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O-Zone: Ironically speaking

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Tom from Charleston, SC:
I'm going to give you two issues, neither of which can be fixed with coaching or a position specialist. Please advise as to how you recommend the Jags overcome each. First, Blake seems to tighten up both physically – and especially mentally – the closer the Jags get to the opposing team's goal line. He found Tom House to help overcome his physical issues. How does he overcome his mental issues (in less than three more years)? Second, everyone agrees this is a young team. So young, in fact, that there aren't enough veterans to carry this team on their backs. They don't know how to win. Without a stronger veteran presence, how are they going to learn to win (again in less than three more years)?
John: These are good questions, and there's no hard, fast answer. Before we get deep into it, though, I don't know that Bortles "tightens up" when the team gets close to the red zone. Efficiency in the red zone often is the final step for a young quarterback and a young offense; it's a maturity/experience issue as much as anything else. The Jaguars need to get better there, but I wouldn't attribute the issues to "tightening up." In reference to what's needed for Bortles to mature into an efficient, winning quarterback … Grow up. Gain experience. Improve. How do you do that? You play, learn from mistakes, learn from success and get better while you do it. There's no other way to do it. Will he reach his peak in three years? Perhaps not. Quarterbacks sometimes don't reach a peak for a long, long time. He can get better enough to win before that, and the Jaguars can grow up as a team before then, too. That's what they have to do. That's what we're watching. Where will it end? We'll see.
Jim from Section 104:
R-E-L-A-X. This is what true Jags fans need to do. We're 1-3 with 12 games left. All of those games are winnable. Julius Thomas and Sen'Derrick Marks are coming back. Correct the penalties, use Corey Grant out of the backfield more and run more tight end sets. It will happen!!!!! GO JAGS
John: #DTWD
Ray from Jacksonville:
When did getting angry and "going off" - ranting and such – become a valued trait? To the point that you look bad if you don't lose it over a football team losing? Sigh …
John: I'd say when we became a 24-7, soundbite-oriented sports society, but it was probably before that. Look, if Gus Bradley was flying off the handle after every loss people would say he's a lunatic who can't control his emotions. Nothing looks or feels right when you lose.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
You mentioned David Caldwell's signing of free agents since he has been here. I am all for his strategy of signing young, ascending players that don't require huge contracts. Ndamukong Suh has been a great example of why you don't race to hand a free agent $100 million. I am glad we are no longer seeing signings like Hugh Douglas, Torry Holt or Jerry Porter. Winning in March doesn't mean winning in September. Regardless of how you judge his drafts, his free-agency game has been spot on.
John: Yes.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, I've always felt actions speak louder than words. To me, starting A.J. Cann at right guard, not his real position, rather than moving Stefen Wisniewski to guard and Luke Bowanko to center tells me the staff does not feel as high on Luke as they purport to. I'd like your feedback.
John: You're overthinking it – and you're forgetting that a big reason Wisniewski is so valuable is his ability to make line calls from the center position. Also, while Cann competed at left guard in training camp, he is more physically suited to the run-oriented, brawling right guard position than left guard.
T.J. from the Westside:
I keep hearing everyone say when we get Julius Thomas back, things will get better. We already have Marcedes Lewis, and while he might be a better blocker than receiver, he's still almost seven-feet tall. We can't toss him a couple jump balls in the end zone? Doesn't seem to make much sense to me, but I guess that's why I never made it past high school ball.
John: Your playing experience has nothing to do with it, though congratulations on the high school career. Still, the Jaguars made Julius Thomas their premier free-agent signing this offseason for a reason. And he was a Pro Bowl tight end for a reason. I'm not saying his return will make all the difference for the Jaguars' offense, but in theory it absolutely should help.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Let's say that after Dave tore down the roster we were the 32nd team in terms of roster talent. Three years later, comparing our roster to other teams, it seems we are still in the 27th-to-32nd range … Is that acceptable from a general manager in three years?
John: If it's a young roster that's on the verge of ascending, yes – and if there's a franchise quarterback who is ascending. Time will tell if the Jaguars and Blake Bortles are those things.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I'm not crazy about how the Jags have played but to provide some perspective: If we toss out the game with the worst point differential from 2014 (Redskins -31) and 2015 (Patriots -34), the Jags were -63 points from being 3-1 in 2014 and are -11 points from being 3-1 in 2015 through the first quarter. So yeah … some improvement. Now, they need to learn how to close and take that girl named "Win" home at the end of the game.
John: Yeah, but trying telling that to Redmond.
Scott from Vienna, VA:
There seems to be a lot of burn against the Jaguars. At this point last year we were winless. Did people forget that or do they just assume that we will win the Super Bowl every year?
John: Look, many fans are angry. Some are very angry. Some want Gus Bradley fired. Some want Dave Caldwell fired. Some want to throw things at the Jaguar statue out front. Some don't like the senior writer much. Some like to say mean things to him on Twitter. Sometimes he laughs. Other times he cries. Other times he curls up in a hall closet with a bag of yogurt pretzels, watches Grease 2 on his I-Pad and wonders why Adrian Zmed was never a bigger star except for those years on T.J. Hooker. Some of that makes sense – especially the part about the Jaguars' fans. We're in the first quarter of the third season of this rebuild, and there has been a lot of losing. But the overarching idea in this rebuild is to improve to the point where the team will win consistently. There are some results starting to be seen. More competitiveness. More offense. Growth from young players. It's not resulting in consistent victories yet, so that understandably bothers people. It bothers people that the process is taking longer than some fans wanted or expected. That's understandable, too, but so long as there is improvement, the Jaguars are going in the right direction.
Armand from Jacksonville:
O-man: If Marqise Lee continues to have hamstring issues, when do we put him on injured reserve or cut him: next year or never because of potential?
John: The Jaguars aren't remotely close to releasing Marqise Lee. He is going through an issue with his hamstring that's maddening, but remember: he missed only three games last season. This is not a multiple-year issue. It's an issue that has gone on much of this calendar year, so it's a short-term rather than a long-term thing. That doesn't make it reasonable to release him. As far as injured reserve this season, I don't think we're close to that yet, either. Is it because of potential? Yeah. Lee's ability is significant.
Will from Orlando, FL:
O, people are saying we need a speed receiver. Is it just me or do I see A-Rob turning on the burners in almost every game, and then he slows down almost in motion and every time he does this he is still ahead of the defender and in position to make a big play? How is A-Rob not recognized for his speed?
John: You make a good point and it's a point that people around the Jaguars believe is valid. Robinson isn't a pure burner in terms of 40-yard dash time on a stopwatch, but he has a knack for getting open deep. He has shown that knack consistently enough to make you believe it's going to be dependable. That's more important. The Jaguars still could use another speed receiver – i.e., Marqise Lee – but it's incorrect to think of Robinson as slow.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
"Six and ten will be a great season" where do you find these people???
John: Ironically, the same place I found you.

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