JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Malachi from Santa Clarita, CA:
Do you agree with the entire team having this week off? I get rest, but I feel this could have been a good week to go over tackling fundamentals since game-planning is not necessary. And maybe we could have had Blake Bortles get some timing down with the wide receivers sans Allen Robinson. Or just have Bortles there working on his footwork and tape to help improve and develop him. Does this team deserve the reward of a week off from practice?
John: First, Gus Bradley didn't give players the week off as a "reward;" this was more about getting rest after a long three months and a 10-day road trip with a lot of that trip happening overseas. Remember, too, there were plenty of people who wondered about the Jaguars getting the bye week off last season when they were 0-8. Many players later credited that move with the team winning four of five games after the bye. That was one reason Bradley gave players this week off. The other reason is there's not really much choice. The Jaguars flew all night from London and arrived Monday morning, so practicing Monday was almost impossible. Theoretically, they could have worked Tuesday and Wednesday, but I know how I felt on Tuesday; if players were remotely as out of it physically, I'm not sure how much they would have gained from practice. That left Wednesday before the Thursday-Sunday break mandated by the league. One day of practice … well, I don't know that the benefits are really worth it.
Chad from Wernersville, PA:
John, I've been with this team since the very beginning and this is the first time in a long time that I see we are actually building something for the future. I know this season hasn't gone as some have hoped, but I think we have a lot of good things happening and it's just a matter of time before we break through. Love everything Gus and Dave are doing.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
You know how we know Bortles is going to be a good quarterback? Because as bad as the record is, you don't hear much clamoring for the Jaguars to put Henne in. If this was Gabbert, there would be a loud roar for the backup by now. If not for Bortles' promise, this would be a very, very bleak time sitting at 1-9.
John: Well, a lot of the lack of clamoring for Henne is because most Jaguars fans don't see Henne as being as good as Bortles. But you're right – Bortles does have promise. There's a chance we won't see significant improvement from him the last six games. There's a chance what he needs most of all right now is six more games on tape, and then to spend the offseason working on fundamentals and learning, maturing a few months and getting ready for next season. That's a big part of the process for a young quarterback, and the guess here is he improves more during that time than he will in the final month and a half of this season.
Nick from Jacksonville :
Does it seem to you, John, that our wide receivers get hurt more often than any other position? I feel like there is always one or two dealing with pretty significant or nagging injury all the time. I also think Allen Robinson could have had a record-setting year if he could have stayed the course. I know consistency isn't something you see often from a rookie, but he had it. He leads rookies in targets, receptions, and least amount of dropped passes; he's also fourth in yardage and had the second-most amount of playing time. Do you think he could have had a 100-catch, 1,000-yard season if he hadn't gotten injured?
John: The Jaguars' wide receivers certainly have been hurt often this season. One reason early was that the group had a rash of hamstring injuries. Those often can linger, and when they linger, players miss practice. When players miss practice, other players at the position take on more repetitions and that can lead to more wear-and-tear injuries. With the exception of Cecil Shorts III, the hamstring injuries apparently have abated. The injury to Allen Robinson, while unfortunate, was a stress fracture of the right foot and it's probably not fair to relate it to the other injuries. As far as Robinson, I don't know how record-setting his season would have been. He would have had to have averaged more than eight receptions for 74 yards a game throughout the final six games to reach 100 receptions and 1,000 yards. That would have been a pretty lofty goal. More importantly to him and the Jaguars, he showed enough to make you think he has a chance to be a very productive, reliable receiver for a long time, and boy, could the Jaguars use that.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
I see a flaw in David Caldwell's plan with free agency. Big-name free agents don't want to go to a rebuilding franchise unless they get a stupid amount of money. I would love to see the Jags make a move for Dez, Demaryius, JPP, or Lamar Houston, but I don't see any of them being interested in Jacksonville. Is it going to be another offseason signing players to "prove-it" deals, or an offseason like 2011 when the Jags overpaid mediocre talent?
John: Yes, I think it's safe to say the Jaguars will have to overspend to get big-name free agents. That's pretty much the case with any team, but certainly a little more so with a rebuilding one. That's why free agency must be used prudently and sparingly, picking the correct spots.
Peter from Maribor:
After going 1-9 it's impossible not to look into next year's draft. We don't want to shoot ourselves in the knee by winning meaningless games to jeopardize picking our future All-Pro defensive end. If the pass-rushing potential is the same as the 2014 wide receiver class we should be anxious.
John: You say it's impossible to not look into next year's draft. I say I just proved you wrong.
Stephan from Bergen, Norway:
Do you think this "rebuild project" is another experiment gone wrong? What about next year? Again and again, the "playing for the draft" theme is reemerging and the organization is trying to convince the fans to hold on. For another year for playing for a draft pick that is part of the rebuilding project? When is it over? What is next year's theme? Improvement? Rebuild? Playing for the playoffs? What will the slogan be then? When is this rebuild finally done? Aren't these players supposed to come equipped with the talent to play at this level, despite the team?
John: You asked a lot of questions, and that's understandable. These are tough times, and three consecutive 1-9 starts erode a lot of confidence. And it's true that the fans of this team have heard about building through the draft before. Often. I can't control what has been said in the past. What I can tell you is that the way this team is approaching this building process – right now – is the smartest way. It's also a way that does not automatically produce the immediate results wanted from fans. As for your final question, "Aren't these players supposed to come equipped with the talent to play at this level," yes and no. Certainly, they have the talent. Do they come equipped with the experience, maturity and knowledge to use it? Not usually. Usually, that takes time and that's why there's a difference between rookies and second- and third-year players.
Frank from Knoxville:
Hey again, Zone. OK, I'll bite: who is playing at a Pro Bowl level? Maybe Marks? Maybe Poz could have been without the injury? Other than that I don't see it. I know Linder was playing well according to Boselli – maybe even at a Pro Bowl level – but he's a rookie guard on a team with pretty sad running statistics. Doubt he'd be recognized.
John: Sen'Derrick Marks and perhaps Brandon Linder, though 1-9 won't help either player.
Scott from Section 137 and Ponte Vedra, FL:
This may be a dumb question, but can you explain the difference between the read option with the quarterback either running or passing and the play action where a run is faked for a pass and sometimes the quarterback runs with the ball? The terminology is confusing and which type of offense do we typically run with our quarterback? Thanks.
John: A lot of offenses and plays run together and become hybrids of one another, so it is confusing at times. The fundamental difference is that the read-option is meant to have the quarterback be pretty much an equal threat to run, handoff or pass. In a "normal" play action, the quarterback is an equal threat to hand off or pass, but a quarterback run is not as likely a scenario. The Jaguars run both.
Ben from Section 101:
John, I'm thankful for the O-Zone, who else would listen to us fans?
O-Zone: Hear ye, hear ye ...
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Malachi from Santa Clarita, CA: