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O-Zone: Not on me

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Kyle from Clearwater, FL:
John, you put my feet back on the ground when you wrote about the competition the Jags have faced thus far. Before the season started, I was expecting them to be winless going into Week 6 based solely on the opponents. Who among us didn't see this coming? I assume very few. So why are we so disappointed? Because we're fans, and we come back every Sunday with hope, no matter who the opponent is.
John: Fans are supposed to feel frustrated, disappointed and a lot of other rotten, negative, cruddy feelings when their team loses. That's why Jaguars are frustrated, disappointed and a lot of rotten, negative cruddy things right now. The team is supposed to keep its eye on the big picture, and that's what General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley are doing. What am I supposed to do? Yeah, I'll admit that sometimes I wonder that, too, but this week I find myself thinking there are legitimate reasons why this team indeed can make significant strides in the coming weeks. Finding a quarterback is a big step, and it appears the Jaguars have done it. Putting pieces around that quarterback is easier when he's good. Now, that process can begin in earnest.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
You honestly think Caldwell would not trade up to get Oakland's pick?
John: I honestly haven't given it a moment's thought.
Tyler from Roswell, GA:
What do you think of Luke Joeckel's play so far? Reason to be concerned?
John: Not really. Joeckel to be honest hasn't been great and just as honestly he hasn't been bad. He is a young, talented player who is learning the details of the left tackle position. It's a difficult position to play and it takes time to reach a high level. There's no indication Joeckel isn't on his way to reaching that.
Joseph from Sacramento, CA:
When a defensive play is called is it called to cover what the coordinator thinks the offense is going to run?
John: Sometimes. Other times it's called to attack or disrupt it.
Mark from Jacksonville:
With how dreadful our secondary is, why not trade for a free safety or cornerback? And I'm a little tired of the "build-through-the-draft" argument at this point in the season because they chose not to address the secondary and it has landed us here. Not to mention waiting until next draft is essentially giving up on this season. What do we have to lose at this point? Nothing.
John: A couple of thoughts, and they're not meant to be condescending (though I have been accused of this lately). The first thought is I'm not sure too many teams are sitting around waiting to trade quality secondary players for late-round future draft picks. If there are, this is a new trend I haven't seen. Also, while the Jaguars "chose" not to address the secondary, they did so because they were addressing and drafting other positions such as quarterback, wide receiver and offensive line. (And, incidentally, cornerback in the fourth round). There's not a lot you can do to overhaul a roster during the season. Unfortunately, other teams aren't giving away good players, which sort of leaves you with the players no one really wanted. That means getting worse. I don't think anyone wants that.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
So what you are saying is that the defense played HORRIBLE against Indy, and against San Diego, they played horrible?
John: Something like that.
Mike from Section 238:
O, you had to have made up the question about re-signing MJD, right? I think he's got like 12 rushing yards and no touchdowns on the season. How much should Dave Caldwell have offered for that kind of production?
John: Amazingly enough you're incorrect. I did not have to make up the question. I opened the inbox, as I I'm wont to do, and … voila! Insight.
Robert from Appalled County:
Someone asked why we didn't re-sign MJD?!? MJD?????!!!!!!! MJD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some fans...
John: People ask questions. I answer. Who am I to judge?
Tim from Jacksonville:
For the first time in years I felt like this team lost on the West Coast because they were playing a good team, not so much because of the travel and time change. Did you feel the same way, and does that bode well for the future, especially coming back home this week?
John: You know what? I did, and I have a growing feeling that as we get away from that game and look back on the season it may be perceived that way. San Diego is really good with a good quarterback, and that was the Jaguars' first game with a rookie quarterback. Taken by itself, the result of that game was neither surprising nor disturbing. The Jaguars' secondary also picked that game to have its worst game of the season. A little improvement from that group will go a long way, and they won't play many quarterbacks on par with Philip Rivers. Stay tuned.
Kenny from Albany, NY:
O, I would love to hear who all of these armchair general managers would have signed during the offseason. Is not like Julius Peppers and Jared Allen have gotten their teams over the top. I'm also pretty sure the Saints have buyer's remorse with the Byrd man. Free agents were allowed to walk for a reason and it's not because they are heading into their prime.
John: It's not?
Tim from Jacksonville:
Don't you think it's a little disingenuous to say that drafting and developing is some brave new philosophy? We've been drafting and developing for years before Caldwell came here. Every draft pick is the most popular guy in town in his rookie year and we're all "When this guy becomes elite, watch out!" The real bar of success now for the Jaguars is if the guy is still with the team three years in. Who would have believed back in 2006 that eight years later Marcedes Lewis would be our only draft pick to reach that humble accomplishment? Wait, Tyson Alualu has also managed it. We are doomed.
John: Who in the world said it was a new philosophy? You didn't read that here. And it's not exactly news that a lot of Jaguars selections in the past haven't developed. That doesn't make it the wrong philosophy; it means you have to draft and develop better. It does make it a longer, more difficult building process, but just because it's difficult doesn't mean it's the wrong way. I'd also like to know another way to build a sustainable winner, because if there is one, I don't know it.
Steve from Woodbine, GA:
I know this whole rebuilding process has been frustrating, but how can anyone not see that this team actually made progress in the week between the Colts and the Chargers. Now let's see if that progress continues.
John: Yes, let us.
Stan from Bluffton, SC:
As a supporter of Dave and Gus, I am concerned about the "noise of discontent" that is beginning to build toward the general manager and head coach. Maybe I missed it but I have not seen the general manager on for about a month. Is the general manager beginning to distance himself from the head coach, who seems to be 100 percent in charge of the "lack-of-progress explanations?" To me, my worry is more lack of competitiveness than wins. I wonder what Mr. Khan is thinking?
John: Don't overthink this. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell rarely talks publicly during the season, believing that is the time for the head coach to be the voice of the team. And Gus Bradley speaks often because head coaches by NFL rule must speak regularly during the season. As for Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, who rarely talks during the season for much the same reason, he knew this was a long building process based on drafting well and developing talent. Considering Blake Bortles looks like he will be good, and considering a lot of the other drafted talent doesn't look too bad either, I don't sense any panic from Khan or anyone else around here.
James from Duval:
Time to spend some of that cap money on FA talent for the secondary. What say you sir?
John: Who do you want? I mean, seriously?
Andrew from Toledo, OH:
I think the Jaguars run too much zone defense. Every time they get beat for the big play it is because they are confused on the back end. Why don't they just play man-to-man coverage?
John: They don't think they have the right personnel to play straight man-to-man 100 percent of the time. Few teams, if any, do.
Cory from Madison, WI:
It's hard to get elite talent in free agent, but one thing veteran free agents have is experience. Build through the draft sounds nice in theory, but there's too much youth that was expected to play a big role too soon.
John: We shall see.
Josh from Oxford, England:
Hi John, I'm curious, similar to when GM Dave Caldwell was tasked with hiring our head coach, did you hire J.P. Shadrick? If so you missed a trick, I would have gone for the Culligan water girl.
John: I didn't hire J.P. Shadrick and I was not consulted. Aside from that, I have no idea what you're talking about.

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