JACKSONVILLE – Thanksgiving Day O-Zone.
Let's get to it …
Mike from Port Orange, FL:
How do you spin this London game as good for season-ticket holders? We lose a division-rivalry game, the Colts. Really wants me to buy my tickets again.
John: I've never tried to "spin" that a home game in London should thrill Jaguars season-ticket holders who go to every home game and who have supported this franchise for years. Those fans have a passion for the Jaguars, and it would be great for them if every game could be played in Jacksonville. It's absolutely understandable that they should dislike home games away from Jacksonville, and it's absolutely understandable that losing a division game stings a bit more than others. But as has been explained over and again for some time, a game in London is absolutely necessary for the financial stability of the franchise, which in turn means in the big picture a home game in London is good for season-ticket holders. I don't know if that's "spin" or not, and I can't control who does or doesn't grasp the importance of London to the team's bottom line. I do know if you love the Jaguars being strong in Jacksonville, then a strong London presence is a good and necessary thing. And for the Jaguars to have a strong presence in London, quality games must be played there, too.
Richard from Starke, FL:
Call in the construction crews. Widen the doors at EverBank Field. Tony Boselli's already gargantuan head is going to get bigger.
John: Yeah, there's good and bad to former Jaguars offensive tackle and O-Zone rival Tony Boselli being among 25 semifinalists for the 2016 Hall of Fame class. The good is it gets him into the conversation and he absolutely deserves to be not only a semifinalist, but a Hall of Fame inductee. He was that good. The bad news is he now has an even higher opinion of himself, which is an accomplishment as sizeable as the man himself.
Mike from St. Mary's, GA:
I'm angry they took our Colts game. I'd say more, but there would be too many things to censor.
John: I empathize. It's a necessary evil, but I realize in the short term that doesn't do much to ease the anger.
Mark from Archer, FL:
O-Man, I do not like the announcement of the Jags playing the Colts in London. Division games are the most important games during the season. While the Jags get the income from the game from London, they still have to travel, so for the team physically it is like a road game. You are taking away every advantage a home team gets by not having to travel, being able to get plenty of rest, etc. Am I wrong in my thinking and objections for a division home game to be played in London? Or is the physical traveling aspect on a team not that important to teams?
John: You're not wrong in your objections, and putting a division game in London certainly is a different beast than putting non-division games there. The Jaguars' approach to London is that while it is not a game at EverBank Field, it is a "home game" in the sense that they should be more familiar with the surroundings, travel, etc. The idea is for that to make playing at Wembley in London an advantage – though a different type of advantage than a home game in Jacksonville. That's a tough idea to swallow for fans who want to see division games at EverBank Field, but that's the approach.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
John, can we get T.J. Yeldon going in the passing game? We have a struggling O-line, and Yeldon is struggling to pass protect. Yeldon receiving 100 yards is just as effective as running for a 100.
John: Yeldon has caught 24 passes for 125 yards this season, and from watching the games it doesn't strike you that those numbers are reflective of his ability as a receiver. I believe over time Yeldon will be more effective as a receiver than he is now. He has shown flashes in the passing game, but not the consistency. Remember, he is in his first NFL season and his playing a large role as the team's three-down running back. He is handling a lot and you want to make sure he's not asked to do too, too much.
Troy from York, PA:
Hey, O-Man, I need your take on this one. Since rookie Dante Fowler Jr. is out for the year and our pass rush has been pretty much non-existent then why didn't they put a claim in on Quinton Coples?
John: They didn't believe that he would help the pass rush.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
When Bortles was drafted, people compared him to Big Ben. They continue to do so. My take at the time – and even today – is I hope he turns out to be like Philip Rivers: excellent passer that always has his team in the postseason hunt (this year excluded). If Blake is still in Jacksonville 10 years from now giving his team a chance to make the playoffs each season, I will be very happy. Happy Thanksgiving and go Jags!
John: If Bortles is like either Roethlisberger or Rivers, a lot of Jaguars fans will be very happy. Both fit the bill of an elite quarterback and both give you a chance to win far more often than not. You build franchises around both, and that's what you must have at the quarterback position to be competitive on a yearly basis.
Sean from Arlington, VA:
Counting Crows, Train, Dave Matthews Band or Drinking An Entire Bottle of Bleach? If you were a bettin' man, do you see the Jags picking up the fifth year option on Joeckel? When does that decision come due?
John: Whatever. Yeah, I would bet the Jaguars pick up the fifth year option on Joeckel. I believe he not only is improving, but is playing better than many believe; he certainly is playing well enough to merit a fifth season. That would need to get done by next May.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
It seems like actually beating the Chargers will be particularly tough because the Jaguars lack pass rush to affect Rivers and have let tight ends wreak havoc. How does the Chargers defense stack up against the Jaguars offense?
John: On paper, you are correct that those match-ups make this a difficult game for the Jaguars. At the same time, there's no rule that says the Jaguars can't cover the tight end better and that they can't do things to disrupt Rivers. Defensively, the Chargers have allowed a lot of big plays and are 26th in the league against the run. T.J. Yeldon time?
Brian from Round Rock, TX:
I feel like this is the time of year to do what you do best. On offense, that's throwing to the Allens and running T.J. Yeldon. The other weapons such as Julius Thomas and Marqise Lee should take what they can get, but the coaches shouldn't be trying to feature these guys or make them a "big" part of the game plan. Am I wrong?
John: This indeed is the time of year to do what you do best, and that's a reason you saw the Jaguars focus on Hurns, Robinson, Thomas, Yeldon and Bryan Walters Thursday. There is a trust with Bortles and those players – and yes, that trust includes Thomas despite the tight end's statistical struggles. I believe there will be plays for the other players, and I continue to believe that Marqise Lee has a chance to work his way into the offense this season, but he will have to take advantage of opportunities.
Brian from the Bold City Brigade, Atlanta:
An obvious hurdle for potential Hall of Fame inductees is the number of quality of players at the same position in the near past. For instance, many have said it will be exceedingly difficult for Jimmy Smith to garner serious consideration given the gaudy stats of so many receivers over the past 10 years. I think that dynamic actually works in Tony Boselli's favor, given how few truly dominant tackles the league has seen in the past decade. Similarly, might the NFL's evolution toward favoring the passing game paired with the common "running-back-by-committee" approach eventually help Fred Taylor enter the conversation?
John: I actually do believe that could help Taylor eventually, and I believe – like Boselli – that Taylor still has a chance. Boselli now is in the "conversation" with Hall of Fame voters, and the more voters discuss, analyze and closely consider Boselli, the better his chances. I believe the same will be true of Taylor if he can make the semifinalist list. Certainly in the case of Taylor and Boselli there isn't likely to be a slew of new players at their position dwarfing their accomplishments. And yeah … that could hurt Smith in the long run.
Timmy the Very, Very Frightened:
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, what is one thing you're thankful for? Personally, I'm thankful for cool nicknames.
John: I'm thankful for people who read closely.