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O-Zone: Our football joy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jason from North Pole:
Bortles! I know a lot of fans will be angry, but they made the right call. We had nothing to be gained from starting Henne except possibly a couple of more wins and worse draft position next year. Now, we will know once and for all if Bortles can be the man – and if not, we draft in the Top 10 again to get our guy. Here's to hoping he improves this season, but at least now there is still hope!
John: Head Coach Doug Marrone's decision to start quarterback Blake Bortles against Houston Week 1 doesn't have the feel of being made for long-term assessment and evaluation. It feels like a move Marrone believes will give the Jaguars the best chance to win Week 1. But who knows: things could play out as you hope. Bortles has a long way to go and a lot of improving to do to show he's the long-term answer; the events of the last 10 days don't indicate that it's likely he indeed is the franchise quarterback of the future. You generally don't go from No. 3 overall selection to competing in Year 4 to Franchise Guy. Perhaps Bortles this season will show otherwise. It would be awesome for the Jaguars if that were the case.
Dave from Duval:
Heaven forbid we put some of this on Dave Caldwell and he take some responsibility for this mess. And TC should have seen it this coming when he arrived.
John: Dave Caldwell as the Jaguars' general manager has received plenty of blame and has taken plenty of responsibility. He also no longer has the final say on football decisions, which he did the past four seasons. Has he been fired? No, but he certainly "has taken some responsibility." As for Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, I can't speak for what he did or didn't see. I don't doubt that he knew there were issues at quarterback and the offensive line; he certainly addressed the offensive line by trading for left tackle Branden Albert and drafting Cam Robinson. What else should have been done in the short term at quarterback? I haven't yet heard a veteran option that was available in the offseason that was worth the cost, and they didn't like the quarterbacks in the draft enough to go that direction No. 4 overall. So, here we are …
Glenn from Spain:
OK, so I live in Spain now, but my family has been season-ticket holders since the beginning and the news is the Jags brought in that scumbag Kaepernick? He's not a good quarterback, not a good leader and not respected by anyone … why?
John: Kaepernick has not been signed by the Jaguars.
Don from Jacksonville:
To the amateur it did look like the offensive line was not pass blocking for Henne Thursday, but this simply is not true. He holds the ball for too long too often.
John: I agree that Henne sometimes holds the ball too long, and that appeared to be an issue at least once Thursday. But Marrone is no amateur when it comes to the offensive line, and he is concerned enough about the area that escape-ability was a reason Bortles was named the starter for Week 1.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
I for one am glad Doug made the choice to stick with Bortles. He gives us our best shot at securing a Top 3 pick with which we can go after another quarterback without having to give up draft capital.
John: Looks like Jerell made it home OK.
Left Brain:
Marrone: We can't block, so we are starting Blake. I feel great about this season.
John: On the one hand it when Marrone said escapability was a reason for Bortles to start Week 1, it was a comment that doesn't particularly inspire confidence. On the other hand, credit Marrone for having a realistic view of the situation and making a choice that he believes reflects that.
Keith from Jacksonville:
Really? Bortles is starting? We'll be lucky to win a single game this season. #AllInForLamarJackson
John: The Jaguars will win more than one game this season.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
There is no way the decision-makers are wanting to win this year. If they win, then they won't be in position of drafting another potential franchise quarterback in the Top 5 of the draft. So why Win?
John: The Jaguars want to win this season. Doubt whatever you want in this crazy, mixed-up thing we call life, but don't doubt that.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
I heard some talk about trading Allen Hurns. If we ever did, the Patriots might be hurting for a wide receiver and they got a nice quarterback to trade.
John: I don't get the sense that the Jaguars are actively trying to trade Hurns. But if the Patriots are trying to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, I think it would cost a lot more than Hurns.
Adam from Lynbrook, NY:
John, I'm depressed about this team. What can I and the rest of the fans look forward to this year?
John: The regular season starts September 10. You can look forward to seeing how the team actually does then instead of when the games don't count.
Marc from Oceanway:
With the offensive line struggles we've had, I'm surprised we haven't seen or heard anything about Chris Reed. I was fairly impressed with how he played when he got the chance to start at guard last year before he got hurt. Can you provide any insight?
John: The Jaguars indeed have struggled at guard. The Jaguars based on what they have seen in practice don't consider Reed a solution to those struggles.
Linda from Neptune Beach, FL:
John, Is this the year Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee and Dante Fowler Jr. make us forget Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper?
John: I doubt it, though I think being looped into that conversation is a bit unfair to Marqise Lee. He was a second-round selection and the Jaguars didn't pass on any of the aforementioned players to select him. I also continue to say I'm intrigued by Fowler this season. He has shown significant signs of improvement, and he may be able to take a pretty big jump. I'm not doing cartwheels and guaranteeing the possibility, but he's worth watching.
Mark from Richmond, IN:
Jaguars should sign Tim Tebow and put Jacksonville back on the NFL map with a lot of wins and a playoff berth. Millions would love to see it.
John: The Jaguars' regular-season opener is September 10 against the Houston Texans.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
This season could be somewhat of a scientific experiment as to which coaching style works best, the nurturer or the pressure cooker? All variables don't remain the same, but close enough. Thoughts?
John: My thoughts are this Jaguars season will be decided as many NFL seasons are decided – by the ability of the quarterback to play at a high level, and by the ability of the rest of the team to make enough plays consistently around that to win consistently.
Kent from Oak Harbor, WA:
I was coming out of a pizza joint in Baymeadows and noticed Brad Allen about to get into his car. He saw a pair of elderly ladies trying to get across the street. He got out and went to help them even though the light had changed and he had to make cars stop. Good kid that Brad.
John: Play the kid.
Robert from Jacksonville:
I once saw Brad Allen hit a bald guy in the back of the head from 90 yards out. What's your favorite BA story?
John: That one. Play the kid.
Renee from Jacksonville:
Hey there, John! So, here is the one and only email you will be getting saying a resounding "YEAH" for BB5. Give me the "gunslinger." Give me the quarterback THAT – "Damn it" – at least has the potential to put together a fourth-quarter drive that wins the game. The moaners and groaners with the boo birds will be out in force with their whinny, pipsqueak voices lamenting "He can't read defenses, he throws into double, triple, no make it quadruple coverages." Here's what I'm shouting! "Guess what, people? FOOTBALL IS THE ULTIMATE TEAM GAME! Every player out there needs to do their job." There is no reason with the talent the Jags have that they are not winners. Put in the work, it will pay off. You know what I think the Jag Nation needs? We need to find our "Joy." First and foremost, football is a game. Ask Tom Coughlin why he does what he does. The long hours, the dedication, the frustrations ... it's for the love of the game. The players and the fans need to find their football joy. I have a friend who says you are either working in your bliss or working for your bliss. I for one will NOT wallow with the moaners and groaners. Yes, the Jags have been "losing" far too long. Yes, it is so easy to fall into despondency. Ask a Browns fan. So, here's one for Bortles, here is to my hope that he and his teammates find their "football joy" and here's to Jag Nation - may they claw themselves out of their " pit of despair." Why should you ask? They are our Jags. They are our team, they are our football joy. GO JAGS!!!
John: This wasn't the only pro-Bortles email, but hey … one -- and a very long, very passionate one – fer Bortles!

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