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O-Zone: Us against the world

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Fred from Naples, FL:
I am a big believer in Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell and truly believe better days are ahead for this franchise. However, I have always wondered how Shad Khan could be so patient with the Jaguars' regime when he has fired two managers of the Fulham soccer team within the first two years of that franchise's existence. Any thoughts on the difference between the two?
John: First, Fulham Football Club has been around for years, having been founded in 1879 – and Khan actually has changed managers three times since buying the franchise in July 2013. But Khan making changes until he finds leadership with which he's comfortable isn't unusual. Remember, he dismissed Gene Smith and allowed David Caldwell to dismiss Mike Mularkey one year into his tenure as Jaguars owner, so Khan indeed has made changes in Jacksonville. Once he hired Caldwell and Bradley, it was determined from the outset it was going to be a long rebuild that was going to require enduring some tough times early. I don't know if that same determination was made about Fulham.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
If the Jags pound it with Shoelace and Gerhart like the Pats did with Gray on Monday night, is a win within the realm of possibility? I've got a sliver of optimism still. I remember in '06 when MJD surprised the Colts with 166 rushing yards. Fun stuff. What do you think?
John: I think if the Jaguars run on the Colts the way the Patriots did a Jaguars victory certainly is within the realm of possibility.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Who has played better this year, Derek Carr or Blake Bortles?
John: I have no idea. I have seen every play Blake Bortles has played in the NFL. I have seen a player with enormous potential play well early, and I have seen that same player struggle at times since then for various reasons – some in his control and many out of his control. As for Derek Carr, I have seen some highlights, and part of a game. I also don't intimately know how the Raiders' line or their receivers have played around Carr. I think both have a chance to be really good. I also think we're a long way from knowing whether either actually will become that.
Preston from Waterbury, CT:
O-Man, I just read that Blackmon completed a rehab program. Seems like he's headed in the right direction (though I'm not getting my hopes up yet). I'm curious though, would he be allowed to workout at the team facility in the offseason if he is not reinstated during the season? How would that process work?
John: Justin Blackmon can't work out at the Jaguars' facility until he is reinstated by the league. That hasn't happened yet, though it could happen during the offseason. Considering the recent reports involving Blackmon, I think it is becoming more likely he could be reinstated. At that time, he would be able to work out at the Jaguars' facility.
Benjamin from Jacksonville :
Which do you believe has the greatest impact on defensive turnovers – scheme/coaching, talent or random chance?
John: None of the above. Takeaways usually happen when defenses get offenses into uncomfortable situations – i.e., situations when the defense knows the offense has to throw. That could be in long-yardage situations on third down or in situations where teams are trailing late in the game. It's not by chance that the Jaguars' biggest turnover of the season, for example – an interception by linebacker Telvin Smith that he returned to set up a touchdown – came with the Jaguars leading late and the Browns needing to throw to catch up. The Jaguars knew the Browns needed to throw and the Browns had to throw into a defense designed to stop the pass. That's a formula for a turnover. The Jaguars haven't led a whole lot this season and they haven't been able to put opponents in pressure situations; as a result, offenses take fewer chances against the Jaguars and therefore commit fewer turnovers.
Zack from Pisgah, AL:
John, I was curious as to why Ndamukong Suh is considered an elite defensive tackle, and having the most complete season of his career, and Sen'Derrick Marks is not being talked about outside of the Jaguars fan base? The guy's numbers are almost identical to Suh. Marks has one more tackle and .5 more sacks so far this year, according to each team's official website. I feel as though he has earned the right the past season and a half to be discussed with the top percentage of his position.
John: Marks probably has earned that right; unfortunately, being talked about in the NFL often involves more than playing well. Suh was a bigger name coming out of college, and a Top 10 selection, and therefore more well-known. He also has remained high-profile since entering the NFL – partly for his play, and partly because of an early propensity for penalties. Suh also plays on a playoff-contending team whereas Marks plays on a team that has one victory this season. That's not to say that Suh is having a better season than Marks, but that's why he's discussed more nationally.
Tyriq from Jacksonville :
Isn't Justin Blackmon still a part of the Jags' roster? Why wasn't he in the photo collage of the Jags' 53 man roster???
John: Blackmon is on the reserve-suspended-by-the-commissioner list. He's not on the 53-man roster.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
Not that I'd put him on the Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks, but about where do you have Brett Favre in the echelon of QBs? I feel like that guy was Superman on the field.
John: I'd put him in the Top 20 but not in the Top Four.
Christopher from Richmond, VA:
John, I can't believe you excluded Brady from your Mount Rushmore. Even with this league being pass happy, 50 touchdowns is a very hard feat. He has been to five Super Bowls and won three. Winning record against Peyton Manning and regardless of his receiving core he continues to impress. Come on, his No. 1 wide receiver is Julian Edelman. Take out Elway and throw in Brady.
John: Nah.
Bob from St. Augustine, FL:
So much attention is on the quarterback and rightly so, but how would you share responsibility between the quarterback and wide receivers for passing success. Wide receivers don't get open, then quarterback looks bad.
John: It indeed is a shared responsibility. An elite quarterback can elevate those around him, but wide receivers do have to reach a certain level – i.e., have a certain ability to get open, and a certain ability to run reliable, precise routes. That's the issue as much as anything with the Jaguars' offense thus far this season. It's not that Blake Bortles isn't good. It's not that the receivers aren't good. It's that all of the parties involved are very young and making rookie mistakes at various times. That causes inconsistencies at inopportune times. As time goes on and those mistakes get fewer and fewer, the offense should look correspondingly efficient.
Scott from Section 137 and Ponte Vedra, FL:
It seems to me an elite level running back helps the quarterback and the passing game, especially younger, developing quarterbacks. It certainly helps Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. That said, do you think the Jaguars should move in that direction and can you really find elite level running backs in the later rounds? It seems to me all of the elite running backs are drafted in the first and second rounds.
John: I don't think it's necessary to have an "elite" running back to have an effective running game, and I don't believe you need to draft a running back in the first or second rounds to have an effective running game. So, no, I don't particularly think the Jaguars need to move in that direction.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Elway and Marino over Montana? Your Rushmore sucks.
John: I assume by sucks you mean "awesome," so thanks!
Chris from Mandarin:
So far, this is the Jaguars' second-worst season since inception when it comes to the turnover battle. In 2010, the Jags were minus-15 (a 5-11 season). Turnovers really do tell the story...
John: The Jaguars went 8-8 in 2010, so I'm not sure about your statistics about that season. I am sure turnovers are pretty much the overriding issue of this season, particularly offensively and particularly turnovers inside the opponents' 35. That's what the Jaguars mean when they say they're leaving points on the field and it's difficult to overcome too many of those.
Danny from St. Augustine, FL:
John, I don't understand the whole "Duval!" thing. The Jags have fans and season-ticket holders more than from just from one county.
John: This continues to cause agitation among some. I am by no means the foremost expert on the subject, but the way I think of it is this: The "Duval thing," it seems, is more about attitude and state of mind than about fans yelling about a county. When I hear people chant "Duuuuval," I don't necessarily think of a county, but about the spirit and pride of Jaguars fans as a community. I think of it as sort of a rallying cry for people proud of the area in an us-against-the-world sense. Some people think of the "Duuuuuval" chant as excluding season-ticket holders and fans not from the county; it'd be better to think of it as including everyone who believes in the Jaguars and everyone who takes pride in supporting a team from this area. Plus, it sounds cool and is really fun to say.

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