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O-Zone: Thoughts...

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Eduardo from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Aaron Rodgers goes down and the Packers talk about the two young guys they have invested time in preparing for their chance. The Jags have a mediocre-at-best starter and an aging lifetime backup, and no young players in the quarterback pipeline. When are [Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom] Coughlin and [General Manager David] Caldwell going to have a press conference and answer the tough (I hope) questions from you media guys about the pathetic state of our quarterback room? They preach accountability; they need to be held accountable.
John: To have such a press conference during the season obviously would be absurd, so I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for that – although I would imagine holding your breath is difficult to do while flexing, anyway. Look, I don't know what will happen at the Jaguars' quarterback position after the season. Like many, I expect the Jaguars to address the position in a big way; the situation certainly has that feel. But the reality so far this season is that despite all fingers being pointed very directly and very accusingly at Blake Bortles, he is far from the only issue in the passing game – and he may not be the biggest issue facing this team right now. This team also needs to eliminate big, game-changing plays against it; those plays have cost the Jaguars more than Bortles this season. The wide receivers must do a better job getting open and they must do a better job making plays when open – and the offensive line in many situations must do a better job in protection. Bortles without question has missed throws, and certainly could be better; but to say that he's the only reason teams are able to stack the box against the running game is incorrect. And while Bortles hasn't been great, he has played well enough for this team to win three games and he actually played well enough for them to have won two others. That's not something a lot of people will believe or want to hear – and it's not something I would have expected to be writing before the season – but that doesn't make it untrue.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Ponytails can be cool, I like them. One fer the ponytail.
John: Hey! One fer … nah.
Marc from Oceanway:
I know this might be a nitpicky question of little import, but what's with the team running onto the field from the side entrance instead of the south end zone? I thought the reason behind the south end zone redesign was to create a cool entrance for the Jags to be introduced. What gives?
John: The side entrance is closer to the Jaguars' locker room and therefore a quicker walk to the field. It's all about efficiency of effort these days, boys.
Jess from Castle Rock, CO:
I don't understand why people say they are "happy" or "satisfied" with the team being 3-3. If we had a balanced offense with a run/pass ratio of 60/40, and the passing game 40/40/20 in short/intermediate/long pass plays, this offense has the talent and potential to be one of the top teams in the NFL this year. The coaching staff has to put together a game plan for success in all phases of the game, but they have failed to do so in at least half of the games so far. There is no reason for this team to be mediocre.
John: Wow. For a few days there I forgot that it's always coaching in the NFL.
Justin from Virginia Beach, VA:
Any chance we see T.J. Yeldon in the lineup this week since No. 27 is hurting this week?
John: I'd say there's a better chance of seeing Yeldon this week because of Leonard Fournette's injury than there was of seeing Yeldon last week when Fournette wasn't injured. Just how good a chance probably depends on the severity of Fournette's injury. My guess is Yeldon will be active. Stay tuned.
Adam from Lynbrook:
You know what? Screw it. Let's not put any receivers on the field. Put as many tight ends and linemen on the ball as possible. They wanna stack the box? So will we. The passing game isn't getting anything done. Time to take the game to the opponents for a change. #DTWD
John: #DTWD
Tim from Section 123:
Can you think of any reason why a smart man like Shad Khan keeps sabotaging his own franchise by taking shots at President Trump? Was the 10 percent attendance drop not enough of a message to send by the fans?
John: I suppose there's the off chance Jaguars Owner Shad Khan not only has the conviction of his own beliefs, but the courage to express them. That's often why uber-intelligent, uber-competent people say the things they do.
Sam from Orlando, FL:
I don't get it. Some people are mad about what Mr. Khan said about Donald Trump. I get not agreeing with him. But how can you be SO upset about somebody for giving their opinion?
John: Sam, I honestly don't know.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
Wouldn't it have made more sense for the Jaguars to have played at home on the Sunday following the London game? Did they have an option to request this? It makes no sense to come home from London, struggle through the jet lag and then fly off to a road game (New York City, in this case). I know they have the option of a bye week following London but why not a home game?
John: The Jaguars can request whatever they want. The thing about requests is they're not always granted; I once requested to be blessed with good looks, coordination and social grace. Remember, the Jaguars' game in London is a home game by NFL rules. It is perceived as such by the schedule makers and special consideration before and after that game isn't necessarily given.
Steve from Upper Tract, WV:
At this point if the offense can win time of possession and minimize turnovers, this defense should be able to keep us in most games. But depending on the defense to score every game is not usually successful. Here is to hoping the offense can begin to find itself starting this week.
John: OK.
Jim from Middleburg, FL:
Before the season began most believed the offensive line was terrible. Sometimes it is, but not very often. With Brandon Linder down, we found that we do have some depth that can play. These guys on the offensive line seem young; what is their age compared to other lines? Do you see any thing that makes you believe this line cannot be really good? Looks to me like there is a lot to be positive about.
John: The Jaguars' offensive line is playing better this season; a huge part of that has been the addition of rookie left tackle Cam Robinson. He gives the Jaguars another building block on the line, and my guess is he'll begin to get more recognition as a top young player in this league soon. The line also has been helped by the presence of Leonard Fournette, and a commitment to the running game. That commitment in turn has helped the pass blocking because defensive lines can't focus non-stop on rushing the passer. It's a relatively young line compare to many lines, and I'd expect it to stay young because I imagine at least one guard position could still be addressed next offseason. Stay tuned.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Statistics: 12,309 yards and 77 touchdowns in 52 games; another 1,200 yards rushing with five touchdowns. He never has missed a game. It's a team game and we have everyone blaming Blake Bortles; he is a grinder who is very athletic with a strong arm. Just because we have a great defense and a solid running game does not mean that Blake Bortles cannot light you up at any time. Indy is getting ready to find out. Go Jaguars!
John: #DTWD
Richard from Starke, FL:
I'm not much of an Xs and Os kind of guy, so this may be a stupid idea, but should we try to be a bit more creative with how we line Fournette up. Put him at tight end or receiver for a few plays.
John: Leonard Fournette's a good running back. He may already be one of the best in the NFL. I like the idea of being creative. I like the idea of letting really good players do what they do really well better.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
With a win on Sunday versus Indy, the Jags will be one game back of first place in the AFC along with being in first place in the South. If this was told to you prior to the season, what would your thoughts be?
John: "Hmm … Cool … You know, I wouldn't mind getting home a few minutes early to play FIFA … I wonder if my wife will pick up dry cleaning if I called her? … Nah, I'll just do it … Not worth the fight …"

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