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O-Zone: Recurring theme

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . David from Jacksonville:
I need to see something from this team Sunday, John – I really do. Make it a close game. Be competitive. Win by one point, win by three touchdowns . . . . I don't know . . . gain more yards in the first half than the Colts do on their first drive. I just need to see it.
John: You are not alone. People want to see something. The players want to show something. The coaches want it, too. We haven't seen it yet. Sunday is a place to start.
Steve from Woodbine, GA:
I actually heard an ESPN football person defend the Jags Thursday on Mike and Mike. Chris Mortensen said the Jags get a bad rap for having the league's worst attendance. He said that the truth is they aren't even in the bottom five. Is that true?
John: Yes. It is true, and it's awesome that ESPN football people know this. I feel better about myself, and life, because this has happened. It's important to be acknowledged.
Colby from Aurora, CO:
What's your opinion on Johnathan Cyprien? Statistically, he's making a decent case to become the Jaguars' first Rookie of the Year award winner. If he makes another big play against the Titans like he did in Seattle, would I be assassinated for naming him a favorite for the award?
John: The Jaguars would love to see Cyprien make a big play before the Titans game. Mainly, because they play the Titans November 10 and December 22. But to your point, Cyprien is showing what the Jaguars hoped he would show early – athleticism, instincts, playmaking ability, a knack for forcing turnovers. He's still making mistakes, but they are mistakes of inexperience and aggression rather than a lack of ability. As far as the Rookie of the Year Award, it's only September. Let's give it some time.
Colby from Aurora, CO:
Also sorry O-man, meant to say the "Colts" instead of the Titans in that last question.
John: Well, now don't I just feel like a jerk? Again.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Clearly, the interior offensive line hasn't performed well and I'm sure the coaches have noticed this. Why, then, haven't there been more outside runs sweeps or a quick pitch? Couldn't this spark our run game instead of being so predictable?
John: Often when the interior is struggling it makes running to the outside difficult, too, because pressure on the interior disrupts the play and stops the play before the back can get outside. As you indicate, though, quick pitches can help in this area. I don't think predictability has hurt the run game as much as too much pressure, but the Jaguars have run inside 40 times compared to 19 times outside this season. That could balance out with tight end Marcedes Lewis' return. He's a very, very good blocker on the edge.
John from Jacksonville:
At what point in a game is a quarterback granted the "W" or "L" if the starting quarterback is replaced by another quarterback due to injury, big lead, or poor performance? What determines which quarterback gets the result tagged to their overall record?
John: Generally speaking, that statistic is based on a quarterback's record as a starter. Rightly or wrongly, the starting quarterbacks gets the victory of the loss even if he leaves after one play, one series or one quarter. The circumstance under which he leaves doesn't play into it. It's not really fair, but many things aren't.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
I can be patient, as long as I know we haven't become the Detroit Lions. More than half their seasons in the last 40 or so years were losing seasons. I think that kind of patience is called suffering.
John: Yeah, pretty much.
Stan from 661 and CA:
I'm glad to hear Gus Bradley insisting Blaine Gabbert play "looser." He may throw a few more interceptions than desirable, but it has the chance to help the offense stay out of a predictable game plan (run/short pass on first and second down and a pass on third and long). Additionally, we can see once and for all whether he can develop, something a bunch of "play it safe" checkdowns can't.
John: While Gabbert isn't in complete control of the game plan, your points have some merit. For the most part, though, Bradley just wants to see Gabbert play free because you can't play well if you're worried about the next mistake. He has talent. The Jaguars want to figure out a way to see that talent on the field.
Vv from New York, NY:
John: Let me think about this. I'll get back to you.
John from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars define an explosive play as a 12-yard-run or a 16-yard pass." What exactly determined those distances for the run and pass play to be explosive? Also, do these parameters change from time to time?
John: It's the distance the coaches decided to use. And in terms of compiling the statistic, there's no reason for it to change.
Herbert from Midstate Office Supply Accontz Receevable:
"Let's not run scared now, let's go," Bradley said. "Enough of the waiting. Let's get him back there." Why the change of heart with Bradley playing Sanders at punt returner. His comments above seem to indicate the Jags were playing scared before by not maximizing Sanders' potential. Is Bradley to blame for not playing Sanders or is it the call of the special teams coach? Regardless it's a curious decision since the Jags are thinner than ever at wide receiver with injuries to Brown & Burton. Is Sanders expendable now that Blackmon will be back next week?
John: Sanders isn't expendable, and while people love to assign blame, not playing Sanders at punt returner earlier wasn't that unusual. People often see players as non-human moving parts or video-game icons. The reality is they're human and that means adjusting to new situations and learning assignments. Sanders is a rookie and the original thought when he was drafted was he likely would be the punt returner and a reserve receiver. When the season opened, he was the starter opposite Cecil Shorts III. The coaches didn't want to overwhelm Sanders by having him return punts and handle the starting wide receiver role. Four weeks in, it's quite logical that Sanders is more ready to handle both.
Clayton from Jacksonville:
How you don't smash your computer when you read emails about Dave and Gus being fired is beyond me. I respect people's opinions. However, there comes a point when people flat-out don't know what they are talking about and make uneducated statements.
John: And those people have a right to opinions, too. The one thing I always try hard to keep in mind is that while many O-Zone readers are fully-invested Jaguars fans who read every day, there are also many casual fans who read the site. While these casual fans may react as my wife does, recoiling in horrified disgust when they see my picture on the website, some are also trying to genuinely learn the answer to their question. Even if the question seems silly to loyal readers.
Keenan from Jacksonville:
"Why do we want Caldwell fired? A) Inexperience; b) he fired all the coaches after one season; c) he let many of the team's best players leave, many of whom are starting for other teams; d) THE TEAM IS WORSE THAN WHEN HE ARRIVED. What's not to understand?" This was an e-mail you answered yesterday, in which you replied "This was a real email." My question is why was that email was brushed off? Especially B, C and D has truth to them. Dave did choose to fire most of the coaches, who, for the most, went on to get hired with other teams rather quickly, release or not resign quite a few players that were starters here and have gone on to start with other teams and last year's team does appear to be more talented than this year's team.
John: It was brushed off because the question has been addressed many, many times in recent weeks. It's Week Three, and the Jaguars made a clear move in the offseason to rebuild the organization in a way to have sustainable "long-term" success. That meant getting younger and yes, it meant letting older players go who either had injury issues or who hadn't performed consistently. That approach – combined with adjusting to new schemes – often means short-term pain. It also often leads to misunderstanding about why the moves were made and misguided calls for people's jobs. Whatever. David Caldwell is not getting fired this week. Or the next week. Or in December. Or the month after that. It's so far from the realm of possibility as to be not a thought unless it's asked in an O-Zone email.
Lee from Duval County:
Did you see any evidence of Gabbert and Blackmon taking advantage of the past few weeks to build more of an on-field rapport?
John: Gabbert missed a little less than two weeks of practice with the hand injury, and Blackmon has been unable to practice while suspended.
Doug from Jacksonville:
I have always respected your stance on fans and their expectations. You say they are allowed to have unreasonable expectations because they are fans. However, all the Gabbert is a bust, fire Bradley, fire Caldwell talk, not to mention the former UF player not one of the 32 teams wants and the Denard QB questions are just painful to watch. Like Jerry Springer, it is a tad entertaining, until you realize these people are real. Daniel from 146 actually exists, he isn't Gators neighbor or anything as fun as that. "Seriously, not funny" was a perfect title for Fridays O Zone.
John: Friday's O-Zone? Shoot, there are those who think it could be used every day.

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