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O-Zone: #Ilovemondays

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Eric from Long Beach, NY:
I just don't understand the play calling. I also don't understand why Blake looks like his confidence is shattered. That would be the worst news coming out of Sunday's horrendous offensive showing, wouldn't you agree?
John: If Blake Bortles' confidence indeed was shattered … sure, that would be horrible news. I don't see that. We'll start there, but this email in many ways sums up the inbox this morning, and with reason. I'll perhaps meander a bit, but hey … long day and longer night. The Jaguars struggled offensively Sunday. Mightily. No doubt. And after similar production against Dallas in the last game, that's indeed a concern. What I can tell you is the plan Sunday was to establish the run and keep the Colts' offense – which led the league in total yards, passing yards and time of possession entering the game – off the field. The Colts appeared primed to stop the run on the assumption that the Jaguars' passing game couldn't make enough plays to hurt a defense playing eight in the box. The Colts also seemed to assume they could pressure Bortles enough to prevent him from throwing downfield. The Colts indeed pressured Bortles significantly early, after which Bortles rarely threw downfield. Often, it appeared he didn't have time to throw and other times it appeared the plays didn't call for him to look downfield. Perhaps that was because of pressure or perhaps it was because they didn't want to call plays into the pressure. All of that is a very long way of saying the plan didn't work, but I don't see Bortles' confidence being shattered. It appears somewhat shaken, yes, and he appears to be trying to figure out what he's seeing. But he didn't seem to be shattered as much as a guy who didn't have a chance to do much.
Zach from Jacksonville:
To come out of a BYE WEEK with that type of offensive game plan is near unforgivable. They had two weeks to draw something up, and to come out and constantly run the ball into loaded boxes … why even put Blake out there? He isn't going to learn if he doesn't throw, and regardless of what Gus says, his confidence clearly looked like it took a hit Sunday. No question in there, but that offensive showing was just so egregious enough that I had to make a rant post. On to the Giants though … here's to hoping we suck less on Sunday at the bank.
John: You're entitled to your rant. The Jaguars were determined to run Sunday and when they couldn't run they were hesitant to throw downfield. It's hard to know how much was the offensive line not protecting adequately, or how much was receivers not getting open, or how much was just a lack of confidence in the whole passing offense. Probably it was a lot of the above, but whatever it was, it showed again that it's difficult to run or be effective offensively when you can't spread and expand the defense.
Jim from Meridian, ID:
John: Now, come on, Jim … what we saw Sunday wasn't funny.
Don from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Defense is playing just outstanding football. Offense has hit the rookie wall. Blake looked to be wearing a flak-jacket? It has been a brutal season. Never thought that Tom and the Giants would be the cupcake game of the season. Go Jags!
John: You know what? Rookie wall might be the operative term for what's going on offensively – and in this case it's not so much mental or physical. In this case, the wall may be that teams have identified what the Jaguars do well – or what they were at least doing OK for a while – and have devised a way to stop it. The next step for the Jaguars is adapting to that, and with a rookie quarterback, mostly rookie receivers and a struggling young offensive line that may not be doable right now. That may take more time than this season will afford you. Rookie wall? Maybe, maybe not, but it's a tough obstacle to get past right now.
Rolf from Fargo, ND:
How is it possible for a group of NFL-level players to be this inept at moving a football?
John: Inexperience. Youth. Too many young players playing at once making too many mistakes. Is that an unpopular stance? Ah, yes, but is it true? Indeed.
Chuck from Jacksonville:
It's clear the coaching staff has lost faith in Bortles. Why play him if you're not going to let him do anything but hand it off or throw a dump pass? Nobody learns anything like that.
John: I don't see the coaching staff having lost faith in Bortles. Is the staff losing faith in the entire offense's ability to execute a downfield play? Yes, that apparently is the case, but I wouldn't say that's entirely about Bortles.
Sid from Pittsburgh, PA:
John: Not on offense. Not on Sunday.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Can we just quit with the bull crap and admit that our team is very bad? We are not close to winning or competing, we are not "one step away" as Gus likes to convince us. We are awful and will continue to be awful with the organization in place. Can I get you to admit it without a smart-aleck response?
John: Mark, you'll usually find the smart aleck responses are reserved for days that aren't Mondays, especially Mondays that follow losses on Sundays. The Jaguars aren't good right now. I'm not going to try to convince anyone otherwise, but it doesn't necessarily follow that they will be awful with the current organization in place. The issues right now on this team are two-fold. They don't have enough mature, experienced playmakers and they're just too inexperienced on offense. The offensive players in place should grow in time. There may need to be an addition or two this offseason, but there are good players with a chance to grow. Will they grow into playmakers? We'll see, but it's way too early to give up on that group.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
We had two weeks to prepare for this game. The Colts are coming off a short week where they got run out of the stadium. We had a ton of sacks and turnovers. We are the ONLY team in the NFL that could lose with all those things working in our favor.
John: Well, they're not the only NFL team that could lose in that scenario, but your point is well-taken. The Jaguars' defense played well enough to win. The offense didn't play well. You won't get an argument here.
David from Jacksonville:
Ok, I get it. We played great defense for a half. Actually, incredible defense. But I truly believed (for the first time this year), that Henne should have been brought in, if for no other reason than Bortles looked spooked, tentative and "just not right". Did you ever think this?
John: Did I ever think Bortles looked tentative? Yeah, I did. I thought he looked like a rookie quarterback trying to figure things out, and I imagine he will look that way throughout the season. Did I ever think that Henne should have played? No, I did not.
Rob from Jacksonville:
Defense 25th or so … offense 27th or so. Give or take. Ten losses was my line in the sand. Even Richardson scored. Season tickets, buh-bye. Good luck next year. Maybe the Jags can schedule Alabama and actually win a game, but maybe not. Fans should strike. Maybe people in London like a very poor return on investment. Thanks for letting me vent O-Man. I just want to see improvement, wins. #DTWD. I like my seats but many of us are that mad. Sigh.
John: I get it. I do. Everybody here does. One-and-10 sucks. What happened on offense on Sunday does, too. It has to get better. Growth and maturity may be the only solution, and it may take an offseason to see significant growth and maturity. I wish that wasn't the case. Goodness knows it would make Sunday nights and Mondays a whole easier around here. But right now it is the case. Sigh.
Renee from Jacksonville:
John, thanks for listening Go Jags!!!!!
John: What?
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
I hope you don't try to sell us more improvement garbage after this game? Look at the entire body of work the last two seasons. The coaches and general manager seats show be on absolute fire! I just hope Khan makes the right moves as the owner.
John: I'm not in a selling mood this morning. The defense is clearly better. No reason to sell that. The offense is not better. The offense is young and should be better next season. As far as the temperature of the seats … I'm no weatherman, but there's no sense that there's a regime change coming. None at all.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
I like to see how you and Gus will sugar coat this game??? The Kool Aid is getting stale.
John: #Attacktheseniorwritersighting #Koolaid #IloveMondays

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