JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
You want to stop having to worry about penalties costing you a game? Get good enough that it doesn't matter. Bottom line: that is the answer. A bad call or two should not be the deciding factor for your team to win a game. If it is, then you need to get better. Hopefully, the Jaguars' defense continues to improve and becomes the foundation the team is built on. Defense wins championships.
John: There's truth in your email – though far more in the second part than the first. Penalties matter in the NFL, because 10 or 15 yards here or there can dramatically change down-and-distance – and in a situational game such as the NFL, changes in down and distance dramatically change plays. As far as defense winning championships …if there's a positive from the Jaguars' first four games it has without question come on defense. The unit gave indication in the last two games before the bye that it is improving – perhaps more rapidly than expected. The Jaguars impacted the quarterback in both of those games, and began showing a lot of signs of being a winning defense. They're doing it with young players and newcomers, a factor that indicates that the unit can still improve. It's too early to call the defense the foundation of the team, but not too early to say it looks like it has a chance to be that foundation. If that's true, that's a phenomenally important occurrence.
Bryan from Nashville, TN:
Who do you believe will be our starting left guard for the remainder of the season?
John: Patrick Omameh.
Cliff from Las Vegas, NV:
I understand why defensive pass interference is such a damaging penalty. However, don't you feel like offensive pass interference should have the same drive-impacting effect? I think they should charge the ten yards, but upon accepting the penalty, the offense loses the down ... any reason you wouldn't support that rule change?
John: There's one reason – that the 10-yard penalty already is damaging. First-and -20 is a vastly different down-and-distance scenario than first-and-10, and your chances of converting are greatly reduced with any 10-yard penalty. It's difficult enough to overcome a 10-yard loss without reducing the number of downs a team has to make overcome it.
Tucker from Gallatin:
I want that Blake every week. I saw a guy against Indianapolis who went through his progressions, and when his internal clock went off, he moved out of the pocket. Seven rushes for 36 yards doesn't seem like much, but it is huge. It's positive yards and not fans blaming Blake or the O-line for the sack.
John: I think you're going to see that Blake Bortles more going forward. I don't know that a heavy emphasis on rollin' and runnin' from the quarterback position is ideal for the long term, but for now, it appears to be a way to get the best from this offense.
Kevin from New York, NY:
Great. We didn't even play this week and we are now in last place in the AFC South.
John: That's one way to look at it. The other is that Jaguars gained half a game on the division lead. That happened when the Texans lost to Minnesota. Every team in the division is within a game and a half. That means this thing is wide open.
Janie from Neptune Beach, FL:
People act like it's a miracle if a kicker makes a field goal from 55-plus yards; however, on kickoffs they regularly kick the ball 75-plus yards with ease. Somebody tried to claim it is because the guy holding throws the kicker off, but you have guys holding the ball on kickoffs on windy days and it doesn't affect distance. Another excuse I have heard is you aren't kicking at a specific target on kickoffs; that may be true on the accuracy, but doesn't make sense on the power. Why can a kicker kick the ball 75-plus yards on kickoffs, but suddenly they are too weak to kick the ball 55-plus yards on field goals?
John: They use a tee on kickoffs.
Ray from Jacksonville:
John: What percentage of people stating concerns about Bortles' mechanics have any earthly idea what they are talking about?
John: A very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very small percentage, but that doesn't mean there aren't issues. Bortles is the first to say this, and he has said it's something he probably will address throughout his career.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
The last time I said something like, "Oh, go ahead; I deserve it" we were discussing who gets a punch in the stomach.
John: I believe this.
Arianna from Pooler, GA:
Has No. 76 played his last game in a Jaguars uniform in your opinion?
John: My guess: yes. Luke Joeckel is a former No. 2 overall selection in the NFL Draft who has played well enough at times that I believe some team will give him a chance to at least compete for its starting left-tackle position. Would that team be Jacksonville? Possibly, but I doubt it. An "X" factor here could be Joeckel's injury. It's a fairly significant injury and it certainly will concern any team considering signing him. The Jaguars like Joeckel and liked what he brought this season at guard. Could he and the team agree on a one-year deal that would give him a chance to perhaps play guard and show he is healthy? Stranger things have happened.
Christian from Titusville, FL:
It seems the trait most of the great quarterbacks have is the ability to feel the pressure and adjust the pocket or leave it while keeping their focus downfield – no doubt a difficult task. How much of that do you think can be taught versus it just being somewhat innate? I think that trait trumps athletic ability in most cases for NFL quarterbacks.
John: I'll address your last point first, because there's no doubt that pocket awareness – and the ability to sidestep pressure and buy time – is far more important than athletic ability for a quarterback. As immobile as quarterbacks such as Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Brady may or may not have been, they could extend plays with a step to one side or the other or a step forward. Is this skill innate or learned? My belief is it usually comes from hard-learned experience, though I suppose there are probably cases in which a guy can just do it naturally.
Impatient X from Jacksonville:
After a good win, this seems as long as the whole offseason. I'm anxious, Zone.
John: It does seem as if it has been a while since the Jaguars played. For me maybe it was the preparation for Hurricane Matthew followed by a day without power followed by a morning cleaning up the yard followed by a day trying to help navigate my son home through blocked roads from Fayetteville, North Carolina, but whatever … yeah, it has been a while.
Ty from Jack Town:
John. Conspiracy aside ... a simple fact for you. Tom Brady and the New England staff got caught using deflated balls – deflated to the point a defensive player noticed (how often do linebackers actually touch a ball?) This was an offense so egregious that Tom Brady just served a four-game suspension for it – and yet, not one official who handles the ball every down noticed? C'mon, John … something is rotten in Denmark, maybe not the NFL. But officials have been known to sway games for one reason or another...$$$$
John: The walrus was Paul.
Karri from Sandy, UT:
Hey O ... I want to get your opinion on how the defensive back rotation is going to go. Who will start and who goes to the bench? In my opinion, I think that House should go to the bench. Have Ramsey shadow the best receiver, Prince on the other side and Colvin in the slot. What say thee?
John: I don't know that the Jaguars are quite to the point where they're going to have Jalen Ramsey shadow the best receiver – though I would say that point is fast approaching. I also don't know that Aaron Colvin will play a full-time role against the Bears Sunday. I do believe that sooner rather than later Prince Amukamara and Ramsey will start on either side with Colvin playing the slot. I also believe that Colvin's return from his four-game, season-opening suspension is going to be a big deal for this defense. He was playing at a high level in the preseason – and with his return you may see one of the best, deepest cornerback situations this team has had in a long, long time.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
With a game in hand on the rest of the division and one divisional win already, we are actually in a good place to make a run for the division title. The five in-division games remaining are very important games to focus on.
O-Zone: Time for a run
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville: