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O-Zone Late Night: Not good enough

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Eric from New York City, NY:
Why is this defense so bad? I didn't think we would regress this year. Any insight?
John: This is as good a place as any to start this O-Zone Late Night, because it certainly wasn't the best of days for the Jaguars' defense – and it may have been the area that hurt the Jaguars more than any other on Sunday. But I don't think it's fair to call what happened Sunday a trend, because the defense actually had been very, very good against the run in the first month of the season. On Sunday, that wasn't remotely the same. It's tempting to attribute it all to the absence of Paul Poluszny, and without question he is very good against the run. But one player shouldn't make that kind of difference. Let's chalk up the run defense to a bad day without a good player. They happen. The Jaguars need to hope that's the case. Considering the trouble they have getting pressure with four down linemen they can't afford another area of concern on the defense.
Brian from Gainesville:
Big O, are you starting to prepare your "what's-important-is-that-the-Jaguars-and-Blake-Bortles-are-showing-improvement-and-are-playing-more-competitively" responses to the questions and comments for this week?
John: I'm not preparing those responses, because I've never said those things are more important than winning, particularly not this season. Those things matter, and Bortles' improvement does bode well for the future, but they're not the most important thing. The most important thing is that the Jaguars continue to find ways to lose and that that has become a pattern. That's troubling.
Michael from Appleton, WI:
Looks like we missed Poz. A lot.
John: It sure looked like it, and no question Posluszny matters to the run defense a great deal. But his absence shouldn't matter 183 yards worth. It just shouldn't.
Steve from Atlanta, GA:
Only our defense could make this Bucs' offense look so good.
John: This was the highly-anticipated, much-ballyhooed First Email of the Game. I thought the defense would get better. It didn't.
Steve from Atlanta, GA:
… and only our offense can make the Bucs' defense look this good.
John: This was the second email. It wasn't as accurate, but I liked the use of the ellipses.
Adam from Astoria, NY:
Am I crazy or did Allen Robinson slow down on both of the long passes to him that were "overthrown?"
John: I had the same gut reaction that he might have slowed down the slightest touch of touches on one. I honestly didn't notice it on both.
Devin from Jacksonville:
Wow … don't sell the 17 second-half points, almost got beat by the Bucs as bad as the Pats … pretty funny, Tampa probably been saying same stuff all week, but they won...
John: I'm not in the business of selling anything, particularly after a loss like Sunday's. Now, this obviously wasn't anything like the Patriots game – and the rally early in the second half was definitely real. After that … well …
Justin from Jacksonville:
Please help me understand why Corey Grant was in the game with the score being so close. Why we would give him a look during a crucial point in the game is baffling to me. This is why we are the Jaguars: bonehead decisions.
John: It wasn't a matter of giving Grant "a look." Bradley said afterward they had some plays in specifically for Grant, the idea being to take advantage of his speed. Whatever you think of the decision, that was the reasoning.
Justin from Jacksonville:
I don't wanna watch football anymore, John.
John: For a while there in the second half I was with ya. Losing's hard. This is frustrating and Sunday was very, very much so. Gus Bradley said as much after the game, and he was as animated, agitated and irritated as I have seen him in three seasons. It's clear he knows something's not right, and something has to change. It's clear players knew it afterward. Talk is cheap and it feels cheap writing it. I know fans are tired of reading it and seeing it. We'll see where it goes, but the things going wrong need to get right. Soon.
Steve from Atlanta, GA:
This is pathetic … all three phases. At what point are performances like this unacceptable? Or are we as fans just supposed to keep giving this team the benefit of the doubt regardless of the reality of just how bad this team is assembled … coaches and players?
John: Sunday wasn't acceptable. As for your second question, I don't know how fans are supposed to react – and I can't speak for how a mass of people are supposed to feel. I'm good, but I'm not that good.

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