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O-Zone: Way too soon

JACKSONVILLE – The O-Zone inbox is a tough, nasty place this morning.

It in fact bears a striking resemblance to the O-Zone Late Night inbox Sunday night, and that's to be expected. The Jaguars' 20-9 loss to Carolina Sunday was a tough loss and a lot went wrong, including areas many expected to go right. The taste will remain bitter for a few days.

Not every question will get answered to every reader's satisfaction, and there will be angst and panic. There will be people ready to quit on the season. It's not that time yet, but the feeling is understandable.

But as for that taste, it seems sure to remain bitter here in the 'Zone for the next day or so. Lucky me, I guess.

One more day until look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it … Sam from Boulder, CO:
Great way to take the air out of eight months of anticipation …
John: Sunday sure didn't do much to maintain the energy of the offseason and preseason. Absolutely, it did not. It would be disingenuous to say otherwise. It hurt, and finding good wasn't easy.
Daniel since Day One:
It's been a long offseason, and I want to thank you for keeping us informed and intrigued with the possibilities. The proof is in the pudding, and despite new chefs and lots of prep, I didn't see anything different. Did you?
John: I did, but today really isn't a day to point that out. Whatever improvement the Jaguars may have shown, and whatever positives there may have been, they weren't enough to overcome some sloppy play and errors. So, anything different? Let's just wait a few days, OK?
Scott from Section 137:
As a longtime season-ticket holder, I think what the Jaguars really need on offense is a difference-making playmaker at wide receiver. Until they do in this pass-oriented league, it will be tough for the Jaguars to be competitive unless you are an elite quarterback like Brady. I think our top priority should have been to get a wide receiver in this last draft. None of the great teams lately had a single dominant pass-rusher in the Super Bowl. Amari Cooper would have been good.
John: Perhaps you're right. I agree that teams need elite receivers and the Jaguars' receivers haven't shown themselves to be that yet. We'll see if Amari Cooper is a go-to, No. 1 receiver this season; it appears over time he may have that potential. Time will tell. I wouldn't underestimate the value of a pass-rusher, though. If you can find an elite guy to do that he does have an impact.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I don't see Allen Robinson being capable of performing at the level of a top wide receiver. I see him struggle to gain separation and struggle with drops, most notably because he tends to be a "body catcher." What is it about him that leads many to believe he will be a No. 1 wide out for us?
John: Allen Robinson has played 11 NFL games. He has made some plays and had some moments that make you think he can be very, very good. Does that mean he's a No. 1 now? No. Does that mean he has to get better to become one? Yes. Can he? We'll see.
Christian from Owing:
Very disappointed. Myers was awful.
John: Yeah, no doubt. It sure wasn't the start you wanted to see; in fact, it was about as rough a start as you can imagine. Jason Myers' misses cost the Jaguars four points in the first half. Combine that with a red-zone turnover and first-half drops and you had the difference in being close – or leading in the third quarter – and trailing. You can't leave easy points on the field in the NFL.
Joe from San Antonio, TX:
Well, it wasn't pretty, but our defense did what was necessary to make this game winnable for us. Once again, our offense could not put points on the board. I know it's huge to be missing Lee and Thomas, then losing A-Rob early in the game hurts as well, but great teams can still overcome those losses. We've made improvement, but this game emphasizes that we still have a long way to go.
John: The Jaguars got Robinson back pretty quickly, so I don't know how much of Sunday can be pinned on his first-half injury. One thing you said that's notable: "Great teams can still overcome those losses." That's correct, but the Jaguars aren't a great team yet and they don't yet resemble a great team. They're trying to get to the point of being a good team, which at first means making makeable catches and eliminating avoidable errors. That would be a start and that has to be the priority. It needs to happen fast, too. Like now.
Matt from Richmond, VA:
Don't try and spin this game. Don't try and spin this team. More of the same. All the promise that is shown is proven to be due to it being merely preseason. The major concern was the pass rush and that was arguably the best part of this game. Why didn't we run the ball consistently against this team missing half their defensive starters? I'm at a loss and I hate to see next week against a good Dolphins defense.
John: No spin today. This one hurt. A lot. As far as the running game, the Jaguars looked for a while in the first half like they were getting movement on the ground. That was encouraging because it looked like the sort of offense Gus Bradley talked about all offseason. It looked like that was something that was going to work. In the second half, it didn't. It still feels like this running game will have a chance to be effective, and it certainly showed Sunday that it can be. For that to matter, it has to happen for more than a half.
T.J. from Cherry Point, NC:
How come Bowanko and Cann were scratched Sunday?
John: You have to have someone inactive. On Sunday, the choices were Luke Bowanko and A.J. Cann because the team thought Tyler Shatley could play both guard and center and because it needed Sam Young as the backup at left tackle to Luke Joeckel.
David from St. Johns, FL:
We're tired, O. Tired of hearing of how good our draft grades are. Tired of the same mistakes. Tired of the play-calling. Tired of drops. Tired of hearing how much Bortles has improved. Tired of not scoring. Tired of hearing about "hope" and "growth" and "youth." They're all excuses and rationalizations about the state of this football team. You'd think that we're the only team that has had these challenges, but yet other teams find success much faster. We played a complete patchwork Carolina team without their top defensive player, and still couldn't produce. At this point, it seems that it's all about the coaching. Gus and his staff are over their heads. We're tired of losing - not just on the field, but in our wallets for wasting money on a team at can't find a way to win. What should we believe in at this point?
John: I agree that it's tiring, and I agree that this team needed to play better Sunday. I can't say that I see where "it's all about coaching." It's rarely "all about" any one thing in the NFL." I don't know that the coaches controlled three drops, a fumble and two missed kicks on Sunday. Those weren't the entire game Sunday, but they kinda sorta mattered.
Grant from Jacksonville:
Depressing... It was supposed to be different. It wasn't.
John: It was. It just wasn't nearly different enough to win. And that hurts, too.
Andrew from Toledo, OH:
I thought the offensive line played well in the first half. It was apparent that once Joeckel left the game, it was different. That said, the five sacks appeared to either be coverage sacks or Bortles' fault on all of them. Which is it? Bad WR play or Bortles not getting rid of the ball?
John: It appeared from the press box to be a combination of coverage and the defense being able to rush in the second half without having to worry much about being hurt by the running game. It's difficult to assess responsibility to sacks at first watch. More will be known with a chance to look at the film.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Groundhog Day" was a cool movie. I liked it. But living it as a fan base is not nearly as funny.
John: No, I could definitely see how that could be true.
Kyle from Jacksonville:
I think the Jags look horrible. How about you?
John: This was a pretty common theme in the inbox, and one with which I didn't quite agree. The Jaguars made a lot of mistakes, but I didn't think they looked awful at times, particularly not in the first half. I would have liked them to have looked better offensively with fewer drops. I suppose a lot of people would have liked that.
Keith from Jacksonville:
John: Sigh, no.

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