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O-Zone: Standing strong

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Steve from Jacksonville:
John, I never had expectations of a division championship or playoffs for this season, but I thought we would see a team that competed through the end of games, stressed the better teams and split those at or near the same talent level. Unfortunately, we are not seeing that outside of what I believe was the Baltimore game. Three blowouts, a now-overrated game against Green Bay and two wins against teams that are a mess. Not sure exactly my point, but that is symbolic of my feeling for our team. A loss of words to describe what we're seeing.
John: I understand the frustration – and I also understand there is a perception that the Jaguars are a total mess. At 2-6, they undeniably have not been a good team this season – and they have played very poorly three times. The maddening thing: as poorly as they played in those three games, the season could be so much better so easily. With the slightest uptick in offensive efficiency and a slightly better turnover ratio, they would have gone 5-0 against Green Bay, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Chicago and Kansas City. Yes, if they had played even slightly better in those games, the Jaguars would be 5-3. In other words, they would be the Houston Texans – this week's opponent and the AFC South leaders. But they didn't get offensive efficiency enough – and far too often in the last two seasons they haven't gotten offensive efficiency at important times. And far too often in the past two seasons, turnovers and mistakes – and the inability to force opponents into turnovers and mistakes – have killed this team's chances. So, what are you seeing? A team with enough talent to win, but a team that makes too many mistakes to do so enough? That may not be the entire description, but it's a start.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
Bill Parcells once made one of the most accurate statements ever: "You are what your record says you are." The Jags are 2-6 this season and Gus Bradley is 14-42. BB5 has shown us who he is and I don't think we are going to discover anything else about him by letting him continue to quarterback this team. My question to you: Do you see anyway that Gus Bradley and this coaching staff are retained for another year?
John: My answer to you: Sure, but they have to win a lot of games and they can't lose a lot.
John from Nowheresville:
Hey O! You keep avoiding my question related to who this team will beat on the remaining schedule. I would really like to hear your thoughts on who this team will beat based on the fact that they can't seem to beat anyone but themselves. I am all in and DTWD, but honestly: this is bad. Like, dumpster-fire bad. Go Jags. At some point in the future they may be able to win some games. Until then, I'll be watching each week as the fire grows bigger and bigger.
John: Who can the Jaguars beat on their remaining schedule? This is actually quite simple. If they play to their potential, avoid turnovers and hit plays when they are there to be made, they can beat any team remaining on their schedule – and yes, I mean any team. The Jaguars haven't done those things enough this season, and because I can't predict when they will, I can't really give a good answer to your question.
Tim from Atlantic Beach, FL:
John: If we have such "advanced, modern and compelling television experience on game days" (your words), then why can't the referees get a decent replay of a Chris Ivory fumble/touchdown? It seems like teams with better markets get better replays (more cameras). If replay is going to be used and is such a game-changing factor, why isn't this standardized throughout the league?
John: Tim: (I know my words; I write them). Prime-time or nationally-televised games indeed have better replays because the networks send more cameras to the games. It has been this way since replay was implemented. Why? Because networks are free to determine the number of cameras they send to games – and because as of now, the league/teams haven't been moved to incur the costs needed to change the system.
Matt from Easton, PA:
Can we stop comparing the mechanics of Bortles to Rivers, who is incidentally headed to the Hall of Fame? It's one thing to have an odd delivery, but an entirely other thing to have that odd delivery prevent you from throwing a catchable, accurate pass.
John: I've never compared Bortles' mechanics to those of Rivers. I have cited Rivers as an example of a quarterback with unorthodox mechanics – and I have done so as a way of demonstrating why unorthodox mechanics don't automatically make you an undraftable quarterback.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
O-man, our 'long, rangy, physical press corners' that Bradley covets don't play press, which means the three defensive tackles on our starting line don't have time to generate pressure. With your insight to the team, do you anticipate any adjustments being made by Wash to try and generate pressure? I know the offense has been terrible, but our defense hasn't been lights-out either.
John: I don't anticipate Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash changing the defensive scheme. I do anticipate Wash will blitz when he feels blitzing will be an effective way to generate pressure. He did this a lot against Kansas City and it was effective against Nick Foles. It would be reasonable to think that it might be effective against a relatively inexperienced quarterback such as Brock Osweiler of the Texans.
Neil from Gloucester, UK:
Hi, John. Not my field of expertise as I am a recent follower of the NFL, but I have cast my eye over the remaining schedule for the Jags and our AFC South counterparts. If, and I know it's a big if at the moment, we beat the Texans this weekend, then I predict we will win the AFC South. Is this possible or am I being exceptionally naïve, nay, foolish. COYJ (come on you Jags)
John: Sure, it's possible. That's because the AFC South is relatively bunched-up – and a Jaguars victory would make it even more bunchy. But this team has lost three consecutive games and has a minus-12 turnover ratio. It has found a way to lose games in a bunch of different ways. We also spent most of last season saying things like "if the Jaguars can win this game they can get back into a struggling AFC South …" Is that statement true this week? Sure, but it's a hard thing to keep saying until they start winning.
Julio from Hesperia, CA:
Let's pretend you are a billionaire and you own this team. Based on what I saw Sunday I really think this team is about to go on a run. What record for the last eight games would you need to see to keep Bradley?
John: Hold on … I'm still pretending I'm a billionaire – oh, and 6-2.
Richard from St. Augustine, FL:
O-Man, is it reasonable to believe that the Jaguars will not exercise their fifth-year option on Blake Bortles unless his play improves in the final eight games this year?
John: Yes. That answer doesn't imply that the Jaguars have decided whether or not to use the fifth-year option on Bortles. It is to imply that it's reasonable to believe that his play over the final eight games will play a role in the decision.
Joe from Canto, Ohio:
SEASON LOST!!!!!!????? Are you kidding me? I mean, how can some people call themselves fans? Now, while this is not what anyone expected nor is it ideal, we see this type of play around the NFL every season from one team or another. My point: we have all seen teams win only eight or even seven games and still win their division. As a fan, we have to believe. We have to scream it from the rooftops!! DUVAL TILL WE DIE! – not till we lose, Our team feeds off this. We will win. We will be the franchise to be feared. So stand up and shout John stand up and SHOUT!!!!!!!!!
John: OK.
Paul from Jacksonville:
O, if three years in you're trying to figure out if your quarterback is the guy ... don't you already know he's not? Three years into Brady, Manning, Favre, Elway, Marino, etc. … their coaches and their fan bases weren't asking questions if they were the guy.
John: You're listing a pretty elite, Rushmore-type group there – and those quarterbacks indeed proved very early in their careers that they were elite. But there are other cases – Drew Brees and Eli Manning come to mind – of quarterbacks who appeared iffy two or so seasons into their careers. I'm not saying things don't appear shaky right now with Bortles. That indeed is the case. But he's done enough positive things to merit more opportunity.
John from Jacksonville:
I am still a Gus supporter, and I believe once it turns (and I think it will soon) it could be great for a long time. Really not looking to start over again. There are still some of us out here. Here's one fer Gus, and hoping it turns around as it looked like it really started last week.
John: Hey, one fer Gus!

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