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O-Zone: Looking long-term

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . John from Jacksonville:
Do you think it is time for the Jaguars to move on from Blaine Gabbert permanently? He has no pocket presence, is always injured and you never feel like he is ever going to be a leader out on the field. Can we please for once agree on the obvious: Gabbert should not be on this team?
John: There has been more of this in the in-box today than normal. That's understandable. Very understandable. Sunday wasn't good for Gabbert, and in fact, it was bad more than it was good. He made at least three really big-time throws – a 28-yarder to Cecil Shorts III and a 67-yarder to Justin Blackmon among them – but far too often he also made crucial mistakes. On Sunday, he really struggled with pocket presence, particularly in the second quarter. I long have said that Gabbert isn't completely to blame for the Jaguars' offensive problems, but I have never beaten a drum saying he was a future franchise quarterback. He must play a lot better going forward than he did Sunday. I don't know that he can. He hasn't shown it. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that on Sunday, Bradley said Gabbert will start if healthy and that he didn't plan to remove Gabbert until the hamstring injury in the third quarter. So, as far as Bradley is concerned, Gabbert is the starter moving forward.
George from Key West, FL:
Do you think Gabbert would even get picked up by an NFL if he was released this week?
John: Yes.
David from Jacksonville:
If you can still honestly say there is no possible chance of this team going 0-16 this year then I would have to call you ignorant. It is a very real possibility, John. Believe it or not. There will continue to be something that pops up every week that holds this team back whether it be turnovers or what-have-you. Oh, and if Gabbert is starting against Denver, I won't be watching.
John: Ah, the difference between what is read and what is written. I never said there was no possible chance of this team going 0-16. Of course, there's a chance. Until a team wins, there is always a chance it won't win. When asked if it will happen, I say no and I don't believe it will. But of course, there's a chance. There's always a chance.
Chris from Jacksonville:
I'll take the blame for this loss. They started out really strong. I was impressed. I said, "Wow, they are playing pretty well." At that point, it all went off the rails. My fault. Blame me. I was really impressed by the playmaking, cohesiveness, and general decent football playing that was on tap there for a while though . . .
John: We can share the blame. I thought they were playing well, too.
Andrew from Peachtree City, GA:
If you were Dave Caldwell, would you be regretting the Monroe trade right about now?
John: No. The Monroe trade wasn't about Games 6-16 of the 2013 NFL season. The Monroe trade was about 2014-2018.
Beau from Mountain Home, Idaho:
How bad is it, O-Man? Will Joeckel be the same player after this? Wishing him a speedy recovery.
John: I heard nothing on Sunday to indicate the fractured ankle sustained by Luke Joeckel was career-threating or career-altering.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, AR:
I find it frustrating that when a team is 0-4 and down 14 points they will celebrate. Case in point is Branch's windmill dance after the quarterback fell on his own. Try celebrating because of a win, not an individual achievement.
John: Yeah, I didn't think much of the windmill dance. A lot of fans didn't, either. It didn't show an incredible amount of self-awareness at that particular time.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
Wow, what an impressive accomplishment. The fourth-and-2 call was brilliant and shows how bright the future is for all Jaguar fans. We are so lucky to have David Caldwell and all his great accomplishments building our team into the biggest laughing stock of all time.
John: #Standunited
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
It was a rough day, John – to have Justin Blackmon on your fantasy bench. Luckily, I started Cecil, who did quite well also. It was exciting to see those out there together, they make each other better.
John: You know what? You make a good point. I have no idea how Blackmon and Shorts did in the fantasy world, but Blackmon did show he is significantly improved from last year. He's better than I anticipated him being this season and if he stays on the field, he can be a go-to guy. That would be a huge thing.
Tony from Jacksonville:
I've been a Gabbert supporter since 2009. That being said, I'd like to state that I don't believe the quarterback of the future is on this roster. Am I speaking too soon?Perhaps not. Time will tell.
John: Perhaps not. Time will tell.
Steve from Jacksonville:
So, explain the fourth-down goal line sequence to me. On fourth and goal from the five, you take the field goal. Then, on fourth and goal from the 2 1/2, you go for it, which makes me think that he liked his chances better being 2 1/2 yards closer, but then why throw the ball? You could have run the same play from the 5-yard line. Explain O-Man!
John: It's a good question. The answer lies in the down and distance. On fourth-and-5, the defense assumes you're going to throw, so they play defense in a certain way. On fourth-and-2, you're more apt to get single coverage and favorable matchups on the outside because the defense must respect the run.
John from Savannah, GA:
I think the majority of quarterbacks who are currently on NFL rosters can "make all the throws." The difference is that only a few do, and many don't. Blaine don't.
John: This line of questioning began with a question about why Denard Robinson isn't playing quarterback, and my response was that Gabbert is capable of making all throws necessary in the NFL while Robinson is not that sort of passer. It was not meant to say that Gabbert has executed all of those throws at a consistently high level.
Dane from Savannah, GA:
John, thanks for addressing the most popular buzz word among the Jaguars fan base: "excuses." I, for one, see factors such as injuries, suspensions, and even getting outplayed on Sundays as realities of a building team. Sure, we're delving into semantics here but I don't see Caldwell and Bradley (or any team leader for that matter) as being men who look for reasons to justify poor play. We're building for the long haul and that'll take time. There will be hiccups along the way, and even though I think the majority of fans get that, the word "excuses" doesn't seem to have a place in the Jaguars organization. Anyways, again I was glad to read your take on that as well.
John: There is a difference between excuses and reasons. When people are frustrated they tend to read reasons as an excuses and that's OK. There often is a difference between what is read and what is written.
Jason from Colorado Springs, CO:
You have constantly stated that David Caldwell and Gus Bradley need to see what they have in BG. Honestly speaking, though, would this still be the case if Blaine Gabbert wasn't a first-round pick? And if not, why isn't this the case with other positions?
John: I have no idea how it would be approached if Gabbert had been drafted in the third round. He was drafted in the first round because of his physical ability and talent, which is difficult to find. That same physical ability and talent is why the Jaguars want to see what they have this season.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
John I think part of the frustration with starting over again is we have not hired a GM or Coach who has been successful at his new position. I am certainly hopeful they are the right guys ... but I need to see progress and so far this year we have gone backwards.
John: I understand the frustration. The only way to hire a general manager or a head coach who has been successful is to hire ones who probably also have failed enough to be fired. There are plenty of successful general managers and coaches who succeed in their first jobs, and past success is zero indication of future success. Yes, this is frustrating. Yes, it's difficult. But it's also part of the process.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
John, A couple thoughts: I feel embarrassed for Gus and Caldwell. This team sucks.
John: You may feel embarrassed for them, and that's fine. People will feel what they want to feel. But Bradley and Caldwell aren't embarrassed. They understood what this team was coming in. Would they love to have won a game? Sure. Are they shocked they haven't? Probably not. Does it cause them to doubt the plan? No. Absolutely not. The results this season have no bearing on the long-term plan.

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