JACKSONVILLE – Coming to you from the bowels of the 'Bank in the aftermath of a weird, wild, thrilling day …
Let's get to it …
Bobby from Newcastle, UK:
It wasn't pretty, John, and it was edgy, but I will take it ALL DAY LONG!! #DTWD
John: We'll start here on O-Zone Late Night – because, frankly, I'm not sure where else to start. The tone of the inbox, as one might expect, went from anger to ecstasy on Sunday in record time, and what else would you expect? That was a memorable, unlikely, thrilling comeback we saw at EverBank Field on Sunday as the Jaguars rallied from a 21-0 deficit for a 25-24 victory over the New York Giants. It did lead to a very fragmented, disjointed inbox with a lot of questions fielded early in the game not making a whole lot of sense late. It also led to a lot of people apologizing and wanting to retract comments at game's end. Overall, it probably was one of the strangest games and strangest inboxes in quite some time. But hey, a win is a win is a win is a win …
Mark from Raleigh, NC:
We can't expect to see Bortles' potential if our offensive line is not giving him time?
John: This email arrived as the Jaguars began nosing their way into the game, and it brings up a point that shouldn't be lost despite the victory. Yes, Blake Bortles played better late. And yes, he did a nice job on the final drive. But there were times – even in the third quarter as the Jaguars began to rally – that he simply didn't have enough time. The nature of this O-Zone Late Night Feature is there's no time to review much of anything, but the drive on which Bortles was sacked three times in the third quarter comes to mind … Bortles was scrambling, and trying to make something happen, and there was simply too much pressure. That wasn't the story the entire game, but it was the story a lot. Many people have wondered why the Jaguars don't throw downfield more, and that sort of pressure is why. There has been a lot written about Bortles' mechanics, and it does seem they are not what they were early in the season. At the same time, it's very difficult to maintain mechanics – and to throw downfield – when the pocket is perpetually unclean.
Jody from Orangedale, FL:
It got better, but I am very confused. What happened to the defense in the first half?
John: I'm sorry you're confused. Confusion can be … confusing. Look, the Jaguars aren't very good this year, and when a team isn't very good everything that goes wrong can be perceived as awful and a sign that everything is awful. The reality is that in the NFL, the best offenses struggle at times and the best defenses have stretches where they can't get opposing teams off the field. I saw Jimmy Smith in 2000 catch nearly 300 yards worth of passes on a Baltimore Ravens defense that was one of the best defenses of the last 30 years. Bad stretches happen and the Jaguars' defense had a bad stretch in the first half Sunday. What you want in the current offense-oriented NFL is for defenses to have the ability to pressure the passer and to turn games when necessary – and to have stretches where they can shut down an opponent. The Jaguars' defense hasn't been perfect this season, and I wouldn't even call it "elite," but it has had those kinds of stretches and for the most part has been pretty good.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Wow!! This is a poorly coached team!
John: This was the first email of the game. It set the tone for a half. (Sigh).
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
Yeah, they're playing hard all right … D-line has finally mailed it in again, but we're so young. Stop with the excuses.
John: This was the second email, and we won't spend too much time posting and reposting. That was the theme early. That the coaching stunk, that the team had quit, that everyone from the general manager to the offensive coordinator to the senior writer to the guy who helps Jaxson with his stunts needed to be gone, gone, GONE! That's the nature of Sundays. All is bad until it's not and all is good when your team wins. Ain't the NFL grand?
Mark from High Springs:
How do we ensure we don't whiff on our Top 10 pick next year like we did on Joeckel?
John: Luke Joeckel had a tough game Sunday. He had one play in particular when Jason Pierre-Paul beat him for a sack and he had a holding penalty late in the game. But it's also not accurate to call him a whiff. I don't know that he's destined to be a perennial Pro Bowler, but I also don't think he's going to be a bad player and it's also too early to say just how he will develop.
William from Section 423:
I take back... EVERYTHING. But that first half was pretty bad. #dtwd
John: I smiled when I read this one – and not just because it summed up the apologetic, ecstatic nature of the post-game inbox. About … face! Everything looks rosier when you win. That victory doesn't solve the Jaguars' problems. They still need to get better on the offensive line – a lot better. They still need to draft well. Bortles still needs to get better. The truth, too, is that the Jaguars beat a 3-9 team that's struggling and made a lot of mistakes on Sunday. All of that is so, so true, but so is this: Winning feels good, and Sunday afternoon for a while felt pretty good around EverBank Field.