JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from Jacksonville:
First, I am so tired of hearing and reading about Blake Bortles' "mechanics" in every article and during every game. OK – just had to say that. I'm confident Bortles will be a franchise quarterback but am growing more concerned as each game goes by that it will be too late to prove it here and he will be sent packing only to become elite somewhere else. Also, just want to mention that we should win this weekend because the odds are in our favor due to losing so much. Could this be the start of a streak?
John: First, while I understand people being weary of the "Mechanics Issue," it involves the starting quarterback – so it will be an issue until it's not. As far as Sunday's game, I do believe the Jaguars have a chance to win, though I don't think the recent losing streak gives them an edge. I actually think that works against them because they've lost enough that there may be a feeling of "Here We Go Again …" when something goes wrong. No, I believe the Jaguars have a chance to win because the Lions' defense isn't dominant – which could give the Jaguars' offense a chance to be productive and finish drives. The Lions also have forced just seven turnovers, which is the second-fewest in the NFL behind only the Jaguars' five. They've trailed in every game this season and have come from behind in the fourth quarter to win five times. So, is this the week the Jaguars start a streak? Who knows? But it's not as if winning is an impossible dream.
Steve from Hudson, FL:
Would a four-touchdown, 300-plus-yard, zero-interception game and a win get some of the heat off Bortles?
John: It sure wouldn't hurt.
Terry from Jacksonville:
John Madden always said that games are won and lost in the trenches. My question is why the Jags have not really addressed their offensive line in the last four years.
John: The Jaguars have used a first-round draft selection (left tackle Luke Joeckel) and two third-round selections (guard A.J. Cann and center Brandon Linder) on the offensive line in the last four years. They also during that span have signed a left tackle (Kelvin Beachum) in free agency, as well as a right tackle (Jermey Parnell) and a guard (Zane Beadles). They have done this while essentially drafting and/or signing and/or tearing down and rebuilding the entire 53-man roster during that same time. While the line has pass blocked well this season, it's perhaps correct to say that the Jaguars' offensive line could and perhaps should be better. It's not correct to say the Jaguars haven't addressed the offensive line in the last four years.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Losing sucks. Can we stop doing that already? That would be nice.
John: Wouldn't it, though?
Bill from Orange Park, FL and Section 104:
Best owner in the NFL?!?!?! Certainly not based on win/loss record or keeping home games at home. This franchise has seen all-time lows since Shad Khan took over. Please enlighten us as to why the fans of teams like the Patriots, Seahawks, Broncos, Cowboys, etc. are jealous they don't have Khan.
John: Khan is the owner of the Jaguars. He is not the owner of the Patriots, Seahawks, Broncos or Cowboys. As such, he faces challenges in one of the NFL's smallest markets that owners of those teams in larger markets don't face. Since taking over the team, he has dramatically transformed the business side of the franchise and has taken dramatic measures to stabilize the franchise in Jacksonville. I frankly am not sure if the Jaguars would be in Jacksonville if not for Khan, and I certainly don't think the franchise's future would be as stable in the city if not for him. Having a game each year in London is a big part of that stability because it has helped local revenue in a huge way that was sorely needed. Are the Jaguars as good on the field as would be ideal? No, but that's an area Khan can't control. In the areas that he can control he indeed has been an exemplary owner – and yes, Jaguars fans indeed should be glad he owns the team.
Mike from Mandarin, FL:
O-man, I know I have been somewhat harsh on my emails to you, but that's only because I'm passionate and have been going to the games since the beginning. But all I want to do now is cry, and move on from this season. Can I cry now, or is it still too early in the season?
John: I cry often – not very much over the Jaguars, but certainly in my daily Moments of Self-Assessment. So, yes, Mike, if it helps … Cry on, Good Man. Cry on.
Travis from Melbourne, FL:
I guess this isn't as much of a question as it is a vent. The biggest problem I have so far this year is that we essentially have "wasted" a full year of all of our young "talent" by giving Gus another year to prove he is equally as bad at coaching as he was the last few years, The door is closing on utilizing this talent and he is gonna be the one to slam it shut. Oh well, there's always next year.
John: Yes, it's all coaching. It's always all coaching in the National Football League.
Nick from London, England:
The Thursday night games appear to consistently lack quality, probably due to the short preparation time – and not just this season. Do you think the NFL should extend the regular season by one week, give every team a bye before their Thursday game, making two byes each in total? It allows the league to make more revenue by having an extra week of games on television, means there's more time to extend the International Series if that's what they want to do – and most importantly, it should help to improve the quality of the product on the field on Thursday nights.
John: I'm not a fan of anything that adds another bye week. While I am all about time off and take as much of it on a daily basis as I can get away with, the NFL tried the two-bye-week thing once. This was in 1993, and the extra bye week extended the season so much – and caused it to feel disjointed enough – that the concept was immediately scratched. Contrary to my own personal feelings on the matter, it turns out there is such a thing as too much rest.
Sam from Jacksonville:
O … I don't feel sorry for you because you've got a great job. I've never called you a homer … BUT your recent article on Blake Bortles is like putting lipstick on a pig. The season is lost … the franchise is losing fans and support by the day. Bortles should be released ASAP and the Jags should offer anything short of a first-rounder to the Cowboys for Romo in the offseason.
John: The Jaguars aren't going to release Bortles ASAP.
Jason from Jacksonville:
John, you consistently say that the Jags need to stick with Blake Bortles the rest of the season to find out what they have. OK, let's say they do that and nothing improves. Then what? I've heard you and Ryan O'Halloran say that Blake is still going to be on the team next year and still part of this offense. If that's the case, then what difference does it make if they let him play out the season or try to win with someone else if he's still going to be part of this team next year regardless of the outcome this year? This thought process seems to negate the argument for letting him play the season out no matter what happens.
John: The arguments for benching Blake Bortles center around the Jaguars theoretically believing Bortles is not the best quarterback on the roster and that he is not going to be the Jaguars' quarterback in the future. That's not the belief within the building.
Lou from Uzbekistan:
Mazzy Star or Hoodoo Gurus?
John: Hoodoo Gurus because Bittersweet.
Glen from Section 408:
I know you have to protect Blake and suppress certain things that show him in poor light. I feel the need to continue shining that light on him. I know you won't post it but I'll continue sending it. First quarter passer rating 37.8. Passer rating when game is tied (e.g. 0-0) 39.3. He can only compete against soft secondaries.
John: Glen, come over here and sit in the truth chair. Comfortable? Good. Here's the truth: I don't post every email I receive in the O-Zone every day. I get many, many emails on a given day. I answer some. I don't answer others. I also certainly don't "Protect Blake," nor would I be in a position to do so if I so desired. Only he can do that by playing better.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
One day we will win a Super Bowl. For all the fans that have stuck around during these years, it will be a great day.
John: True that.
O-Zone: Good times
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from Jacksonville: