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O-Zone: Group effort

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Paul from St. Johns, FL

Forget what I said about Ramsey last week being rogue. All is forgiven based on his play Sunday. He is amazing when he is focused on the game and not on all the trash-talking.

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Sunday had one of the most remarkable games I’ve ever seen for a cornerback. I wrote this after the Jaguars’ 20-16 loss to the Steelers and I will write it again: It’s truly a shame the Jaguars lost because Ramsey’s should have been a game that will be remembered among the all-time great performances in this franchise’s history. He had two interceptions – one in the second quarter and one in the end zone in the third quarter. Both were so athletic and logic-defying it’s hard to say which was more memorable. Ramsey said it was the first because he had to get his hand under the ball as he was landing after leaping into the air, but the second was equally difficult; he had to leap over All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown and wrestle the ball away in the end zone. Ramsey on that play also had to catch the ball on the way down after initially getting the ball from Brown. Credit Ramsey for responding Sunday in difficult circumstances. Not only did he have one of the worst games of his career in a loss to Indianapolis last week, there was a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN before the Pittsburgh game that the Jaguars could consider trading Ramsey in the offseason. Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke to Ramsey before the game regarding the report and Ramsey said he didn’t really use the story as motivation. But your point about being focused is a correct one. Ramsey absolutely appeared to play with more focus and intensity than he did against the Colts last week. The result was a performance that long will be remembered. The pity is that it should have been remembered as part of a victory rather than of another disappointing loss.

Logan from Wichita, KS

I said it once. I said it twice. I will say it again! LET JALEN BE JALEN!!!! KEEP 20!!!!

OK.

Jordan from Lake Buena Vista, FL

Hey, John: Me again. Turns out Jalen Ramsey is still very good, and the Jaguars probably aren't trading him.

Ramsey on Sunday had two interceptions as impressive as any I’ve ever seen in any NFL game. But I’ll google the thing about him being good. You’re probably right.

Stephen from Jacksonville

Hey O! How bad has Logan Cooke been this year? Has he been worse than my eyes are telling me. That bar is set with Adam Podlesh, IMO.

Jaguars rookie punter Logan Cooke has been pretty good this season in terms of downing punts inside the 20. He has been shaky at times when trying to flip the field.

Cliff from Everywhere with Helicopter

I’m as big a Jaguars fan as there is, and no one wanted to see Bortles succeed more than I did. But what a wasted five years. We begin again.

I agree that it appears more and more likely the Jaguars could move on from quarterback Blake Bortles following the season. There’s a lot that goes into such a decision, including the ability to find a true improvement, but it could happen. Still, I’d hesitate to say all five years of Bortles’ career was a waste. A division title and a run to the AFC Championship Game may not mean a successful five-year run, but it’s certainly not a wasted year.

Wade from Westside

Fire Hackett!

I thought the Jaguars could have been more aggressive in some situations late in the second half and late in the game. I also wasn’t thinking about the Jaguars allowing six sacks and Bortles being under pressure throughout the game when I was thinking this.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Microcosm of the season. The only thing that would have made it more accurate would have been to lose another player for the season because of injury.

Fair.

Paul from Jacksonville

If we can't generate the offense needed to capitalize on that defensive performance, it's tough to imagine what it's going to take to put another win up this season.

Fair.

Eric from Jacksonville

This coaching staff is defined by atrocious situational play-calling and a mindset of “let’s play not to lose” rather than “let’s play to win.”

I wouldn’t say the play-calling by the offensive staff over the past two seasons has been nearly as bad as your statement suggests. I would say you have to throw on third-and-5 in that situation.

Tony from the Land of Confusion

Everything else worked more than well enough to win. Everything except the QB. If we have even league-average quarterback play this is an easy win. We can't go forward with Blake next season. It's time to bench him and move on. See what we have with Kessler and just start planning for next year.

I understand quarterback focus today, and I won’t say that Bortles played well enough for the Jaguars to win Sunday. But the issue was in no way, shape or form just the quarterback Sunday. The offensive line allowed six sacks that could have been more if not for Bortles’ mobility. The 80-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter doesn’t happen if Bortles can’t avoid a rush and turn a sack into a first down. I don’t know what the week will bring in terms of the quarterback position. I would guess Bortles remains the starter because he finished the game Sunday. If that’s the case, his mobility – as often is the case – will be a big reason.

Steve from Atlanta, GA

Wow. Bad teams find ways to lose games and this Jags team is just bad. I guess my question is what happened? Why John? They shouldn’t be this bad.

Many things, but first and foremost: injuries. While that answer annoys people, consider: The Jaguars were 10-6 last season, 12-7 including the postseason. They were then 3-1 to start this season. Including the final two games of the 2016 season, that means the Jaguars were 16-9 under Marrone through four weeks of this season. That was when the injuries this season reached what I think of as the tipping point – i.e., backup left tackle Josh Wells, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Corey Grant all going on injured reserve. The Jaguars since the tipping point are 0-6. I don’t know that they would have won all six games had the injuries not hit as hard as they did, but it is reasonable to think they would be 6-3 or 5-4 now had the offense not lost Wells, Seferian-Jenkins, Grant, wide receiver Marqise Lee, left tackle Cam Robinson, center Brandon Linder, tight end Niles Paul and running back Leonard Fournette (six games)? Yeah, I think that’s reasonable.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

Done with the NFL. Refs are pathetic. The rigged outcomes have gone too far!

I thought the referees missed a roughing-the-passer call on defensive end Calais Campbell Sunday. I haven’t yet had a chance to look closely at the others, though I thought there were some misses.

Tommy from Nashville, TN

#DTWD...They responded and they played with SO much heart...That’s my team.

DTWD

Craig from Ponte Vedra, FL

We lost this game because we have the worst quarterback in the league. Period.

Bortles wasn’t good Sunday. There also was a lot more to that offensive performance than the quarterback.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O'/King of Funk, we seem to be finding new ways to lose each week. Not sure where our next win is going to come from.

When NFL teams go bad, it’s often true that they lose in different ways each week. That has been remarkably true for the Jaguars during this six-game losing streak. The first three losses actually were pretty similar: a stagnant offense couldn’t generate a lead and the defense struggled in enough spots that the games were pretty close to over by halftime. The positive for the Jaguars is that they have fought, scrapped and found ways to have a very real chance to win all three games since. The negative is that they have found ways to lose at the end. The negatives in this case obviously outweigh the positive.

Jason from Salem, OR

No confidence in Bortles. It's a shame that the offensive game plan has a potential game winning first down with third-and-5 and they run running back Leonard Fournette up the middle. Such a waste.

I didn’t like the call to run Fournette on third-and-5 from the Jaguars 30 with 1:54 remaining. And I admit I cringed when Bortles handed the ball off in that situation. I also didn’t like a couple of the run calls late in the first half. But while I received a slew of emails about the lack of trust in Bortles – and while I agree a lack of trust in the quarterback played into it – the play-calling in those situations had as much to do with a lack of trust in the offensive line and receivers as Bortles. The quarterback struggled on Sunday. As often is the case, he wasn’t alone.

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