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O-Zone: Holding on

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Nick from Annapolis, MD

I've always thought it was silly when people say it looks like the team has quit. But it's getting hard to believe that isn't what is happening here. These guys are better than this. Is it really just the Thursday road game?

It’s tempting when analyzing a single NFL game to make sweeping conclusions. Most people give into that temptation because football is played once a week, which leaves six days to analyze before another game. I mention this to make the point that many people understandably will conclude based on Thursday’s 30-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans that the Jaguars have “quit” – be it on the season, themselves, Head Coach Doug Marrone … something. When a team plays as poorly as the Jaguars played Thursday, that’s a natural conclusion. But I don’t get the sense that the Jaguars have quit on Marrone – or themselves. At least not in the long-term. If they were going to quit, they could have done it two or three weeks ago. This is a team, remember, that lost four consecutive games by six or fewer points before shutting out the very-hot Indianapolis Colts just four days before Thursday’s loss. Thursday in Nashville was ugly. There was a lot of bad tackling, and giving up 238 yards rushing to Derrick Henry as easily as the Jaguars did was embarrassing. But my sense is Thursday had more to do with a team out of the playoffs going on the road on a Thursday night and having its first clunker game in two months. I saw Thursday as a letdown game after Sunday’s emotional victory over the Colts. Is there a difference between letting down and quitting? I believe there is. Either way, Thursday was rough. Phenomenally so.

Tony from St. Louis, MO

Looks like this team has quit on this coach.

Did it look like it had quit four days before when it turned in perhaps its most inspired performance of the season?

Chris from Section 437

I could complain about the no-facemask call on Derrick Henry's 99-yard run or Tommy Bohanon not getting the call for the hold on third-and-1 in the flat. But it makes no difference for this season anyways.

True.

Gamble from Brasilia, Brasil

Wouldn’t this defense look much better if the offense could score points?

Yes. In fact, if this offense could score this defense would look strikingly like … last year’s defense.

James from Socorro, NM

Good defenses don't allow 264 yards rushing.

The Jaguars’ defense wasn’t good Thursday. But bad defenses don’t shut out Andrew Luck and a hot offense, either.

Jesse from Layton

Weird how Cody Kessler looked like a less-mobile Blake Bortles. Who could ever have seen this coming? I find it ironic that fans complain about the general manager missing on players here and there – and complaining about the talent level of some players and pointing to that as a reason a team struggles – but when a team has a large portion of their frontline offensive players injured, and the backups playing suddenly, that talent decrease is just an “excuse.” Perhaps injuries really are impacting the offense. Why didn't you tell us this could happen?

My bad.

Philip from Belleville

An absolute joke on both sides of the ball. Who is worthy of keeping on either side of the ball after this display? Embarrassing, disgusting, shameful. So many negatives adjectives to describe this performance.

There are a lot of players worth keeping on both sides of the ball. End Calais Campbell, end Yannick Ngakoue, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, running back Leonard Fournette, wide receiver Dede Westbrook … OK, maybe based on Thursday there’s not that many, but you don’t make long-term decisions based on one game.

Rudy from Jacksonville

Everybody always said Blake is so inconsistent ... yeah, those other 52 are rock-solid consistent every week.

Fair.

John from Oviedo, FL

It’s Blake’s fault. He did not hold the clipboard correctly.

Fair.

Eric from Columbus, IN

OK. ... I tried to give the CKBW (bandwagon) a week. Holy cow: that was as close to awful as you can get. At least it wasn’t on national TV ... ohhhhwait #FREEBORTLES

Hey, one fer Blake!

Dave from Duuvall

Dear Johnny O, this type of “effort” by our defense on a Thursday Night Football Game against the Titans may get someone fired. I don’t know who, but it’s like that movie where that guy tells Nicolas Cage that someone has to go to jail. Well, after this debacle someone has to be fired. The offense is worse than it was with Blake Bortles and Nathaniel Hackett and our defense was the worst I’ve seen it under Todd Wash and during Head Coach Doug Marrone’s tenure. The 99- yard touchdown by Derrick Henry wasn’t the worst. The worst was the one where he ran about 35 yards up the middle and just like Troy Aikman said the Jaguars wanted no part of him! Someone has to be fired!

I understand your passion because you used a lot of exclamation points!!!! But aside from making fans feel better for a day or two, midseason coaching firings rarely carry much “oomph.” The Jaguars, remember, just made a coordinator/quarterback change on offense. That hasn’t exactly catapulted the offense into “elite status.”

Renee from Duuval

John ... I despise the Titans ... May the Titans forever be in mediocrity ... and 8-8 be the best record they can ever achieve ... Go Jags

And one not fer the Titans.

Red from Jacksonville

Sure was nice to see some accurate spirals thrown by the Jags’ quarterback tonight, John. Too bad the defense decided to take the night off. Why do you think they "mailed it in?”

I think the Jaguars’ defense had a couple of things go wrong Thursday. First, it seemed there was an adrenaline/intensity drop-off four games after an emotionally-charged victory over Indianapolis. Second, they were the road team playing on a Thursday night – and that’s historically tough. Thirdly, the Jaguars are essentially out of the playoff chase – and performances sometimes dip a couple of times in December when that’s the case. Mostly, they seemed to collectively forget that you can’t tackle Derrick Henry high. It seems they would have learned that a while back. Or on the second or third touchdown Thursday. Alas …

Dakota from Dupree, South Dakota

I bet the inbox isn't very festive. I am speechless. Worst Jags game I have watched since last year's Thursday night game and I thought that was the worst ever. Ugly, ugly football. Zone, I don't even have a question. I am still stunned by that display football. I am always a Jags fan. I won't hang my head but here's to hoping things improve.

The Thursday Night game you’re remembering actually was 2016, but yeah … Thursday was bad. I honestly expected Thursday to be very difficult for the Jaguars. I said from the day after the victory over Indianapolis I didn’t like the Jaguars’ chances as a road team on a Thursday night. I thought they would have trouble matching the defensive intensity they showed in a shutout victory over the Colts four days before, and I thought a team that essentially was out of the playoff chase would be due for a bad game or two in December. So, an ugly game wasn’t a shock. But that ugly … well, that was a little surprising.

Dan from Honolulu, HI

So, these clowns call themselves professional football players uhh?

Dan was mad many time zones away online. And understandably so.

Sonja from Wiesbaden, Germany

John, I don't envy your job today. Anticipating some talk about frustration... Well, it is past 5 a.m. (around here) and I am sitting in front of a half empty bowl of homemade popcorn asking myself why I just watched the Jaguars turning this into some kind training game. Any significance to the fact that Kessler got some additional game practice around the end there? (Come on, give us some something to hang on, please.) 

Sonja, I know you’re relatively new to these parts, so I’ll reiterate what I have said often in years past after difficult losses: There’s no reason to feel bad for me on these days. Yes, readers are angry and frustrated – and somethings they take it out on the senior writer. That’s OK, and I understand it: Fans are rightfully upset and frustrated. Many are livid and some will tune out for much – if not all – of the rest of the season. I wouldn’t attach too much importance to what Kessler or anyone else on the Jaguars did at the end of that game; anything that happened after Titans running back Derrick Henry’s fourth touchdown – the 54-yarder that put Tennessee ahead, 30-2 – mattered little except for pride. (The Jaguars did, incidentally, show some pride in the fourth quarter – though it was far too little and embarrassingly too late). As for your evening/morning, thanks for staying up to the wee hours and thanks for writing. Here’s hoping the popcorn was good while it was hot.

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