the last two years ... well, yeah ... he gutted all good players for draft picks, most recently our star kicker. That bar is too low … not worth discussion. Every time I see discussion it burns me inside. Wake up!! Sorry, now I will go back to my cube....
John: I'm sorry if you're warm inside, but Caldwell has executed three trades of note: Blaine Gabbert, Eugene Monroe and Josh Scobee. Debate the merits of those trades all you want, and time will tell about the Scobee trade, but is the Jaguars' roster top-to-bottom in better shape than two years ago? I don't think there's much doubt.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
David Caldwell has done some good things, but he has also made some bad mistakes. Failing to get a number No. 1 wide receiver (Amari Cooper) and a quality backup left tackle in the offseason are now haunting this team. I hope next offseason Dave fills these two gaping holes. Why won't anybody admit Dave makes mistakes?
John: Of course Caldwell makes mistakes. Every general manager makes mistakes, just as every person makes mistakes. But you draft for the long-term and we certainly don't know after a week whether or not Amari Cooper or Dante Fowler Jr. was the better selection. We won't know for a long while yet. As far as a backup left tackle … finding starters at that position is hard enough and backups typically aren't as good as your starters.
Sean from Albuquerque, NM:
A lot has been made about the Jaguars' youth and inexperience. The Rams, the only team younger than the Jags, have been competitive the last few years with an excellent defense and serviceable offense. Now, with a quarterback, they seem to be ready to explode. Their roster is full of talented "game-changers" like Tavon Austin, Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and potentially Todd Gurley. Personally, I think that's the one thing we don't have. We have good players but short of Marks, Yeldon in the future and Bortles if he progresses, we don't have true game-changers. Is a lot of this the luck of the draw that we didn't land game changers comparable to those? And do you see any others that could potentially grow into those roles?
John: It's sort of luck of the draw, though it would be disingenuous to say it's not the responsibility of the general manager and scouting to draft impact players. Some of the players selected in the last three years have shown signs of being really good – Aaron Colvin, Telvin Smith and Brandon Linder among them. Blake Bortles showed signs in the offseason and T.J. Yeldon has shown the briefest of glimpses. Yes … impact players are needed. It's tough to win in the NFL without them. Really tough. But remember: impact players sometime need time to develop. In the big picture, we still have a pretty small sample size on a lot of potential impact players.
John from Starke, FL:
I'm getting tired of the flak Luke Joeckel is getting. But I understand why Tony Boselli was the best of the best at LT. Jag fans we were spoiled with Tony. Yes, injuries shortened his career; otherwise he could be still be playing. He was just that good. Hall of Fame YES, Yes, Yes.
John: He was that good. And yes, yes, yes he should be in the Hall of Fame. Does Boselli's having played here set a high bar for subsequent left tackles? Yes. Is it "fair" to expect a left tackle in this era to be as dominant as past left tackles? Perhaps not, because few are. At the same time, Joeckel has to play better than he has. His progress has been and remains a big storyline. A very important storyline.
Doug from Jacksonville:
To all these people clamoring for a former No. 15 (and No. 11)... he was cut and Stephen Morris – the Jaguars' practice-squad undrafted free agent was signed in his place. In what universe would someone think he would be better than the guy we had above his replacement? No other teams wants him. If we cut Henne, he would be signed.
John: Well, yeah.
Tom from Katy, TX:
Who's to say Gus didn't already change when he saw himself in the Seattle video? Maybe he didn't like that look and thought it was time to change to someone more positive and upbeat? It seems as though the players respect him and play hard for him. I don't think we could ask for anything more. Just sayin...
John: We've reached the point of overthinking, over-talking and overanalyzing this whole thing. The YouTube Video of Gus Bradley vehemently telling Seahawks players to "Do your job" was one moment of Bradley's coaching career. It didn't define him, and has little do with the Jaguars.
Old Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I'm too old to have feelings, but I have this feeling that the Jags are going to beat the Dolphins. The ghost of '99 is going to get them.