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O-Zone: Good guess

JACKSONVILLE – Last day to look back at Houston.

Let's get to it … Kyle from Clearwater, FL:
John, I don't know what all this 'pass-rusher-in-the-draft' talk is about, but if this team doesn't pick up offensive linemen in free agency, it will be the first thing they target in the draft. Khan is a businessman, and Year Three is rapidly approaching. I believe if he doesn't see a change next season, this coaching staff is done. What are your thoughts?
John: Your confidence is impressive – perhaps more so than your accuracy. I say that because I think it remains to be seen how active and bold the team will be in free agency and in the draft along the offensive line. I agree it needs to be addressed – and it obviously must improve – but I don't get the idea that early March is going to be about bold headlines and excited Twitter feeds detailing major personnel changes on the offensive line. As far as Year Three rapidly approaching and how that relates to Khan and the staff, yes, I think it's safe to say the record needs to improve next season. I think that has been pretty obvious throughout this process.
Doug from Jacksonville:
It is sad, but 10 targets with two catches for three yards for Cecil Shorts III means Marqise Lee deserves a bigger role. He really looks like he is figuring it out. Do you agree?
John: Yes, Lee is figuring it out. As for his role, he played 55 plays on Sunday while Shorts played 70 and Allen Hurns played 68. So, while Lee could play a slightly bigger role, it's not as if he's getting ignored.
Trey from Lovely Fruit Cove, FL:
One thing about this team is no one seems to play better than their draft slot or expectations. Luke Joeckel, Johnathan Cyprien, Blake Bortles, Marcedes Lewis, Toby Gerhart, Zane Beadles, Josh Evans and others are all underperforming. Yes, they are young. But, I see every week players on other teams stand out and have great performances and make a difference for their teams. Where are our standout players??? Still in college?
John: I understand your point and I agree that the Jaguars need more standout players. If there is a thing this team lacks more than anything else it's mature, reliable standout players who make plays above the Xs and Os. I also would agree that at least a few players on your list have underperformed, but to say that no one on the team has outperformed their expectations is simply incorrect. Sen'Derrick Marks, Ryan Davis, Allen Hurns, Demetrius McCray, Allen Hurns, Luke Bowanko, Brandon Linder, Telvin Smith … a strong argument can be made that every one of those players has outperformed what was expected from him when they joined the Jaguars.
Nicholas from Fort Irwin, CA:
Besides the team not playing well I also saw a stadium that looked like it was hosting a small-time college team … when the camera panned the seats close to the field I saw a bunch of teal. While weather may have been part of the reason I was forced to recognize that it appears we have trouble with fan attendance even though we were winning 13-10 at the time and won't host any prime-time games any time soon.
John: Don't believe what you see or read. The stands were indeed pretty empty shortly after halftime with fans getting out of the weather at the half and being comparatively slow to re-enter the stadium. The stands were not pretty empty in the first half.
John from Ramsey, NJ:
I seriously thought if we had stopped Arian Foster on fourth-and-goal in the third quarter, we would have had a tremendous morale boost and momentum swing in our favor. What happened on the tackling?
John: Arian Foster on the play started right, where the left side of the Jaguars' line collapsed the right side of the Texans' line. As Foster reversed field, safety Johnathan Cyprien had a chance to make a tackle on Foster. He dove for Foster's legs and Foster took a half-step and evaded the tackle. After that, Foster had a pretty easy jaunt to the end zone. It would have been a really good play by Cyprien and it wouldn't have been an easy play. It's also the sort of play big-time players need to make in those situations.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
"Bortles is a rookie who is under duress in the pocket far more than is ideal." Completely true. He wasn't under duress on the pick play, though.
John: No, he wasn't. That was a bad play.
Mike from West Des Moines, IA:
I don't understand the Wildcat. You are putting at quarterback someone who can't throw, thus taking away the threat of pass – and you are putting someone at receiver who can't catch or block. I hope I never see the Wildcat again. I don't think it is clever and creative; I think it is desperate. What happened to finding what they can do and getting better at it? I don't think there is a point to being different and creative just for the sake of being different and creative. There is a reason Air Coryell, the Erhardt-Perkins (the offense the Patriots run), and the West Coast offenses have been around … They work. There has been a big lack of execution this year, but the Wildcat isn't the answer, it never has been.
John: You're not going to get a huge argument from me on this one. I, too, have always believed you want your players in roles in which they can do what they do best. In the short-term, I get that the Jaguars are looking for something, anything, that can work offensively. In the long run, you want to get your personnel developed enough where you can line up, have your guys do what they do best and know most teams can't stop that.
Hussein from Dearborn, MI:
John, I've been following you for quite some time now and wanted to ask you … do you see the Jaguars contending for a playoff spot next season?
John: I believe they will contend, because I believe this team can improve enough to be .500ish at this point next season. I believe it will be tough to make it because making it would be a seismic leap of improvement that is tough to predict. What I want to see is significant improvement, and I don't think I'm alone in that regard.
Nate from Visalia, CA:
No question, just a comment. I may not enjoy all of your writing, O, but that doesn't change the fact that it brings a legitimate smile to my face when you acknowledge the rare skill set and talent of JB. Just wanted to say thanks. He needs as much support, right now, that he can get. Happy to know that the public voice of the Jags doesn't cater to the majority of fans that act as though he's a third or fourth receiver, at best … but as you say, fans gonna fan. All right … horse is dead. I'll stop beating it now.
John: Beat that horse all you want, and I may not enjoy all of your emails either, but that doesn't change the fact that I think Justin Blackmon is a difference-making receiver. It's not so much about supporting him as that's what his skill set says is the case.
Cole from Orlando, FL:
John, takeaways are bound to be plentiful in the aftermath of the Texans loss. My biggest takeaway? I think Bortles has found his groove. He might not have had an extraordinary showing, but the display we witnessed on the field was 100 percent Bortles. He said in postgame that "there is less miscommunication among the offense," and you can tell. Blake is getting comfortable, finally, and I think these last few weeks will show REAL glimpses of the future.
John: You certainly saw signs of it. Bortles in recent weeks appeared to be working hard to get back to that feeling of playing free and making plays with his legs and arm. You could see it in the way he focused on avoiding the rush and extending plays. It wasn't that he hadn't tried to do it in October and early November, but it just seemed like he was really focused on that area in late November. On Sunday against the Texans, he got back to playing comfortably and played pretty effectively that way during the first half. The score went from a three-point lead to an 11-point deficit in a hurry late in the third quarter and that caused the offense to play uphill the rest of the way – but before that there were indeed good signs from the quarterback.
David from Jacksonville:
Sometimes this league is very much about momentum. The Jags close the game out last week pulling off the biggest comeback in franchise history then seem to carry that over by leading at halftime against the Texans, 13-10. This team's ability to COMPLETELY just look like different players on the field is crazy to me. I'm pretty sure your response – if you do respond – is going to be in reference to the youth on offense and the margin for error being extremely small but for these guys to just absolutely produce ZERO points in the second half of this game is just frustrating. And I bet you like when readers try and guess what your responses are going to be, don't you?
John: I love it, especially when they're right.

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