JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...
Jared from Banning, CA:
From 0-8 to still mathematically in the playoff race. Not a bad turn of events.
John: No, it hasn't been a bad turn of events at all. And while the mathematics for the Jaguars to make the playoffs is very advanced mathematics indeed, the postseason truly isn't the big picture here. Remember, the Jaguars were not only 0-8 at the bye, they entered it having played perhaps their two worst games of the season back-to-back. This may not be an elite team right now, but it is without question a different team and an improved team since the beginning of November. So, the significance isn't so much that the Jaguars have won four of five games since that time as much as that they have continued to improve when many teams could have gone the other way.
Mike from Section 238:
So, here's how I see The Plan from a fan's perspective: (1) We learned how to be competitive and beat lower-tier teams this year; (2) We'll add some players and learn how to compete with and beat some of the better teams next year; (3) We'll add a few more players and beat A LOT of teams in two years.
John: That's a very fine plan indeed. Remember, things don't always go exactly to play, so there may not be a smooth, consistent upward-looking graph, but if over the course of three seasons you see something resembling your plan that would be success.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
I know it appears that we suddenly got better after the bye week, but that could not be further from the truth. These guys have been working hard since the preseason to get better, it just took until the bye week to see the results.
Nate from York, PA:
If the Jags win the rest of their games this year under Chad Henne, do you think David Caldwell and Gus Bradley will pursue a quarterback in the draft or try again with Chad next year? I believe Chad is not a franchise quarterback and if we want to reach the next level and be a playoff/championship contender we need a franchise QB.
John:The Jaguars certainly need more consistent, better play at the quarterback position. Henne has played better in spots in recent weeks, and he has made good decisions since the bye enabling the Jaguars to win. That shouldn't be discounted. I believe the Jaguars will probably pick a quarterback in the first two rounds, and that the player probably will start. As for who that might be, there's a long way to go between now and May.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
What's with all the crazy enthusiasm? Yes, the Jags have won four of five games and I love the effort, but let's not overlook who those wins were against and how those teams were playing coming into the game where they lost to the Jaguars. Tennessee had lost three of their last four games before losing to the Jaguars. Houston was riding an eight-game losing streak the first time they lost to the Jaguars. Cleveland had lost five of their last six games. It's not quite time to start clearing a place for the Lombardi trophy at EverBank Field, although one would think that to be the case based on recent O-Zone messages. Let's not get too worked up just yet. You agree?
John: No. And you're better than this, Wallace. People get excited about football. It's why it's a popular sport. Shoot, the excitement is why sports are popular. Sometimes, people who get excited about football don't do so in a rational way. They get giddy over small things like winning multiple games when their team hasn't done that in a long time. No one is thinking this team is going to the Super Bowl this season and no one is thinking they've suddenly become one of the most talented teams in the league overnight. That's not the case. But this fan base has been waiting a long time for signs of improvement and signs that the team is going in the right direction. The fan base is starting to see those signs, so, "Let's not get too worked up yet?" No, I don't agree. Get worked up. Shoot, get overly worked up if you want. Life is short. Have fun. Enjoy.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
Working under the assumption the Jaguars win the rest of their games, I picked each remaining game in the season based on who I thought would win. Obviously there are a couple close games, but entering these into ESPN's Playoff Machine, the Jaguars make the playoffs. Amazingly, they have the tiebreaker over five other teams that would finish 7-9. Crazy how that works.
John: All right; I did actually spend some time with this Saturday – out of curiosity at this point more than anything. There are still way too many scenarios to try to make any intelligent, understandable scenarios about the Jaguars making the postseason. First, they would have to win their final three games and you are correct that the Jaguars would have a lot of tiebreaker edges over teams that could finish 7-9. After toying with it a while, it is very unlikely enough could happen. Miami, Pittsburgh and Baltimore would have to lose a lot of games to teams they should beat. Could it happen? Sure, but we'll wait a week or so before we completely start breaking down possibilities.
Talha from Fuquay-Varina, NC:
Hayes is plain clutch. 'Nuff said.
John: True dat, too.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Our offensive line is doing better, but still leaves a bit to be desired. How long should it take Joeckel to get the scheme down next season?
John: Not long. He should be better at left tackle next season – his natural position – than he was at right tackle this season. He is a gifted player who is a natural left tackle. He may not be dominant at first, but he should be fine then work toward being a whole lot better than that.
Eric from Orange Park, FL:
A few questions. First, how does the stat line read for Chad Henne on the double pass where Ace Sanders connected with Jordan Todman for the 21-yard touchdown? How is Henne'sinitial backward pass involved for statistical purposes, if at all? Also, what is the distinction between a neutral-zone infraction penalty by the defense where the play is stopped by the officials compared to an offside penalty on the defense where the play is allowed to continue and the offense receives a 'free' play? Thanks again for your hard work and Moodachay!
John: First, Henne gets no statistic on the Sanders-Todman play. It's the same as if he had pitched the ball to a running back on a running play. Second, a player is offside when any part of his body is over the line of scrimmage at the snap. A neutral-zone infraction is a defender entering the "neutral zone" and causing an offensive player near the occurrence to move. Third, #Moodachay.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
I smiled when I heard Gary Kubiak had been fired. Nothing against him; I'm just glad the Jaguars have played well enough and hard enough to impact another franchise. I know the Texans have lost to other teams but it seems two losses to the Jags were the tipping point for Mr. McNair. I'm really excited for the years to come under coach Bradley and GM Caldwell.
John: I don't smile when people get fired, though I suppose I get your point. I also have limited sympathy for NFL head coaches who get fired because their salaries offset the high-risk nature of their positions. As far as your bigger point about the Jaguars being the tipping point, while it appears to be true it's also a little silly. Fans and even players and officials from other teams apparently are buying into this notion that the worst thing that can happen to a franchise is to lose to the Jaguars – a team that now has won four games, incidentally. People who think that are forgetting that football is a team game, and that focus, enthusiasm, effort and playing together means a lot in this league. To be embarrassed about losing to another professional football team is insulting to the winning team and frankly shows a pretty significant lack of understanding of the league.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
I really wish the ball had bounced our way once or twice earlier in the season. This feels a lot like '96.
John: Well, the ball would have had to bounce pretty significantly at some point. The Jaguars really weren't that close to winning a game the first half the season. They pretty much have the record they deserve, and that's OK. There is a similarity to '96, though, in this sense: there's a very real improvement going on and a very good feeling about the future of the franchise. I wasn't around from 2002-2011 so I can't speak to those seasons, but this feels more like a positive, steady build toward something than anything I've felt around the Jaguars since '96.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
The Jags were actually mentioned on SportsCenter this week. It came right after 20 minutes of in-depth analysis of Peyton Manning's latest bowel movement, but at least we got mentioned. @nationalspotlight
John: I missed that SportsCenter. How did things come out?
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Oops, I meant # not @.
John: No w@rries.
O-Zone: Significant recognition
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...
Jared from Banning, CA: