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O-Zone Late Night: Accurate assessment

FROM WELL ABOVE SOMEWHERE WESTWARD – Let's get to it … Matt from Austin, TX:
Worst defense in the league = worst team in the league.
John: I can't argue vehemently with this right now. I did notice a markedly different mood from Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley after the game Sunday than after the loss to the Colts a week before. Against the Colts, there was really nothing to build on defensively and few positives. As safety Johnathan Cyprien told me afterward on Sunday – and I paraphrase here – there were a lot of times against the Colts where it just appeared the secondary didn't know what was going on. He said that was reduced significantly against the Chargers, though not enough to make a difference in the outcome. The secondary has to get better. The guys have to cover better. Until they do, your equation is going to be hard to argue.
T.J. from Cherry Point, NC:
John, my heart can't take any more wide open touchdown passes … please, make it stop!
John: Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the nature of a lot of the opposition's touchdowns hasn't really been all that heart-stopping. It's not heart-stopping when a guy runs wide open. That was the case again Sunday, with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers twice finding wide receiver Eddie Royal oh-so-alone for touchdowns. Take away those two plays and the Jaguars had a really good defensive first half. One problem with that approach …
Dingle from Jacksonville, FL:
How can a "professional" defense have this many blown coverages?!?! The middle of the field is wide open all day long. We need a free safety in a big way...
John: Again, not much argument from here. The defense was better Sunday than against Indianapolis. It wasn't good enough to win. There are only so many areas you can address in a significant way each offseason, particularly when the biggest way you want to address it is the draft. I'd expect safety and linebacker to be a focus next offseason. That doesn't help much now, but that's what I expect.
Dan from Pinetop, NY:
The pass coverage has been just horrible so far; it seems like the d-line is getting adequate pressure, but when you leave receivers wide open you can get rid of the ball quickly. Do you think this a problem with defensive scheming or is our personnel that bad?
John: I don't want to hang it all on the defensive backfield. There appeared to be some key times on Sunday that the secondary covered well for a short time only to have Rivers get adequate time to allow wide receivers to get open. Defense is usually a group effort and that appeared the case at times Sunday … but yeah, the pass coverage is an issue. The Jaguars expected better. They're not getting it. As far as scheming, I'm not one to blame scheme a lot. This scheme worked in Seattle. Many schemes work everywhere. When players play well within schemes, they pretty much work anywhere.
Ryan from Toronto, Canada:
When you can't run for the first down on 3rd and one, and then fail again running on 4th and one, you just don't deserve to win a football game.
John: No, you don't. The Jaguars had two instances when they couldn't convert 4th-and-1. Convert those, and the game probably looks different.
Eric from Long Beach/DTWD:
Winston Guy is ATROCIOUS
John: The touchdown Jaguars safety Winston Guy allowed in the first half wasn't good. It was reminiscent of too many plays allowed by the Jaguars' secondary in recent weeks. I will say that it didn't appear that he didn't know the assignment. He simply seemed to take a bad angle and that left Eddie Royal wide open. Can't happen. Has to stop happening.
Mike from Eagan, MN:
Hey John...."Chad Henne gives the Jaguars the best opportunity to win." Still stand by that statement?
John: That's what the Jaguars' coaches believed for the first two weeks. They believed it because of Henne's knowledge of the offense and because of Bortles' knowledge of the offense. And remember: we have seen some of the reasons why they believed that with Bortles' second-half interceptions the last few weeks. If you include a fumble that was negated by penalty, Bortles has five turnovers in six quarters as the starter. That's the rookie element that had coaches concerned. That's not to say Bortles doesn't give the Jaguars the best chance to win. I'd say he does, but let's not act as if there was simply no logical reason for the Jaguars wanting him to wait a few weeks.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
Nothing I've seen from Blake Bortles makes me think anything other than he has the potential to be the best quarterback in franchise history. The game is clearly "not too big for him" and he seems to make everyone around him play better. For this reason, the Jaguars' future looks brighter than it's been in a long, long time.
John: Correct.

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