JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jason from St. Augustine, FL:
Why has the Jaguars' offensive-line play diminished in the second half of the season? They are pretty healthy and seemingly overachieved early on. Same guys, different results. What gives? And do you agree that we still need two guards and maybe right-tackle competition?
John: I actually don't know that the Jaguars' offensive line has diminished all that much in the second half of the season. The reality is this hasn't been a dominant running team at any point this season, and quarterback Blake Bortles has avoided a lot of sacks all season with his escapability. This is not to say the line hasn't been good at times, but I haven't seen a major drop off in play in the last couple of months. As far as the future at the position, I think the Jaguars definitely need to upgrade left guard in the offseason and I believe they will try to create competition at right guard. At right tackle, Jermey Parnell has played well at times this season. I don't know that that spot is in dire need of an upgrade, though there won't be many positions on offense that the team doesn't study closely in the offseason to determine the best course moving forward.
Robert from Section 204:
Playing football in January is like Christmas all over again!! Instead of reading about coaches being let go, new coaches being hired and signing players to future contracts we get to read about injury reports, matchups and weather. It's like the season never ended! I hope it continues for a few more weeks!!! Woooooo!!!!!!
John: There's a reason it's like the season never ended. It's because the season hasn't ended. Oh, and: "Woo to you, too."
Mark from Green Bay, WI:
O, know what's cool? Living in Green Bay and having Packers fans wish me luck on the game. Know what's even cooler? Having Steelers fans (friends) tell me they're worried about the game.
John: It makes sense Steelers fans are worried. The Jaguars are clearly good enough to get a lead in this game, and the defense is more than good enough to win this game if the Jaguars get a lead. The Jaguars showed in October they can beat the Steelers. The Jaguars shouldn't be favored Sunday, but neither should they be overlooked.
Paul from Newtok, Alaska:
Does the head coach have a secret plan against the Pittsburgh Steelers? If the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Steelers this weekend, it will be the biggest upset of this century. Would you agree?
John: The Jaguars beating the Steelers would be an upset, but it would hardly be one of biblical proportion. The Jaguars, remember, beat the Steelers in the regular season. They are perfectly capable of winning Sunday. And yes, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has a secret plan against the Steelers. He's going to—
Steve from Upper Tract, WV:
How will you feel Sunday if the Jaguars lose? Will you be upset, aggravated and disappointed to the point where you don't even want to talk about it for a week? Sometimes, I think you have lost your ability to connect with the fans' emotion that they have for their team. Being an objective reporter for so long has caused you to lose touch with the fans and how they feel after your team has lost. It just seems sometimes you are condescending towards the fans and their emotions.
John: I'm well aware of how fans feel when their teams lose. I grew up an avid fan of many teams, and was fortunate enough to experience the range of emotions from the unabashed, unreasonable joy of victory and the unreasonable agony of defeat. But, no: I will not feel like a fan feels Sunday for the simple reason that I am not a fan. My job is not to be a fan. If you want to read or hear how fans feel about the Jaguars there are plenty of places where you can go to read such things. Or you can talk to fellow Jaguars fans. There are plenty of fans on Twitter and Facebook and other outlets to share in that misery. If the Jaguars lose, I will be disappointed for the fans and for a lot of people who I like and respect – players, coaches and front-office personnel – who I would like to see succeed. As for being condescending, I am not and will never be condescending toward how fans feel about their team and the emotions that come with winning and losing. I do reserve the right to act condescending if the mood strikes, though. Sometimes fans' opinions on things or things they state as fact are so far removed from logic and reality as to make a condescending remark appropriate. Besides, being condescending sometimes is fun. And it makes me laugh. And I like to laugh.
John from Jacksonville:
Is there any chance the Jags get in the mix for Jimmy G this off season?
John: What "mix?" I'm not being facetious or condescending, because goodness knows that's not right. I just don't know about any mix.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
It seems as if there will be a lot of very good free-agent quarterbacks available this offseason. Case Keenum, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith (via trade perhaps), A.J. McCarron, and either Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford. If these guys become available and the Jags don't go out and get one of them, there will be an uproar from the fans. I have not met a single Jags fan who thinks Blake Bortles is better than any of these guys. The Jags need to make upgrading that position their No. 1 priority and strike now while the iron is hot. Bortles is pure trash doo doo. Pure and simple. Anybody that doesn't see this has their head buried in the sand.
John: Your boldness is impressive, though perhaps unsurprisingly not entirely accurate. That's OK. It happens. There's time to discuss this subject in detail after the team finishes the season, and I have little doubt we will discuss it and discuss it and discuss it. A couple of quick thoughts as an overview: One is that you haven't met all Jaguars fans and it's pretty apparent you haven't met close to all of them. Another is that avoiding "an uproar" from the fans won't be nor should it be an offseason priority. I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings, but that's how it is. Still another is that I'd be shocked if all of the quarterbacks on your list are available in the offseason because quality quarterbacks are often re-signed. Finally, there are certainly quarterbacks on your list who aren't a clear upgrade over Bortles. And what is striking, too, is how many of the quarterbacks on your list will be watching Bortles play Sunday. I'm not saying that makes Bortles better than those quarterbacks, but it should probably be factored into whatever decisions are made this offseason.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
How are the Jaguars going to prepare for a potential matchup with the NFL's No. 1 offense in the New England Patriots?
John: By preparing for and playing the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Elijah from Tallahassee, FL:
Hey Jonny O, Jags will go in and beat Ben and the Steelers. No doubt the Killers Bs are great but we have B spray in our No. 1 defense. Look at it this way: we ended the career of one Hall of Famer so now it's time to do it again! Your thoughts? #GoJags #DTWD
John: My thoughts are I don't see Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retiring when he is playing as well as he has this season, but my thoughts are also that the Jaguars can win this game. I can't call them the favorites, and I do believe the weather/home-field advantage will be the difference for the Steelers. But if the Jaguars can withstand what almost certainly will be a major energy rush early and get a lead, then I think they can win.
Eduardo from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Blake Bortles has been on the injury report with a right wrist issue for most of the season. Am I grasping straws to ask if that could have had something to do with his performance against Buffalo?
John: Yes, you are. Bortles actually has been on the report with the issue all 17 games this season, so if it was an issue against Buffalo then it was an issue when he had good games against Baltimore, Seattle, Indianapolis and so on and so on and so on …
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
John, do you guarantee a Jags win on Sunday? Thank you for all your hard work.
John: No. You're welcome.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
O-man, Did Jalen say he doesn't watch film? What a legend.
John: Jalen Ramsey did say on Thursday said he doesn't watch film at home at night. I don't know if that makes him a legend, but if you want him to be legendary, go with it.
O-Zone: Legendary stuff
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jason from St. Augustine, FL: