JACKSONVILLE – One more day until look-ahead Wednesday.
Let's get to it …
Cory from Madison, WI:
John, longtime reader here, and I know that you're not going to call out the head coach. But can you at least concede that it's pretty irritating to hear Gus Bradley talk about being dissatisfied with the offensive approach? He fired Jedd Fisch because they weren't on the same page; now, one week in, it sounds like he and Greg Olson aren't on the same page, either.
John: I'm often fascinated by how people can listen to the same words and hear entirely different things. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley in his next-day press conference on Monday did say the offense needed to be more aggressive, but he immediately and just-as-clearly said he wasn't talking about play-calling. He also wasn't talking about the game-planning. He said when he was talking about being more aggressive he meant quarterback Blake Bortles being more willing to throw the ball so receivers could make 50-50 plays on balls. I get that a lot of disturbing things happened Sunday; I just didn't get the impression listening to Bradley Monday that he and Olson weren't on the same page. But if you did, that's fine. People are entitled to hear what they hear.
Chad from Jacksonville:
Tom from Section 141 and the Mean Streets of Nocatee:
At what point does the general manager cut one of these receivers for excessive drops, pour encourager les autres?
John: Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Rashad Greene were the three players with costly drops Sunday. Those are the Jaguars' top three receivers right now. You're suggesting General Manager David Caldwell cut one of those players, which would mean turning around and trying to find someone better to take their place in the offense. That's not going to happen and Hurns, Robinson and Greene aren't going to get released, either. But they do need to catch the ball better. Sunday's drops hurt. A lot.
Dave from Los Angeles, CA:
I'm probably overreacting, but that game came down to one play: a textbook, telegraphed Pick Six. It was a pretty egregious error from a guy that looked to be taking the next step in the preseason. I maintain faith in his potential, though I was faithful to a fault with Gabbert, who, in retrospect, was not improving.
John: It's not time to do the Bortles/Gabbert-comparison thing, though the game Sunday was disappointing enough that I understand the inclination. Bradley said this best when he relayed what was said in his headset after the play Sunday, that the Pick Six by Josh Normal was a young mistake by Bortles. That's still Bortles' reality, that he's going to make young quarterback mistakes. Those don't go away overnight, but they need to start happening a lot less very soon. They're killers, and if they happen you sure need to respond as an offense better than the Jaguars did Sunday.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
I get that the team can 'fix' mental mistakes: change a coverage technique, play calling, even enthusiasm, effort and all of that. I don't understand how you can 'fix' dropped passes. Seems like after catching passes early in life, high school, college and then a NFL season or two you either catch really well or you don't. It is not like this is the first game where they dropped passes. How is that a fixable thing at this stage unless you change players?
John: This is a fair point. One thing that does have to change – and that more than one reader has pointed out – is Jaguars receivers are sometimes letting the ball come into their bodies rather than making catches with their hands. That led to the drops Sunday, and it's not how they're coached. It's not what they do in practice. The fixable part of the change is for the players to not do it in games. That's it. That's the fix.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
I was hoping that the Jags would be better than last year. Except for a couple of plays, I just do not see the big improvement
John: I could argue a lot of areas where the Jaguars have improved. And I would believe those arguments. At the same time, those improvements have the Jaguars at 0-1 with a disappointing loss so it's not a lot of fun making those arguments right now.
Trevor from Jacksonville:
No snide here. I am a patient, understanding person, but three years in … why does Gus Bradley talk to the media so much? Wouldn't that time be better spent finding someone with actual success to help the offense??
John: I don't get surprised much, but I must say the idea that Bradley talking to the media hurt the Jaguars Sunday did surprise me. Just to clarify, Bradley talks to the media on game days and after practice. It's a pretty typical media schedule for a head coach and it's kinda part of the job description.
Sarah from Jacksonville:
John, please tell me again why after Randall Cobb elected to re-sign with Green Bay the Jags decided their best approach would be to stick their head in the sand and do nothing to improve what is unquestionably the worst wide receiver group in football? Oh... that's right, there was nobody else in free agency or in the draft before the fifth round that was better than what we already had, right? I admit I don't know everything about football, but having competent receivers would seem, at least to the untrained eye, to be kind of important, No?
John: This week is not the week to vehemently argue your point. The case for sticking with what the Jaguars had at the wide receiver position was that Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee form a talented group that could perform at a higher level this season than last. Considering the errors that group made Sunday, it's impossible to say that has happened yet. As I said several times late last week, I thought a key to the game was the wide receivers growing up and being dependable playmakers. Right now, it looks like that's going to be a key to the season, too.
Dave from Section 410:
No Lee and Thomas hurt badly. The Jags' lack of speed and ability to get open was very apparent Sunday.
John: Yes, it was.
Dennis from Palm Coast, FL:
John, I thought this was going to be a game of two evenly matched teams and the team that made the plays would win. Well, the Panthers made more plays. They won the turnover battle. Bortles and Newton battled evenly, and that's a good thing. Your take?
John: My take is that you're right – that the Jaguars and Panthers were pretty evenly matched, and that mistakes cost the Jaguars pretty dearly. My take also is that pointing that out is to point out baby steps that didn't result in a victory, so I'm not going to invest a whole lot of time in pointing that out today. Maybe on look-ahead Wednesday.
Jordan from Little Valley, NY:
Why did we have Bortles throw the ball 40 times? It's my belief the NFL still revolves around running the ball and stopping the run, controlling the clock with long, time-consuming drives, keeping the opponents' offense on the sideline and out of rhythm. This team doesn't have an identity; we are trying to do a million things and nothing is working. The Jaguars best weapons are Yeldon and Denard Robinson and they both happen to be running backs. Time to get back to old school Jaguars football and start pounding the rock and play-action passes. There is no point throwing the ball 40 times to players that drop so many passes. Dropped passes are drive-killers, plain and simple.
John: I'm a quarterback-oriented guy by nature and believe that you must have good quarterback play to win in the NFL; at the same time, I agree this team must run well to win. I get your concern about the number of passes, but I'd point out that that "40" is skewed quite a bit by the circumstances of the game. Bortles threw seven times on the final drive of the first half and eight more on the final drive of the second half. I don't think anyone following the Jaguars would have been thrilled had the Jaguars run in those situations. Take those 15 passes out of the equation and the Jaguars ran 21 times and passed 25. That's pretty balanced.
Richard from Starke, FL:
John: I feel ya, Richard … I feel ya.
Buddha from St. Augustine, FL:
It seems to me that Bradley is a SOFT coach … maybe he could learn some toughness from Jimmy McElwain.
John: Yes, yelling and cursing makes you tough. I'll write that down.
Chuck from Jacksonville:
When you took the job here, did you consider how difficult it would be to constantly put a positive spin on this dumpster fire? I hope so, because it's got to be worth more money than writing for a team who isn't sorry every single year.
John: I took this job because I love people.