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O-Zone Late Night: Talking quarterback

SOMEWHERE OVER GEORGIA – Let's get to it . . . GUEST from Orange Park, FL:
As soon as there is hope being shown, boom! Gabbert lets us down yet again. Tired of this trash!
John: Well, if the early returns in the inbox this evening could be captured in three sentences this would be it. Blaine Gabbert indeed showed hope early, and the Jaguars' offense followed suit. The quick drive and the 67-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Justin Blackmon showed the impact Blackmon could have and showed Gabbert's talent when things are going right. The second and third quarter showed how maddening it can be when things aren't going right. Gabbert was too quick to look to leave the pocket, and two of the interceptions he threw cost the Jaguars 14 points – a touchdown for the Rams and a touchdown the Jaguars didn't get. It was all there in a nutshell, and there understandably was frustration.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
I'm beginning to worry about our play calling. Could you explain the reasoning of running four straight pass plays when we had the ball on the three-yard line?
John: At the time, the running game hadn't been particularly effective – on Sunday, or really at any time this season. When very little has worked, as has been the case for the Jaguars this season, it's difficult to establish a good pattern of play calling. The running game looked better in the second half. I suspect you'll see more runs from the 3-yard line from here on out.
Daniel from Section 146 and Jacksonville:
I am just in awe of the sheer genius that is David Caldwell. Plan A was to have two of the best tackles in the NFL. Plan B is to have one of the best tackles in the NFL. And now we have plans C, which is to have none of the best tackles in the NFL. It's no wonder he makes so much money since he's such a genius.
John: Yes, it is Caldwell's fault that Luke Joeckel got hurt. The Joeckel injury is disappointing because you wanted him to be able to develop this season and gain experience. Now, he will have to gain that experience early next season. It's far from ideal. But it doesn't remotely change the long-term plan and has no bearing on whether Caldwell is building the right way.
Ryan from Clyde, OH:
I have stood with Gabbert ever since he was drafted until now. I saw so much potential in him, but now I see he isn't the long-term answer. Here's to hoping we find that answer soon.
John: I got more of this sentiment in the inbox today than ever before – people who had previously believed in Gabbert who now don't. That won't influence the coaching staff's decisions, nor should it. But you do get the idea the hue and cry is only getting louder.
Spencer from Satellite Beach, FL:
Five plays. With less than five yards to gain for a touchdown. And instead of a touchdown or the made field goal – an interception. YOU MUST BE KIDDING ME. I'm done. I'm just done.
John: Yeah, that wasn't a good series. I did think taking the field goal off the board there was the right move at this time. Usually, you don't do it, particularly not to go for it on fourth-and-2. But the Jaguars need something positive to happen. They had a chance for a touchdown and the worst that's supposed to happen there is the Rams having a first-and-10 on their 1- or 2-yard line. As it turned out, the Rams got the ball on their 20-yard line after the interception, which compounded the issue.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Not addressing quarterback or defensive end in free-agency or the draft has resulted in Blaine throwing more pick-sixes than touchdowns, and Babin having more personal foul penalties than sacks. Please tell me again how that is the right way to build a team.
John: You had a question, too, about Eugene Monroe. I didn't not want to answer it, but I didn't quite understand it. I'm relatively sure the topic will come up again sometime this week. As for the right way to build, the first five games of this season – or even the entire season – won't prove whether or not this is the right way to build. That will be seen next season or the next. If the quarterback play continues to struggle, I'd be surprised if it's not addressed in the offseason. Pass rush also is a need. If that doesn't improve, I'd be surprised if that's not addressed.
Marcus from New York City via Jacksonville:
I understand Caldwell and Bradley saying they need to evaluate Gabbert for themselves. I really do. But, please O'Man.... tell me they've seen enough now.
John: We shall see. Bradley said after the game he had no plans to remove Gabbert from the game until the injury. He also said that if Gabbert is healthy he will remain the starter. Gabbert undoubtedly made that decision more difficult on Sunday. He didn't play well, and there were times in the second quarter his pocket awareness did not appear good. That's based on a quick watch from the press box and not on the coaches' video, but that's how it looks. I expect Gabbert to start Sunday if healthy. But he needs to play significantly better.

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