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O-Zone: Righteous rabble

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jami from Wye Mills, MD and Section 230:
I hope you get a lot of emails that recognize the team played hard against a really good team Sunday. How many people would have predicted the Jags would have led at the half? The same goes for winning the game. I know I wouldn't have. Hopefully, people got a taste of the improvement the team made during the offseason. It's Game 1 of a long season. I think this might be more fun than I thought it would be.
John: I got a few of these emails, and I've gotten more as Sunday turned into Monday, then even more as Monday turned into Tuesday. That's usually how it goes. Frustration is high in the short term after a loss and it's easier to see the bigger picture when emotion subsides. That said, I don't expect fans to have a whole lot of perspective in the wake of their team losing a 17-point halftime lead. Those sorts of losses hurt. There were a lot of legitimate reasons for the loss, and I wasn't terribly surprised with the loss even after the lead, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt if you were a fan.
Angie from Palm Coast, FL:
Tough loss Tuesday, but you would have to be blind to not see this team improving.
John: Correct.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
John, can you name a great quarterback that was sat to develop? You can't; the great quarterbacks were playing. Tom Brady sat because he had a first-round pick ahead of him; Aaron Rodgers was behind Brett Favre. Bortles is behind Henne and that's just ridiculous. You want the running game to improve, play Bortles. Henne isn't scaring anyone with his arm. Playing Bortles is the right thing to do; history demands it!
John: I admire your passion, but your argument sort of supports the other point, too. Yes, Brady and Rodgers were behind good players, but the reality is there's not really a cookie-cutter way to develop quarterbacks. Steve McNair sat and so did Kurt Warner. Blaine Gabbert and others played early and it went the other way. Some first-round picks make it sitting; some make it playing. Some late-round guys develop by sitting behind guys. Others are forced into the lineup and play well. Each coaching staff must make their own decisions based on their own situations. The Jaguars believe it best to play Henne at least until the line and receivers are better around him, and they're comfortable with Henne as the starter. That's the Jaguars' situation, no matter how frustrated fans may get.
Paul from St. Johns, FL:
If I hear the coaches say one more time they're going with Henne "because he gets us in and out of the huddle" or "he gets us in and out of plays better," I'm going to throw up in my mouth. The man is a timeout-burning MACHINE, and "playing fast" is actually something he's WORSE at, not better at. Please.
John: Got it. You're right. They're wrong. I'll make a note. And, of course, the timeouts all were his fault and nothing to do with young receivers. I'll note that, too.
Drew from Jacksonville:
I would like to apologize to the coaches, team, and fans. At halftime I got up and had my seat taken by someone else. I screwed it up and that loss is on me.
John: No, it's on me. We've established that.
Austin from Jacksonville:
Is Cyprien out next game and what is the status of his injury?
John: He is in the concussion program and will be monitored this week. I doubt he plays Sunday, but me doubting means very little, so stay tuned.
Michael from Jacksonville:
The run blocking hurt my soul a little bit.
John: I must admit I laughed out loud when I opened this email.
Charles from Savannah, GA:
I walked into the gym Monday and the first thing the strength and conditioning coach said to me was, "They (the Jaguars) ran out of gas" and they couldn't keep up with the Eagles. He mentioned that Chip Kelly's philosophy is to put a lot of emphasis on strength and conditioning. The Eagles are known to have fewer injuries than other teams in the league as well. Do you think this is a fair assessment of Sunday's game?
John: No. While I don't pretend to know as much about strength and conditioning as your coach, it didn't seem that was a factor. I gave this matter some thought immediately after the game, and was ready to make it a point, but it doesn't seem to add up. The Jaguars allowed a 49-yard touchdown and a 68-yard touchdown in the second half, but aside from that, the defense pursued well. The Eagles weren't consistently gashing the Jaguars for big plays, and for the most part the defense seemed to swarm the Eagles running game the entire day. The Jaguars made mistakes and they got beat in the second half, but from this view anyway, they didn't seem gassed.
Ralph from Middleburg and Section 408:
Jags fans it could be worse. We could be like the Texans. Our first round pick could be sitting on the bench for the next 4-6 weeks....Oh!...Wait a minute...He is.
John: Whoa! I saw what you did there, Ralph!! #Mindblown
Bo from Dresden, NC:
John, we play 15 more, right?
John: Hold on. I'm checking.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
Toby Gerhart struggled to gain a measly 42 yards Sunday, and if you take away his one good run, it drops down to 31 yards on 17 carries. That's less than a two-yard-per-carry average, which is absolutely unacceptable for a starting running back in the NFL. And if you think that's because he wasn't 100 percent after the hit he took early in the game, why didn't we play Denard Robinson more?
John: I don't think Gerhart struggled because of the injury. I think he struggled because the offensive line as a whole struggled. This is going to be a theme for a while, or at least until the running game gets going, so we may as well make it clear: I'm of the belief that there's a limited amount most running backs in the NFL can do without good run blocking. I'm also of the belief that most running backs can run when there are holes and most can't when there are not. You're not going to read a lot of back-bashing here when the run game struggles. It's usually very much a team thing.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
I have seen and read several comments where you casually mentioned mental errors as part of the reason for Sunday's fiasco. My college coach was an ex-Yankee; he taught us that physical errors were part of the game and were to be expected. Mental errors were a lack of preparation and NEVER acceptable. After forty years and some coaching of my own, I still feel that that is the case. For anyone, even a sports writer, to casually accept mental errors as part of any sport will lead to mediocrity. Mediocrity has no place in the professional world of sport or reporting of sport. Gus is constantly referencing control the things that we can control. Mental errors are things that can be controlled. As long as we accept them, mediocrity will be the ceiling.
John: I'll try to be less casual. MENTAL ERRORS WERE AN ISSUE SUNDAY!! THEY WERE A BIG PART OF THE JAGUARS ALLOWING TWO OF THE SECOND HALF TOUCHDOWNS. #$($($($))_($(#!!!! ANd thanks for the primer on sports reporting. I'll make a note.
Kenny from Rochester, NY:
John: Hey, it rolls off the tongue about as easily as #Moodachay
Joel from Jacksonville:
Very funny how angry some people are. The defense was clearly tired the second half, the offense didn't help, but without a running game you will have offensive problems. The first half showed that the Jaguars CAN do it. Give it time, and we'll see better. Only one game folks.
John: #blamejoeltoo
Chris from Crestview, NY:
John, one of the concerns I had is that our running game didn't look sharp. When you have a 17-point lead, it's nice not to have to throw 40 times. What did you think of the running game and its potential?
John: I thought the running game was not sharp at all, and in fact, I thought it struggled. You must in the NFL at least have the threat of the run, and the Jaguars except for brief moments did not have that. I think there's the potential there to be a lot better.
Evan from Tallahassee, FL:
I know it's tough to take a loss like that but I think the Jags played exactly like what they are: a very young team with GREAT potential that needs to learn how to play a complete NFL game. That said, how much of Nick Foles' success would you attribute to Cyp getting knocked out? Seemed like once he was out of the game Foles started finding more of a rhythm.
John: There is an element of needing to learn how to play an entire game; no question about that. As far as Foles' second-half success, it's difficult to pin it on one thing, but Cyprien's a really good player with good field awareness. Having him out of the game didn't hurt Foles.
John from Jacksonville:
Rabble Rabble Rabble! Righteous indignation! Call into question your integrity and professionalism! Refuse to support team! #iknowyouwontpostthis
John: Welcome to Monday. And Tuesday.

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