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O-Zone: Heard it before

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Blues Man from Jacksonville

During the bye week, it was fun – yet eye-opening – watching other "real" offenses at work: Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, etc. Our offense, even if fully healthy, is so outdated and 1970-ish that we wouldn't be able to keep up with a real NFL offense. Oh, and last year was just that … last year. Like any business, the NFL is "What have you done for me lately?" Any chance that we start building a modern NFL offense, starting next year?

Last year may be just that: last year. But while easy dismissed with a deftly placed sentence in an O-Zone question, last year also shows us that the Jaguars’ offense – while perhaps outdated and 1970ish – can be effective in the modern NFL. The offense ranked sixth in the NFL in yards and fifth in points, and remember: This unit had scored 31 points twice this season before injuries got out of control. I imagine the Jaguars will make big changes offensively in the offseason, and I do imagine they will try to improve at wide receiver and likely quarterback. But remember: Wide receiver Marqise Lee, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Fournette and running back Corey Grant had major roles in this offense. To say the Jaguars offense was going to be abysmal this year and not acknowledge the absence of those players … well, you can say that, but the statement wouldn’t necessarily be accurate.

Paul from St. Augustine, FL

We have heard "Bortles gives us the best chance to win" even when he plays horrible. It appears he is being gifted the start for the rest of the year. Didn't we see Cody Kessler come in and outperform him a couple of weeks ago? He also appeared to give the team a spark. The defense didn't give up another point when Kessler came in. Why isn't he starting?

Kessler did play well in the second half against the Houston Texans in Week 7. He also was sacked four times. That’s one reason Bortles is starting; his mobility and escapability is an advantage for the Jaguars’ offense. The thought right now is that it’s not Bortles’ mistakes that are doing the most damage to the Jaguars’ offense. Bortles, for example, did not commit any turnovers against the Philadelphia Eagles in a Week 8 loss. If you see Bortles have another game such as the Texans game when he lost two avoidable fumbles, then you could see the Jaguars to go Kessler again. Otherwise, I doubt that will happen.

Ryan from Apopka, FL

Why do people what Sam Bradford? He is a statue! With how bad our offensive line is playing right now he wouldn’t last one game till he got hurt. What makes Bortles unique is his ability to scramble and unless our o-line is going to start blocking better having a quarterback who is a little mobile is very helpful.

Hey … one really not fer Bradford!

Tyler from Jacksonville

How does the atmosphere of Lucas Oil Stadium compare to the stadiums of the Jaguars' other AFC South opponents? Will it be less or more challenging to win in Indianapolis than in Houston and Nashville later this season?

Lucas Oil Stadium isn’t any more difficult than most NFL stadiums – or than any other stadium in the AFC South. When the Colts are playing well, it’s a tough venue. When they’re not, it’s not.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Is it possible you spread your funkiness to the team? They seem to be playing overly funky. Not the cool kind of funk, but the gross kind that grows between your toes. Wait … I think I just figured out how you could be the “king of funk.” You are the king of the wrong kind of funk, Zone! And now you spread your nasty funk to our team!

I am the king of all funk.

Ryan from Dearborn, MI

Here's a fun Dallas Cowboys fact for you. The Cowboys have won a grand total of two playoff games in the last two decades. The Jaguars have won five in that same time span, including two just last year.

I assume you’re passing this along to make the point that it’s some level of awful wrongness that the 3-5 Cowboys will play on Sunday Night Football whereas the 3-5 Jaguars were flexed off of Sunday night. While I appreciate the information, it’s irrelevant: The Cowboys are not in prime-time because they’re good. They’re on because they’re a popular team that draws ratings. The Jaguars must work to get to that point. They did a lot of good work to get to that point last season. They undid a lot of it in October.

Eder from Mexico

John, do you consider not having Poz is having a negative effect on the defense? He was the leader of the unit, of course, on field was not required to much last year, but the intangible leadership, experience and good view is something that I consider high value

I do think former Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny’s absence has hurt at times, but remember: The talk of the demise of the Jaguars’ defense is wa-a-a-a-a-a-y overblown. If this defense was playing with leads as it did last season – i.e., if the offense was playing even close to the level it played last season – this would be a much quieter topic.

Jaginator formerly of Section 124

I fear the fanbase (and maybe the team itself?) is holding onto the dream: “If we could just get Fournette back…” But I’m not optimistic he’ll be any kinda savior. First, he can’t block for himself. And our O-line has been atrocious. Second, his rookie season wasn’t as stellar as some want to believe. He averaged under four yards/carry. He basically had two monster games (against the Rams and Steelers) and a bunch of average-to-bad games: 14 rushes for 40 yards versus Tennessee, 17 for 59 versus Baltimore. And the list of average-at-best performances goes right up to the AFC Championship Game where he had 24 carries for 76 yards.

All true. Fournette’s potential impact on this offense is in no way guaranteed – and he was good, not great, last season. He still must show he’s an elite back in this league. No time like the present.

Buddy from Jacksonville

I miss the players playing with fire and emotion. Can you please tell the players and coaches we as fans want to see it back quickly, please?

Teams that are playing well typically play with fire and emotion. Teams playing poorly don’t. This is particularly true later in games. Most teams play with energy early. When you’re losing, the energy tends to fade quickly.

Matthew from Fort Worth, TX

O-Zone. I see one key mistake in the offseason that has been consistently overlooked. The “win-now” mentality was totally abandoned. The biggest affront to "win now" that has been consistently overlooked is the failure to take an offensive lineman in the first or second round. Yes, we got left guard Andrew Norwell, but we needed another contributor – or at minimum someone to push for a left guard A.J. Cann/right tackle Jermey Parnell spot – after getting rid of Patrick Omameh and Luke Bowanko. Instead, we added depth to depth instead of an immediate contributor, and that did not help us at all. Taven Bryan was by no means a "must-take" selection, and I think it hurt us. I like Taven, but the Jaguars missed on that selection by sacrificing the win-now mentality. In the NFL, if you miss on first-round selections, your team does not contend. The NFL is competitive and we cannot afford another first-round miss as a franchise in 2019. We have to do better like we did in 2016 and 2017.

We don’t yet know if the Jaguars missed on Taven Bryan. Remember, selecting No. 5 or 4 overall as the Jaguars did in 2016 (cornerback Jalen Ramsey) and 2017 (running back Leonard Fournette) is an entirely different think than selecting No. 29 overall (Bryan). A team is much likelier to get immediate production in the Top 5 than at the end of Round 1. The Jaguars drafted for the future this past offseason with the idea that Bryan, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and safety Ronnie Harrison would be big contributors by Year 2. Next year will begin telling the story of those players.

Big on Blake from Philly

Big O-Zone, this is this first time all season I’ve heard/read the players speak with real urgency. Though, I’m a little upset it took them this long, I’m inspired by their attitude in the face of their 3-5 record coming out of the bye with their backs squarely against the wall. The second half of the season is going to be a dog fight, and I’m putting my money on these cats!

I don’t know … maybe I’m too close to it because I listen to these players multiple days every week, but I’ve heard them speak urgently previously this season. Talk doesn’t matter much right now. It’s how they play.

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