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O-Zone: The real truth

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I asked recently about depth on the offensive line and you indicated that no team is ever deep enough. Okay, I’ll accept your (many, many, many) years of experience. Yet I don’t think it unrealistic to expect the Jaguars to continue trying to improve. Absent injuries, the offensive line played well early on, but it did appear that the right side (guard A.J. Cann, tackle Jermey Parnell) was a bit behind the left side. Also, there seemed to be a huge drop-off when Tyler Shatley had to step in for Brandon Linder at center. Even in these days of parity and salary caps, can’t we at least explore options to upgrade positions?

The Jaguars’ front office scouts the entire NFL and college football landscape every week of every season. So does every NFL front office. The Jaguars draft and sign players every season, and every offseason they scout college football to determine if there are available players to upgrade every position – including offensive line. That’s the long answer. Short answer: They’re exploring, Bruce. They’re exploring. Offensive line play is down across the NFL. Few teams have five quality starters, much less starting-quality backups. All teams will keep trying. All teams will throw early draft selections and major free-agency dollars at the offensive line. All teams also will try to develop lower-drafted players there – and it will continue to be difficult because college football programs aren’t playing NFL-style offense, and because NFL rules don’t allow enough offseason or in-season practice to develop linemen. As for this season, the Jaguars will keep looking for upgrades. But don’t hold your breath. You don’t upgrade positions in the regular season. You do the best with what you have and acquire replacements as needed. Then you hope.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

O-Man, do you think one of the main reasons for the miscommunication defensively is the absence of Poz?

No.

Mario from Orlando, FL

I just got done watching Jalen Ramsey's press conference (if you want to call it that). I'm sure the Jaguars can designate someone other than Jalen who can be more informative and cooperative with the media and the fans. At some point Jalen has to understand that whilst the media sometimes can hurt a player's image, the media can also help a player be noticeable in a positive way.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey speaks to the media once a week – as many Jaguars players do. The Jaguars put him at a podium each Thursday because there usually are a lot of media around Ramsey when he speaks, therefore making it easier logistically if he is at a podium. I agree it’s not a great look for Ramsey to give short answers as he did Thursday, but it’s his choice and it’s comparatively harmless. There are also a lot of other stories and videos of Jaguars players and coaches talking each week, so the information is out there from other sources than Ramsey.

Clyde from Jacksonville

Why is No. 20 all of a sudden being a jerk to the media? Last year he seemed to be one of the leaders of this team, with a desire to win. Why you think the attitude?

Ramsey has been hot and cold with the media this season. I imagine his short answers Thursday and after a loss in Dallas Sunday had to do with wanting to say little following a difficult loss. But don’t overanalyze this, and don’t get too concerned. Ramsey still has a desire to win. Some weeks he is good with the media. Some weeks he is OK. Some weeks he is short. How he speaks to the media is a side story, and a very public one. But it matters little in terms of how he or the team plays.

Justin from Iowa

As a member of the media, is there a point where you stop asking certain team members questions? Watching Ramsey postgame on Sunday and now today … it's just silly. I feel for all of you in the media – having to ask valid, honest questions and getting a teenager's response in return.

It’s the job. It’s honestly not a big deal.

David from Maplewood, NJ

John, no magic pill? I disagree, several teams seem to have the pill. There are different brands: Rodgers, Brady, Brees. I am undoubtedly a fan of Bortles. But I am also a breathing adult with a brain. I don't think any of those magic pills would have let last Sunday happen. They lose sure, but not like that. Again, not a hater but a realist. Things around him have to be going pretty well to perfect it seems. Makes it harder.

Head Coach Doug Marrone’s reference to there not being a magic pill referred to there not being a quick solution to midseason issues. He was not saying it wouldn’t be better to have an elite all-time quarterback. Of course it’s better to have an elite quarterback. Of course those players make winning easier. Of course the Jaguars would have had a better chance Sunday if Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady was the quarterback. I’ll need to google this, but my early thought is the Packers, Saints and Patriots aren’t trading those players. Maybe I’m wrong.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

The backup quarterback is always the most popular person on a team without an "elite" quarterback. Until fans realize they are backups for a reason. Jaguars fans are becoming completely delusional. Or maybe it’s just the same ones that we keep hearing from. Quarterback is not the biggest problem. A broken offensive team and a defense that forgot how to defend the last two weeks are much bigger problems than Bortles.

No, the problem is the Rodgers trade has yet to be finalized. Just ask David.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I think what people aren’t realizing is that playing man defense is exhausting compared to playing zone. Just watch Jalen Ramsey chase Tyreek Hill around all day against the Chiefs. When your offense is struggling and the defense is on the field most of the game, they aren't going to be able to play man every snap. It just isn't sustainable.

True.

Joe from San Antonio, TX

Why are we not changing our game plans based off these injuries? It really seems like we are an open book to opposing teams to get the matchups they want on both sides of the ball. It's pathetic.

The Jaguars aren’t particularly injured on defense, and the game plan has changed because of the injuries on offense. The change is that there’s less in it. It’s hard to make it more complex when you have new players all over the lineup, and when you’re struggling to block people.

Steve from Wallingford

Can we talk about the lack of roughing-the-passer calls Bortles is getting? Every game seems like a free-for-all on Bortles. Can the Jags file complaints? There has been quite a lot of him getting hit after the throw, players falling with their full body weight.

I haven’t noticed any full body-weight plays on Bortles being missed. There’s no question he has been bit multiple times this season in ways that should have drawn penalties but did not. It’s an issue. Yes, the team has talked to the league about it. Yes, they complain. And yes, the league has told the Jaguars that calls have been missed. It’s a thing. Here’s hoping it improves.

Jay from Jacksonville

Why not give the backup quarterback a chance?

If they thought it would help, they would.

David from St. Augustine, FL

This too shall pass. DTWD is easy to chant when the team is winning. But it means more when they are struggling and working to correct the ship. DTWD!

DTWD

Bleak from Celina, OH

Tedy Bruschi summed it up best on NFL Live when talking about Nathan Peterman of the Bills. "The players see the guy at quarterback day in and day out and they will be patient as long as they see signs of improvement. When they see the guy is a dud, they feel no desire to play for him. You play bad once and you say OK give the guy another chance. Do it continuously and you get sick of watching the guy suck." Our locker room has gotten sick of seeing Blake play and they are giving up. Give your nonsense all you want, but that is the plain, simple truth whether you accept it or not.

You have the bold, steadfast conviction of your own beliefs. It is a gift – and truly a precious one. My advice? Keep being you. Don’t get bogged down with facts or the opinion of those who might be privy to the truth. We live in a society that cares little for facts, anyway. (Besides, the truth doesn’t set you free. It only makes you think. Which might give you a headache. And those suck.)

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