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O-Zone: Tall tale

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Eric from Columbus, IN

I know you never think it's coaching, but what on earth: Jaguars on their 48-yard line, trailing by six – and you throw twice?! Explain that one, please. With 3:45 remaining, there was absolutely no need to throw.

I've never said it's never coaching in the NFL. I often have said it's always coaching in the NFL to make the point that while fans/observers loooooove to criticize coaching after losses, it's absolutely not always coaching – and, in fact, losing or winning rarely is one thing in the NFL. As for your question, I absolutely believe the Jaguars should have run at least once there. And they should have run more than zero times in their last 31 offensive plays Sunday. But let me try to explain what I believe offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was thinking there. First, a run play to newly-signed running back Carlos Hyde on third-and-1 with big personnel had failed in the first quarter. The Jaguars then had thrown successfully on their only two third-and-short situations in the second and third quarter. Quarterback Blake Bortles then scrambled successfully on fourth-and-1 early on the Jaguars' potential go-ahead drive that began with 5:08 remaining. With a little under four minutes remaining, Bortles threw three consecutive incomplete passes – and that essentially ended the game. Head Coach Doug Marrone said afterward the team got away from the run because it wasn't confident in the offensive line. I imagine that lack of confidence stemmed partly from the failed run in the first quarter. Hackett than had some success with Bortles throwing on third-and-short situations, so he had more confidence in three pass plays with the game on the line. Again: he probably should have run at least once there, but that seems like a fair assessment of what Hackett was thinking.

Emiel from Texas

Train wreck.

It ain't good.

Mike from Navarre, OH

Why were there only two runs with running backs in the second half? This game plan was completely baffling. Obviously, the Jaguars were playing from behind but there were times there was plenty of time left and they continued to pass over and over again. What is the thought process here?

The Jaguars had 89 yards offense in the first half and no drives into the red zone. While throwing only two passes in the second half, they had 246 yards and three trips into the red zone. I agree there should have been more second-half balance. But that statistical comparison – along with Marrone commenting on the lack of confidence in the offensive line – gives you an idea why the Jaguars called only two runs in the second half.

Mark from Orange Park, FL

Two yards to go … three downs to get two yards. Hackett is just not a very good or innovative play caller. Hell, the game was on the line; don't you think with three downs to get two yards in such a crucial time in the game it's not too much to ask out of play-caller to have a play to get two yards? Unbelievable!!

It is always, always, always, always coaching in the NFL.

Art from Drexel Hill

Keelan Cole really changed the game, huh?

Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole's lost fumble near the end of the first half after a 15-yard pass to the Jaguars 42 was a killer. It cost the Jaguars a scoring opportunity. It led to the Eagles' first touchdown of the game. The Jaguars talked all week of winning the turnover battle. They won it, but that turnover was an example of why Marrone emphasized the topic so much. It hurt. Badly.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

Say what you want about Bortles – and he was mediocre at best Sunday – but you aren't going to win football games with receivers dropping passes left and right, fumbling the ball and taunting. Taunting!?! Are you kidding me? Why on earth does Dede think he's in a position to talk? You have zero first-half touchdowns in four games in a league where 28 or so teams have made offense look easy, and we are taunting after one damn completion. End rant.

Good rant.

Miguel from Section 144 and DUuuvalll!

Man. No run game. Dropped passes. Blake did OK, but too many passes. It sucks that he has to play perfect for them to win. Defense was OK. Was nice that we felt like they had a chance in the fourth quarter. Sucks being a fan sometimes. Can they turn this around, Zone?

No comment.

Big on Blake from Philly

Theme of Sunday's outcome is "Encouraging." The defending national champs were sweating, and our guys brought some fire! The offense might have figured out how to use its pieces again. There were a LOT of mental mistakes that made the difference today, but with a good bye week, many of those can be addressed. Just keep grinding #DTWD


Kyan from LeMars

You make millions and can't even pay a bar bill?

Four players – safety Barry Church, safety Ronnie Harrison, cornerback D.J. Hayden safety Jarrod Wilson – were involved in an incident in a London club in which there reportedly was a disagreement over a bill. This occurred Friday night/Saturday morning. My sense is there was probably more to the story than the players simply refusing to "pay a bar bill." There reportedly was a misunderstanding, and I've been around enough late-night bar bills to understand how that could be possible. But none of that erases the decision to be in a situation where such a conflict could arise. It's … well, a bad look. Really bad.

Adam from Wesocosville, PA

Well, from my way too early perspective, I'd say Dareus is not back with the team next year based on our run defense Sunday.

I spent Sunday evening on the charter flying back to Jacksonville, so as of this writing I hadn't had a chance to watch defensive tackle Marcell Dareus Sunday. I know he has played well much of the season. I also know stopping the run is more than the nose tackle – and that the linebackers haven't always been great with their run fits this season. With eight games remaining and the team reeling from four consecutive losses, it would feel like a quick-trigger reaction to start projecting offseason moves. There's time for that. Dareus' contract certainly makes a parting of the ways a possibility, though it's difficult to how much of a possibility.

Stephen from Hamden, CT

I sure am glad we traded for a running back. He looked good on the sideline.

The Jaguars' eight running plays by a running back Sunday weren't enough. Marrone indicated afterward the team wasn't confident in the offensive line. Considering how this team is built to play, that's a disturbing quote. Marrone in his post-=game comments talked extensively taking a hard look at what's going wrong. It's safe to say a ton of focus will be on this area.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Have the London NFL fans soured so quickly on the Jaguars following Owner Shad Khan pulling out of the Wembley Stadium deal in the wake of corruption allegations by a former Fulham Football Club employee? The crowd was decidedly in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, even when the Jaguars were doing well.

The crowd Sunday indeed felt decidedly pro-Eagles, but it's a reach to connect Khan pulling out of the Wembley deal to Sunday's crowd. The Eagles are a popular, historic team. They won the Super Bowl last season. Their fans traveled well. Packers fans reportedly had a good showing in Los Angeles Sunday. Fans of long-established teams travel well. It happens.

Ron from Orlando, FL

Wow, you think an "effective" offensive performance consists of one touchdown and four field goals? Even the actual touchdown pass was nearly thrown too late. Crossing routes and screen passes won't cut it if you want to win. The constant defense of Bortles' inaccurate passes, inability to read the field, and tendency to tuck and run (into sacks as well) is sickening. The front office is wasting an elite defense by not admitting to their mistake and fixing the problem. Give Cody Kessler a chance!!!!


Limo Bob from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Were you at the club?

I can't even afford an Uber to get to the club. And if I could afford it, I wouldn't want to pay it – at least not with my own money.

Damon from America's Finest City

I think we can all agree at this point that this team is a wreck. Can you agree with that assessment at this point?

Without question. Loyal, daily readers to this feature – he knows who he is – can tell you that I've been up front about this team having major issues since the loss to Dallas in Week 6. It's hard to believe otherwise when a team has two first-half field goals in a four-game stretch. It's also hard to believe otherwise when a run-oriented team can't generate a running game and appears to have given up the run cause. Add in all the off-field goings on and it's underselling it to call this a rough patch. Can the Jaguars turn it around? I suppose odder things have happened. But if they do turn it around from this point … well, it would one hell of a story.

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