O-Zone: Nine days away

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Regardless of how everyone feels about Gus Bradley in 100 years, when they look at the archives they will not see your point of view. They are going to see a bad coach. Not that he is, but what determines that perception is his record. Nothing personal to the person. No stories. Just the record. That's the way it works in the NFL. As much as you like someone and want to see them have success, you cannot defend not winning. Gus Bradley is directly responsible for the Jaguars' poor performance because he is in charge. Everyone wanted this to work, but it is not close – not even a sniff close. Go Jags!
John: You are absolutely correct – and Bradley's tenure undoubtedly will be judged harshly based on the record and the performance. There is no other way to judge it, and there is nothing incorrect nor mean nor harsh about fans disliking Bradley as a coach – or about wanting Bradley fired. There's also nothing harsh about fans blaming Bradley and coaching for the record. That's how most people judge it, and that's how fans/owners/media long have judged coaches – because it's the most measurable gauge, and because winning is what matters in the NFL. Still, when I am asked questions, I try to answer as honestly and accurately as possible – and I usually try to not answer by simply citing a statistic or a record. So, when I am asked questions that ask me to "admit" that Bradley is an awful coach and when those questions cite his 14-47 record as evidence that he is the worst coach of all-time, I'm not going to say I agree with that … because I don't agree with that. I also don't agree that Bradley/coaching is the predominant reason the Jaguars are 2-11 this season. Have there been too many penalties this season? Yes. Have the Jaguars looked undisciplined because of that at times? Yes. Are there times throughout his career that I've disagreed with Bradley on clock-management points? Yes. But I've seen many, many other teams win through penalties and the occasional clock-management snafu. There were times I disagreed with Tom Coughlin's clock management and the man is a phenomenal head coach – possibly a Hall-of-Fame coach. I can't write that Bradley is an elite head coach because there's no evidence to suggest that, and it's very possible that a few better decisions might have won the Jaguars a game or two throughout his career. But is he the overwhelming reason that this franchise has won 14 games and lost 47 in his career? No. He will get blamed for it and there may be offseason change because of it, but that won't change my view.
John from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Four years ago today, the Jaguars were 2-11. New owner, new general manager, new head coach and revamped roster – and the Jaguars are 2-11. Success in the NFL is measured by the number of wins. To date, the Khan/Caldwell/Bradley era has to be judged as a total failure. Does winning any of the remaining games change this view?
John: I have no control how anyone views or judges things, but considering the preseason expectations for this season, I doubt most people realistically will see 5-11 as being all that different from 2-14.
Justin from Jacksonville:
The Texans are at this very moment leading our division and have a real chance to make the playoffs. Yet, the Jags have scored more points (240 to 229), gained more yards (4324 to 4109) and allowed fewer yards on defense (4113 to 4141). Not to mention Blake Bortles has a better rating and seven more touchdown throws then Brock Osweiler. What it boils down to? Turnovers, John. Nasty, ugly, sickening turnovers.
John: Yes, there is that.
Zac from Gainesville, FL:
I understand that the entire team is frustrated. It also looks like the receivers have grown increasingly frustrated with Blake. A-Rob and Blake don't appear to be on the same page or maybe even the same book. Maybe I am reading into things, but A-Rob from his body language and facial expressions following errant passes looks like he is over having BB5 as his QB. What are your thoughts on this, O-man?
John: I think Robinson is frustrated with pretty much the entire season and the entire offense. I think Bortles is frustrated with the entire season and the entire offense. Neither player's body language has been great all the time this season, and certainly I think when you've misfired and as often as Bortles and Robinson have this season, there is going to be some frustration with everything. Considering that Robinson has dropped quite a few catchable passes and considering Bortles has missed quite a few complete-able passes, I think it would be more than a little understandable if somewhere deep, deep inside both were a li-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ttle frustrated with the other once in a while.
Jay from Gainesville, FL:
I honestly feel like Myles Jack would be a better fit as a hybrid strong-safety linebacker and Dante Fowler Jr. should be the strong-side linebacker. The way Poz is playing, he has two more solid years left in the tank, and we can draft a MLB by then … your thoughts?
John: I think it's too early to give up on Dante Fowler Jr. as a pass rusher, and because I sort of doubt the Jaguars move to a 3-4, I imagine that will mean Fowler staying at defensive end. I don't think there's much question the Jaguars will have Myles Jack in more of an every-down role next season. Assuming that the scheme remains a 4-3, I could see a scenario in which Jack moves to middle linebacker with Paul Posluszny at strong-side linebacker and Telvin Smith at weak-side linebacker. This would allow you essentially to have a very good middle linebacker with a very good backup middle linebacker also starting on the strong side. We're a long way from knowing future scheme/approach. Shoot, we're a long way from knowing a lot of things about next season, but that scenario might make some sense.
Peter from Jacksonville:
Would you agree that it makes no difference to Jaguars management if they fill EverBank with fans for the opposing team or Jag fans as long as the numbers work?
John: Nope.
Daniel Since Day One from Jacksonville:
Four years of rebuilding, and the measurable success of the project is ZERO. It's a total meltdown disaster on special teams. It's ridiculously bad penalty after penalty. It's a fourth-quarter team unable to do anything against anyone (except the Bears). When David Caldwell and Gus Bradley were hired, we all had high hopes but I pointed out several times that the lack of experience by both of them was a weakness. They have not been able to develop together and regardless of what you or anyone else thinks … the FACT is we were a better team five years ago than we are this year, and our arrow was pointing up. We may have more talent, youth, depth and potential now, but we were a better team then. Caldwell should have changed coaches last year and maybe kept his job, but he didn't. I can't say if one or the other is the only problem, but at this point they both got to go, don't they? Caldwell is the guy who convinced the owner that hat he had a plan, and this is not the plan Shad Khan agreed to – or what he and the fans deserve. So let's start talking about coaches and general managers, please. I kind of doubt the Jaguars are going to determine who wins our division, but even if they do, who cares?
John: I haven't talked much in the O-Zone about the Jaguars' chances of determining who wins the division. That's because I understand interest in the subject among readers is pretty minimal. I haven't discussed coaches and general managers much, either, because right now the Jaguars have a coach and general manager – and while I understand readers' dissatisfaction with each it's premature to delve into replacements for either party until its clear both are going to be … you know, replaced.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL:
We are looking ahead. My question to you, my fellow Arlington alum, is this: given what we have witnessed the last eight weeks, what are we looking ahead to?
John: Krimma.

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