JACKSONVILLE – One more day until Look-Ahead Wednesday.
Let's get to it … Zac from Gainesville, FL:
You have said throughout the weeks that it isn't always coaching. That implies it's the players. If it is the players, do we fire Dave Caldwell and give Gus Bradley more time? To me, it seems like a combo of Gus and Blake Bortles. Am I wrong, O-man?
John: I actually have said throughout the weeks, months and years upon years – upon years upon years – that it isn't always coaching. When I say this I do not mean that coaching has nothing to do with anything in the NFL. What I do mean is that coaching often is the easiest thing to blame because decisions are easy to second guess – and I do mean to say that what actually happens on the field is far more important than the planning that takes place before it. I suppose the best assessment I can give on this 2-10 Jaguars season is this: I do not think this is a great team and I do not think the coaching has been perfect by any stretch. I do believe that the major, overriding weakness has been quarterback play and I believe if he had improved only marginally from last season in some crucial areas such as pocket fundamentals, accuracy and decision-making the Jaguars would be in the 6-6 range. If that was the case, I think a lot of the conversations we're having about head coach/general manager/weaknesses/strengths would be dramatically different. In fact, if the Jaguars were 6-6 the conversation right now would be about the Jaguars being tied for first place and controlling their postseason destiny, so we most likely wouldn't be having much of a conversation about anything other than that.
Dave from Duval:
Z man, you are in the hot seat. Is Blake Bortles in the 2017 NFL Top 100 preseason list?
John: What? No.
Jeremy from Bossier City, LA:
I'm honestly losing any remaining faith I have in Shad Khan when it comes to football operations. I know he doesn't build the roster or coach the players, but he hires the people that do. It's looking more and more like he doesn't know how to get the right people in the front office. This offseason, and I mean sooner than later, will tell us if our owner has learned from his mistakes or if this franchise will be doomed his entire tenure as owner.
John: While I understand your urgency and concern, it's premature and dramatic to say that "it's looking more and more like Khan doesn't know how to get the right people in the front office" or that his entire ownership tenure will depend on by his next major decision. Khan in fact has hired one general manager (David Caldwell) who has drafted one quarterback (Blake Bortles) – and however you judge the pair, a sample size so small does not mean Khan is either great or lousy at hiring front-office personnel. Khan's in this for the long haul and he is still comparatively new to NFL ownership. Whatever happens this offseason, Khan will continue to work to get the front-office/coaching formula right. Whether or not you believe he has done that yet is no reason to believe it won't happen eventually.
Bobby from Draper, Utah:
Hey, O. I am kind of confused. Can you please enlighten me? When Bortles fumbled Sunday, did that go down as a sack? If not, then isn't it two of the last three games where Bortles was not sacked? Hopefully, it was not a sack.
John: It did go down as a sack because by definition a quarterback fumbling behind the line of scrimmage while attempting to pass must be recorded as a sack. In this case it was credited to the Broncos as a "team sack." Either way, the Jaguars did a more-than-adequate job protecting Bortles on Sunday – and in fact, the line and the offense have done a more-than-adequate job protecting Bortles all season.
Andrew from Section 203:
I'm not really a Gus Bradley apologist, but when they let the coaching staff go at the end of the year you can thank No. 5.
John: It's never, ever one thing in the NFL, but the Jaguars' quarterback play this season … well, Bortles has struggled enough to gauge anything else at times. I think that's fair.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
This is what you get when you focus on "competing." You get close, but you won't win. Gus has said from Day 1 that he doesn't care if we win as long as we compete. That is a terrible message for anyone other than a five-year old soccer team. Winning teams set out to win – not just show up and play. This is a losing culture built to feel good about simply "trying hard sometimes." "Competing" clearly means don't learn from your mistakes or get better; just do your best and who cares. That's my view, anyway. We need a coach that wants to win as bad as the fans do.
John: Gus Bradley never said he didn't care if the Jaguars won. The Jaguars haven't been good enough in the last couple of seasons, and this season without question is disastrous in terms of NFL seasons, but there's nothing wrong with emphasizing competition. Many coaches do it. It's a fairly common approach. There undoubtedly is plenty of reason to criticize Bradley, the coaching staff and anything else within a 2-10 organization, but to say Bradley doesn't care about winning – or that he ever said he didn't care – is incorrect.
Daniel from Glashutten, Germany:
In my mind Blake's pick-six against Denver and his inability to make anything happen on four possessions with a chance to tie the game have sealed his fate with the Jags. Was this a defining moment for you as well or is it just me?
John: I can't say I that was a fate-sealer for me. I can say that it was part of a body of work – and part of a pattern – that can't help but cause significant concern.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
You say winning us important here!? What is one thing that points to that? There is no evidence anywhere that winning and accountability exists here. It's absolutely hopeless.
John: Winning is important, Adam, but at 2-10 I get why it's so, so, so hard to believe.
Scotty Jag Pleads from Points North:
When is the Bortles body of work large enough to say we have seen enough and are ready to try Brandon Allen? We are officially out of the playoffs, so the season is done. What can be salvaged from it? Can we see what we have in our rookie quarterback before we waste another season playing this game? What else is to be accomplished otherwise? I don't think we need the remainder of the season to continue this Bortles silliness. I don't trust "the process" they keep preaching anymore. Go Jags.
John: If you're looking for something within this season's body of work to answer the question of why Bortles is starting at quarterback for the Jaguars you're not going to find the answer. The answer must be that the people running the organization believe he is the quarterback of the future and also the best quarterback to give them a chance to win right now. I anticipate Bortles' future – and the future of many – will be evaluated after the season. I don't yet know what that evaluation will decide, but for right now that's the belief and that's why he remains the starter.
Michael from Jacksonville:
Oh (pun intended) Great Satirist, the season has gone so poorly that I find you heavy-hearted in your openings for your Zone. Your depression has a gradual lyrical slide from The Boomtown Rats- to The Carpenters, to (I can only assume) Morrissey, and ending with The Cure... The season will end with Bauhaus for our darkest hours, but I offer you light: KRIMMA!
John: Disputed legend has it that 1970s Punk Rock Pioneer Richard Hell once walked into CBGB's wearing a T-Shirt that read, "Please Kill Me." I suppose as long as I'm not wearing something similar, Krimma indeed can still be merry.
Sam from Orlando, FL:
Did anyone NOT hurt their ankle the last two weeks? My goodness.
John: I didn't. Neither did Shadrick.