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O-Zone: Sad commentary

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mark from Archer, FL

I think after all of this going on with Blake Bortles he will not be the Jaguars’ quarterback next season. I understand they said he is their best option right now. But your starting quarterback should not get benched every year. I think in the offseason they are going to look for a better option than Bortles.

This seems likely to be Topic A – or at least very high on the list – around the Jaguars from now until the offseason. You’re correct that a starting quarterback should not get benched every season; constant uncertainty at the position is not good for the franchise. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone on Monday announced that Bortles will start against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday – this a day after benching Bortles in the second half and playing backup Cody Kessler in a loss to the Houston Texans; you don’t get much more uncertain in NFL circles than that. I’m not sure how much there is to say on this topic that I haven’t said already. Bortles is not an elite quarterback; he’s not a “franchise” guy, whatever that means. The Jaguars decided to move forward with him in 2017 and they made the AFC Championship Game with him at quarterback. They have opted to use resources – i.e., the defense, the running game, tight end, receiver – in other areas the past two offseasons. The team’s plan of having Bortles as a complementary piece in a run-first offense this season has failed so far – primarily because of a rash of offensive injuries. He’s not a carry-the-team quarterback, so his shortcomings are more glaring now than they were last season. It’s all true. If the pattern of the last three games continues the rest of the season, I would expect the Jaguars to make a major effort to draft a quarterback in the first round. The season’s not over yet. Stay tuned.

Bill from Jacksonville

“The reality long has been he (Blake Bortles) needs the offense playing well around him to be effective…” When this is the case, you don’t have the right guy, and need to be looking for another “franchise” quarterback.

OK.

Richard from Irvine, CA

Doug Marrone seemed pretty adamant that splitting practice reps between two quarterbacks was not productive. Yet not long after Bortles was named the starter, two reputable reporters reported that the reps would indeed be split. Marrone doesn’t strike me as a liar so why do you think there is a discrepancy? Do you think the front office is mandating that reps be split?

I think the discrepancy is that the reports were incorrect. Marrone said the reps will not be split, and unless something changes before Wednesday the plan is for the reps to not be split.

Chris from Orlando, FL

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!! How the heck do you let Bortles remain the starter? He has not done crap for four games!!!! The defense has given up when he is on the field!!! Once again Dave Caldwell makes Marrone play Bortles! This is a bunch of crap!! So, we are gonna tank the season it looks like. Where is Coughlin at for all this crap? Guess he has no more say over football operations! About to lose again, then put Cody in when it’s too late again then come back after the bye week with the same crap excuses!

Wow. Exclamation points!!!! and CAPITAL LETTERS – and in the lead sentence. That’s proof that you are not only mad online, but SERIOUS ABOUT IT!! Caldwell didn’t make Marrone play Bortles; that’s not how it works. The front office signs and acquires players, and the coaches decide how they are used – and yes, that particularly is true at the quarterback position.

Neil from Jacksonville

How does the trade of a fifth-round pick for Carlos Hyde look now that we are 3-4 and not 4-3? He has a pretty high cap hit and a fifth rounder is not nothing. Might the Jaguars regret this after the season is over?

The Jaguars didn’t trade for running back Carlos Hyde for one week or even one season. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be heavily involved in the offense the rest of the season – and I expect him to play a major role when the Jaguars play the Eagles in London Sunday. He will get every opportunity to have a major impact. If he’s not good, they’ll regret it. If he’s good, they’ll be fine with it.

John from Jacksonville

I was very surprised to see a seasoned running back such as Hyde not active for Sunday's game. Not that hard. Give the guy the ball and let him run.

I wasn’t remotely surprised to not see Hyde play Sunday. There’s more to playing running back in the NFL than running called running plays. There’s pass protection, which means knowing play calls and knowing assignments within that play. As for why the Jaguars wouldn’t just call running plays with Hyde in the game, if teams know you’re going to run, then stopping the play is simple. And yes, I’m aware that stopping the Jaguars on any play has looked pretty simple lately.

Tom from the Pits

So, how long are you girls going to keep hanging your hat on this team’s 60 minutes of fame from January?

Probably as long as it irritates you. It’s fun.

Marcus from Jacksonville

It is often said or at least implied here in Jacksonville that we should trust the local media when it comes to the Jags. We shouldn’t listen to the national folks because they aren’t around the team and they aren’t in tune with what is going on. But, here is what many in the big bad national media said before this season: The Jags are a potential contender, but I can’t get on board because I don’t trust Blake Bortles, the receiving corps is unproven, Fournette is injury prone, and I don’t know how they’re going to score points. Meanwhile, the local media raved about how this would be the year that Fournette ran for 2,000 yards, Bortles would prove the doubters wrong and the Jags would go 12-4 or 13-3. In the last three losses, of the 9 “experts” on this website that have picked each game, only one outright picked a Jags loss (others were non-committal one way or another but didn’t pick the Jags to lose). Here we are seven games in and the national media has been right on the money. Maybe it’s the local media we shouldn’t trust … maybe they’re just selling us the Kool-Aid to try and keep us tuning in and buying tickets. But I don’t expect you to comment, John, seeing as you’re probably the ringleader of this conspiracy!

Plenty of national media picked the Jaguars to contend and play in the Super Bowl. Plenty didn’t. When it comes to predictions, trust who you want to trust. I’ll sleep either way.

Don from the Northside

Bye! I'll be back when the organization gets the crap out of their heads and replaces Bungles. Something is wrong when no chance of winning is your best chance of winning. Five years of this clown is all I can stand. They owe the people of Jacksonville and the other 52 players a better effort than they are giving.

OK.

Jefferson from Phoenix, AZ

John, the football gods giveth and taketh away. Ever since the unnecessary two-point conversion against the Jets, we've forgotten how to play. Hubris was our downfall … well, hubris and Injuries.

C’mon.

Yoav from St Johns, FL

Have you ever seen a team in this situation come back and make the playoffs in the same season?

The Jaguars are 3-4. I’ve seen plenty of NFL teams come back from that and make the postseason.

Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Two problems ... the offense is very beaten up and are tight trying to make plays. The defense, though, needs a new creative scheme. This looks like Gus Bradley-stubborn-stick-to-it approach. Everybody knows just what the defense will do and counter easily. Need to blitz, blitz, blitz and have a new look and better attitude.

When in doubt … bliiiiiiiiiiiitz!!!!

Tariq from Washington, DC

I have been a Jags fan since their inaugural season. Here's my question. Why has this franchise continued to not draft a good quality quarterback to get a Lombardi Trophy.

The Jaguars selected a quarterback three times in the top 10 in 11 drafts from 2004-2014: Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert and Bortles. Three Top 10 swings in a decade, though perhaps not success, certainly is trying. They haven’t selected one since selecting Bortles because they have believed in him as the starter. I don’t know what the future holds, but that’s a general reason for their actions for the last 15 years.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

John, yesterday, for the first time in years, I read the O-Zone comment section. Yikes. There was much discussion about the team Kool-Aid that you drink. Is it the grape Kool-Aid? The grape was always my favorite.

What’s a “comments section?”

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