JACKSONVILLE – The in-box wasn't all-Blake Bortles-all-the-time, but it felt that way at times.
That's understandable. The Jaguars' third-year quarterback is struggling on a lot of levels, and he really struggled for an extended period Sunday. That's happening too much this season, and it was a big reason for the Jaguars' loss to the Oakland Raiders Sunday.
But Bortles' struggles don't account for everything that went wrong Sunday. The running game continued to struggle. Too many passes were dropped. There wasn't enough pass rush. There were too many explosive plays allowed. Poise was lost in the fourth quarter.
All of that happened in a game that began with the Jaguars having a chance to right their season and get back to .500. It was a bad day all around at the 'Bank. That's an understatement.
Let's get to it …
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
I've officially lost faith in Blake.
John: This was a common theme in the in-box throughout the entire game, and it was easy to understand. It's hard to say if this was Bortles' worst game of the season, but the first half was certainly troubling. He improved a bit in the second half, but a lot of that improvement came with the Raiders ahead by double digits. Bortles wasn't the entire reason the Jaguars lost on Sunday, but his accuracy and decision-making issues don't seem to be going away. I wrote often in the offseason Bortles needed to improve. I deep down expected him to struggle more this season than he did last season because I believed the steps he needed to make this season were difficult and that he would need some time to work through those steps. In no way, did I expect he and the Jaguars' offense to struggle like this. This feels a lot like a crisis point. That's a pretty obvious statement, I suppose, but that's where we are.
Steven from St. Augustine, FL:
Wow. Just wow. But not in a good way. At all.
Ernest from Hudson, FL:
I don't want to give up on Blake, but I honestly think it's time to bench Blake. I like the option of giving Brandon Allen a chance, or even having Chad Henne in for a game or two to settle down Blake. What do you think John?
John: I think in the NFL your starting, franchise quarterback is your starter until he's not – and once you choose not to start him, there's no going back. For that reason, I don't think the Jaguars will or should bench Bortles. If they do, it's over – and it's not time for it to be over yet.
Jon from Jacksonville:
Been a fan since day one and with all the potential that this team has I am embarrassed at how the team is playing and the seeming lack of preparation. At this rate I see another top 5 pick in our future. What say you O – ma
John: I didn't see an unprepared team Sunday as much as I saw one struggling to find any answers offensively. But when you don't have answers offensively you tend to look unprepared. As far as a Top 5 pick … I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. I suppose I just can't gear up mentally for the draft in, you know … October.
Kevin from Wolverhampton:
I'm done John, done with Gus Bradley, done with Greg Olson, done with Todd Wash. I feel sorry for you having to defend this. It's a joke, unacceptable.
John: No one's defending anything about Sunday. It was disappointing. It was indefensible on a lot of levels. The poise in the fourth quarter was embarrassing. It was bad.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
How many picks John? Bortles is the weak link.
John: This was sent shortly after Bortles' interception in the first quarter. At that point, Jerell was not wrong.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Could have kicked a field goal and tied the game … instead he threw it into triple coverage?!? At least he's accurate … oh wait he's not that either.
John: This was sent shortly after Bortles' interception in the first quarter. At that point, Scott was not wrong.
Rob from Jacksonville:
Down by 17, let's try some more runs up the middle or three-yard dump passes. This team is lost. Starts with the leader. This can't be tolerated much longer can it?
John: What happened Sunday wasn't good. I don't believe it will result in a coaching change. As far as the offensive play-calling, I don't have answers. I would have liked to have seen more deep stuff. It never seemed as if the Jaguars tested the Raiders deep. At the same time, I don't know how much faith I have in the passing game right now to complete long stuff. I thought the fourth-quarter penalties were more damning on the coaching staff than the play-calling. The fourth-quarter penalties were a lack of poise, and while frustrating was understandable, you must keep control. Maybe that's on coaching, but I don't expect that to be a trend. The disturbing trend is Bortles' struggles, and that's where I struggle to blame coaching. With how much he's struggling, I don't know what I would call for Bortles. I don't know the magic formula or if there is a formula. I just don't.