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O-Zone: The wonder of it all

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Donny from Savannah, GA:
Blake Bortles is the franchise quarterback of the Jaguars. The first drive against the Bears proved that. His placement of the football on almost every throw was incredible, and Jaguars fans should have his back through the entire process.
John: There's little question that for the most part Jaguars fans absolutely support and believe in Bortles. There's also no question the franchise supports and believes in Bortles. He indeed is the franchise quarterback, and you're absolutely right that drives such as the game-opener against Chicago show why he absolutely can be the guy moving forward. He looked good on that drive: precise, quick, accurate. He looked good late in the game – very good, actually. He made multiple throws and multiple plays during that game that looked like front-line, elite-level quarterbacking. He again showed a knack for the clutch play and for playing well late in games, something he has shown since he became the Jaguars' starter. What Bortles has lacked so far this season is consistency in important areas, and he has been shaky in too many areas in too many situations. If the offense is going to be productive and if this team is going to be a playoff contender he must be more reliable and consistent through entire games and not just in clutch time.
DJ from Charleston, SC:
Before this season started I thought for sure the Jags would be lighting up the scoreboard. I think we all know the Allen Bros. are legit but is everyone else just not as good as we thought? What do you think is the reason the Jags seem to be having such a hard time scoring points?
John: The Jaguars are struggling to run and the quarterback has been inconsistent.
Paul from Jupiter, FL:
Sure would be nice to give JDR a thumping on his return to the 'Bank, wouldn't it?
John: Many fans indeed would enjoy that – just as Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio would enjoy winning his return to EverBank Field Sunday. But for the Jaguars, this game is about playing a good team. If they win it, they will have a three-game winning streak that will put them even at .500 for the season. They also will have a victory over a team two games over .500 for the first time in five seasons. They also would be firmly in the AFC South chase. It's safe to say everyone associated with the Jaguars would savor those last few feelings far more than the feeling of beating Del Rio.
Jaginator from Section 124:
We're at the point where we can retire the "they're-a-play-or-two-from-being-better" phrase. These things have a way of balancing themselves out over the course of the season - and it already seems to have happened with the Jags. Yes, a few positive plays against Green Bay and Baltimore and they could have won those games. But a few negative plays against Indianapolis and Chicago and they very easily could've lost those games. So the Jags are 2-3 at this point - which seems to be just about the record they deserve.
John: I was thinking much the same thing in the wake of the victory over Chicago. This was a game in which for most of the game the Jaguars played poorly enough to lose – just as they played well enough to win for most of the Baltimore game. Right now, the Jaguars are 2-3 with several games that could have gone either way. That's how it is in the NFL and the Jaguars are probably about where they ought to be. But you know what? If they had just not turned the ball over that time in the fourth quarter against the Ravens …
Genuinejag13 from Jacksonville:
Coach Bradley doesn't seem to have any answers as to why the run game is not working. As a first time head coach, is he on the same learning curve as the young players on the team?
John: It's not that Bradley doesn't have the answers. It's that right now the answers are pretty short and pretty frustrating. After all, when the answers are "block better" and "run better," there's only so much a coach can really say.
Josh from South, TX:
Didn't I tell you the no-huddle was also needed with the moving of the pocket? Got to play to where Bortles feels comfortable. Why can't we play with our own style of play, being trendsetters in the NFL? Especially if it works. It'll be like giving them a left, left, right hook ... TKO!
John: I think you'll probably see the Jaguars go up-tempo, no-huddle a bit more in the coming weeks. The offense has struggled this season to the point where something is needed, and that has worked. But I absolutely don't you think you will see it from start to finish in games – nor should you see it from start to finish. An up-tempo, no-huddle offense when it fails puts a great deal of strain on a defense. People are weary of hearing this, but it's true. This defense has been a reason this team has had a chance to win in recent weeks. The last thing you need to do is weaken that strength.
Derek from St. Augustine, FL:
Oh Zone, did you ever find out what "#DTWD" means? If you haven't, it's "Duval Till We Die."
John: No, I don't think that's it.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
Everybody wants to pile the offensive woes on Blake Bortles. Is it fair? Is he the reason the run game stinks? Without the threat of a decent run game, play action is useless, the defense is in the throwing lanes and taking away quick hitters. Yes, I get that he has to cut down on the turnovers, but I think it will all come up the running game takes over. What are your thoughts??
John: There's no question there are other issues offensively aside from Bortles' difficulties. The line has not blocked well for the run, and you're right that that has hurt the ability of Bortles and the wide receivers to hit explosive plays. But the issues with which Bortles has struggled most often this season – accuracy, decision-making, turnovers and pocket presence – aren't run-oriented issues. Those are areas he must improve no matter what happens with the running game.
Zane from Neptune Beach, FL:
Predict: By the end of the season will Jalen Ramsey have officially moved into elite corner status and into the top five active corners.
John: I wouldn't bet against it.
Cathy from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
John, why in the world is our running game so horrible? I thought Yeldon and Ivory were good backs. Is it all on the offensive line, or are our backs partly to blame?
John: When a team struggles doing something in the NFL it's rarely all on anything in particular. There are too many interdependent factors. In the case of the running game, there are certainly many factors going wrong, but it's usually true with the running game that the offensive line is far more of a factor for success or failure than the back.
Julio from Hesperia, CA:
O, have you always been a dork? Or did it start when you got hired by the Jaguars? Just kidding. Keep up the good work.
John: Hold on … people think I'm a dork?
Cole from Springfield, OH:
John, if a team has already used all three timeouts, what happens if a player gets injured inside two minutes? Is this a penalty?
John: In this scenario the team with the injured player is charged a fourth timeout; if time is in and the clock is supposed to be running, there is a 10-second runoff – that is, if the opposing team chooses to accept the runoff. If the scenario happens again there is a five-yard penalty for each occurrence.
Robert from Jacksonville:
If this moribund offense scored 51 points at home against Indy last year, there is no reason it can't do it Sunday.
John: OK.
Trae from Jacksonville:
John, I fanned this past weekend. I fanned hard.
John: I'm not surprised, Trae. The way this team is playing right now can be maddening. Fans fan in the best of times. In maddening times … well, it's not always pretty Trae, now is it?
Chris from Mandarin:
If you run up tempo only when you get a first down, wouldn't that kill two birds with one stone? Keep the opposing defense on its heels and give the Jags' defense a breather if it's not working.
John: Yes.
Nathan from York, PA:
Why do Pete Prisco and Tony Boselli dislike each other so much? I feel like this question may not have an answer.
John: I've known Pete Prisco for nearly 30 years and I've known Tony Boselli for more than 20. The wonder, I assure you, is not why they dislike either so much. The wonder is that how anyone tolerates either of them at all.

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