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O-Zone: Group of faith

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bruce from Gotham, NY:
Gabbert a starter … Mularkey a head coach … we are being punked, right? Right???
John: So, this is where we start on this post-bye Wednesday … and, yeah, I must admit my head spun a moment on Tuesday when news broke that Ken Whisenhunt had been fired as Tennessee Titans Head Coach and replaced by …. former Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey. This was notable enough in Jaguars Land, but it came hours after news that Colin Kaepernick had been benched in San Francisco and replaced by … former Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert. This amused me for a while, but it only stunned me for a few seconds. That's because while the news indeed was odd and a bit mind-blowing to those focused on the Jaguars, the NFL is very much a league of second and third chances with players and head coaches often getting recycled. That's even true for players and coaches who have not exactly met success at previous stops. Believe me, somewhere in the league this year there have been fans equally surprised at former at former players or head coaches getting chances and even finding success – OK, so maybe not equally. But nah … no punking here. It's just indeed a weird league, and an absolutely fascinating one.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, in the three games he was healthy, Denard Robinson has a total of 13 carries! We can't afford to leave such an explosive and exciting player on the sideline! Do you think that five carries is now the norm? Do you think his role will increase once he is healthy?
John: I think getting Denard Robinson carries will be a real challenge for the Jaguars the rest of the season. T.J. Yeldon has rushed for more than 100 yards in two of his last three starts and he appears to be improving and getting more comfortable with how he needs to run in the NFL to be effective. He also has proven durable and capable of playing all three downs effectively through the entire game. When that's the case, it's difficult to get the backup important time. Still, easy or not, Robinson is an explosive enough weapon that the Jaguars do need to create opportunities for him – and I expect the Jaguars will.
Mark from High Springs:
Has there been an emphasis on penalties in practice lately? As I look back, we've lost a lot of good plays to penalties that had no effect on the outcome of the play. Is there a ref at practice to keep the players honest? I feel if we could just eliminate a majority of our penalties, we could be competitive with anybody.
John: There always is an emphasis on penalties, and officials work practice pretty much whenever there is live team work.
Gamble from Washington, D.C.:
Since the division-leading Colts are now 3-5, how can the Jaguars generate enough pass rush to make a run -- holy schnikes! -- at the division?
John: The defensive front will need to get a lot better individually, which seems unlikely midway through the season, or the Jaguars will need to bring extra pressure. The extra pressure worked at times against the Bills and it hurt the Jaguars at times against the Bills. That ain't ideal, but it's where they're at.
T.J. from Cherry Point, NC:
What's the word on Rashad Greene? When is he scheduled to return?
John: Jaguars rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene is on injured reserve/designated to return with a thumb injury. He is scheduled to begin practicing today and can return to play November 19 against the Tennessee Titans.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
The AFC South collectively only has beaten two non-division teams this year, (Tampa & Miami).
John: That's a good statistic, albeit incorrect. The Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills in London the week before the bye. The Bills play in the AFC East.
Ed from Orange Park, FL:
John: Chris from San Marco mentioned the Jaguars defensive backs' lack of interceptions. My take on this is how they are coached. They play the man and not the ball when it is in the air. Do you think this is correct?
John: The Jaguars certainly are coached to play man coverage, and they play a lot of it. That often means playing the man rather than the ball. This certainly could be a factor in the lack of interceptions, though as I have said often: I am a believer that most interceptions occur because of quarterback error. When a team is struggling to create pressure up front, quarterbacks tend to make fewer errors. Hence, fewer interceptions.
David from Orlando, FL:
O-man, I know some fans are down on Toby Gerhart, but I think he's being misused. Toby excels against base defenses, when he can find a hole and start running downhill – not so much when the defense stacks the line in short-yardage, leaving him tiptoeing behind the line of scrimmage. You always hear that the best coaches design plays to the strength of the players. I'm afraid that since he is struggling with short-yardage, we will see a diminished role for Toby. What are your thoughts?
John: I think Gerhart was the Jaguars' short-yardage back and you get the sense that the Jaguars are seriously examining that area following the struggles in London. I'd be surprised if T.J. Yeldon doesn't get some short-yardage opportunities, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Bernard Pierce get work in those situations, too. I also believe Yeldon is better in the base offense than Gerhart, and I can't imagine right now Gerhart taking repetitions away from a healthy Yeldon.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
It has to be tough for Myers to find out management is testing other kickers. I know is the NFL, but it has to have an effect. In your opinion, what is Myers' level of maturity? Do you think he will be able to improve with that weight on his shoulders?
John: Myers appears very mature for a young player, and he hasn't seem fazed following his misses this season. At the same time, he has continued to miss extra points, so being unfazed hasn't helped on that front. I doubt the team testing other kickers will have much of an effect on him, though. Myers isn't dim. He knew he had to make kicks before, and he knows it now.
Jason from Tallahassee, FL:
Not that it bothers me O, but what do you think is the reason for the huge drop from Andrew Luck this season? He looks awful!
John: Reports are that he is hurt. When I watch him, it seems at times he is playing like it.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
Just saw that the NFL has agreed to add some London games that will be played at Twickenham Stadium. Could the Jaguars start playing there, or is the deal structured to guarantee playing at Wembley?
John: The Jaguars will play a home game at Wembley every year through at least 2020. That is where Shad Khan wants the Jaguars playing home games when in London.
Ryan from Chapel Hill, NC:
Man, the Marqise Lee hate is getting out of hand. I get that he has not lived up the his draft status but people need to stop implying he is somehow less dedicated or his failure on the field is because of some personal flaw. The Jags have drafted multiple receivers earlier than Lee whose substance-abuse issues and/or lack of dedication ended their careers and people still seem to treat Lee worse.
John: The anger directed toward injured players is a phenomenon I always find fascinating. It is often the case that people grow angrier with players the longer they are injured, and that anger often morphs into calls for the player to be released or placed on injured reserve. It also often morphs into people believing injured players don't care or that they somehow don't want to play. Certainly there have been cases of players not wanting to play, but Lee is a second-year player who in no way has guaranteed himself a future in the NFL or a second contract. What possible reason would he have for not wanting to play?
Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
Pertaining to the discussion around the Jaguars being in their LEO/Cover-1 base defense, I've always thought smart coaches adapt their scheme to their personnel. Yes, in the long-term you'd like to run "your" defense by drafting/signing/developing players at key positions, but that just isn't reality this year. Isn't it counterproductive to continue expecting pressure from our LEOs when they've yet to provide much? As Coach Green would say "they are who we thought they were" (pertaining to our LEOs)
John: Smart coaches indeed adapt scheme to personnel, but the Jaguars have Leo personnel. The alternative would be … what? Play tackles on the end? Move corners there? No, the alternative is to blitz and bring more than four pass rushers, which is what the Jaguars did with greater regularity against the Bills and what I imagine they will continue to do.
Josh from Duuuuval:
I have faith the Jaguars can turn it around this season. Am I the only fan that thinks that? Seems like it to me. Duuuuuuval
John: You ain't alone. #Duuuuval

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