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O-Zone: It's always something

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Let's get to it … Tim from Arlington, VA:
Having Shad Khan talk to the players and coaches and ask them flat out "Why aren't you winning?" surely must be the last straw for Khan before he fires Gus Bradley, right?
John: Not necessarily. Shad Khan meeting with the coaches and players as he reportedly did Monday certainly is not a great sign because it wouldn't have happened had the team been 4-2 as opposed to 2-4. And while Khan has said often that he's not pro-midseason coaching change there obviously for every owner is a tipping point when a change must be a made. I have no idea what will happen if the Jaguars lose to the Titans because I'm not Khan and deep down only he knows. But I don't know that it's correct to Khan speaking with the means he's on the verge of a change. If he thought a change was the necessary move I imagine he would simply make a change rather than going through the process of speaking to the team and trying to find answers.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
In your assessment of the coaching staff you seem to be focusing only on in-game decisions. In that regard, they cannot be blamed for the team's lack of success. Sure, there have been some bad play calls, but that isn't the crux of the problem. However, you seem to forget the coaches are responsible year-round to make sure players are prepared once the season starts. They can't take all the blame, but I think the coaches are partially at fault for the poor run-blocking, the poor quarterback play and the stupid mistakes that are happening on seemingly every play.
John: There's no question coaches are partially at fault. I don't think I would ever say coaches weren't partially responsible for on-field goings on; that's their responsibility. But far too often in the NFL coaches are blamed and fired for the sake of blaming and firing – and are blamed and credited for things over which they in fact have comparatively little control. I've said often a head coach's primary job is to create a structure and an environment in which players can be successful and in which winning can occur. That in essence is "steering the ship" and ensuring all players are essentially moving in the right direction. That is what Head Coach Gus Bradley has done well even while the talent level on the team precluded the Jaguars from winning more games. That's what was concerning about the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Oakland. There was some out-of-control stuff that reflected on the culture of the organization. It certainly didn't appear all players were on the same page. That's a bad sign. It doesn't mean things are absolutely out of control; remember, Bradley's teams don't have a trend of such behavior … but the fourth quarter Sunday was bothersome. No doubt.
Deb from Jacksonville:
John, I really hate the word "poise." We aren't talking about bladder protection or little girls in a ballet. We are talking about grown (or semi-grown as the case may be) men playing football. Thanks.
John: OK.
Jay from Gainesville, FL:
So, would you like to see Marks and Jackson man the middle – or Jones and Jackson? Marks is a beast! He is good in the run game and passing situations.
John: I think you're going to see a heavy rotation inside – heavy enough where it won't matter who starts. I agree that Marks is a beast, but he's a beast who has had injuries in recent seasons and you don't want him playing 900-1,000 snaps a year. Rotation, rotation, rotation.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
Is it not possible and even probable that the poor run game is a consequence of Gus' determination to use a zone-blocking scheme? He has changed personnel and moved people around and still can't run at a high-school level. It has become obvious this team is not capable of running a zone scheme. Why not change up and go in a different direction? It couldn't possibly be any worse than what we've seen to this point. Isn't four years of failure enough?
John: I've never been under the impression that the zone-blocking scheme is all Bradley, but yeah – at this point I wouldn't mind seeing more power running.
Newt from Jacksonville:
I need to ask another quarterback-related question. I know Blake Bortles worked with Tom House before last season. What other quarterbacks have done the same with Mr. House? Additionally, how – if any – is Mr. House currently employed? If I were the general manager or higher, I would pursue Mr. House's talents with extreme urgency. Just adding my two cents to the end there....
John: Multiple quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Andy Dalton have worked with House and Adam Dedeaux on throwing mechanics and other quarterback-related skills. They run their program from Southern California. I have no idea how much they make. My guess is it's enough in both cases that they don't need to seek full-time employment elsewhere.
