JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
JT from Rosamond, CA:
I know I shouldn't care what the national media says about the Jags, but I'm sick of the narrative always being what the other team did and never about the Jags. This week it's about the fans throwing beer –and not the Seahawks playing dirty and still losing. Even if the Jags win the Super Bowl this year the media will still pass up talking about them.
John: Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – know my approach with national media. I pay little attention because people outside the market typically don't know the team nearly as well as those who cover the team locally. And since the amount of national "love" a team receives has nothing to do with the outcome of games, I just don't worry about it. Also, as I have said often: once the Jaguars win enough, recognition will come. That doesn't mean it will satisfy fans, but it will come. I do agree there has been a narrative this season of the Jaguars winning because the other team played poorly. That is the curse of a team that has lost for a long time and is now winning unconventionally – i.e., for the most part with great defense. People are shocked by the Jaguars' success and it is taking a while for people to grasp that the Jaguars are actually … good. And yes: it is unfortunate the end-of-game incident Sunday has caused people to focus on a few fans who threw objects rather than the Jaguars' victory. It's particularly unfortunate that the focus on object throwing has overshadowed the behavior of the Seahawks at game's end. Defensive end Michael Bennett by all appearances dove at the knees of Jaguars center Brandon Linder. That's not being discussed much publicly outside people who follow the Jaguars closely. I can tell you it was noticed in a big way by Jaguars players. Credit to them for not retaliating more during the game than they did. Bennett is the Seahawks' candidate for Walter Payton Man of the Year. He obviously is a good person. Either way, he had a few really bad moments toward the end of Sunday's game. But I digress. As for the final part of your question … the media absolutely will discuss the Jaguars if they win the Super Bowl. And guess what? You won't care all that much what they say because the Jaguars will have … you know … won the Super Bowl.
Jeff from Orange, CA:
Hypothetically, if the Jaguars have locked up the division going into Tennessee in Week 17 and cannot catch New England or Pittsburgh, do you see the roster being managed any differently that game?
Jack from Gainesville, FL:
Congratulations on a great win and season this year. Will you attempt to identify the ticket holders who threw drinks on ejected player and prohibit them from attending future games? Thank you.
John: Will I do this? No. I'm far too busy providing thoughtful commentary, well-researched answers and rib-tickling humor. But the Jaguars issued this statement on the matter Monday. The Jaguars indeed are working to identify the fans involved and those identified as throwing the objects will be banned from attending future games.
Amar from Jacksonville:
How many more games do the Jaguars need to win this year to guarantee Tom Coughlin as a first-ballot Hall of Famer?
John: I don't know that anything the Jaguars do this season will guarantee Coughlin first-ballot status, though I absolutely believe he will get in the Hall of Fame at some point regardless of whether or not the Jaguars win another game while he is here. But winning the Super Bowl this season … yeah, that wouldn't hurt.
Mike from Mandarin, FL:
No Seahawks suspended? Player safety a priority? Good to know throwing punches, going for knees and other blatant disregard for rules will be punished by a 30-second ejection at the end of a finished game.
John: Yeah, I was surprised when it was reported Monday that no Seahawks player would be suspended for Sunday's end-game incidents. Perhaps there was such focus on the fans throwing objects that the league focused less on what the Seahawks did on the field. That's speculation on my part and we may never know. But for Bennett to not be suspended for targeting Linder's knees … yes, it was surprising. To say the least.
John from White House, FL:
John. We don't live in Cleveland. We live in Jacksonville.
John: Subtle … shows good knowledge of NFL history … good awareness … well-timed … yep, this email checks a lot of boxes.
Todd from Seattle, WA:
Saying Blake Bortles outplayed Russell Wilson because Byron Maxwell can't catch is like saying it's OK if a guy tries to steal a car as long as he is too dumb to get it started.
John: Ah, a Seattle reader … per chance unfamiliar with life here the O-Zone. He thinks O-Zone cares enough about the opinions of others to engage in petty, back-and-forth banter with the common man. He thinks O-Zone will stoop to his level. He thinks O-Zone will point out that Wilson was intercepted three times – and thereby take a step toward turning this otherwise intellectual exchange into something … well, not as intellectual. Our young friend from the nation's Northwest is wrong. Wrong, I say!!! WROOOOOONNNG!!
T-Bone from Seattle:
I am a lifelong Seahawks fan, but after Sunday's game I've become a Jags head. Do you have space on the bus?
John: I'll check … yes.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Has the team or the league identified the "fans" who threw things at a player? I hope they get a lifetime ban from an NFL event. The field is for players and the stands are for fans. Bright lines, not to be crossed. While the Seahawks probably embarrassed themselves at the end of the game, all we had to do was beat them and walk out winners. Instead, we were disgraced by a few jerks in the stands.
John: I agree that fans can't throw objects on the field. It can't be tolerated. This isn't the first time in the history of the NFL it has happened, and I don't know that the situation is suddenly a "crisis in Jacksonville" because it happened here once. But it absolutely cannot be tolerated.
JP from Tax:
Serious question: Why don't the Jags run down the clock before snapping the ball? It seems like throughout the game, when they have a lead, the smart thing would be to take up as much time off the clock, even if it's the middle of the third quarter with 8:05 left to play. Why give the other team more time to mount a comeback in the fourth?
John: I suppose in theory a team could take your approach and spend the entire game trying to drain the clock, but doing so assumes you will hold the lead. What if the other team rallies and you have no time to come from behind yourself because you prematurely ran clock?
Ron from Akutan, AK:
I have not seen it in writing yet, but are my numbers right? One more win and the Jags are in the playoffs?
Graham from Reading, UK:
How good is this offensive line playing right now? Patrick Omameh and Jermey Parnell were awesome and Blake is definitely benefiting from their play.
John: The offensive line played phenomenally well Sunday. In a game in which Bortles, the Jaguars' wide receivers and the Jaguars' cornerbacks played very well, the Jaguars' offensive line actually may have been the most dominant unit on the field. They did not allow a sack and allowed just one quarterback hit. Jaguars running backs rushed for 4.8 yards per carry. Considering the quality of the Seahawks' defense, it was perhaps the most unexpectedly dominant single-game performance by any Jaguars position group this season. It was notable, too, because the line had been inconsistent at best in the weeks leading to the Seahawks game. Bortles had been under pressure quite a bit this season and the line was struggling to run block. Nothing about the unit struggled Sunday. This was a big-time effort and the Jaguars wouldn't have won without it.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
So, do you suppose that was the quarterback David Caldwell envisioned when he drafted him? One for Dave?
John: Yeah, something like that. One fer Dave.
Micky from Orange Park, FL:
Cam Robinson was one of the more upset players after Bennett's attempt to end Linder's career. Any idea why Cam was so infuriated?
John: Maybe he likes Linder? Maybe he thought Bennett's actions were unprofessional, unnecessary and dangerous? Maybe he was being a good teammate? That's not a definite. Just, you know … a maybe.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, I told my 10-month-old daughter as we watched our beloved Jaguars defeating the mighty Seahawks on Sunday that we will be watching and cheering on Dede Westbrook for years to come as he develops into an all-time superstar for this team. What a great draft choice he was, huh?!
O-Zone: Good pick
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
JT from Rosamond, CA: