JACKSONVILLE – We're Houston-bound as of late Saturday morning and will be there through at least Monday. Thoughts obviously will be in Jacksonville.
Let's get to it …
Kyle from Jax:
Hey O, do you have a generator so you can keep the streak going even if Irma knocks out power? Stay safe!
John: I do indeed have a generator. I have a generator because I am a hardy, self-made, get-things-done-around-the-house, live-off-the-land man who long has believed in self-reliance. In the event of anarchy and the accompanying rioting in the streets, I have enough food and supplies for my family and I to survive and indeed thrive until early 2019. That's why I have a generator. No, wait: That's my brother-in-law, Chad. I have a generator because my wife's boss was good enough to help us get us one for a good price just before Hurricane Matthew. The generator scares me. It's loud and smelly. I have trouble starting it. Actually, I can't start it. I have to call Chad.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
Will O'shaug Hennessy be present in the starting line up? He can thank Key & Peele for becoming my new favorite player.
John: I'm not cool enough to have any idea what you're talking about.
Sam from Orlando, FL:
When Yoda says "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." Isn't that an absolute? Also, any chance Blake can throw for 300 yards Sunday AND we win?
John: Yes, Yoda's line is an absolute. And that's ironic. But that's the thing about irony. It can be pretty ironic and often is. Yes, the Jaguars can win Sunday with Blake Bortles throwing for 300 yards. The Jaguars would prefer he needn't do that. The bigger question is whether the passing offense can generate a 200-yard, no-interception efficient day. Bortles and the Jaguars' offense were disasters in Houston in Week 15 last season. The Jaguars don't need 300 from Bortles, but they can't have disaster.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
Bruce from Green Cove Springs might feel a bit differently about Blake Bortles if he considered Blake's W-L record and number of interceptions thrown versus the other 15 Jaguars quarterbacks to have at least one passing attempt. Cherry-picking stats proves nothing.
John: Your question refers to an email this week in which Bruce noted that Bortles had impressive statistics in career passes, touchdowns and yards. And you're right that Bortles' errors through three seasons have overshadowed his accomplishments – by a wide margin. At the same time, Bortles' yards, attempts and completions aren't nothing. They show he has some potential and some capability. Can he reduce errors and increase accuracy enough to become a winning quarterback? Now's the time he must answer that question.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
Answer: If not, we're in for a long season, but if yes, this could get real interesting. Question: Can the Jags run the ball against stacked defenses?
John: The reality of the NFL is few teams run consistently against stacked defenses. It's paramount to have a quarterback who at minimum can make teams pay for single-covering outside receivers. Bortles and the Jaguars' offense must at least get to the point where they can do that. This doesn't look like an offensive line that can line up and impose their will on eight-man fronts. Few NFL offensive lines have that look.
JT from Rosamond, CA:
We need to pay Alex Smith want he wants next year. This team is a quarterback away from being a playoff contender.
Dave from Duval:
Honest prediction: Houston, 27-9. Jason Myers misses a field goal and an extra point. BB5 has two turnovers. One getting taken back for six. We rush 39 times for 75 yards as a team. Dante Fowler Jr. has just one penalty this game. Houston gets three sacks and one batted down three-down pass.
John: So, pretty much just take every team weakness and thing that happened last season and assume it will happen Sunday? That's fair. It's not overly clever, but that's OK. I'm not either.
Ray from Monroe, CT:
O, I hope you share this ... BB5 will be MVP this year with 39 touchdowns, six interceptions and 4,217 yards, five rushing touchdowns and 450 rushing yards ... Jags 12-4 #Boldpredictions #GOJAGS
John: I'm guessing you're not related to Dave?
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Do you think the offense will incorporate a lot of bootlegs, rollouts and waggles given the uncertainty with the offensive line and Bortles' ability to move and throw on the run?
John: I think the offense will have Bortles move more this season, and I think he will be encouraged to run more quickly when his first or second read isn't there. I don't think that has as much to do with the Jaguars' offensive line as it does with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's philosophy.
Ryan from Fremont:
Part of the reason Bortles had a good couple of games at the end of the season was because Marrone decided to move Allen Robinson around on offense in order to get him more involved. Do you see this happening again this season?
Chris from Columbia:
Your response to London Chris is exactly what's wrong with the Jags' attitude toward winning. One-and-one would not be a good start; 2-0 would be a good start. Settling for mediocrity in your personal life is one thing, O-man, but not for the Jags if they want to win. Too long have the fans had low expectations of this team, and I for one am tired of it.
John: Be tired all you want, Chris. The Jaguars went 3-13 last season, and they are opening with two division rivals. One game is on the road and the other is at home. Two-and-oh would be the ideal start. It would be a great start. It's the start they want and no one's talking about the Jaguars losing one of the next two games. But if the Jaguars are 1-1 after these first two games that would be a good start.
Tres from Jacksonville:
We know that Tom has the final decision on personnel moves and is heavily involved on that side of operations. Now that the season has started, is he developing the week to week game plan with Doug and the coaches?
John: No. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said this week he leans on Coughlin for advice and Coughlin no doubt offers input. But Coughlin is not "developing" the game plan.
Miguel from Section 144 and Duvalllllll!:
Does it make me a bad person that I love when you belittle people? The littler the better....
John: Yes, that makes you a bad person. But hey … bad people are cool. People like them.
Bill from Hammock, FL:
John, I'm not sure that the Jaguars can realistically be expected to win at Houston considering all the factors. However, the Tennessee game is critical to win. How do you see this?
John: I don't see a victory at Houston as all that unrealistic. The Jaguars, remember, are supposed to have a strong defense that should be a good matchup against a Houston offense expected to struggle. Remember, too, that these two teams played a very tight game at the end of last season – and you never know what to expect from a regular-season opener. I can't realistically "pick" the Jaguars Sunday. That's because we haven't yet seen a high level of play from the quarterback position or offensive line. But I also think it's very reasonable to expect this to be a close game decided on a few plays at game's end. As far as next week's home game against Tennessee … yes, it's critical. It's a home game in the division. Those are critical.
Brian from Section235:
Cam Erving. Chiefs picked him up, for a FIFTH-ROUND PICK and his chump change rookie contract worth a MAX value of just over $3 million for the next two years. First-round talent that never panned out … I get that. But he played guard at FSU and can fill a void if one of our "solid" tackles go down. I'll just become Jerell 2.0 by the end of the season.
Ben from Jacksonville:
This season is already looking like a bust. No team in the NFL respects Bortles and our pass game, so they're going to stack the box. So we're relying on a rookie running back with a below average offensive line to carry our offense. How can fans be excited about this season?
John: I can't control what excites fans, but I can tell you the Jaguars have a good receiving corps – and a rookie running back in Leonard Fournette who appears to have star power. They also have what appears to be a solid defense that has potential to be a game-changing unit. The special teams also have a chance to be good, and I sense this will be a team that has a chance to have a better turnover margin than recent seasons. All of those things could mean improvement. Is all of that worth being excited about? I don't know. I do know the regular season begins Sunday. The Jaguars are 0-0.
Nate from York, PA:
Everyone in the path of Irma, stay safe! Go Jags!