JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi, John. I really feel the quality of our offensive line is much higher than the quality of the run blocking. Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Linder and A.J. Cann should be solid; left guard, not as much – and Jermey Parnell at least has continuity. Not saying a real good line – but better than their production. I sure hope Nathaniel Hackett sees something that will improve the run game.
John: This is one of the key areas to watch in the coming weeks. I say "coming weeks" and not Sunday because I don't know that you'll see the totality of what Hackett wants to do offensively in just one game. Still, the change in coordinator is perhaps the best chance to see if this line indeed can improve as a run-blocking unit. The line actually has pass blocked well this season – well enough, certainly, for the passing offense to function at a higher level. But the running offense with rare exceptions hasn't worked this season. Is that simply because the unit can't run block? Should the offense be more committed to it? Can Hackett find down-and-distance situations from which to run that can give the Jaguars more success? Those are some questions that should get answered in the coming weeks.
Damien from Jacksonville:
John, I have heard it reported that Blake Bortles will have to learn his third new offense in three years. I also believe I remember you saying a lot of the differences between new playbooks involve the language that is used. Is there any reason why teams don't develop their own team language and require new hires (offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator or coach) to learn the team language? Would it not be easier to have the new offensive coordinator learn the team language as opposed to having the entire offense learn a new language? I assume there is a reason as to why teams do not do it this way, but I am having trouble thinking of why. Thanks!
John: There are a couple of reasons. One is that a coordinator essentially would have to rewrite and retranslate an entire playbook upon arrival with a team, something that would add to the complexity of the situation as opposed to simplifying it. Making the changes also would cause time to be spent on minutiae and details rather than teaching the playbook. Perhaps the biggest reason you wouldn't force a "Team Language" is you would significantly cut down your coordinator pool of candidates. If a coordinator had a choice between a team at which he could use his own playbook/language system and one at which he had to "translate" his system into the verbiage of another team, he almost certainly would opt for the place where he could use his own system.
Travis from Daytona:
John: Sure. Why not?
Jesse from Jacksonville:
Why is it that our coaches fail to realize that the only thing hurting our team is that they're not allowing Blake Bortles to be Blake Bortles? Isn't it evident by now that he's clearly uncomfortable trying to change his mechanics style?
John: Your email indicates that Jaguars coaches are somehow forcing Bortles to change his mechanics against his will. Nothing could be further from the truth. Coaches really don't care how a quarterback throws if the passes are effective and accurate. That hasn't been the case with Bortles. Also, it's Bortles who in two-plus seasons in the NFL has focused on mechanics – and with reason. He knew upon entering the league they were – and perhaps – always would be an issue on which he had to focus. He has worked hard on this front at times in his career – and there have been times that diligence has produced results. He got some work in this area again this week – sort of a touch-up, if you will. We'll see if that touch-up has the desired effect.
Adam from Lynbrook, NY:
Sometimes I hate that I love this team.
John: I know.
Kevin from Section 115 and Jacksonville Beach, FL:
John, do you recall the comment by Aaron Ross that playing in Jacksonville was like taking a one-year vacation? The attitude of some of the current players seems to be on that same level. Not that they think they are on vacation, but that the effort just doesn't seem to be above par. Too many mental mistakes. Let's hope the game in Kansas City shows improvement in that area. I'd really like to see them turn this thing around. Go Jags!!
John: I do remember the Ross comment … who could forget? It would be hard to make an argument that the second quarter of the Titans game was a Hallmark of Effort for this team – particularly defensively – but for the most part this season I haven't seen effort as being an issue. Concentration? Discipline? Focus? Yes, yes, yes – but not effort.
John from Cape May, NJ:
You want people to stop booing? Then play better. Oh … and win.
Chad from EverBank:
As I understand it, this weekend is not an automatic loss for us. It'll be tough, but aren't NFL games supposed to be? The Chiefs have some key players scheduled to be sidelined this week. This is as good a week as any for our team to come together and pull out a win.
John: You know what, Chad? You're right that it's not an automatic loss. But I'd be disingenuous to say it's not one of the toughest tasks of the Gus Bradley era. The Chiefs make few mistakes, and you have to earn victories against them. The Jaguars have struggled in key areas in recent weeks and have done little to nothing to make you think they're going to change that. It's exceedingly tough to win at Arrowhead Stadium and pretty much all stories around the Jaguars right now are slanted toward off-field stuff to the degree that it's hard to imagine there's not some level of distraction. If the Jaguars win this game, it would be one of the more surprising victories I've seen in some time. On the one hand, that means it's a difficult task. On the other hand, it gives them one more opportunity to come together as a team and pull out an impressive victory. This team hasn't taken advantage of those sorts of opportunities. Perhaps this weekend will be that time.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
I'm not saying we are going to win, but I think between Bortles working with his own quarterbacks coach and the new offensive coordinator I feel excited and think we are going to play pretty good.
John: That's the hope.
Dakota from Dupree, SD:
Zone, more pass rush would really help this defense. Not making stupid personal foul penalties would also really help. The second one is on coaching. How about the first? Someone needs to start getting to the quarterback.
John: I agree that the personal foul penalties must be coached out of this team. Let's see if that can start Sunday. As for the pass rush, while the defense hasn't gotten enough pressure, a hu-u-u-u-u-uuge factor in that has been the Jaguars' inability to get a lead. I don't think this defense would be putting up legendary sacks numbers if it played with leads, but it's awfully hard to generate pass rush when the opposing offense isn't in a situation in which it has to pass.
Royce from Jacksonville:
What is the difference between a struggling quarterback and a bad one?
John: A struggling quarterback figures out why he's struggling and improves. A bad one doesn't. Which one is Blake Bortles? Time will tell.
Shawn from Waverly:
Not a question John just my thoughts. I wouldn't even hire you to taste pies.
John: How fortuitous for both of us. First, no one would give you hiring power – and second, I hate pie.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Seriously, O-man: other teams may have more wins, but we have you making this O-Zone for us every day. Other teams wish they had something as reliable, long-lasting and entertaining with even half as much information as you put out for us Jags fans. One for O-Zone!
O-Zone: None fer Zone
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL: