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O-Zone Late Night

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Jensen from Huntsville, TX:
Moral Victory?
John: No. I say, "No," because in the NFL, there's just no such thing and in the Jaguars' postgame locker room, there wasn't a sense after the loss to the Broncos that it was OK to lose. They're professionals and they don't expect to lose games when they walk on the field. As odd as that seems to some observers, it's just true. Now, that being said (always a good transition), the Jaguars' players clearly felt better about themselves leaving Denver than they did before. They played one of the NFL's best teams very tough and the game could have been far more competitive if not for a few early mistakes. They harassed Peyton Manning, and to use an awful cliché, they went toe-to-toe with the Broncos for three quarters. There also was a sense that they found some critical elements on which they can start relying, particularly wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Those are all good things, so while it wasn't a moral victory, it probably is as good as you can feel after a loss at 0-6.
John from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Was that performance enough for Henne to win the starting job?
John: It sure didn't hurt. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley didn't commit to a starter after the game. While he praised Chad Henne, he also pointed out the obvious, which was Henne made mistakes and there were a lot of opportunities missed. He also said he didn't know enough about Blaine Gabbert's health situation entering the week to make a decision, and that the idea Sunday was to talk about the Denver game. I don't know if Henne won the job. I do know he made it more difficult to start Gabbert if Gabbert's healthy this coming Sunday.
Matt from St. Mary's, GA:
Great game against Denver. Win or lose, we looked like an NFL team at times. It was a pleasure to watch. Justin Blackmon looks like a different player this year; he's going to be special if he can stay on the field.
John: He does look like a different player. He showed signs of this late last season, and there were times in preseason that he also looked like he was ready to play at a different level than he had as a rookie. It was difficult to focus on that because of the four-game suspension to start the season and because of the groin injury and time missed. But yes, he looks like a different player – and possibly one developing into an elite, go-to receiver.
Brad from Jacksonville:
If Justin Blackmon can make good choices from here on out, we've got our first true star wide receiver since the days of Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. He has the potential to be elite.
John: Yes, he does. The Jaguars also missed Cecil Shorts III. The passing offense did get understandably one-sided Sunday, with Chad Henne focusing on Blackmon much of the game. Don't get me wrong: I would have focused there, too, but had Shorts played, you likely would have seen more balance.
Luis from Saint Johns and Section 412:
I have seen the future and it looks great!
John: This was a sentiment of a lot of people – understandably so. The Jaguars played well and started looking like a team that can be competitive. The first six weeks have been tough. Things have looked disjointed at times, but remember: this is a team completely overturning a roster with a new coaching staff, schemes and philosophy. The Jaguars also added a ton of new players in the first month of the season in addition to switching between Henne and Gabbert at quarterback. When the team gets continuity over time, that will help. It's probably too early to be absolutely giddy about the future, but it's easier to see after Sunday that better days could be coming.
Brad from Jacksonville:
There is much to be done, but the arrow is most definitely pointing up. #standunited
John: Eventually, yes. The Jaguars still have a long way to go. A double-digit loss is still a double-digit loss, but the Jaguars did start putting together some things that looked good for extended periods. They still made the mistakes young teams make – and those mistakes hurt – but undoubtedly there was improvement.
John from Section 132:
I hate to be this kind of fan, but if Gabbert is the starter versus San Diego, I most likely sit that one out. I think it's pretty clear who should be on the field. If nothing else, we have a consistently average guy for the remainder of the year.
John: You're not alone in that thought. That's the storyline to watch early in the week. Bradley hasn't made a decision, but whatever the reasons, many fans want Henne. Will Bradley agree? We'll see.
Rocco from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars put up a fight today. John, I told you Justin Blackmon is our best receiver on the team — and he proved it today. CS3 couldn't do it by himself, but JB did. Your thoughts, John?
John: I think you're probably right. I wrote during the offseason that Cecil Shorts III was the best player on the team and he looked it. I underestimated Blackmon's ability to improve between his first and second seasons. I thought he would improve, but his improvement has been substantial. He looks like he's on his way to being elite. If you're the Jaguars, that's a really good look.

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