O-Zone: Shocker

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chris from Los Angeles, CA:
O, man … they are roasting us right now. Blake Bortles, Gus Bradley – and now Shad Khan is being accused of keeping Yes Men around. I don't think he became a billionaire by employing Yes Men. This is BB's fault. He has to know he's killing the entire team. I saw a gentlemen point out that our last two coaches were called bad when losing. Now, both coaches have winning teams that improve every week. The point, again: it's the players. And more focused, it's BB. He is a literal Franchise Killer. He should have the decency to step down as the "Man" because he knows he's the reason the record is as bad as it is. His teammates are fed up with his performances. Jalen Ramsey is in tears because he doesn't like losing. So you lose Ramsey's desire to play here – and what now? He needs to do the right thing. He needs to step down before he ruins the careers of others.
John: Whoa, whoa, whoa, Chris!!! Slow down. Take a breath. Now, another … Good? Good. Look, this is a really disappointing season. The Jaguars are 2-8 when much more was expected. Because it's usual for a coach to have coached this long with so little success, it's drawing national attention. But whatever is said about the Jaguars, "Yes Men" had nothing to do with it. Khan has stuck with this because he believed in the plan and because he believed the Jaguars' situation four years ago was dire enough that the building process needed an unusual amount of time; Khan believed that the Jaguars were far enough away at that point that it was going to take an unusual approach – i.e., drafting and developing without any early emphasis on free agency – to climb out of the hole that existed at the time. The idea was that the Jaguars would struggle for a while then reap the rewards of the growing process – theoretically beginning around this season. That hasn't happened – and as you suggest, struggling quarterback play is part of the reason. But while what's going on is frustrating, it's not as if hope for the future is gone. This team has been competitive. Turnovers and missed opportunities are the major difference between 2-8 and much better. The end of the season will come in about five weeks; at that time, Khan will begin the steps toward figuring the franchise's future direction. But until then, Bortles is not going to step down as quarterback and no one's going to take Jalen Ramsey's desire to play away. Ramsey will be fine – and the Jaguars in time will be fine, too.
James from Upper Marlboro, MD:
I have not lost faith in the Jaguars. I do, though, have reservations about David Caldwell. Many people blame Gus Bradley for Blake Bortles, but didn't Caldwell pick Bortles – or was that a group consensus pick?
John: Caldwell has final say over draft selections.
Tony from Atlanta, GA:
Since this rebuild has been a total failure, do you think a team will ever do it the way the Jags did? It's a reason a rebuild like this wasn't tried before.
John: As difficult as this season has been, it's premature to call the Jaguars' building process a total failure. No, the Jaguars aren't winning enough, but the roster is stronger than four years ago – and if the roster grows into a contending team in the coming years, the approach the Jaguars took could be viewed far differently than is currently the case. As far as other teams following the approach … we'll see. Each team follows its own path based on its own circumstances.
Pete from Jacksonville:
I am tired of hearing that Bradley's first two or now three years should be discounted because the roster was poor. We were posting historically bad numbers and performances over and over. He NEVER gets his team no matter the roster to play better than the sum of the parts and without mistakes. A competent coach would have stolen more wins, surprised a few times, and lost way more close ones. We will never get to .500 with him as head coach.
John: OK.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
What's this nonsense that the Jags still believe Blake is the guy of the future????? I hope Shad Khan cleans house. That way new general manager and head coach won't hitch their wagon to THE PICK MAGNET – aka, Blake "The Pick Six" Bortles.
John: There remains belief within the Jaguars' organization that the team can win with Bortles and that he can improve his mechanical issues, decision-making and accuracy. I don't know what the direction of the Jaguars' franchise will be after the season. I am fairly certain that whatever the direction one of the first postseason orders of business will be to figure the direction of the quarterback position. I believe Bortles will be part of that position going forward. Exactly in what capacity, I do not know.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
A wise man once said, "Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." This is how I feel about the Jaguars now. I embrace the fact that they are terrible. I wear my jersey in public and laugh along with people when they make fun of my team. It hurts less, and is the only way to hold onto my sanity when this was supposed to be the year we could be proud to be Jaguar fans again. We just need a pathetic nickname like The Bungles now.
John: It has been a tough year.
Justin from Jacksonville:
I may be in the minority here. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am. But I say give Bortles another offseason to work on his game. I just feel like we haven't seen what this man is capable of just yet.
John: I think Bortles will get the opportunity to work on his fundamentals and mechanics this offseason, and I think he will get the opportunity at least to compete for the Jaguars' starting-quarterback position moving forward.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi, John. People seem to be down on Chris Ivory, especially after last week's fumble, but he took a hard, direct hit directly on his ball-carrying arm. Even if he had both arms on the ball that hit could still have caused a fumble. Fumbles aren't always caused by careless running backs.
John: People do seem a bit down on Chris Ivory – but I don't get the sense observers are down on Ivory specifically as much as they are frustrated with all things Jaguars. I get the feeling that Ivory's fumble issues this season have been more coincidental than a matter of him being fumble-prone – and I'd be surprised if his fumbling continues. We'll see.
Charlie from Fort Mill, SC:
Hey John, Krimma?
John: Soon.
John from Centreville:
I understand how easy it is to blame the head coach for everything going wrong with the franchise right now, but if you could go back to the beginning of the year and swap Gus Bradley for Bill Belichick – or swap Blake Bortles for Tom Brady (assuming no suspension) – which move would have the biggest effect on the Jags' record right now? I'm not trying to absolve Gus of his responsibility for our record nor am I blaming Blake for all of our ills, but it's probably an easy choice for most people. Having said that, if Tom Brady had been our quarterback for the last four years, I would wager that nobody would be talking about firing Gus Bradley right now. Your thoughts?
John: Tom Brady is one of the elite quarterbacks in NFL history. It's not a commentary on the worth of Blake Bortles to say that if you put Brady on pretty much any NFL roster the team would be better for his presence.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
When I watch Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford, etc., etc., they look so smooth and throw accurate passes. Then, I look at Bortles. The Jaguars organization really thinks Bortles can still be the future? That seems absurd to me, am I wrong?
John: We'll see.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
It's hard to watch NFL football because all it does is remind me of how far behind the Jaguars are. How far behind they are from average NFL football. Shameful/painful.
John: The Jaguars are a long way from being an elite, Super Bowl-contending team. They are not far away at all from being an average NFL team. They are, in fact, a play or two and a few fewer turnovers from being exactly that.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The Jags are going to win the remaining games and win the division and shock the world! Go Jags!
John: #DTW … wait … who's going to do what?

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