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O-Zone: Philosophically speaking

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jeff from Jacksonville:
As one of the few luddites left in this world who still pays for a print newspaper subscription, I have the privilege of reading all about the Jaguars beyond what is on this site. The Florida Times-Union reporters seem to change their feelings about the Jaguars' odds of success more frequently than I change my underwear. That's what I like about you, John. You stay level-headed and consistent through the good times and bad. How often do you change your underwear?
John: I was as guilty as any observer of misjudging this team during the preseason. I thought the offensive line and quarterbacks were struggling in a big way, and it was hard at that point to predict how dominant this defense was capable of playing. But since the regular-season opener, I haven't seen much reason to change my view of this team week-to-week. If you're watching the team, it's easy to see what it is so far. When it stays in games and gets leads, this defense is capable of closing games and setting up scores; it actually has done those things to a remarkable degree thus far. In the team's one one-sided loss, the major problem was that the offense put itself in a series of miserable down-and-distance situations that allowed the Titans to get control of the game – and Tennessee's offensive line dominated after that. I still wonder if this team will generate enough consistent offense to push into the 9-7 range. It seems a big ask for the defense to make enough game-changing plays to get to that point. But I'm starting to wonder if it might be possible. As far as changing my underwear... I mean, I guess I see the point in theory. But every week? That's a bit much from my view.
Terry from Miami, FL:
Our Defense!!!!!!!! The Firm, The Law Firm of Ramsey, Church & Bouye, Cat5 Cats or #shutdowntown. This group needs a name! What do you think?
John: Sure.
Jimmy from Duval:
I think it's time Doug Marrone gets the respect he deserves for being a great football coach. May I get a one for Coach Marrone?
John: Absolutely. One fer Marrone – until the next time the Jaguars lose, of course. That's when most readers will want him fired and the ones who don't will be waiting at the gates at EverBank Field wondering why Leonard Fournette didn't get 32 carries instead of 29.
Tony from San Antonio, TX:
Jason Myers continues to miss extra points every few attempts. This team has much to address before it can contend over a long season. I'm actually optimistic the passing game can improve as Leonard Fournette occupies defenses' attention, but I see Myers costing us a game at some point with a short field-goal miss or an extra point that we wind up chasing in a close game. There are accurate kickers out there who may not give you as much distance, but who will make all the mid-range kicks.
John: Are there?
Noel from St. Augustine, FL:
No doubt, Sunday was a great win. I am enjoying it. The issue a lot of us fans have is that it's a waste because it seems everyone outside of the organization knows and has known that Bortles is not the answer at the most important position on the field. There have been numerous draft picks and free agents available that are playing better than BB5. (Even without using the fifth and fourth picks, respectively – if that is your response.) So it's aggravating knowing that our team will only make it so far without better play from the quarterback, which essentially makes the season – and arguably last season – a waste.
John: If as a fan of a team you resist enjoying victories because of what a team is not you're going to miss a lot of the joys of being a fan. The Jaguars aren't yet perfect. What I'll probably do is watch and write about how far the Jaguars go this season, because unlike you and "a lot of us fans" I'm not intelligent enough to know what the rest of the season will bring. The season thus far includes three 20-point victories, an overtime loss and another loss in which the Jaguars had allowed no touchdowns well into the second half. A lot of teams would trade for that resume through five games.
Sebastian from Austin, TX:
No real question, O: I just wanted to say Tom Coughlin came here to revive the franchise not coaching, but off of the field with his football knowledge. He is looking like a football genius/guru/god – whatever you want to call him. He stated we would run, be physical, have a tough opportunistic defense, show grit. To check so many boxes off in one offseason and five games in is ridiculous. It's definitely a combination of many factors, but if this season turns out to be as bright as it's foreshadowing, he'll deserve lots of credit. Plus, how are the Giants doing without him?
John: #TCTWD?
Other Mike from Atlanta, GA:
What are your thoughts about Dante Fowler Jr. He got a nice sack Sunday, and I couldn't find a highlight reel of it. So, I re-watched the game to see it again. You talked about hitting on first-round players. Could he be getting there?
John: "Getting there" is the right way to put it. I don't know that I would call Fowler's journey complete yet. You would like to see more consistent pressure from him and more consistency overall, but that feels like nitpicking. He has four sacks through five games this season after registering four in 16 games last season. He has been disruptive at various times in pretty much all five games. He has a fumble return for a touchdown. He's improving. He's progressing. Yeah, he's getting there.
Limo Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
Is it OK that I am so confident in this team that I don't care about next year's draft yet?
John: Yes.
Ken from Vero Beach, FL:
Here is another vote for taking the leash off of Bortles. Every team that drafts a quarterback takes the ball and does what they did in college. Not Jacksonville; the Jaguars ruin every quarterback they draft. Why do they draft these quarterbacks if they won't let them play their game? I don't understand, do you?
John: There's no vote on this issue. The Jaguars' offense in the first five games for the most part has been what they want, and how they planned to play this season. They're 3-2 and they're a dropped pass from having a real chance at 4-1. An argument could be made for 5-0 if they haven't had a slew of second-half penalties against Tennessee; not a strong or good argument, perhaps, but an argument nonetheless. Should the Jaguars go back to throwing as they did the last few seasons, exposing Bortles to more potential for sacks and interceptions? Considering the team's success this season compared to past seasons, I'd be hard-pressed to recommend dramatic change right now.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Draft picks: Ramsey, Jack, Fournette, Robinson, Robinson, Fowler, Ngakoue, Smith, Colvin. Free agents: Campbell, Bouye, Church, Gipson, Ivory, Jackson. Just a few short weeks ago, people were calling for Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell's head. Hmmm …
John: Yeah, remember that?
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Let's see if the Jags can keep these Monday morning talk shows discussing how every team they beat has "serious issues." I have a feeling they will be discussing the Rams' serious issues next Monday!
John: I have been struck by the inability of some observers to miss the fact that this is a good defense. Twenty sacks and 15 takeaways? Those things only can be considered coincidental for so long.
Steve from Denver, CO:
On television Sunday they showed the statistic that on second and third down, our four-year starter, dedicated pocket passer is in last place for completion percentage. Randy Moss might say "dead last, homie." When will you admit that unless they coach Blake Bortles to try more rollouts, mix in a few naked bootleg runs and more short wheel route passes to our running backs, BB will never be anyplace near a legitimate productive NFL starting quarterback?
John: When I believe I'm wrong, "homie."
Biff from Jacksonville:
Why the concerns for the future? Marcus Aurelius wrote, "Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present." Blake Bortles isn't Aaron Rodgers, but I don't see a slew of rings on Rodgers' fingers? Let's just let the season play out, enjoy the success, and deal with the quarterback position when it's all said and done. Maybe, just maybe, the future has a balanced Bortles thanks to all around him finding level.
John: Woody Allen wrote, "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve it by not dying." This has little to do with Aurelius, but at least I understand it.

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