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O-Zone: So much for originality

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

JT from Fort Worth, TX

That was the most epic collapse by an offense I have ever seen. Lose our star running back to foolishness and then our offense does what our offense does. Crazy.

You’re referencing a series at the end of the third quarter of a 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday, a series on which the Jaguars’ already struggling offense indeed reached a new level of bizarre. This series along with the continuing struggles of quarterback Blake Bortles have been the main storylines in the loss’ aftermath because those two factors pretty much defined the Jaguars’ seventh consecutive loss. To review the series in question: After reaching the Bills 1-yard line with a 29-yard pass from Bortles to wide receiver Donte Moncrief, running back Leonard Fournette left the Jaguars’ sidelines and was ejected for fighting along with Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson. Whereas the Jaguars finished two first-half touchdown drives by handing to Fournette, the Jaguars without Fournette lost 23 yards on two penalties and a sack. Kicker Josh Lambo then missed a 42-yard field goal, which meant the Jaguars turned first-and-goal at the 1 into no points – and into serious momentum for the Bills. That’s nearly impossible to do, but it’s not that unusual for this Jaguars offense right now. Buffalo turned that momentum into a 68-yard touchdown drive that was aided by an unnecessary roughness penalty on strong safety Barry Church and a face-mask penalty on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. This has been a weird season with a lot of frustration and a lot of lost composure. That sequence seemed to symbolize a lot about the season.

Tom from Section 141 and the Low Revenue Streets of Nocatee

I’m of the belief that a 12-game losing streak is important for the quarterback viability of the franchise. #top5toreplace5

Fair.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

Hey, Zone: If the Jags take a quarterback in the first round, which quarterback do you think they will take? In your opinion, who do you think is the best quarterback?

I am proud to say I haven’t the foggiest idea who the Jaguars will take if they select a quarterback in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. I imagine I will take a closer look at this topic in the coming weeks, but I don’t imagine I’ll dig deep into the draft until after the regular season ends. I’m stubborn that way, I suppose.

James from Brunswick, GA

That stretch at the end of the third quarter was a microcosm for the whole season. I couldn't help but laugh.

I wasn’t laughing.

Chris from Roswell, GA

No excitement left for this season and with our abysmal draft history, we can't even get excited about having a Top 5 draft pick. My question: Is there anything at all that long-suffering Jaguars fan can get excited about?

Jaguars Drive Time with Brian Sexton, Ashlyn Sullivan (and John Oehser) airs weekdays at 8:30 p.m. I’m on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – and it’s awesome.

Levi from Bloomington, IN

So, how hard do you think it will be to keep Blake as the starter after this game? I know he's not the only problem with this team, but man, he had an ugly game.

This won’t be a difficult decision if the Jaguars still believe Bortles gives them the best chance to win. It’s hard to imagine the decision won’t be more difficult than before.

Kyle from Palm Harbor, FL

John, I see Derek Carr as a real possibility for the starting quarterback for the Jags next year. What would keep that from happening? By the way, I'm driving four hours next weekend to see this team play (and probably lose). But, I'm a true fan and I'll enjoy watching the team first hand.

The Jaguars selected Bortles over Carr in the 2014 NFL Draft, and I’ve never gotten the idea they much regretted the decision. I expect a lot to be evaluated about the Jaguars following the season, and the quarterback position obviously must be a major part of the evaluation. Maybe their feelings about Carr will change during the reevaluation. We’ll see.

Wade from the Westside

This is worse than last year was good.

The fact that this statement isn’t categorically ridiculous speaks volumes about this season.

Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Bortles is the worst quarterback in the history of the Jaguars. Wait, I meant the NFL. Damn this guy is an embarrassment to Jacksonville. Period.

Bortles over the course of his career has accomplished too much to be written off as the worst quarterback in franchise history. But it was hard to describe his performance Sunday as anything but pretty rough.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Talking about finding new ways to lose...

The Jaguars are doing a lot more than talking.

Jeremy from Wise, VA

ZERO composure. Very surprising from a Doug Marrone-led team with Tom Coughlin upstairs. Stupid penalties. Mental errors. ZERO composure.

It’s actually not all that surprising against the backdrop of this season. This is a team teetering on the edge all season. Considering that the playoffs were essentially lost last week, and considering that the Jaguars have lost seven consecutive games … well, that there would be a loss of composure at some point wasn’t out of the question.

Jacob from Auburn, FL

Penalty after penalty after undisciplined penalty. At what point does the responsibility fall back on the head coach?

That’s always the responsibility of the head coach.

Colin

John, so many mistakes in this game and so much undisciplined play. The Jaguars seem to make mistakes at all the critical times, Bortles has proven unable to be a reliable quarterback, and the team is extremely undisciplined. It's kind of hard to root for them at this point. Time for a shakeup. 

When NFL seasons go bad, they go bad. The way the Jaguars are losing isn’t all that different from how a lot of NFL teams lose when it goes bad. A lack of composure here. A lost lead there. A winnable game lost over there. The season has come unraveled. It may not get “re-raveled” until after the season. Time or a shakeup? Get to the end of the season and evaluate then. Such decisions are typically not best made in the heat of a season.

Chris from St. Augustine, FL

Done. They talk about fans that won’t stick with them, but at this point they aren’t even likable people. No composure. I teach fifth graders with more control. Win or lose, they need to conduct themselves like professionals are expected to in any other industry.

Fair.

Bill from Folkston, GA

I know you keep saying that Bortles gives us the best chance of winning. What is it that he does that makes you say that? Because my view is that with him, we won’t win any more games.

I have said that throughout the season because I believe it. I also have said it because the Jaguars coaches have said it; they’re the ones who see both Bortles and Cody Kessler in practice and who therefore have the best idea of who should start at quarterback. And as I have written and said often – and as I will continue to say – Bortles at many times through his Jaguars career has been blamed too much for the Jaguars’ offensive struggles. Still, Bortles’ struggles Sunday seemed to reach a new level. He also appears to have lost some confidence and some of the accuracy he had early in the season. I’m not big on saying players have “regressed,” but the term seems to fit Bortles in recent weeks. I don’t know if Kessler truly will give the Jaguars the best chance to win. But I would no longer be surprised if the Jaguars this week seriously consider giving him a chance.

Andy from Roswell, GA

Why? Just...why?

I have no idea.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I see why the Giants parted ways with Ereck Flowers.

Flowers is the Jaguars’ fourth starting left tackle this season. He was released by the New York Giants in October. You were expecting, who … Tony Boselli?

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

This game was an abomination.

Pretty much.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

I remember the Buccaneers famous run, though I never saw any of it due to lack of interest...but I cannot believe that they were anywhere as dysfunctional as the Jaguars. I actually believe there are NCCA teams that could beat them.

This last sentence is among the silliest O-Zone comments/questions in my seven-plus seasons doing this, but yeah … this is a struggling team right now. It’s difficult to put it in perspective so quickly after the game, but considering the low level of play in the passing game and the squandered opportunity … it was a tough day.

Paul from Jacksonville

"Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory..."

Not exactly original … in fact, not remotely original … but yeah ….

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