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O-Zone Late Night: Long day, long night

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Again, looking like a professional football team … real question: can we do it for four full quarters?
John: This was the first question to the inbox Sunday. It arrived early in the game, presumably during an 80-yard Jaguars drive that opened the scoring. It was a nice, civil question that indicated calmness, perhaps even pleasure, from its author. It was not what I would call a "tone-setter" for what was to follow.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Well, guess not ... end of second quarter and defense is gassed again … what's going on, John?
John: Charles bailed early. It was that kind of day.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
How is it that Dave and Gus haven't been called to the carpet? The team is not progressing.
John: I understand the sentiment. Here's what I wonder, though … what carpet? Whose? The fans? If so, then there are plenty questioning Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley. Each day in the O-Zone you can read plenty of fans upset and questioning the direction of the franchise. That's understandable. Fans are going to feel that way at 0-6. The only carpet that matters, though, is the one that belongs to Jaguars Owner Shad Khan. Bradley and Caldwell won't be on that carpet. Not this season. It was well-known by ownership that this was a huge build that would take time. These are the hard days of a mammoth rebuild, the days when fans expect victories and the talent level hasn't reached a point where that's going to happen often. The reality right now is the Jaguars aren't very good. Good teams win games and the Jaguars haven't won that. But for the last three games they have looked like a relatively normal "not very good team" – OK, "bad" if we must use that word – and while the record is bad, it's ahead of where it was last season and there is progress. Really.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Gus and Dave should be fired.
John: Stop. You're only going to frustrate yourself.
Conner from St. Petersburg, FL:
I'm getting frustrated with the play of Luke Joeckel. He seems to have penalties in a lot of the games this season. For being a No. 2 overall pick a year ago it doesn't seem like he is playing to his potential. Is the injury still bothering him? Glad to see Linder and Bowanko improving and playing well. I may have complained about the D-line earlier this year I take it back, I take it all back.
John: I talked to Tony Boselli about this on the bus ride from the airport to the stadium Sunday. He said Luke Joeckel actually played his best game Sunday, and in fact played pretty well. He has some penalties, yes, but I haven't seen much from Joeckel that I wouldn't expect to see from a player with 11 NFL starts.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
It seems like every time we blitz, something good happens.....yet we hardly ever blitz? What's up with that?
John: The effectiveness of the blitz often depends on an element of surprise. The element of surprise is diminished significantly if it's not a surprise.
Steve from Atlanta, GA:
I've seen receivers afraid to go across the middle of the field but I've never seen linebackers and an entire secondary afraid of the middle of the field. Why can't this defense cover anything between the hashes?
John: That's a legitimate question. I wish there was an easy, simple answer where you could say, "It's HIS fault. Or it's ALWAYS this or that …" The issues on Sunday, as often is the case, went beyond one player. Although Johnathan Cyprien for the most part played well, he had a couple of plays early where he gave up deep passes. Paul Posluszny also appeared to give up a play or two. In other situations, it was others. It's a situation that must get fixed and it's hurting the Jaguars, but it's not easily explainable.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Is there some secret to covering the middle of the field?
John: If only …
John from Jacksonville:
Zone, spin it however you want, but here is the reality: We can't beat a 1-4 football team that is pretty terrible in its own right which is starting a backup quarterback, running back and left tackle. 0-16 is a real possibility.
John: … and by game's end, this was the tone of the questions. Understandably and expectedly so. I said before the game it felt like a game the Jaguars needed to win, and if they didn't win, it was going to be an angry fan base. It came to pass that the Jaguars didn't win, so it's going to be a long week. And actually, because I've still got a little work ahead of me, it's going to be a long night, too. So, indeed, on a long night … good night.

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