JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Justin from Da Boot:
Wow!! They took that Bortles quote way out of context, huh?
John: This is in reference to Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles saying on Wednesday that fans questioning play-calling was akin to kindergartners questioning college students. I discussed this in a Wednesday "Takeaway" on jaguars.com, so I didn't address it in the O-Zone Thursday. To review: Yes, it was taken out of context. Yes, that was to be expected. Yes, it went viral. Yes, that was to be expected, too. Yes, it was a big deal for a day or two. No, Bortles isn't a bad guy and he didn't mean it in a mean-spirited fashion. I expect the issue to fade quickly; I particularly expect it to fade quickly if he plays well in a Jaguars victory Sunday.
Tom from Jacksonville:
I really like Dave Caldwell; I think he has upgraded our roster significantly over the last two-plus years. I really like Gus Bradley; I think he is a good coach and want him to be successful. How much do you think the CBA has hampered in the development of such a young roster with so little time dedicated to practice and player development when compared to earlier years of the NFL?
John: It doesn't help. If you listen to some football people – former Jaguars All-Pro-left-tackle-turned-O-Zone- rival Tony Boselli among them – they'll tell you the lack of practice time afforded in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement is particularly difficult on offensive linemen. At the same time, all teams deal with the same rules. I can't in good conscience say that the CBA is the reason the Jaguars have won seven games since 2013.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
If you took a number of our players and put them on other teams, they would be studs. The problem is there isn't enough developed talent, which forces good young players to be great. If you take a guy like Allen Robinson and put him in an offense with more experience, I think he would be unbelievably productive. When you don't have established building blocks on your roster, it's exponentially harder for new guys to come in and have an impact. It's just going to take time, patience, and good drafting. We Khan do it!
John: There's a world of truth in what you say. That was a central issue of the Jaguars' building process from the start – how to balance the need for experience with the need to get the young players who will be the team's core enough experience to develop. The Jaguars on offense chose to skew very, very young. It's my belief that is still causing some growing pains. How will the team grow through that? Stay tuned.
Miguel from Section 145 and Duuuuval, FL:
Hey Zoney-One! Can't we all just calm down for a second? Blake was being loose and joking around just like he always does and what he said was also true. Maybe that's why it hurts some people a little bit. All the years I've been working at my profession I would not expect others to know how to do what I do just like you wouldn't expect anyone to come in and do your job as good as...well, maybe that's not a good example but you get the point.
John: If you listen to the press conference from Wednesday here on jaguars.com it's obvious Bortles was being loose and joking around. He was simply showing the same personality traits he always does: loose, off-the-cuff, quick with a joke. If you find Bortles likeable, then it's not fair to remain angry with him over KindergartenGate … the likeable stuff comes from the same place. As I wrote when it happened, it was a misstep he almost certainly would like to have back because comments' about fans' knowledge of the game never play well in a viral age. But were they true? Of course, they were – for the very reasons you cite. While it's human nature that people think they can do something they watch all the time it's also human nature for people who do those things to believe it's more difficult than many people believe.
Tom from Jacksonville:
Once again, it's the curse of Tebow. It's not too late to reverse the curse. He would make a great H-back and 3QB.
John: Would he?
Mike from Jacksonville:
Will the type of reaction on social media to Blake's Kindergartener quote continue to drive coaches and quarterbacks to give the same pat and safe answers week after week? Have we reached a point that giving candid and honest thoughts just isn't worth it?
John: Yes. Yes.
Vincent from Bristol, CT:
John, I was high on drafting Bortles. He has the size, the arm and ability to scramble, but I am starting to believe he may not have the 'It' factor that elite quarterbacks have i.e.— ability to read coverages and audible and alter plays at the line efficiently. Perhaps the coaches are hindering his growth or they know he doesn't have it; they need to let him run the game and if he can't, replace him and draft again. What say you?
John: I say he has played less than a full NFL season. When he has played more than that, then we'll all have a better idea of what he can and can't do.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
If you were the coach (God help us) and the sort of play we saw last week continued for a couple of more weeks would you keep doing what you have been doing (i.e. encourage, support, etc.) or would you take some NOT status quo action? If you would take action what might your options be?
John: Because you use words such as "encourage" and "support," I assume you're asking if Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley should change his philosophical approach in terms of how he manages/relates to players/people. Absolutely not. Let me repeat: absolutely not. The worst thing a coach can do is change and not be true to himself. Players sense that right away and the results are rarely positive.
Lee from Jacksonville:
O-man, do you think moving the PAT back has messed with kickers' heads? It seems like there were more misses than usual Week 1.
John: I think moving the PAT back made the kick tougher physically. I imagine for the most part that had more to do with the misses than anything mental.
George from Savannah, GA:
John, in your snide comment about whether or not Gus is a soft coach maybe you should visit YouTube and see Gus when he was at Seattle. It would be nice to see some of the old Gus on the sideline getting pumped.
John: I've seen the video. It's a good "watch." Gus Bradley is very animated in it and it's fun to watch him yelling at people. It has gotten a lot of hits for a reason: it's entertaining. How much that has do with winning and losing I'm not sure.
Patrick from Dixon, CA:
Can you enlighten me on why offensive coordinators are so in love with the fade route near the goal line? I understand it's low risk and hard to defend, but I rarely see it executed well and completed even when it's thrown to someone with a huge size advantage – i.e., Marcedes or Matt Jones.
John: You pretty much summed up why offensive coordinators like the fade route near the goal line. It's low-risk and hard to defend. Those are things that appeal to offensive coordinators. I don't particularly love the fade, either, because it also seems to need a perfect throw, great catch and impeccable timing. I like the quick slant or the rollout, but you what I also like when it works? The fade. So, there's that.
William from Section 231:
It's awesome to see Tony Boselli and Jimmy Smith nominated to the ballot for the Hall of Fame of Fame. Well-deserved. Go Jags.
John: Those nominations are well-deserved. I've discussed the merits of each pretty much ad nauseam and believe each should get in to the Hall of Fame. I doubt it happens for either this year, but well-deserved? Absolutely.
Sara from St. Augustine, FL:
Someone should remind Bortles that even though fans don't really have a place to question play-calling we're the reason he makes millions to play football and when he plays like he did on Sunday we're going to question everything. What a jerk comment...
John: He didn't say fans didn't have the right to question play-calling, and he didn't say it in a jerk way. He's young. He said something he probably wouldn't if he had to do it over again. That's it. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of missteps pro athletes can make I wonder if it's even a "one."
Jake from Hawthorne, NJ:
...Professor O, looks like Mr. Bortles just made your job that much harder. Fight the good fight, brother!
John: If that's the worst thing Bortles does off field as a professional football player with the Jaguars … well, I'll just say I don't think he put anyone – including himself – in an overly difficult situation this week. #relaxeveryone #perspectiveplease
O-Zone: Perspective, please
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Justin from Da Boot: