INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s get to it …
Kevin from Jacksonville
So, John ... what changed with Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles? We didn't seek to replace him when he was a sub-60-percent passer who threw too many picks in 2016. We didn't seek to replace him when he was a 60-percent passer who threw picks at a higher rate in 2017. But now that he's missing a left tackle and we botched our running back, tight end and wide receiver signings it looks like Bortles may not be the guy? What was our front office looking at when they continued to put all our eggs in the Bortles basket? And before we bring up 2017's success ... imagine if we had one of the multitude of better quarterback options that have been available over the last few years.
The Jaguars’ front-office officials the past couple of offseasons didn’t view their actions as putting “all of their eggs in the Bortles basket.” They viewed it as having a bunch of eggs – i.e., wide receivers, running backs and tight ends – in a basket along with the quarterback. There wasn’t the thought this past offseason that Bortles was “The Guy;” there was a thought that he was a guy who could be better than a lot of other quarterbacks and be part of a bunch of effective guys on offense. That approach worked with a comparatively healthy offense last season; it hasn’t worked this season. That’s the difference. As for the difference if the Jaguars had one of the “multitude” of better options … yeah, there were quarterbacks who were “available” who were better than Bortles in recent offseasons. A couple would have been real differences and many probably wouldn’t have been big differences at all.
Joel from Yulee, FL
How do we know what color the dinosaurs were when all we have to go by is the bones we have found? Methinks they were all teal. #DTWD
Mason from Palm Beach, FL
Coaches with an offensive background normally have a good offense. Coaches with defensive backgrounds have a good defense. So how is our former offensive line player/coach fielding such a terrible offensive line? Just curious what value his "expertise" adds.
Doug Marrone is the Jaguars’ head coach. Pat Flaherty is the Jaguars’ offensive line coach. Marrone spends little time specifically with the offensive line because he’s focused on running the team, and he certainly is not focused on the line in practice. As such, Marrone’s influence on the offensive line is minimal at best.
Chris from Nashville, TN
Do you take a chance on Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor in free agency given a "weak" quarterback draft class? You have the advantage of knowing exactly what you are getting (an upgrade to BB5). On the flip side, I could see someone like Kyler Murray or Will Grier being a success in the NFL with a lot of upside assuming they are allowed to develop.
My thought as of now – with eight games remaining in the regular season – is that there’s a chance the Jaguars could go a different direction at quarterback after the season. The final half of the season could change that, but that’s the way I would lean now. I would be surprised if the Jaguars signed a free-agent quarterback such as Bridgewater or Taylor with the idea that he’s a long-term solution, and the decision to sign such a player likely would depend on what the player was drawing on the open market. My guess at this point would be the Jaguars drafting a quarterback with Bortles perhaps starting the season and the rookie playing when ready. That’s a guess. We’ll see.
Ray from Jacksonville
John: if you assume only so much cap space can be devoted to one position, doesn’t that make it more likely the quarterback position will have to be addressed through the draft?
That’s my thought as of now.
Sonja from Wiesbaden, Germany
Really, John? Nothing better than same old "replace Blake Bortles" in your inbox? Sure, Kessler could score. When he came in, all of a sudden the drive went forward, receivers did actually catch again (!) and us fans got to see a touchdown. They did well for, what … all of ten minutes? Honestly, I expected to see BB back in the fourth quarter. When you start overthinking, you need a break. Then come back and do better. At least you keep the opposing defence on tiptoes like that. (Wow, now I am one of the people offering advice on coaching AND discussing quarterback … again! Well, sue me.) Seriously, sometimes I think people watch different games than I. Whatever, maybe we can just look forward and focus on the next game. Well, ask me again about that tomorrow night (CET).
Tom from Jacksonville
What everyone seems to miss is that the biggest problem with Bortles is not his "mistakes" or "throwing motion," it's what he does not do. As a fifth-year veteran, he should be picking apart defenses with scheme and anticipating receives being open before they are. No one’s talked about the plays where he missed the receiver as in didn't even give them a chance. This is what we are missing BIG TIME.
Don from Lake Mary, FL and Section 35 Since Day 2
Just like the reported demise of the Jaguars’ defense, the amount of blame toward Head Coach Doug Marrone and the coaching staff is wa-a-a-a-y ridiculously wrong. As discussed in this forum the few days, the Jags’ No. 1 reason for a 3-5 record is a minus-11 turnover ratio. The coaches aren’t turning the ball over or failing to create turnovers; the players own that problem! All you have to do is watch the game and you can see that some players such as Telvin Smith, (let’s start with him), Myles Jack, A.J. Bouye, Jalen Ramsey, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, Andrew Norwell and the offensive line and Bortles – of course (though he’s not the main problem) aren’t getting it done or playing as well as they did last year. Add in all the injuries and the coaches have a hot mess on their hands. Whether winning or losing it’s players, not plays. The only way to turn this season around is for the players to play better....period! I would ask you a question now but I already know what your response will be.
When teams lose, coaches get blamed. Coordinators typically get blamed first because play-calling is easy to question; head coaches get blamed next because eventually fans tire of blaming coordinators. The coaches and coordinators certainly aren’t without responsibility for the season’s results, but the coaches seemed to do OK last season and early this season when the team was healthy. Just imagine.
Steve from the Sunroom Coach
Dear John, will the '19 season be the year that it all finally clicks for No. 5?
Bortles will be in his sixth NFL season next season. It probably won’t “all click” at any point. Bortles improved last season in many areas – including in-play decision-making and pre-snap decisions. He hasn’t been as good in those areas this season. Then again, a lot of areas offensively haven’t been as good for the Jaguars this season.
John from Jacksonville
Do you think winning each remaining quarter with 3-1 records with a win against the Titans, Texans, and a split with the Colts gets us a wild-card berth this season?
RAS from Jacksonville
Hey, O: I know you run to set up the pass, but what's wrong in passing to set up the run, since that is what the Jags want to do? You know what happened when they ran Leonard Fournette 11 times. He had to come out of the game and several more games. Does Hackett have any finesse to his plan like other offensive coordinators? Or is he too predictable? No planned quarterback runs, no trick plays, no reverses. Everyone knows if Fournette is in, he's running and if not, they'll pass!
I don’t quite know how to identify a “finesse” game plan. I do know the Jaguars have run Bortles with planned runs. They have run reverses. It’s very possible the Jaguars will pass to set up the run Sunday; it’s quite likely, after all, that the Indianapolis Colts will stack the box to stop running back Leonard Fournette and a run-heavy offense. If those plays work, I imagine people will praise offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for a “finesse,” creative game plan. If they don’t work, he will be criticized as an idiot. Because it’s always coaching in the NFL. Always.
Paul from Section 148
O Man! How do the Packers do it? Green Bay is the smallest market, right? Why can't we be the Green Bay of the AFC?
Yes, they can. How? Exist for nearly 100 years, have a slew of iconic players and win world championships across multiple eras.
Mark from Prescott, AZ
We will WIN!!! Guaranteed.