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O-Zone: Special moment

CHANDLER'S CROSS, England – Let's get to it.... Levi from Bloomington, IN:
A lot has been made of Blake Bortles not losing confidence, but O, you can tell by the way he has been playing the last two weeks his confidence on the field is shot. This has David Carr written all over it. You can't tell me he hasn't regressed. That throw right before halftime Sunday … who was that to? The only player within 10 yards was a Bengal. I don't understand what happened … when he first came into the lineup, he was a weapon, did well, made great throws. Now, he's a liability and is playing worse than Chad or Gabbert.
John: First, everyone needs to just slow down for a second. Deep breaths. Ready? OK. Remember during training camp and preseason when we all talked about learning curve and patience? About how this wasn't going to be a situation where Bortles' progress was a straight arrow in one direction? This is what we were all talking about. He's struggling a bit right now. That much I can agree upon. I don't agree with your last statement, because it's not true, and I don't see Bortles equating with David Carr. Bortles doesn't look timid in the face of the pass rush. He doesn't look shattered. He looks like a young quarterback trying to figure out what's going on. Just because he's struggling right now doesn't mean he'll struggle forever, though I can't disagree that Bortles looked less confident Sunday than he did before. It's natural. He had a couple of tough weeks before that. How he responds to that will matter far more than the game itself.
Matt from Jacksonville:
That "offensive weapon" title doesn't seem quite so silly now, does it?
John: You're referring, of course, to Denard Robinson being referred to as an offensive weapon during his rookie season … and no, it doesn't sound silly right now.
Oscar from Palm Coast, FL:
John, I have asked in the past this question and yet you haven't answered!!! So I ask again!!! Why when we are facing third-and-long situations do we always throw a three- or five-yard pass? Makes no sense.
John: I have answered this question, or at least some version of it. I have done so quite often, in fact. And it's not true that the Jaguars "always" throw three-to-five-yard passes on third and long – though I understand that they have done it quite a bit this season. I also understand that the third-down pass "short of the sticks" is something that frustrates fans to no end. Sometimes, it's a matter of the receiver running a bad route. Other times, it's a play call designed to be safe and reducing risk. It's often better to kick a field goal or punt rather than make a high-risk throw and have an interception on third down. The throw short of the sticks often is the domain of the young quarterback, either because of inexperience or because of play calls from an offensive coordinator concerned about protecting the ball and the young quarterback. They should reduce as Blake Bortles works with these receivers more.
Harry from Detroit, MI:
O-Zone, how come we have not seen any "trickeration" from the offense this year? Perhaps Robinson to Robinson or Robinson to Bortles. Thought for sure Halloween weekend would give us a treat.
John: We may not have seen much trickeration, but we've seen quite a bit of creativity. A screen with some misdirection in it and a fake reverse run by Denard Robinson come to mind. Jedd Fisch certainly isn't averse to thinking outside the box. Often, a trick play depends on the right situation and if you don't get that situation, you usually don't arbitrarily just go, "Hey, how about the trick play?"
Mark from Middletown, NJ:
I am a huge, Huge, HUGE Jaguars fan but, I'm not just going to be oblivious and say Blake Bortles is the guy for the next 15 years just because we drafted him third overall. I mean, yeah, he has some bright spots and I know he's making "Rookie Mistakes" but some of this picks just seem to prove that he might not have what it takes to play in this league. He can still grow and get better but the way he's playing doesn't show any sign of that happening anytime soon.
John: Interceptions thrown by rookie quarterbacks don't prove they don't have what it takes to play in the NFL. Failure to improve, grow and reduce the mistakes over time proves that … and no, a half a season is not "over time."
Matt from Orlando, unfortunately:
Looked like receivers were struggling yet again Sunday to get separation and get open.
John: It did look like that at times, yes. That's what happens when you play mostly young, rookie wide receivers.
Steve from Hudson, FL:
How bad does the time change in London mess with your nap schedule?
John: It ain't good, man. It ain't good.
Lloyd from Jacksonville:
Anyone watching football knows that hands to the face gets called in what seems are most instances. Yet, I watch a runner or receiver stiff-arm a defensive player in the face and no call. Is that not the same scenario as some other hands to the face calls?
John: Runners may touch a facemask during a stiff arm, but they may not grab it.
Ken from Vero Beach, FL:
John, I'm really surprised your readers never talk about the fact that we never get any production – and I mean never – at tight end. Every good team has a really good tight end. It's surprising that we have never had a really good-pass catching tight end in our history. I think Bortles will never really be good until he gets one. What do you think?
John: Well, Pete Mitchell certainly qualified as "good" back in the day, but I get your point. I actually think people talk about this quite a bit, and I agree that a good pass-catching tight end would help. Clay Harbor has been productive at times this season, and the Jaguars' offense has benefited when that has been the case. I also think this is an area the Jaguars will address in the offseason. Stay tuned.
Dave from Jacksonville:
John, I'm sorry, but Bortles' interception in the end zone when the team is down by 10 points late in the fourth quarter proved to me what I have feared from many of his previous interceptions. He just doesn't "Get it!" In other words, he is the Scarecrow and needs to visit the Wizard of Oz. Sad but true;(
John: I get emails like this sometimes.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Has your confidence in Bortles waned over the past few weeks? It seems like the tone of your articles has changed. When he was first given the starting job you indicated that he was going to be good, "maybe very, very good." Now you write that he's going to be "fine." In your opinion, does it look like he's just an average quarterback now? I hope not, because I don't want to go through another three-to-five years of futility. #losingstinks
John: I feel the same about Bortles now as I did during the preseason. I see a young guy with all the tools whose presence on the field is making the team better. I also see a guy with a lot to learn. The difference in wording is more based on the tone of the emails I've received. When Bortles came into the lineup, most were generally giddy, so I often wrote that I thought he was going to be good with a chance to maybe be very, very good. His skill set indicates that should be the case. Now that he has struggled, a huge portion of the emails I receive are panicked with some calling him a bust. Because of that, a lot of my answers regarding Bortles are simply to relax. This is a process and as long as he keeps improving his skill set as such, he should be fine.
Daniel from Windsor, IA:
I really like this young receiving corps, Hurns looks to be a great find, Robinson is looking good, Shorts even with some issues is still a solid receiver. I haven't heard/seen much from Lee? What's your thoughts on his performance thus far?
John: I think Lee has a whole lot of talent, and I think he has some catching up to do to get up to speed with Hurns and Robinson. That's not incredibly unusual. Young receivers often need time to develop.
John from Jacksonville:
Have been trying to think of a good comparison for Robinson. Chris Johnson keeps coming to mind. D. Rob doesn't quite have the same speed, but he's a smallerish back that makes quick decisions and likes to get vertical. Good stuff, good for him!
John: I understand the Johnson comparison, but while I haven't covered Johnson as extensively as I have covered Robinson, it strikes me that Robinson may run a little harder at the point of contact and may be more comfortable inside the tackles.
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
John, I just want to compliment you and Brian, for the 20-year history videos. It's great to look back on those memories. Job well done!
John: Thanks. It's always special to work with greatness. Or so Brian tells me.

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