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O-Zone Late Night: Only the beginning

JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars 24, Browns 6.

Happy in-box. I almost don't know what to do with myself. I'll think of something.

Let's get to it …

Jason from Da Hasse:
Well, if that ain't progress, then I don't know what is...
John: Yes, a 24-6 victory over the Browns Sunday indeed was progress, and I got a slew of emails like this after the game. Praise. Happiness. A sense that all was right in the world. I checked to see if I was in the correct email account and when I conformed that I was, I spent some time thinking how in professional sports, it really is winning that changes perception. The Jaguars by any measure had improved since halftime of Week 3. They trailed the Colts 30-0 at that time, and since then, they have been outscored by five points. They were close with San Diego at halftime and had had a chance to win in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh and Tennessee. That was a better three-game stretch than at any time in the first eight games of last season and the Jaguars were playing significantly better than they had early in this season. You could see it, but 0-6 clouds everything – as it should. Now, the Jaguars have a victory and not only that, they played well. As a result, it's easier to see that this defense is playing better and that not everybody on the team should be released and/or traded. Ah, winning … ain't it grand.
Brad from Nashville, TN:
Jags unstoppable. Jags to finish 10-6. Jags to win Super Bowl. I believe. Let's see how many of the haters are singing a new tune this week. Jags defense for league MVP.
John: #DTWD
Dave from Jacksonville:
So we finally get a running game going in the first half and the defense plays lights out and Bortles plays like a typical rookie. Come on man!
John: This was the first email of the day. I like posting the first email of the day. It keeps me amused. Anyway, this was it and it sort of held throughout the game that Blake Bortles struggled. You know what? That's the price of admission for most rookie quarterbacks. When people wrote me all summer saying, "Play the Kid" and "Let Him Learn from His Mistakes," that's what they were requesting. That's the reason coaches hesitated putting him into the lineup over Chad Henne. None of that is to say the Jaguars would be better off playing Henne. I don't think that's the case. But when coaches weren't sure if Bortles was ready in early September, there were legitimate reasons. At the same time, Bortles on Sunday also showed why he's going to be a very good quarterback. He had three interceptions and never lost confidence and never stopped leading. He'll be fine. It will just take time.
Biff from Jacksonville:
"I love winning! You hear what I'm saying? It's like better than losing!!"
John: The rose goes in the front, big guy.
Jamie from Santa Rosa Beach, FL:
Three interceptions and still get a win. I'll take that any day!! GO JAGS!!!
John: That's a significant positive to take from Sunday. I have said often this season that I didn't think the Jaguars could win a game losing the turnover battle. They didn't lose it, but they sure didn't fold up given a chance, either. Bortles didn't play great, but the defense played well. The running game played well. The special teams made a play. The Jaguars beat a team that had been playing well. They showed progress, and winning a game when your quarterback struggles is a good sign. It's a particularly good sign for the Jaguars because I don't think Bortles is going to struggle for long.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Why does this team struggle with time outs?
John: Most of it can be attributed to a young quarterback and a young offense. Better to call a timeout than to run a bad play.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Oh yeah!!! John I take it all back!
John: Join the party.
Evan from Jacksonville:
The guys on the CBS broadcast made an interesting point that we should stay in the two-minute up-tempo offense the whole game. Wasn't that a point of emphasis this preseason? It certainly makes sense as it leads to quicker reads and less complex defenses for Bortles due to the lack of substitution.
John: I got several tweets to this effect during the game after Steve Beuerlein suggested that the Jaguars stay in up-tempo the entire game. On one hand, it does make some sense. The Jaguars have moved efficiently in the no-huddle, up-tempo at times this season. And make no mistake: Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch would lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ve to run more up-tempo. But the Jaguars have a rookie quarterback who has 10 interceptions in five games and a slew of rookies playing around him. It's probably not unreasonable for someone coordinating that offense to want to give those guys time between plays to figure out just what is going on.
Joe from Jacksonville:
This is the beginning...
John: And this is the end … for tonight, anyway.

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