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O-Zone: The real deal

JACKSONVILLE – And. Away. We. Go.

Let's get to it … Trent from North Dakota:
Chad Henne and Brandon Allen played well Thursday. It stood out how much fun they were having – and how freely they played. It just looks like Blake presses so hard. Now, I don't want 15-plus-interception Blake Bortles, but part of the reason he gave us so much hope before was he had the look/played more like the other two did against the Buccaneers. He looks like he's not even having fun anymore. There's more to playing quarterback than "looking like you're having fun," but it's tied at the hip to playing confidently. Right now, he doesn't appear to be playing with any confidence. Why? I don't know, but if it's affecting his play, maybe it's time to give Henne an even more extended look.
John: I think it's safe to say Henne's going to get a very extended look very soon. I still believe Bortles also will get a look, the length of which remains to be seen. But I do see a lot of what you see in Bortles. He has appeared to be pressing, and he understandably doesn't look like he's having fun. I thought he looked encouraging in the final two games of last season, and I thought it was logical to assume he would achieve at least that level this season. He didn't achieve it for the most part in practice, and he certainly didn't achieve it Thursday against Tampa Bay. It's possible the enormity of what this season meant to he and the team created pressure. It's possible every throw became so scrutinized that it was impossible to relax and play freely. It's possible an offseason of hearing from everyone with an opinion on the Jaguars – including people running the organization – that he had to reduce interceptions, raise his level and improve his accuracy created an environment in which he couldn't play freely. Maybe it was none of these things, or maybe it was a combination. And maybe Thursday's events will serve as a turning point. Whatever the reason, it's easy to understand why things perhaps haven't been fun lately for Bortles. And whatever the reason, his time to improve is very obviously shorter than before.
Gamble from Brasilia, Brazil:
You know what feels dispiriting? The Jaguars brought back Tom Coughlin with hopes that he would review the roster's weaknesses. Yet, we went through the offseason by oddly extending our on-thin-ice quarterback and throwing a patchwork solution at our "offensive" line. Let's be clear: can this team truly "win now?"
John: Bortles lost his hold on the starting job by mid-August, and the major offseason offensive-line acquisition – left tackle Branden Albert – is no longer on the roster after a well-documented retirement (or whatever that was). Not every offseason roster decision works. Those two didn't. While the line struggled against Tampa Bay, I don't think it's time to give up that group yet. As far as Bortles, well … As for your final question – can this team truly "win now?" – that remains the goal. I think this line can be serviceable at minimum, and it feels like it's leaning toward "In Chad We Trust" at quarterback. He's capable. He has had success. He can manage games. Can he do more? Stay tuned.
Mark from Ponte Vedra and Section 215:
High-ankle sprains sometimes take several weeks to heal. If Marqise Lee is not ready by the beginning of the year what are the IR/return options available to the Jaguars? Would they use one this early?
John: Teams now can bring two players per season back of injured reserve. It's possible this mechanism could be used on Lee, but I doubt it. A high-ankle sprain can be a six-week-ish injury. That would possibly put Lee back in Week 2 or 3 of the regular season. It very likely could be worth keeping Lee active for such a short time rather than place him on injured reserve and use one of their two IR activations.
Chad from Yulee, FL:
Is it possible that part of the move back to the middle for Poz is due to him not excelling at SAM? I am sure much of it is that Myles Jack is not as good in the middle as Poz in base, but I doubt seriously that the staff ever thought he would be this year. Poz has always seemed to be very uncomfortable with the switch and I sense this is as much about him as it is about Myles Jack.
John: It's possible, but not probable. This is not a matter of Jack being bad in the middle in base as much as it is a matter of Posluszny being really good there. And while Posluszny indeed has voiced discomfort at strong side at times, that discomfort was more about Posluszny holding his level of play to a very high standard. His honesty about what it would take to play at what he considered a high level may have caused some fans to believe he was playing poorly there. That wasn't the case, and the move wasn't about Poslusnzy struggling on the strong side. It was about him being the best choice to play the middle.
Jeremy from Dodge City, KS:
O-man, I'm currently trying to convince my wife to move to Jacksonville. Problem is, she has never been there and hasn't heard the best things about J-ville. What would you say to convince your wife to move to Jacksonville (if you had to convince her)?
John: I'd just do what I always do, which is say, "This is how it is because this is my wish and because I say so." Isn't that what all men say to their wives?
Daniel Since Day One:
Henne has always looked sharper than Bortles. The difference now is that he's not playing behind a rookie offensive line. Bortles has not improved after three years so the whole strategy of letting him develop under pressure has failed miserably, like it does to almost every young quarterback.
John: Perhaps letting young quarterbacks develop under pressure is what causes many to fail. More likely it's the exceedingly difficult nature of the position and the exceedingly small number of people on the planet capable of playing it at a high level.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
Remember the other day when I asked if Jason Myers is in danger of losing his job due to his struggles? You said, "Not at this time." How about now? And he isn't the only one, either.
John: I do remember – and I remember writing "Not at this time" because at that the Jaguars were not trying out other kickers. I would not write "Not at this time" if asked the same question now.
The Third from Boston, MA:
A lot to be concerned about.
John: True that.
Ron from Section 118:
Everything I'm hearing says it's a battle between Bortles and Henne. Though I'm not hearing much about Brandon Allen, Thursday he seemed to be the only one that really moved the ball with authority. Granted, the touchdown drops didn't help Henne, but Allen seemed to own it. I know Coach Marrone threw his name in kinda afterwards in his presser, but it seems he's making a strong case for himself to no longer be ignored. Or am I being fooled because he's playing against third and fourth strings?
John: Right now it's more a case of the latter – that a lot of Allen's success is coming against third and fourth teams. Preseason games also must be viewed with the understanding that there's very little game-planning involved, so coaches must project how a quarterback will handle not only calling his own team's offense but playing against more complex regular-season defenses. The battle indeed seems to be Henne-Bortles. Everything Marrone said after Thursday's game indicated as much, and that was the feeling in the postgame locker room. Things change, and maybe that will, too – but that's how it is now.
Jerell from Columbia:
Why in Jacksonville are the quarterback and kicker never held accountable?
John: You may need to change the tense on this question.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
John and crew, I just wanted to give a "One fer" to the entire staff at jaguars.com. This website is stacked full of awesome new videos and innovative ways to get fans information about the team and individual players. Just an all-out bad-ass job on all your parts! I can't say enough about how you guys and gals keep upping your game! Makes me wonder if some Khan funds might have been accidentally reallocated your way, but we don't need to get in to that … or do we?
John: I missed the reallocated funds memo.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
This team stinks. There is no hope for this franchise. The quarterback is a bum. The line can't run block. The defense is overrated. This franchise has a black cat running around it.
John: Go, Jerell, go.
Bill from Melbourne, FL:
You made him up. Jerell is not real.
John: I'm not that good.

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