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O-Zone Late Night: Can't do that

CINCINNATI, Ohio – A little O-Zone late night before heading across the pond.

Let's get to it …

Michael from Jacksonville:
I don't know which is a bigger liability – Blake Bortles or the special teams offensive line. I'm inclined to say the line. For the amount of snaps they take, they get an awful lot of kicks blocked.
John: This was the first email of the game. There's no award for that, but it sure was accurate.
Rob from Jacksonville:
When Blake is allowed to go downfield he may throw a pick he may not. I would much rather see the shot downfield than the dink and dunk. You will not win in the NFL and your defense will tire if you don't take those shots. We know Blake may toss a pick … so what? You can't protect him forever and Cincinnati is too good offensively to play conservative. Just my thoughts … yours?
John: Those are good thoughts. It certainly appeared early that the Jaguars did not want to put Bortles in a position to throw interceptions by going downfield too often. It also appeared for the first time that he was a bit hesitant in some spots. That went away a bit in the second half. Bortles is going through the process of figuring this out. He improved in the second half and looked a little more like he did early in the season. Our tendency in this forum and others is to grade and judge on a week-to-week and play-to-play basis. It's understandable, particularly with a week to talk and analyze between games. But Bortles is going to grow and have dips and falls throughout this season. Overall, he's in a bit of a dip. He has to work through it. How quickly that happens remains to be seen.
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
When are the Jags going to start rebuilding the franchise?
John: Cute.
Robert from Titusville, FL:
This team is becoming very difficult to watch...
John: This was the second email, and actually I don't think this theme held. The first half was rough. The Jaguars didn't start well, and it appeared Blake Bortles didn't want to throw downfield. The Jaguars as a whole were significantly better in the second half and surprised a whole lot of people – this writer included – by pulling to within three points. It didn't end up in a Jaguars victory, but the second half was a whole lot more watchable. For what that's worth.
Junior Gray from Hiding in a Box:
Same ol jags.
John: Nah.
Matt from Austin, TX:
I'm usually positive about this team, then this season happened. I guess after watching what has happened since the '07 season, I've reached my fill of how bad this team can be. It physically pains me to watch how the only way we've gotten better is by finding ways of getting the other team points. When we play well in one phase, the other two find ways to sabotage it. If we stagger our way to another 4-12 record, I would count us lucky. That said, I really hope Blake Bortles develops and lives up to his potential. I know having a franchise quarterback fixes a lot about a team, but right now it seems like we have to overcome the other team AND ourselves ever week.
John: I can't tell fans how to feel, and the only way to feel when your team is 1-8 is lousy. I get it. But I don't see this team being worse than the past two seasons. And in a lot of ways, I see them as fundamentally better than the past two teams – significantly so, really. The Jaguars were bad in the first half on Sunday – and the special teams errors? Well, those are inexcusable. There's no other way to put it. But the last month has shown some good signs. Not enough, but there have been good signs. For what it's worth.
William from Section 423:
Watching this offense play is so frustrating.
John: I can see that.
Eric from Long Beach, CA:
Telvin had a very rookie day. Disappointing he can't keep his composure. End of half unnecessary roughness penalty is inexcusable.
John: I can see that, too.
Brian from Nashville, TN:
It sure does appear Todman should be running back kicks instead of Sanders.
John: Jordan Todman returned every Bengals kickoff Sunday. He did it quite well, averaging 28.8 yards per return. What he does not do is return punts. That's because it's a very different position. Ace Sanders is returning punts, and it's safe to say he's not returning them as well as he or the Jaguars would like.
David from Jacksonville:
Special teams. All aspects. All parts (except perhaps kick returns). Just so much worse than our teams of the past have typically been. Heck, even Scobee with a blunder on the kick out of bounds.
John: Yeah, it wasn't good. You can't give away points and field positions on special teams, particularly not with the regularity that the Jaguars have done so this season. The punt and field goal protection … well, there are just too many things happening that can't happen.

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