Matt from Jacksonville:
John, been a fan since the beginning but I'm starting to sense a growing discord between the players and fans. To call out and/or slight our fan base for being upset at the poor product on the field is a tacky look. First Telvin Smith then Rashad Greene and now Allen Robinson. Sure, Shad signs the checks but I guess these players are starting to forget where the $$$ comes from..Sad. (If any of the above players are reading this, the money comes from the same fans that have been filling the stadium since 1995. We're talking about the stadium where there hasn't been a winning season since 2007!)
John: I'm including this email because it remains a major topic a few days removed from Robinson's comments about the fans and Wembley Stadium. I'm not ignoring the questions, but I can't answer them all. Fans are mad about it – and reasonably so. It wasn't a good thing to say. You can't touch the third rail. It never plays well.
Stu from Wrestlingworth, UK:
Here's my take on the season so far. We lost a close game to the Packers, the team's collective heads then weren't right against the Chargers. We lost a close game to the Ravens with some poor quarterback play. The team stumbles to two wins against poor teams then falls heavily to a good one. At this moment, it feels like the coaches are playing conservatively to prevent major blowouts, the offense is under too much pressure to perform and is forcing plays and the defense – certainly last Sunday – is getting frustrated with playing some winning football and not winning. Fair or no?
John: I don't think the coaches are playing conservatively. I think they're trying to do the things they feel will work based on the strengths and weaknesses of the players. I also think it's a struggle right now for the offensive coaches to know what this team is doing well, but that's quibbling. Yes … fair. Very fair.
Bill from Folkston, GA:
Do you think it was the youth of Jalen Ramsey to say he would do the same thing 90 percent of the time – being ejected for fighting – or do you think that he really has no concerns about the team?
John: Neither. I don't think he was saying he would get ejected for fighting 90 percent of the time. I think he was saying he would react the same way and that his actions normally wouldn't get him ejected for fighting. In watching what occurred I had the impression Ramsey and Raiders wide receiver Johnny Holton were ejected largely because there were other incidents going on in the fourth quarter and that the officials ejected the players to maintain control of the game. Had Ramsey's incident occurred in the first quarter of a game with no other altercations I don't think it would have gotten him ejected. I believe that's what he was saying. Perhaps he could have made that point clearer, but I was standing next to Ramsey when he spoke. I didn't remotely get the idea that he was saying he has no concerns about the team.
David from Orlando, FL:
Of the top 10 salaries on this team, eight are from free agency. We've reached a point where some of Dave Caldwell's draft picks are going to be demanding big money. That means this very team that struggles to win games is going to cost Shad Khan a lot more money in the near future. Houston, we have a problem. What are your thoughts?
John: I think it won't be difficult to discern who should be signed long-term and who shouldn't be signed long-term.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
Bortles isn't passing the Eye Test and we always hear people saying to trust the eyes. I guess his mechanics can improve over time (footwork is atrocious) but decision-making … well … that might not. I'm afraid we're witnessing the mighty fall of one BB5 and that just sucks.
John: I don't think we're there yet, but it's a legitimate discussion … and yeah, if you're a Jaguars fan, that does suck.
Tom from Katy, TX:
OK, John: You're Greg Olson. You're watching a line that can't produce consistent runs, a quarterback that can't make routine NFL throws and is off the mark more times than not and several drops by normally sure handed receivers. You look down at your play sheet - what do you call? My point is...I'm not sure it's coaching!
John: Oh, Tom, Tom, Tom … in the NFL, it's always coaching. You know that.
Adam from Saint Johns, FL:
If we all agree the Jaguars suck, then why don't we ever see anything different? Same post-game speeches, same culprits making mistakes. Other places the media gets after the team and ask real questions. Other places, they fire an offensive coordinator or a defensive coordinator to make a statement. We just stay status quo because everything is fine. This team is losing everyone and it doesn't seem to care.
John: I was wrong in my previous answer. It's not always coaching. Sometimes the media is to blame.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
Not that you care. But it seems all of my friends who are diehard football fans have had enough. It's not the Jaguars losing, coaching. It's officiating: killed the integrity of the game. Honestly we're done. Declining ratings are just the beginning. But hey … greed kills everything. Corruption.
John: Oops: wrong again. It's the officiating.

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