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O-Zone: Ouch

JACKSONVILLE – Sigh. Everybody ready?

Let's get to it …

Josh from Eyota, MN:
Well, now we know how far we are from the best. It's pretty far...
John: It's difficult to argue that point too vehemently this morning. A 51-17 loss makes it difficult to see anything good in … well, anything – and the Jaguars' performance against the New England Patriots Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, was all sorts of disappointing, disheartening and discouraging. But perhaps the most accurate way to look at Sunday's game is like this: what you saw is how far the Jaguars are from being the best when they don't play well and when they're without a bunch of players. The Jaguars moved OK at times offensively in the first half and as much as the Patriots had controlled the game, it was still 13-3 late in the half with the Jaguars driving. Cue the Devin McCourty interception off Blake Bortles – and then cue a long, quick drive by the Patriots to take a 20-3 halftime lead. Things went awry from there. Really, really awry. Things have to stop going awry from there, but the Jaguars are capable of playing better than they did Sunday and keeping that game closer. When will they start doing that? Isn't it time they start doing that? Fair questions. No doubt.
Dane from Jacksonville:
What do the coaches see in Yeldon that Robinson doesn't offer? Perhaps his perceived durability is better, but I do not see him having the quickness, power and most importantly, the decisiveness that Robinson offers.
John: Denard Robinson was hurt and unavailable Sunday. If he had been unhurt and available, he would have played an extensive role. The plan has been for Robinson to play a lot and when he's healthy, I believe he will.
Mark from Orange Park, FL:
Why keep running T.J. Yeldon into the middle of the line for no gain? This week and last week same result. Until we have an offensive line that can open holes up middle, it's a waste of a play.
John: You keep trying it because you need to be able to run the ball up the middle if you want to be a running team. The Jaguars want to be a running team, so they're not going to stop running T.J. Yeldon on the interior any time soon.
Travis from Boynton Beach, FL:
O man ... we look like we took two steps backwards.
John: Playing the Patriots can make you look that way. Playing them with a bunch of guys out with injuries can really make you look that way. We'll see in a week or two how indicative Sunday's game was of the Jaguars' reality. The Jaguars hope they're not that team. They don't believe they're that team. They need to be right.
James from Palm Coast, FL:
Total team meltdown.
John: Yeah, well …
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
Boy, the Jags really missed Marks Sunday. And Julius. And Denard. And Joeckel. And Branch. And Cyprien. And Gratz. And Marqise. And Sergio. And Evans.
John: Yeah, there's a lot of truth to that. I'm not big on comparing injury lists from one year to the next, and I'm not big on saying injuries define a season. A team is supposed to be able to endure an injury or two at various position groups and sustain effectiveness. Football is a team sport, after all. I also think that overall the Jaguars have been relatively fortunate not to have endured a series of season-ending injuries. That means there's hope. But are there position groups where injuries are taking a toll so far? Yes, right now there's little question about that. Oh, and you didn't mention Dante Fowler Jr. Yes, he's a rookie but his absence isn't ideal, either.
Jason from Da Hass:
I guess it's time to fire everyone again, huh?
John: For now. Give it a week or so and check back.
Lee from Duval:
O-man, please take off your teal-colored glasses for a second. In your honest opinion, is there anything good to take away from Sunday?
John: My glasses aren't teal. They're black with clear lenses, and the ladies luv 'em. And no, there was nothing good to take away from Sunday for the Jaguars. There were the faintest glimpses of good, early. A drive here and there – and a few athletic plays from Allen Robinson. But big picture? This is one where you hope the Patriots made you look worse than you really are. You really hope that.
Scott from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
There's no question that was a poor performance on both sides of the ball. Not that I thought the Jaguars would come close, but they did not even appear competitive. My questions are why couldn't the Jaguars either pass or run against the 27th-rated defense in the league? Second, it appeared to me that the Patriots were running up the score and why didn't they pull Brady sooner? Third, was that fake punt necessary; it seemed to me it was destined to fail from the beginning as it was poorly executed or at least anticipated by the Patriots? Even I could see on TV what appeared to be a fake punt.
John: First question: The Jaguars did pass and run OK at times early. Once the score got to 20-3 at halftime that went away, but before that the Jaguars were piecing together drives and appeared to be at least on some level close to the Patriots. Second, there's no such thing as running up the score in professional football. Third, Bradley said there was a miscommunication on the fake punt. It should have been called off and it wasn't.
Jack from Jacksonville:
The Patriots are amazing. The Jaguars need playmakers, and it seems the ones on offense need to mature and the one on defense blew his knee out before anything could happen. Bad loss, but I think next week is a better gauge of where the team is. 6-10 still seems about right.
John: There's a lot of truth in what you say. I'll wait a few weeks before projecting a record, but the Patriots are a tough gauge for any team.
Noel from St. Augustine, FL:
I'd hate to see your inbox this week. Pretty pathetic display.
John: Actually, the emails have been pretty good so far. Oh …
Kevin from Jacksonville:
No need to make excuses with the whole "it's-Tom-Brady-and-the-World-Champion-New-England-Patriots" talk. This is embarrassing for this city and fan base. Constantly confirming how terrible you are as a professional franchise is not a good look. There's no excuse for not even competing. That terrible zone defense is completely ineffective. I can see that and I'm a nobody. So go ahead with the clever, slick, snide remarks and try to defend that miserable excuse of a performance. This professional football team allowed the Patriots to score on EVERY possession to this point!
John: I'd tell you you're not a nobody, but I don't want to be snide.
Mike from Yulee, FL:
John, why is it that the defense plays so far back? How are they going to defend the pass when they let a five-yard cushion between them? You are playing one of the best QBs in the league and you let him pick you apart. And why is LEE taking up a roster spot? Every time he is "active" he catches one ball then has a hamstring injury. Like there has to be a point where the administration says something has to give.
John: The Jaguars' approach defensively on Sunday was to keep the Patriots' receivers in front of them, not blitz and play fundamentally sound, pursuit defense once New England's receivers caught the ball. The thought was that pressuring more would lead to big plays. This did not work, but that is why the defense played as it did Sunday. As far as Lee taking up a roster spot, he has missed four games over two NFL seasons. His injury history is cause for concern and frustration. It is not cause for him being released. Not even close.
James from Destin, FL:
You might as well take a few days off.
John: Why?
Eric from Sorry Town and Misery:
Embarrassing. Simply embarrassing. Curious as to the spin you try and pull this week you clown.
John: Oh, yeah.
Todd from Stuttgart, GE:
Not much of a chance to win when you let them score on every drive!
John: Yeah, you have to do some "going" offensively to keep up when that happens. The Jaguars are better offensively this season. I believe they're significantly better offensively than they showed Sunday, and I believe we're seeing some things that are going to make that really evident soon. But I don't believe they'll be better enough to score every drive.
Khris from Richmond, VA:
Wasn't anticipating a W but did I just watch a game from 2014?
John: It felt like it. No doubt about that. If a bunch more games feel like it, then that's an big, big issue. If most games feel like Week 2 against Miami, then Sunday was a blip. I don't know which will happen. I believe it will lean far more toward Sunday being a blip. I believe getting injured players back will help. I believe we have seen progress that a team such as the Patriots can make easy to unsee. How will it play out? We'll see.
Scott from Jacksonville:
John: Well-put.

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