LONDON, England – Game day.
Let's get to it …
Chip from Jacksonville:
OK, so I'm a Jags fan, season-ticket holder, die-hard O'man reader … why am I so upset that I lost a home game, and the team and media are having such a good time in England? Please answer how this game in London helps my team.
John: I absolutely understand that this concept is tough for some Jaguars fans, particularly long-time season-ticket holders. They want to see their team at home as often as possible and a home game in London by definition takes a home game away from EverBank Field. The reality is the London game stabilizes the franchise in Jacksonville by increasing local revenue, which is a critical element to the team financially. It also helps stabilize the franchise by expanding its international fan base. It's not fun, on-field stuff, but it's significant.
William from Section 423:
YOU GUYS HAD A ROUND TABLE THIS TIME! Things are looking up.
John: The table in Jags of the Roundtable was actually oval this week, but yes, we had curved, rounded edges. #Babysteps
Rick from Panama City, FL:
Shad says close. Close to what? Winning another game this year? Yea ok.
John: You're referring to Jaguars Owner Shad Khan on Saturday saying the Jaguars were close. It should be clarified here that Khan in no way said he was happy with 1-8. He also said he expected to have a few more Ws at this stage of the season. This is not a guy who will allow losing to continue if improvement is not being made. But Khan also understands that this is a process. As he said, he supports the process because he can "see behind the curtain" and he likes what he sees.
Willie from the Chocolate Factory:
"It's still difficult to identify which teams are truly legitimate contenders for Super Bowl XLIX through Week 9 of the NFL season. But the dregs? That's easy. Oakland (0-8), Jacksonville (1-8), the New York Jets (1-8) and Tampa Bay (1-7) have combined for just three victories so far. The NFL hasn't had that low level of three-win futility among a quad of squads since 1997." Robert Deutsch USA Today. Kinda makes you proud that year in and year out we are a bottom-feeder and in contention for the No. 1 overall pick. But, hey, we're getting better and that's all that counts right?
John: Wow, if USA Today said it, then I guess I'll internalize my anger and base every O-Zone answer from now until Christmas on shame, embarrassment and frustration. Ah, but I kid …. Look, I understand the frustration. Believe me, I work it, live it and cover it. I write it every day – really, I do. The Jaguars understand the frustration, too, and what the team and its fans have been through since 2007 hasn't been fun. What they're going through now isn't fun. At the same time, I'm wondering what the Jaguars are supposed to do right now – not from 2008-2012, but right now – except build through the draft, improve as they do and work toward building a sustainable foundation. Is there another way? If there was a magic free-agency pill, the Jaguars would swallow it. If it could be solved by spending wildly every offseason, the Jaguars would do it. It takes time to build from where the Jaguars were. It just does.
John from Jacksonville:
Can you remind me what the advantage is of being the "home team" versus the "away team" in London? I think I read this a while back but can't locate it.
John: The advantage is the home team can procure significantly more revenue. The Jaguars earn about double the revenue for a London home game than a home game at EverBank and they also are able to earn sponsorship dollars as the London home team.
James from Socorro, NM:
Would you consider it a future possibility that the Jaguars would play two London games back-to-back during the same season, one as an "away" game and the other as a "home" game?
John: Yes. When I spoke to Jaguars Owner Shad Khan about this Saturday morning, he said there's really nothing off the table in that regard. He said it's very likely the team asks the league that the agreement to have a home game in London each season be extended, and also said the possibility of having an away game there in addition to the home game existed. You would think the best way to do something like this would be to have the games on back-to-back weeks, but time – and the league's scheduling – will tell.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
How much better will this team be when Marcedes Lewis comes back? He's taken a lot of heat over the years, but no doubt this offense is well improved with him in the line-up.
John: The offense indeed should be better upon Lewis' November 23 return against Indianapolis for a couple of reasons. One is even if Lewis doesn't catch a slew of passes in a game he's a significant enough threat in the passing game that teams must defend him. Another is that he indeed is capable of turning a short gain into a big play. Finally, as much as the running game has improved in the last four weeks, it could get better with Lewis' return. He remains one of the NFL's better blocking tight ends.
Don from Austin, TX:
Headline in today's paper … "No need for Romo to play, if quarterback is required to beat Jags, Cowboys don't deserve W". Guess they do not remember the Jagwads quotes.
John: Yeah, whatever … anyone watching the Jaguars closely in the last six or seven weeks knows they haven't been getting blown out and that they actually have been pretty darned competitive. I don't expect Dallas media – or any media, really – to make that the focus of the story or a headline. I don't know that the Jaguars will win the game, but I'd be surprised if the Cowboys win easily.
Zain from Orlando, FL:
Is Ben Roethlisberger really in (the Hall of Fame)? You could argue he's got the statistics (albeit, less impressive in the context of this era). He's got the rings. But is there any time in his career when you would call him a Top 5 quarterback in the league? A top three quarterback? To me, it's not just stats and rings, but being an elite player at your position - and while Ben has been great, I would've never considered him elite - the way I would of Manning, Brady, Brees, and in this era, Rodgers.
John: I think Roethlisberger is elite. I also think his two Super Bowl rings and appearance in another – as well as a slew of playoff appearances – will bode well for his Hall-of-Fame chances.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I'm frustrated with the people that are frustrated with the people who are frustrated with the rebuilding process! I understand we can't expect the process to happen quickly, but I think we can still be frustrated with losing games. There are always teams in rebuild mode, and history shows that those teams struggle, but they can still win games. That's where the frustration comes from. I see progress and I'm excited for the future, but I'd still like to see them win a game here and there. I'm not looking for instant gratification, but a win now and then would be nice.
John: People can be frustrated with whatever they want. I'm not man enough to stand in the way of that.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
Reading the O-Zone lately I have witnessed quite a bit of concern from fans about Blake. I can't help but read these questions and confidently dismiss them. I won't forget watching Bortles Mic'd up in the preseason coming back to the huddles and being an absolute leader, having fun and patting guys on the back, oozing confidence even after poor plays. It was at that time I knew he was "the guy." Being "The Guy" doesn't just take physical talent, but an ability to instill confidence in the guys around you in the huddle. I believe the men believe in him and we will soon all be handsomely rewarded.
John: This is a big factor for Bortles and the Jaguars – not the only factor, but a big one. It's not a coincidence, accident or happenstance that the Jaguars have continued to be much better with Bortles in the lineup than they were before. He hasn't always dazzled statistically and the offense has struggled at times. He also obviously has committed some key turnovers. But the players believe in him, and believe that he has a chance to develop into a big-time player. They also believe that he's giving them the best chance to win and helping a lot of other aspects. It's not fair to say those things trump the mistakes, but they make it far easier to play for the guy.
Jags fan for 20 Years from EverBank Field:
I've seen some things man... and some stuff... I wouldn't recommend it.
John: You and me both – and I ain't talking football, brother.