JACKSONVILLE – Here's the O-Zone late night in the wake of Dolphins 27, Jaguars 13.
Let's get to it …
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Bortles sucks and is holding this team back.
John: This pretty much was the tone for the in-game in-box. We got a lot of these Sunday afternoon, and with reason. Blake Bortles without question is struggling, but don't forget that his presence on the field is opening things up in the running game, and the Jaguars are still significantly better with him in the lineup. All of that said, the turnovers and interceptions have to stop if the Jaguars are going to improve this season. I don't know if that will happen this year, but it has to happen.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy …
John: Yes, yes, yes …
Andrew from Rosamond, CA:
"Play the kid!" There's a reason they weren't playing the kid!
John: I pretty much dedicated the entirety of the post-game editorial on pretty much this concept. Yes, we all said play the kid, and yes, there was a reason the Jaguars coaches hesitated to play Bortles at the beginning of the season. He's a young player who wasn't completely ready to play in the NFL as a rookie. David Caldwell and Gus Bradley said as much throughout the offseason, but the decision was made early this season that Bortles' strengths were sufficient to outweigh his inexperience. That remains true. The Jaguars are better because he's in the lineup. But yeah, there was a reason there was early reluctance to "Play the Kid."
Josian from Jacksonville:
The season is over...this is so frustrating.
John: I guess I understand this sentiment, but I'm about as far from frustrated as possible. The Jaguars are a young team with a struggling young quarterback, but they are also a team that is clearly improved from this time last season. They have turned in four consecutive impressive defensive performances – and when could they say that last year? They also completely outplayed Miami on Sunday for a half with the exception of turnovers. When could they say that last year? I get that it's frustrating in the short term, but there are good signs for the long term. Roll your eyes at the sentence if you like, but there it is.
Eric from Long Beach:
Field-goal protection is HIGHLY suspect.
John: This was the weekly First Email of the Game … yeah, pretty much spot-on. It's an issue. Three blocked field goals are too many. It has to get fixed.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Missed opportunities. The team is not good enough yet to leave points after points on the field.
John: No, it is not.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436:
At what point do these interceptions turn from "rookie mistakes" to Houston, we have a problem?"
John: Certainly not when you can still call them "rookie" mistakes.
Steve from Jacksonville:
What is the mechanism for getting a quarterback to quit throwing interceptions?
John: Experience, maturity and growth … so, basically, experience.
Robert from Titusville:
Blake is looking worse every week... Starting to look like the beginning of the season was the fluke not the bad games...
John: We're five games in … five.
Travis from Jacksonville:
O Man, oh, how we manage to give games away. In your opinion what can be done differently?
John: We could fast forward the clock ahead a year. That's when Blake Bortles will have 21 starts under his belt as opposed to five, and when this young offense will have experienced linemen and receivers rather than rookies. The Jaguars drove the ball very well throughout the first half. They also hurt themselves significantly after those drives and were unable to finish. Those are not the earmarks of an untalented group with no potential for improvement. Those are, in fact, the earmarks of a group with the ability to move the ball but without the experience to finish drives. It gets tiresome hearing it, I'm sure. I even get tired of writing it. But it's the reality of this team right now. It's not going to be a veteran offense with experienced playmakers overnight. There are going to be growing pains, but the encouraging signs on offense far outweigh the negatives right now, and it's not close.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Well, I think the "Start Bortles" bandwagon is on fire. That didn't take long for him to be a bust.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
It has become quite obvious Bortles has plateaued and is no longer progressing. Averaging more than two interceptions per game with four returned for touchdowns is unacceptable. Gus needs to stop the coddling and pull him when he makes those dumb mistakes. Its one thing to know you made a mistake; it's another to learn not to do it again. To this point he is not learning; his mistakes have caused three potential wins to be losses. There is no doubt that he is the future of the franchise, but until he learns that these mistakes are NOT OK he needs to spend some time on the bench. We have known since the beginning he would make mistakes. Gus said that one of his strengths was his ability to recognize his mistakes and not make the same over again. That has been proven to be wrong. His ability to shrug of his mistakes and move on has become a detriment. He is not learning from them. Don't you think a little down time might aid the process and give him more perspective?