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O-Zone Late Night: Gotta make makeable plays


Let's get to it …

Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Blake is the pick magnet.
John: Now, now, now … let's be fair, Jerell. Blake Bortles has four interceptions in the last five games, which is a significant improvement from the first seven games. I'm not saying Bortles played great Sunday, but I did think he played better for the most part. The interception was certainly a throw that made you go, "Uggh…" But to call him a pick magnet, and to not acknowledge at least some progress in areas … well, that's not fair.
Duran from Rapid City:
The one-on-one tackling is bad. Really bad. Incorrect angles and leaving your feet are not effective methods to make a sound tackle.
John: There have been games this season when tackling was a major, major issue. On some of the Texans' big plays Sunday that appeared to be an issue again.
Matt from Austin, TX:
I don't understand it. Blake loves to force it underneath, right to defenders. He doesn't even give the receiver a chance. What does he think is going to happen? He played so well the first half and then reverted back to what caused his interception streak. Words cannot explain the frustration with that.
John: It's easy to understand. Bortles is a rookie who is under duress in the pocket far more than is ideal. He's also a rookie on a team that is behind a lot. He's also a rookie on a team with a struggling running game, and young receivers. That's an equation that leads to interceptions. And yeah, the interception Sunday was a horrible throw … ugh, and all of that … but he's getting better at that area. There were a lot of things wrong Sunday, but Bortles was better and that's a good thing.
Austin from Jacksonville:
Johnathan Cyprien has the most tackles for our lowly Jaguars team. May the fans end the hate?
John: They may, but probably not this week. I agree with you that Cyprien has played better than most fans believe, but what he hasn't done enough is make game-changing plays. He really has had none this season and for a player the team believes is a core player, that's not good. He's also had too many missed tackles. He's still a key part of the defense going forward, but strides are definitely needed.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I hate drops. There were key moments where the receivers absolutely let Bortles down today. Nothing like letting it hit you in the numbers while you're wide open.
John: This was a theme in the in-box and it's easy to see why. Dropped passes kill drives, and when they don't kill drives they often leave you in bad down-and-distance situations. And you know what bad down-and-distance situations do? Oh yeah … they kill drives. NFL games are often decided by one possession and without some key errors at key times the Jaguars probably make that a one-possession game Sunday. But the Jaguars made the errors and that's what made Sunday's loss so frustrating.
Bob from West Milton:
If we don't draft or pick up offensive line in free agency, I will be so disappointed. An offensive line would do so much for this team, maybe even the playoffs. Gus would be the great coach ever, Jedd's play calls would actually work. All would be one with the world. Go Jags, DTWD, I'm all in! Moodachay!
John: This was the first email of the day – unsurprisingly so. The Jaguars' offensive line struggled at times – again, unsurprisingly so considering the presence of defensive end J.J. Watt on the other side. It's always risky to quick judge these things in football, because often the tape reveals things that the naked eye misses. But the offensive line at first glance did appear to struggle again – and not just with Watt. Whatever the eye in the sky reveals about the line Sunday, though, the group will be a huge topic here in the O-Zone early in the offseason. The team needs to run better, and Bortles needs more time to throw. Those things aren't always squarely on the line, but the unit overall must play better. What will the team do to make that happen? Will there be personnel changes? A scheme change? Will it be a matter of allowing young players to develop? Stay tuned, but stay tuned closely.
Bobby from Draper:
These receivers have shown a lot of improvements. But they need to help Bortles out. Bortles sticks and moves, throws a perfect ball, and the receiver (Clay Harbor this time) drops the ball. Luckily there was a penalty, but should have been a catch and run. This happens a lot. Your thoughts?
John: I think the receivers have shown a lot of improvement, and I think Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have done enough to make the team feel very good about the future at the spot. I also think the receivers as a whole … yeah, they need to help Bortles more. There are going to be drops, but at some point if the team is going to improve makeable plays must get made.

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