JACKSONVILLE – Close, close, close – but close isn't enough anymore.
Let's get to it …
Renee from Duval:
John: so close … yet so far. GO JAGS
John: This feels like the perfect email to begin Regular Season Week 1 O-Zone Late Night. This was the second or third email I read after talking to Head Coach Gus Bradley and Jaguars players after the loss to the Packers Sunday – and I was struck that this was exactly how players and coaches felt. Yes, there was progress made Sunday. Yes, the team showed a lot of good signs. Yes, this sort of close loss to a potential elite team would have been something to savor for the Jaguars in past years. But that's not how players were feeling afterward – and it certainly wasn't how Bradley was feeling. Yes, the Jaguars were close Sunday, but when they talked about the game afterward they felt like it was far. Their disappointment was real and it was obvious. This team didn't enter Sunday hoping to get better. They entered it hoping to win and believing they would win – and were ticked off when it didn't happen. There was a determination and resiliency in their reaction. That's a good sign for this team.
Logan from Wichita:
No pass rush ... go figure ... this season is already over. Awesome.
John: This was the much-anticipated, mega-hyped, ballyhooed first email of the game – and yeah, the Jaguars' pass rush wasn't great Sunday. It's an issue. It doesn't have to remain an issue – and the season certainly isn't over – but it wasn't enough for much of the game Sunday.
Caveman from Neolithic Europe:
Coverage good, pass rush bad.
John: Yeah …
CC from Duval:
What I told you about Cyp? Dude act like he don't have any arms to wrap up he has to go because that's acceptable to him. We have to change the culture and we did that on the back end of the defense except him, but you keep defending him. Backbreaker on that drive. He's sorry, man. Three straight years of this from him.
John: Johnathan Cyprien's failure to wrap on Eddie Lacy in the second quarter was ugly. Really ugly. He had other situations Sunday where I thought he made plays, wrapped well and played OK. But that failure to wrap up was ugly. And noticeable. And really, really ugly.
Seth from Prosper, TX:
Wow, Joeckel is playing passably at guard. Who knew? #OhYeahGusDid
John: Yes. There was that.
Jody from Guantanamo Bay:
John, Jason Myers hit all his attempts, Luke Joeckel played pretty well, we got them off the field on third down quite a lot, we outgained them and won time of possession. So what happened? If you had to pick a reason we lost, what was it?
John: The Jaguars lost because they didn't make a play late in the game when they had a chance to win. That's how many, many games in the NFL are won and lost. Most teams in the NFL are relatively even in terms of talent, so a lot of games come down to a few plays. The Jaguars have been talent-deficient enough in recent seasons that a lot of their losses have been one-sided. Now that they are not as talent-deficient there will be more games like Sunday's.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Wow!!! Horrific officiating today!!! The Packers are mauling A-Rob all over the field and they call THAT on Cyp? Huge third down on huge end-of-half drive? Hmmm... something is rotten in Denmark.
John: I didn't necessarily overall think the officiating was horrible Sunday. I emphasize "overall" because if we're specifically speaking of the failure to call a whole bunch of pass interference calls on Packers defenders when they were covering Allen Robinson ... well, I guess the best way to put it is Robinson made the Pro Bowl last season. Pro Bowl receivers get a lot of those kinds of calls. Robinson didn't.
Eric 204 from Duval:
Can't wait to hear how much Gus and the boys "learned a lot" from this game. Ridiculous how bad the clock management was at the end. Can't wait to hear you spin this loss. So ridiculous.
John: That wasn't the reaction after the game at all. The Jaguars were in fact disappointed, angry and clearly not in the mood to talk about learning a lot. I haven't picked apart every play on the last drive, but my first reaction is I didn't have a big problem overall with the clock management. The Jaguars were on the 14-yard line late with ample time to score – and they weren't going to allow the Packers and Aaron Rodgers time to score. As far how I spin the loss … I don't know … the Jaguars played one of the NFL's best teams toe to toe and had a chance to win the game on the final drive. Maybe that's ridiculous, but it sure gives me reason to think this team can win a bunch of games this season.