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O-Zone: Rude and reckless

LONDON – Let’s get to it …

KC from Hialeah, FL

Considering the Jaguars’ style of play (running the ball down their opponent's throat and playing great, tough defense), what was the front office thinking in putting so much faith in quarterback Blake Bortles? Why depend on a guy who needs everything around him to be perfect for any chance of success? Did they really think Leonard Fournette, Marqise Lee, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, etc., were going to stay healthy for the whole season despite their histories of injuries? Did they really think a player like Bortles would be able to carry a team if these injuries hit (like they have) despite his inconsistency throughout his whole career? Doesn't bring a good look to the front office.

My first thought on this question is Fournette, Lee, Linder and Cann all played in the postseason last season, so it was hardly safe to assume they would be injured this season. The second is I’m not sure it’s fair to think the Jaguars should have assumed Fournette, Corey Grant, Lee, Josh Wells, Cam Robinson and Austin Seferian Jenkins all would be lost for huge swaths of the season. My third thought is that I do believe it would have made sense to re-sign tight end Marcedes Lewis and to have had a second power, physical back to back up Fournette; if there’s a criticism to be levied at the Jaguars’ 2018 offseason decision-making, that would be it. Either way, the thought was never that Bortles would be able to carry the team through a rash of offensive injuries. The thought was that this would be a balanced offense dependent on a lot of pieces. A lot of the pieces being injured helped that plan go awry.

Jackson from Jacksonteal

What does a senior writer do all day? Besides goof off.

It’s a free website. Check it out sometime.

Gregg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

At some point the Jaguars (mainly front office) have to accept their approach to the game is no longer viable in this new NFL. I love Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, but his era of football is over. To succeed, you must have a viable, down-the-field passing game with a run support. This mentality of tough defense, run-the-ball-down-their-throat offense doesn't compete consistently enough to win you championships. I suppose I, like most fans, are frustrated at seeing the success of teams like Los Angeles and Kansas City because they understand this and made getting a down-the-field quarterback the priority with weapons to help. Seems like the Jags just put all the eggs in the run-game basket and hoped the defense could crush the other team. Doesn't work if the other team dominates your defense because you can't score enough to keep up. So, bottom line, when it is time to finally relent the approach isn't working? Hopefully they make getting a quarterback a priority in the draft.

The best way to win consistently in the NFL is with an elite quarterback and capable downfield passing game. Few would dispute this. But it’s not that this leadership group is anti-elite quarterback as much as it was pro “giving the team the best chance to win given the landscape at the time.” That’s why it used resources as it did. When this Jaguars leadership took over, their belief was that considering the quarterback they had – and the percentage chance of finding one substantially better – the best chance for the franchise to “win today” (remember that?) was to continue building an already strong defense, and to play to that defense by drafting Fournette No. 4 overall. The Jaguars then believed in the 2018 offseason that the best way to use their resources was to build the offensive line and add some complementary pieces around Bortles. They did not see a quarterback in those offseasons that they thought was enough of an upgrade over Bortles to spend the free-agency money or draft capital necessary for a capable starting quarterback – and they did not anticipate the quarterback having to carry a team through a slew of injuries. This seemed like a decent enough plan when the team was minutes from the Super Bowl in January. With injuries having taken away the power running game and a lot of the complementary pieces on offense, it seems like not as decent a plan. If Bortles plays as he has the last three games, I imagine they’ll put resources into improving the quarterback position. If he plays the rest of the season as he did last season, I doubt they’ll be in as much of a hurry.

David from Oviedo, FL

Zone - I know, you’re not big of bravado, but the body language of our offensive is, for lack of a better word, sheepish. Where is the INTENSITY?!?! Where is the “THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES, BUT THEY’LL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM!!!”?

Where it should be: in college. I’m fine with intensity, but yelling and pregame fiery speeches don’t tend to do much good if you’re struggling on the field.

Christopher from Las Vegas, NV

Man, O-Zone … the national-you-know whos are painting a very, VERY, grim picture about the status of the team currently. I mean the sky (in their eyes) is literally falling. How did we get here? How did we forget how to play our game? How, John? How?

The national-you-know whos in this case are right. The team hasn’t scored in the first half in three weeks. It has lost by a total of 62 points in three weeks. It doesn’t get much direr than that in the NFL. But the Jaguars didn’t forget how to play their game. Injuries offensive prevented them from doing it, and that has hurt everything.

Cliff from the Underworld

John, do you ever think that the organization is too insular? You have to wonder if last season's run has the decision makers a little too confident in their every decision - perhaps an outside perspective is needed from people that don't sit in their own stew and then drink it?

I’ve never been around an NFL organization that’s not insular, and the same people making the decisions in the 2018 offseason made the decisions in the 2017 offseason. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, how about they run the ball 35-plus times a game? That's what they're built to do. T.J. Yeldon was averaging four yards a carry still. Coaches just were not calling runs. Throw it 50 times, have two turnovers and keep losing. I know playing from behind ... have to pass to catch up. Yada. Yada. Yada. When's the last time that worked for the Jags? Coaches need to be disciplined just like players do. Pound the rock like this team was built to do.

Yeldon averaged a little more than two yards a carry in a loss to the Texans last week, but you’re point is correct that Yeldon has been effective this season. But he has been playing on an injured ankle – and even if he wasn’t, you don’t want him running 30 times a game and worn down to the point that he can’t be effective in the passing game. This team wants to “pound the rock.” It hasn’t had the personnel in recent weeks to do that. Running back Carlos Hyde could help in that area. It won’t make up for all that has been lost offensively, but he certainly could help.

Tom from Sec 141 and the Barely Sustainable Streets of Nocatee

I was pretty excited to read Saturday morning that I’m your best friend. I thought you didn’t like me because of all of the “Rockville” emails.

That’s not why.

Andy from Roswell, GA

John, I don't think it's fair to criticize the retention of Bortles or the general plan of a run-first attack with complementary pieces. Where I do think we should be critical (and I know people were before the season started) is that if that was the plan, why did the team not have a fourth running back on the roster and why did they cut Marcedes Lewis? I realize no one would have (or could have) predicted the injuries, but do you think the team regrets some of their off-season decisions?

I can’t speak collectively for how “the team” feels about not having a second, “downhill power” running back or for not re-signing Lewis. I can tell you having those players on the roster would have gone a long way to maintaining the Jaguars’ offensive identity.

Strummer from Duval, England

Zone, with London Calling Sunday, do you think the Jags will play like a Brand New Cadillac? It’s time for Death or Glory, all those who have been Hateful. I think we will get The Right Profile this week and run the ball like The Four Horsemen! It’s time to Clampdown! Blake Bortles – or as I like to call him – Rudy, Can’t Fail this time. Our receivers need to perform like old Jimmy Jazz Smith. Zone, I hope you don’t get Lost In The Supermarket, getting your Koka Kola, on the way to the stadium. Let’s just remember what Myles Jack said to the Refs as they were performing like The Card Cheat. ... “I’m Not Down!”

You’ve been drinking brew for breakfast.

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