O-Zone: The plain truth

JACKSONVILLE – Another week, another …

Well, you get the idea.

Let's get to it … David from Duval:
There's just one thing holding this team back from being really good. We give up non-offensive touchdowns and never get any.
John: The Jaguars at 2-8 are making enough mistakes that it would be disingenuous to say that it's one thing keeping them from winning. They're making too many mistakes in too many areas, and quarterback Blake Bortles is still too far from efficient. Those things make winning difficult. But the non-offensive-touchdowns part? The special-teams part? The fact that the Jaguars don't get big plays from their own defense and special teams? None of those things help. They actually hurt. A lot.
Steve from Hudson, FL:
I can see the effort. How long before we see wins?
John: At least six more days.
Cole from Jacksonville:
Blake Bortles is not the answer. I'll be watching Deshaun Watson more closely the next few games because it looks like we will have a good chance to draft who we want at No. 1 or No. 2 in the draft. The defense looks good, though; playing with a lot of heart. That's all.
John: I have no idea if the Jaguars will seek a quarterback in the offseason. There are a lot of moving parts in that equation, and with six weeks remaining in the season, I expect the parts to keep moving for a few more weeks. As far as the defense … yes, the unit has played pretty well for a lot of the season. The entire team actually played with a lot of heart Sunday. But the Jaguars made too many mistakes and did too many of the same things they have done too often this season. As a result, they lost a fifth consecutive game. When that happens, no one wants to talk about heart – nor should they.
Cody from Boston, MA:
Do you think we will see Bortles be more of a mobile quarterback? Make him run some running-back drills in practice and make him into a watered-down Cam Newton. He is a big guy and he can run. Plus, that will give another thing the opposing teams must worry about. High risk, high reward?
John: I do not think the Jaguars will turn Blake Bortles into a watered-down Cam Newton. I also do not think Blake Bortles will be participating in running-back drills any time soon.
Todd from Oklahoma City, OK:
I wouldn't describe blowing a fourth-quarter lead as gutsy on the Jaguars' behalf.
John: OK. Agree to disagree.
Dave from Duval:
I know Gus has to be the most frustrated. These guys just won't play smart, sound football for him. It's almost as if they are trying to get him gone.
John: Nah, they're not trying to get him gone. But the way they're playing, the odds grow by the week that that will be the end result. I honestly don't know how to judge the lack of discipline the Jaguars are showing this season. It's surprising because while the Jaguars struggled in Bradley's first three seasons, they weren't a highly-penalized team for the most part – and they didn't have the absolutely inexcusable, mind-blowing mistakes they're committing this season. Some of that's coaching because discipline falls on coaching. Some of it is players, because NFL players should know how to avoid most of the mistakes the Jaguars keep making. Whatever it is, it has become one of the themes defining the Jaguars' season – and having your season defined by a lack of discipline is not good thing in the NFL.
Andy from Whimple, England:
Words fail me as far as the team and results. But respect, admiration and prayers to Telvin Smith. You deserved more from today.
John: True that.
Jake Town from Jacksonville:
I see the frustration on the face of our defense and it makes me worry that next year they won't care. They know the team sucks, so why bother playing? We are stuck as the second-worst team in the NFL forever.
John: Nah. It is indeed bad now. No one would tell you different – and when you're in the midst of a bad season, it seems as if it will never end. But this, too, shall pass. It's taking a lot longer than it should, but it shall pass.
Tim from Dejaview Land:
Have we seen the script of this game before? Yes, pretty much every week except the blowout weeks. Offsides!!!! Sheesh!
John: The Jaguars are 2-8, and five of the losses indeed are strikingly, numbingly, frustratingly similar. The Jaguars could have and perhaps should have won five games this season – Green Bay, Baltimore, Kansas City, Houston and Detroit. Sloppy, undisciplined play and struggles at the quarterback position largely have caused that not to happen. That's a formula for losing in the NFL – and the Jaguars have that formula down far too well.
Richard from Nottingham, UK:
Can we bench him yet? He has directly cost us the last two games. There has got to be another way, Zone … there's just gotta!
John: I guess a concerning thing is that while I sort of think you're talking about Blake Bortles I don't know for sure.
Daniel since Day One from Jax:
Bradley's philosophy of "get better every day and the wins will come" sounds good but has failed. It always reminds me of the participation trophies. It just seems there's not enough emphasis on competition with the other team. Then, when the players lose with the pressure on, they can't handle it and start self-destructing. How many penalties with the ball not even in play? Way too many to be considered a well-coached team.
John: Bradley's not the only coach who preaches the philosophy of get-better-every-day-and-the-victories-will-come … but because of the record, I understand fans' irritation. I don't believe Bradley's get-better-every-day philosophy is a bad one, but something isn't working in a big way with this team. When that's the case, the head coach is the first one blamed.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Why do the Jags run out of the gun so much? I hate that!!!
John: You're not going to believe this, Jerell, but … I agree.
Marco from Lima, Peru:
We do have a defense for the future. We just need a lower/mid-tier guy playing at quarterback to have a decent production on the field. Can't we just trade for that?
John: Is the solution that simple? No. Do the Jaguars need to get better play at quarterback – be it Blake Bortles improving or some other avenue? Yeah.
Tres from Lake Butler, FL:
Players are breaking emotionally at this point. This is atrocious at this point. What is there to be positive about anymore? There are no moral victories.
John: No, it's not a good situation.
Sen'Derrick from the Defensive Line Room:
I guess that'll teach 'em to cut my playing time. Go Jags!
John: I'm reasonably sure this isn't really from Marks. Either way, Marks didn't jump offside Sunday on purpose. None of the mistakes getting made are happening on purpose. But too many of them are avoidable, and Marks' offsides penalty with 2:34 remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday was an absolute killer. Maybe the Jaguars get the stop there or maybe they don't. Maybe they go score after getting the stop or maybe they don't. But offside on fourth-and-2 from the Jaguars 46 was up there with the most damaging mistakes of the season. Way up there.
CC from Duval:
Do you know how I know it's Sunday around 4:30 p.m? Because I have that empty feeling inside that once again a player made a boneheaded play at a crucial time in the game that cost the opportunity to win a game. Sorry for the rant. Rooting for the Jags is really hurting me as you can tell.
John: I get it.
Rob from Pittsburgh, PA:
I blame the beard, but seriously – don't really care week-to-week anymore. All of us fans are #DTWD but the emotional investment is done for a while. I still follow the games and results but don't even get bothered any more since about the sixth loss. The only daily Jags I do anymore is the O-Zone ... so thanks for at least keeping THAT going for us. It helps the fans whether you – or us – realize or not.
John: Thanks for reading – and your feelings are understandable. This has been a brutal season. Expectations not only haven't been met – they haven't been close to being met. The Jaguars have found creative, maddening ways to lose so often that many readers are indeed disinterested. And you know what? I get it. It's not the fans' job to be emotionally invested. It's the team's job to make certain fans are emotionally invested. Right now the team – the players, the coaching staff and so on – isn't doing enough to make that happen. That stinks, but that's true.
Roger from Jacksonville:
You just can't make so many stupid mistakes and expect to win in the NFL.
John: No, you cannot.

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