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O-Zone: Two-house race

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Andrew from Charleston, SC:
Do you really think we can win with Chad Henne? It seems to me this season hinged on Blake Bortles' improvement and that doesn't look like it's panning out. Give me your gut feeling on this. Can we win with Henne?
John: This depends on what you mean by "win." NFL quarterbacks in a sense can be separated by those who will win you games, those who can manage games and those who will lose you games. The ones who "win you games" can take a team that might have been a six- or seven-victory team and get that team to 10 or 11 victories. A game manager can take a team to where its overall talent level will take it, and a quarterback that loses you games … well, that obviously goes the other way. I think Henne can be one of those quarterbacks in the middle, so do I think the Jaguars can get out of the double-digit-loss abyss with him at quarterback? Can he manage them to that level? Yes. Can they get to a winning record? Or the playoffs? That's a big ask considering this team won three games last season.
Kris from Neenah, WI:
I would rather see Brad Allen start than Chad Henne if Bortles fails. Chad Henne is not an improvement from Bortles, plain and simple.
John: This Brad Allen guy is picking up a lot of momentum with the fan base. Play the kid.
Mac from Jacksonville:
Are Bortles and Henne going to split first-team reps in Preseason Game 3? I feel like we may get a good indication of where Doug Marrone's head is at by who plays when (and for how long).
John: Bortles and Henne shared repetitions with the first team in practice Saturday and Sunday, and Marrone said that would be the case in practice this week. I see no reason why he wouldn't take that approach Thursday against Carolina. As far as his thinking on the quarterback situation … yeah, the game will be good indication. Or maybe just listen to his postgame presser. That was a pretty good indication of his thinking last week.
Ben from Memphis, TN:
Over/under 50 percent chance Brandon Allen starts a game this year?
John: Under by 50.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
So after Thursday's night game, I decided to take a couple of days to get my thoughts together. I'm one of Blake's biggest fans and have seen every throw he has made since he has been here and watched a ton of his interviews. I'm worried after watching his postgame interview everything has finally gotten to him. Your thoughts?
John: I think Bortles did seem discouraged when speaking to the media after Thursday's game. I think considering he had just been told by Marrone that he no longer had a firm hold on the starter's job after nearly three seasons it was quite natural he be discouraged. This wasn't an easy situation. We were seeing it in real time. It would have been sort of superhuman if he had been giddy.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
At least Jerell is in mid-season form.
John: It's impressive.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
This team will have difficulty being competitive in each game because, as currently constituted, the offensive line is not that good. Cam Robinson looks decent so far. Patrick Omameh looks OK pass blocking. Brandon Linder is good. A.J. Cann is not good. Neither is Jermey Parnell. The ability of the group to run block is very suspect. And I don't see a quick fix without a trade or a surprise cut. Worried.
John: A traded or released player usually isn't a quick fix because teams typically don't allow players to leave if they're capable of fixing other team's situations. This line struggled Thursday, particularly Omameh. Shoot, pretty much the entire team struggled. Some of the issues thus far on offense may be that players are still adjusting to a new offensive scheme. Some of the issues overall Thursday may have been a bunch of dead legs after what has been a difficult training camp. Players weren't saying that after the game, but they sure looked drained. Did those issues hurt the line? Maybe. Whatever it was, the group has to be better. It's too early to give up on the group, but the run is too important to this team for performances such as Thursday's to not be a concern.
Brandon from Athens, GA:
I have watched a few preseason games this year and one of things I have noticed is the good quarterbacks (i.e. Matt Ryan, Aaron Rogers, etc.) move their teams methodically down the field with confidence. I noticed the same movement with Henne minus the touchdowns (knowing that he's not a Rogers or Ryan). Not really a question, just an observation. Maybe a one fer Henne?
John: Henne has looked good in practice for the most part, and he has looked good for the most part during this year's preseason appearances. And while it's not accurate to say he has looked like a dramatically improved/changed/made-over quarterback from the player who quarterbacked the Jaguars from 2012-2014, he at this point has looked better for the most part during camp than Bortles. That's why it feels like this thing is leading in Henne's direction. So, sure – one fer Henne. He deserves it.
Kim from Buffalo, NY:
Do you think the Jags will start either Bortles or Henne? Could they potentially trade or sign a quarterback that will start for us?
John: I think the Jaguars will wind up starting Henne. I could be wrong, but that's the direction it feels like it's headed. Could an outside quarterback happen? It's always a possibility because circumstances can change. I get no sense that that's the planned direction at this time.
Mark from Archer, FL:
I would like to make two points. First, if Henne is the starter I think the Jags can play and win more games. He is an average quarterback, which would at least complement every other aspect of our team. Secondly, I understand your reasoning for why they are not giving Brandon Allen a chance. But my argument is that maybe their judgement is not that great. The coaches after all are the ones who up until the second game of the preseason thought that Bortles was the answer at being our starting quarterback.
John: I understand your argument. I understand it because I have read it from fans over and over and over again in recent days. That argument is not going to change the Jaguars' approach because the decision is not up for argument, but I understand the argument.
Don from Jacksonville:
So, let me get this straight: Every outside professional, scout, and talent evaluator over the offseason unanimously thought we should go in a different direction than BB5. Dave Caldwell (who drafted Bortles) did nothing. He doubled down and stated publicly that he still believed in him. That is why we are in this situation and why this franchise has been the worst over the last seven years. The fact that Dave Caldwell is still employed by the Jags says it all.
John: Dave Caldwell drafted Bortles in 2014. He had final say over football decisions at that point. That was not the case this offseason.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Maybe they should give Andie McDowell some first team reps at quarterback.
John: I'd watch that.
Ray from Vernon, FL:
Has Brandon Allen ever gotten reps with first string? Why not at least give him a try ... sure couldn't hurt. After all, the Jags have wasted years experimenting with quarterbacks to no avail. Your thoughts, O'Man?
John: This won't happen.
Jon from Ocala, FL:
Hi O, there hasn't been much discussion about Cam Robinson. I guess that's a good thing.
John: Cam Robinson has done fine at left tackle thus far. He as of last week was still splitting some repetitions with Josh Wells at left tackle, though Robinson did start against Tampa Bay and appeared to be taking more first-team repetitions in practice last week. I expect Robinson will start Week 1, and I expect he will play well this season for a rookie. He'll have some hiccups, but the general feeling is he will do well in the short- and long-term.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
It's funny to me that you are so confident that Allen won't get a shot to become the starter. You're probably right that this is a two-house race, but you were also very confident two weeks ago that Bortles would be the Game 1 starter, to the point of mocking and ridiculing any fans who thought otherwise. You seem to like to make these divinitie statements about things when in reality there is nothing divinitie at this point. I think Henne will be the starter, but it could be Bortles, it could be Allen or it could be someone else altogether.
John: I'm glad you're amused. Being amused is cool. People like it. I'll be the first to say things can change fast in the NFL, and the Jaguars' quarterback situation changed fast in a big way. But this is a two-house race. That's divinitely true, and it's not going to change.

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