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O-Zone: Not so sure

JACKSONVILLE – Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

Let's get to it … Mike from Jacksonville:
The Jags D held Kansas City and Denver to 2-of-27 on third downs. The Jaguars lost both games. They've actually been very good in that stat for the last five weeks but lost all five.
John: There are many, many staggering statistics around this Jaguars season – and goodness knows, a lot of them aren't great for the Jaguars – but that's as staggering a statistic as any. The Jaguars on Sunday held the Broncos' offense to 1-of-13 on third downs; even considering the Broncos were playing rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch, that's an incredibly good defensive day. And third down isn't the only area in which the Jaguars have played well defensively in recent weeks. The defense pretty much had been good in every area lately. The exception has been takeaways, but when the opponent has a lead – which is often the case with the Jaguars – the opponent usually is not going to take chances to allow take-away opportunities. Even without a lot of take-aways, though, I honestly don't know how much better the Jaguars' defense can play. It has been impressive. Really, really impressive. But it hasn't been good enough to win and that's just … weird.
Greg from Section122 and Jacksonville:
Only four games left. Are you still feeling confident the Jaguars will get another win? 'Cause I don't think anyone else is. Yeah, I am calling it: 2-14.
John: Yeah, I'm still confident the Jaguars won't finish 2-14.
Rick from Amelia:
I was going to complain about the no-call on the first. But the one on fourth-and-4 is just criminal. What is up with the refs and A-Rob???
John: This is a legitimate question and it's one that Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson did his best to address on Sunday without drawing the ire of the league office. Robinson referred to the officiating this season as "amazing," and while he declined to openly criticize the officials, his frustration was as clear in the postgame locker room as when he drew a penalty for taking his helmet off while complaining about a non-call on what could have been interference late in the game. While I try to watch the Jaguars as objectively as possible, it indeed is a bit mind-boggling that Robinson so rarely seems to draw pass interference penalties while so often being contacted before the ball's arrival. Robinson afterward talked about trying to increase his physicality; he was right to approach it as he did, because the league doesn't take kindly to players criticizing officiating. Still, my answer to the question of what is up with the referees and Allen Robinson is that I frankly haven't the faintest idea.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
The complaints about officiating are getting old. This team and its players need to stop complaining about officiating and start worrying about playing better to avoid officiating determining games.
John: You are absolutely correct, and it's why I usually discuss officiating very little here in the O-Zone. I usually think officiating evens itself out – and it's rarely the sole reason teams lose games. I don't think it's the sole reason the Jaguars have lost any game this season, including either of the last two games. And there's no question that better teams are hurt less by missed calls because they are playing well and therefore can overcome calls and breaks going against them. But I do think Robinson's inability to draw pass interference penalties is a major issue for the Jaguars. He seems to have had an undue number of pass interference non-calls not go his way this season. That in turn has severely limited the Jaguars' offense at times. Because of his importance to the offense, that's a real issue. I have no idea of the answer, but it certainly is an issue.
Armand from Jacksonville:
John, can a team ask a player to do things in the offseason or is that strictly forbidden – like Blake working with Tom House and his quarterback coach?
John: A team can't tell a player he must do anything football-related during the offseason with the exception of a three-day mandatory minicamp in mid-June. In the case of Blake Bortles working with his quarterbacks "gurus" – Tom House and Adam Dedeaux – this offseason, I don't think the team needs to request this. It's pretty obvious Bortles needs to work this offseason, and I'm sure he grasps that.
Jags Such Unfortunately Jax:
14-46. Gus Bradley does not even have an average of three wins per season for five years. Pathetic!
John: Yeah, it ain't a good situation.
Scott from Columbus, GA:
Players just going through the motions. Poles are in the water and the fish are nibbling.
John: You are implying a lack of effort by the Jaguars Sunday. I'm not saying the 2-10 record is excusable, but I will say it's hard to see a lot of cases in the last five games or so where the players weren't giving effort. As for Sunday, this is the NFL. If you hold an opponent to 206 yards you're putting forth effort.
Dan from Fort Dodge:
Turnovers sigh :(
John: The Jaguars are minus-18 turnovers for the season and minus-28 turnovers over the last two seasons. Forget how well the offense moved at times last season and forget how well the defense has played at times this season. When you have a minus-18 turnover ratio and compound that with punt coverage that routinely gives away field position, you make it exceedingly difficult to win.
Fan from Jacksonville:
You defend yourself as a used-car salesman does. Your position makes you even slimier.
John: You have no idea what makes me slimy.
Jesse from Kissimmee, FL:
John, how does this get turned around? The offense seems to regress every week. The defense steps up week in and week out, only for the offense to flounder.
John: Yeah, that has pretty much been the pattern. If you're only discussing Sunday's game, the pattern was understandable and even expected. This game featured two really good defensive teams and it probably wasn't surprising considering Bortles' history of mistakes to think that the Broncos would force a game-turning turnover or two. Unfortunately, it is what we have come to expect. But with a few exceptions you're right that good defense and floundering offense has defined the season. How does it get turned around? I don't honestly know this season. We're 12 games in. The Jaguars most likely are what they are, and so far that has been a good defense with an offense that just can't produce enough to win.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Teams don't feel threatened by Jags when they play them. That's why the defense can't force any turnovers. They know if they play it close to the vest the offense under Blake can't pull away and that there is a 95 percent chance Bortles will give them seven points. Your thoughts on this analysis.
John: Well, it ain't wrong.
Steve from Stevensville, MD:
The Jags punt coverage is not very good. This is detrimental to winning a close football game.
John: Yes.
David from Duval:
How many pick-sixes and losses until someone says enough is enough?
John: More than three and more than 10, apparently.
Jacob from North Carolina:
Could have been worse. Same story. But did we try a deep ball? Maybe I missed it.
John: Yes, Sunday could have been worse. It wasn't worse because the Jaguars' defense held the Broncos to 206 total yards. And the Jaguars did try a couple of deep balls – if you count 50-50 balls to Robinson as deep balls. If not … then, no – the Jaguars didn't go deep a lot. That actually made some strategical sense because the Denver pass rush is aggressive and dangerous enough that it's difficult to get enough time to throw deep. I'm not saying I wouldn't have liked to have seen a couple of deep shots, but it makes sense that they weren't a prominent part of the game plan.
Roger from Jacksonville:
Are you SURE it's not a curse?
John: Roger, the Jaguars are 2-10. I'm not sure of anything anymore.

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