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O-Zone: Sweet victory

JACKSONVILLE – Victory Monday.

Let's get to it … Chad from Pensacola, FL:
The defense. Oh my.
John: The Jaguars' defense indeed was impressive Sunday, and it's odd how it takes a victory for people to notice. Remember how many points the Jaguars allowed the last two weeks? The answer is 33, or 16.5 a game. That's including an interception returned for a touchdown by the Steelers. The defense had played well enough to win for two consecutive games and on Sunday, they played well enough to carry an offense that's still struggling to find itself. The defense had a tall task Sunday. The unit was asked to make more plays than it probably should have been asked to make, and it was asked to bail the team out of more difficult situations than would have been ideal. You know what? That's how it is. The reality is that the defense probably will be asked to do that a lot this season. Stay tuned.
Jay from Montreal, Quebec:
Man, D-Rob looked fantastic. Those quick cuts! And vision! He's always had the requisite energy, but where did that vision suddenly come from?
John: Opportunity and experience.
Mike from West Des Moines, Iowa:
It looked like there were some sightings of running lanes. Will it be Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson going forward with Gerhart being the third-down back?
John: I don't know that you'll see the Jaguars' settle in on anything that hard and fast. They have continued this season to use different running back combinations in search of something that works and on Sunday, starting Robinson worked. You also have to remember that it might be difficult for Robinson to carry 20-plus times a game. I don't know that he has the size to withstand quite so heavy a load, but we'll see. He absolutely ran hard Sunday and moved the pile at the end of some plays. That's a good sign. I also don't know that you'll see Gerhart completely relegated to a backup role, but I do think you'll see a lot more of what you're talking about than perhaps we thought at the beginning of the season.
Adam from Astoria:
Married Saturday. Watching Jags' first win with the wife Sunday could it get any better? #DTWD
John: Ah, youth …
Mark from Middletown, NJ:
Great win for the Jags, but gotta start to look at some of these decisions Bortles is making. Is he ever gonna have a game without at least one interception or is this a new trend for him?
John: I don't know that it's a "new" trend, but it's certainly a trend. He's thrown 10 interceptions in five games. That's a lot of interceptions. A lot have been his fault. Some haven't. When you have a rookie quarterback throwing to rookie wide receivers behind a rookie offensive line rookie mistakes are going to happen and rookie mistakes are interceptions. Finally, I'll bet Bortles does have at least one game without an interception this season, but I'll bet the coaches don't worry a lot about it if he doesn't. He's going to make mistakes. In time, he'll grow out of them. That's what it is.
Nathan from Jacksonville:
Wow!!! One hundred and ten percent effort by EVERYONE. Haven't seen this since the '99 Jaguars. Haven't been this happy in a long time. Tides are a changin'!!!
John: People like winning.
Trent from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I think it's safe to say Denard Robinson is now our starting running back.
John: Well, I certainly think it's safe to say he's going to get that chance. And it's safe to say you won't see many games where he's not heavy in the rotation. I still wonder if you want Robinson 22 times a game over the course of the season, but you sure want him running a lot more than he was early in the season.
Joe from San Antonio, TX:
Wish I could have watched Blake's first win live. How did he look?
John: Eh.
Geoff from Orlando, FL and Section 243:
Nice to see the team win. Good team effort, good defense, good running game. Blake regressed a bit but the win makes up.
John: Your statement that Blake regressed Sunday brings up an interesting point. That's that it's important when judging a young player in the NFL to remember that it's difficult to give weekly progress reports that accurately measure a player's progression. Bortles perhaps "regressed" Sunday, but he also made impressive plays that kept drives alive and he responded from a difficult first half with a two-minute drive that got the Jaguars back in a game when it felt like they had been dominated throughout. This is a long-term process and you want Bortles to be better by the end of the season than he is now. He'll have peaks and his valleys on his way there, but it won't necessarily mean that he's regressed or progressed week to week.
Duran from Rapid City, SC:
Can you give us some insight? There were a handful of plays where Blake had ample time to get the ball out but failed. Was the reason lack of separation from wide receivers? Or was it more of indecisiveness from Blake?
John: It appeared from the press box a little of both. There were a couple of plays I noticed in the first half when Bortles threw deep that there really wasn't a receiver open. On another play, wide receiver Cecil Shorts III appeared to break open with Bortles perhaps having time to release the ball only to be sacked a half second later. It's difficult to tell for sure without reviewing the tape, but it didn't appear Bortles was at his sharpest on Sunday. It happens. It's his fourth start.
Adam from Dallas, TX:
It's a good feeling to get the win, O-Man. I thought it was impressive – and hopefully a sign of progress – that despite three interceptions the defense held together. Can you elaborate on the interceptions? Rookie mistakes or did the Browns defenders just make plays?
John: Bortles was hit as he threw on the first interception, so it's hard to blame him for that. On the second – the second interception by safety Tashaun Gipson – it appeared that Bortles threw into coverage off his back foot, but it also appeared the wide receiver could have made a better play on the ball. On the third, the interception near the goal line, Bortles was running and threw to Shorts. Browns cornerback Buster Skrine cut in front and made the interception. Rookie mistake.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Well, this stinks. After that game, I'm having a really hard time coming up with something snarky to say.
John: Stay at it. It will come to you.
Dan from Fort Dodge:
Now that's how to run ... that's how to play defense ... that's how you win.... go JAGS.
John: #DTWD
Brad from Tell City, IN:
Did Coach Bradley not learn his lesson on burning timeouts before necessary last week? C'mon MAN!
John: This was a bigger inbox theme than I anticipated. While last week's timeouts were burned unnecessarily because of questionable challenges, this week's timeouts were far more understandable. When a quarterback or anyone else calls timeout at the line of scrimmage, it's usually because there is confusion or concern that the unit is in the wrong play. As the Jaguars gain more experience offensively, you would like to see less of them. But for now, getting into the right play takes precedence over having three timeouts at the end of a half or game.
Johnathan from Kingsland:
Has Poz been underperforming to you?
John: No, we're getting along fine. I mean, he wasn't real thrilled when I wrote a couple of weeks back that he had struggled in a game. But aside from that, we're good …
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Looks like we drafted a brainless quarterback, huh?
John: Yes, Alex … I'll take Snap-Judgment Overreaction for 500 please … thank you.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
Please stick to serious questions and serious answers. Stop trying to be a comedian when you answer questions. Granted, some of the questions may seem dumb. I'm sure to the questioner they are serious. Please stick to serious answers. If you don't know the answer either ask someone who does or admit that you don't know. If you want to be a comedian, The comedy club has open mic night. We get enough humor watching the Jags play.
John: So, are you saying you want me to stick with serious answers?
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 150:
Hi O-Man. I love the column, your wit and sarcasm. Call me weird, but I do.
John: I think that I don't think you and Tom would get along every well.
Brian from Nashville, TN:
Sweet, sweet VICTORY!!!
John: People like winning …
Evan from Jacksonville via Dayton:
Damn, it feels good to be a Jaguar!!
John: … a lot.

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