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O-Zone: Money is cool

CHICAGO – Let's get to it … Mike from Navarre, OH:
Why do we suck?
John: I nearly bypassed this question. I reconsidered because the Jaguars over the past several seasons have made it a legitimate topic. The truth is the Jaguars indeed were bad without much hope of being better in 2013 and 2014. That happened because the talent level was low enough that it was nearly impossible to realistically compete with a lot of teams. They were a bit better in 2015, but not good consistently enough on offense or good enough at all on defense to make the push for .500 many fans expected. They weren't good enough last season on offense largely because of youth and they weren't good enough on defense largely because Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell hadn't had time to build that side of the ball adequately. That brings us to this season. The Jaguars are 1-3 through the first month largely because of a horrible game in San Diego and two missed opportunities at home against Green Bay and Baltimore. That 0-3 start is haunting the team and the Jaguars need to win in October to recover from it. If they continue to improve defensively and they get more consistent play from the quarterback position, then I think the Jaguars can win two or three of their next four games. If that happens, perhaps the perception that the Jaguars "suck" will change. Stay tuned.
Roy from Orange Park, FL:
I'm not questioning the move, but, why Patrick Omameh over Chris Reed? I'm just curious?
John: He has experience starting in the NFL at guard. He also played well given the opportunity in London. He earned the opportunity to see if he can continue playing well.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
What tools does Shad Khan use to evaluate the effectiveness of his coaching staff? Does he have someone that knows game situations evaluate Gus's decisions, schemes, and game plans to provide him a score? If not, this is something he severely needs. If so, he needs to fire that person and get someone better in the position.
John: Khan like any NFL owner has people who advise him on such things, and Khan is smart enough that I trust he is wise in choosing the people to whom he listens. As far as analyzing the ins and outs of every scheme, decision and game plan … look, this has become an issue almost like politics. Those who support Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley aren't likely to be swayed and those who don't support him are likely equally unswayable. We understandably have reached a stage where there are people who assume all that ails the Jaguars is the head coach. The "understandably" part stems from people being tired of losing. The only thing that will change minds is winning, and that's fine because coaches are always judged that way in the NFL. If the Jaguars don't progress this season in a manner Khan finds acceptable I'm sure Bradley will not return as coach. If they do, I'm sure he will.
John from Ramsey, NJ:
Although he never played up to expectations as a Jaguar, you never want to see bad news about our players. I read the headlines just now that Quentin Groves passed away in his sleep due to cardiac arrest. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children. May God comfort them in their sorrow and may Quentin rest in peace.
John: Agreed. I never knew or covered Groves, but 32 is too young. May he rest in peace.
Evan from Honolulu, HI:
Hey O, with both Greene and Grant being questionable for this weekend's game, who do you foresee replacing them as our kick and punt returners?? And if you were able to only have one ready to play, who would it be and why? Go Jags!
John: Bryan Walters will return punts Sunday if Rashad Greene can't play and it remains to be seen who will return kickoffs. The latter is a role Denard Robinson has played in the past, but Bradley when asked on Friday declined to specify who would return kicks. If I had to choose between Greene and Grant, I would choose Greene. He also plays a role as a reserve receiver and he has made more big plays at his respective return position.
Alton from Orlando, FL:
What in the heck does DTWD mean? I hear and see everyone using it but me … thanks, John.
John: This is actually good question. I have been saying and writing it for nearly five years simply because everyone else does. Following the crowd blindly without regard for the ramifications of my actions has gotten me this far in life, so why stop now?
Jerry from Italia, FL:
Zone, just voted for the Pro Bowl and noticed some things on the ballot. Who places players on the ballot – the team, the NFL or you?
John: The NFL does it, but blame me. Everyone else does.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL:
What exactly does it mean – if anything – when a commentator says a particular head coach was "out-coached?" Is it that one team's coach better evaluates another team's strengths and weaknesses, and plans accordingly? In your opinion, John, have there been games when it appeared that Gus Bradley was out-coached?
John: I am asked this often, and the truth is there are absolutely times any head coach is out-coached." It's just as true there are times when players are outplayed. The problem is defining which is which in a sport with so many interdependent parts. It is vogue to say Bradley and the Jaguars' coaching staff has been out-coached this year, and many point to the fourth quarter of the Baltimore and Green Bay games as examples. The Jaguars had possession three times inside the 50 against Baltimore and scored three points. Many cite the late-game play-calling in that game and Green Bay as examples of poor coaching. And you know what? Maybe the staff was out-coached. I understand that stance. I also wonder if the offense had converted a fourth-and-1 against Green Bay and if the offense had converted its opportunities against Baltimore if anyone would be questioning coaching. If those conversions had been made, the Jaguars quite possibly would be 3-1 and it's quite likely people would be talking about the wonderful job the coaches are doing. This is not to say the Jaguars' coaches are flawless. They're not. It's merely to point out that while it's easy to blame coaching for all that ails a football team there are often many factors that play into it – and the difference in perception on this issue often is determined by less clear-cut factors than many believe.
John from Jacksonville:
I think an increase of Blake Bortles leaving the pocket and folding in some fast-tempo offense (the offense seems to excel at both) will have a winning formula going forward. Do you think we'll see more fast-tempo, no-huddle offense?
John: I think the Jaguars are to the point they have to try it.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, after the Denver "D" did such a great job last year and Wade Phillips was named Defensive Coach of the Year, he said he adapts the system to the players. Gus and Todd seem to be wed to the Leo/Otto system regardless of the personnel. Is this not counter-intuitive to good coaching?
John: The Jaguars' defense appears to be playing well for the most part so far this season. I suppose we should see if that continues before we call what they're doing on that side of the ball counter-intuitive to good coaching.
Rob from Jacksonville:
But I thought Jack didn't have the skill set to play Otto …
John: This is a good point. He really doesn't. He's a little small for what the Jaguars typically want from the position. Instead, the Jaguars' coaching staff is showing some flexibility and trying to get their best players on the field. That should help a defense that already is starting to show good progress play even better. We'll see.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
I have not heard Sen'Derrick's name much during games. How do you think he has been performing this year?
John: Good – at times, very good.
Roger from Jacksonville:
Note to the NFL: Please, PLEASE just stop with the "Color Rush" nonsense. Just. STOP. Every one of these monochromatic abominations has been a hideous assault on the eyes and an insult to the dignity of professional football. For the love of everything sacred to fans of this magnificent game, please just stop.
John: I liked the Chargers' uniforms Thursday. I liked the Jaguars' gold uniforms last season, too. And however you and I feel about the Color Rush uniforms, I fear your memo will go unheeded. Enough people like enough of the colors that they will buy merchandise with the colors and their team logos on them. That means making money. NFL teams think that's cool. They like it.

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