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O-Zone: Searching for Gustav

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
It does not matter if Luck plays or not. The Jaguars are a better team and they will win the game. Colts do not scare anybody right now! Let's go Jags! Get your hands on the division and keep it!
John: Your enthusiasm is admirable, as is your confidence. And I think your first sentence makes a good point. Yes, Andrew Luck's status will be a big national issue in the next couple of days. It will be THE story of this game from the Colts' point of view. That's as it should be, because he's an elite, franchise quarterback. That's true whatever his statistics may say. But for the Jaguars, this game isn't about whether Luck plays or not nearly as much as it's about them playing well. The Jaguars have played well in spots this season – a lot of the Miami game and for argument's sake, a little of the Panthers and Patriots games early. The Jaguars need to play better consistently on offense, and get to the point where it's not uncommon to score touchdowns; that means Blake Bortles playing better and the receivers making big plays … do that, and that should help the running game. They need to pressure the opposing quarterback and force turnovers on defense. Do those things on Sunday and you have a chance no matter who's playing quarterback for the Colts. Don't do those things and you probably lose no matter who's playing quarterback for the Colts.
Dustin from Clovis, CA:
My heart aches for Scobee :,(
John: Yeah, it's a tough watch.
Gamble from Washington, DC:
Thinking of Curtis Painter makes Jaguar fans want to hear Curtis Loew. How 'bout you?
John: I don't quite understand the question. I do know Curtis Loew was the finest picker to ever play the blues.
Mike from Canada:
Rob almost went there this week with, "dance, secondary dance." It made me wonder: do you think we will have so many Men Without Hats on the sideline that the defense will have to do The Safety Dance again this weekend? Or are we getting healthier back there?
John: I'm not sure what's going on anymore.
Jesse from Panama City, FL:
O, could Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady lead any current NFL roster to the playoffs at the level they are playing? On a different note, tell J.P. Shadrick he lost his man card! He's never seen Gladiator???? You got something on him now, O …
John: Rodgers or Brady could probably get pretty close to the playoffs with any roster. That roster probably had some experience with the quarterback and some knowledge of the offense, team's approach, etc. – but assuming that … yes, a quarterback playing at that level can make that much of a difference. As far Shadrick's man card, I probably can't say too much. I've seen bits and pieces of "Gladiator." As far as what I thought …. meh.
Herb from Jacksonville:
I'm sure Rob from Orange Park appreciated his query concerning the receiver being carried out of bounds after a catch being answered. It's a shame you can't check out the same rule book and tell me whether a long field goal can be blocked just before it reaches the crossbar. I guess I must be the only Jaguar fan that doesn't know, so why bother. I do think the query is more worthy of being printed than someone calling you an idiot. But it's your space and you are the judge so I won't bother you anymore.
John: There's little I appreciate and enjoy more than accusatory emails questioning the approach of this column and implying I'm plotting and brazenly not picking a particular question from the many I receive on a daily basis. What I love, too, are implications that I'm doing so out of spite, fear, incompetence, laziness or some agenda. This approach I imagine is sometimes is a great way to get desired results. Other times …
Jason from Jacksonville and Section 140:
Ignored again regarding my comments about Joeckel returning to the lineup, despite the better play of Sam Young while he started in Joeckel's place. I guess you are a Joeckel groupie who is too in love to discuss whether or not this team truly needs him and whether Young is the better option, as the reduced sack numbers indicate. Come Monday you'll be defending Joeckel again after he's given up at least one sack by declaring he's getting better, but just had one or two glaring mistakes. This is an important topic for the Jags that for some reason you continue to willingly ignore.
John: This, too, perhaps is sometimes an "awesome" way to get desired results. Other times …
Morgan from Jacksonville:
I'm not doubting the injury or severity, but I am curious about Marqise Lee's injury. Is it the same hamstring he injured previously or is it the other leg from compensating the other injury? I just have a feeling some people think "oh, he keeps doing the same thing to it" or "They didn't rest him enough!" when it may be a different injury all together.
John: It's the same injury, and believe me: Marqise Lee and the Jaguars are as frustrated as anyone on this front. The Jaguars ruled Lee out for the second time in four games this season on Friday, and Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley was pointed in saying that there's no question there's an injury and that it's very evident from a medical perspective. This is not a case of Lee not wanting to "gut it out" or not wanting to play. It's not a toughness or desire issue. The Jaguars now are trying to figure – again – the best way to address this to allow Lee to return for an extended period at some point this season. Stay tuned.
Tom from Jacksonville:
John, do you think players of yesteryear were tougher at playing through injuries than players of today? It sure seems so.
John: I talk to players every week before games and after games who put their bodies through enormous pain and physical trauma to play in the National Football League. Most people who have seen this up close hesitate to question the toughness of professional football players.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Considering the production we've seen three games into the season, which one position on this team – if improved – would make the biggest game-day impact? Let's take quarterback out of consideration for now.
John: Secondary/pass rush. I put those two together, because it's hard for one to improve without the other. This team needs to create turnovers. It has one this season. One is not enough.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
Is it possible the Jags knew something the fans did not when they traded Scobee? He's had a rough start.
John: The Jaguars believed Myers was a better kicker at this point than Scobee. That was the reason they were going to keep him, and it was the reason they traded Scobee.
Sam from Orlando, FL:
I believe Dante Fowler was the pick the Jags needed to take. I also believe he will be a game-changer on defense. But man, it's hard watching Amari Cooper in Oakland. He looks like what a young quarterback needs. A game-changing, reliable receiver.
John: That's an understandable emotion, and I certainly agree that the Jaguars could use an elite, front-line receiver. And maybe Amari Cooper would help this team. But Dante Fowler Jr. would help this team, too, and there was no way to know he would get hurt. It stinks, but it couldn't be anticipated.
Rob from Jacksonville:
Really not trying to be snide, just curious as to what you liked about the forced-out rule? It always struck me as odd. He would have come down in bounds IF not for being forced out. Where does that end? The WR would have caught that IF the DB wouldn't have tipped it. The QB would have completed it IF he wasn't sacked. The kick would have been good IF it wasn't blocked.
John: I liked that it took into account a receiver being defenseless and helpless when in the air. The play on Sunday when Allen Robinson was forced out of bounds illustrates the point. Robinson made a play on the ball and would have come down in bounds if not for the defender. There was no way once in the air for Robinson to get his feet down. In that scenario, I liked the force out rule. I don't think its absence is any sort of statement about our society. But I liked it.
Jesse from Panama City, FL:
John, I honestly believe we have a better roster than Indy. Now, let's see if our player's respond. I'm tired of blaming general managers and coaches. If people like Dave and Gustav can't right the ship, we're in trouble. It's time to hold players accountable.
John: The players absolutely will be held accountable, as always is the case. And if I can figure out where to find this Gustav guy … well, let's just say he ain't getting a free pass.

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