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O-Zone: We are family

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

John from PEI, Canada

It’s unfortunate Blake Bortles didn’t get to start Sunday. Cody Kessler did not do anything that stood out at all. Blake would have won with the way that D played! Do you feel Blake still gives the Jags the best chance to win? I do.

This seems destined to be a major conversation this week – and perhaps until the end of the regular season. And whether Bortles or Kessler at quarterback gives the Jaguars the best chance to win indeed is a legitimate question. But I don’t know if the answer matters all that much. Bortles was struggling mightily the last few weeks, and the offense was really hamstrung. There seemed to be nothing in the downfield passing game, and the offense stagnated. Kessler seemed reluctant to go downfield against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, and the offense stagnated. I believed it was necessary to pull Bortles for Kessler after the Buffalo loss because he looked as if he had lost enough confidence and accuracy that it was going to remain difficult for the offense to function. After watching Kessler Sunday, I believe Bortles’ mobility still probably gives the Jaguars a slightly better opportunity to win than they have with Kessler. The Jaguars won’t go back to Bortles this week at least in part because it’s difficult to change quarterbacks with a game on Thursday; preparation time discourages the move. I don’t know what the approach will be after that, though my sense is they will stay with Kessler barring injury. I doubt it will matter much in the long run.

Mark from Banner Elk, NC

Ok #dontfreecodykessler! Couldn’t have imagined anyone being worse than BB5, I was wrong! Any chance they go back to Blake?

Not this week.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quarterback play so efficiently while being almost completely ineffective at the same time, referring to Cody Kessler’s performance Sunday. I will say that Bortles is obviously far more talented that Kessler, however his penchant for turning the ball over is something the team can’t go back to.

Kessler avoided turnovers Sunday by throwing mostly check downs. It’s hard to know if that’s better than throwing interceptions. It’s easy to know you’re not going to win many games in the NFL by doing either.

Frankie from the Mean Streets of Ponte Vedra, FL

If anybody was expecting Cody Kessler to be a huge upgrade over Bortles then they are going to be sorely disappointed. Kessler's biggest advantage over Bortles is that he's not Blake Bortles.

Fair.

Chris from Section 437

Wow, finally beat the refs, too. Looked like that was going to be tough in the first half. Do we get the same crew each week or do they have a secret referee message board that they post what calls to hose us with each week?

Referees hate the Jaguars. I thought everyone knew this. There is a league-wide mandate to ensure every call goes against them. This is decided in a secret meeting that involves people so high in the league office that I can’t mention their names. Those in attendance wear animal masks and sign their secrecy in blood, and officials are hung by their fingernails if they make calls that favor the Jaguars. Except, you know, at the end of the game Sunday.

William from Jacksonville

Have you ever seen so many penalties? Not just the Jags game but league wide. The refs must get their Christmas bonuses based on the number of penalties they call.

OK.

Stephen from Jacksonville

How bad has Logan Cooke been this season? Has he been as historically bad as my eyes tell me? Hard to believe that he is worse than Adam Podlesh, but I'm worried that he is.

Cooke has had a couple of really bad punts at some big times in his rookie season, but he hasn’t been close to being “historically bad.”

Fred from Naples, FL

Right tackle Jermey Parnell had a really tough day on Sunday. Is his time in Jacksonville done after this season?

Probably.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

That uniform combination Sunday is the TRUTH! Wear that setup for every home game from now on please!

The combination of black jerseys and white pants worn by the Jaguars Sunday was cool. A lot of people liked it. I doubt it will be the uniform combination for every home game, though. A lot of people like teal – and other things.

John from Ramsey, NJ

I gather we'll give Kessler the start as long as he keeps winning. I always dreaded when Chad Henne came into the game because I know other than two touchdowns in the first quarter against Philly, he couldn't move the offense. Any chance I'll get to see Bortles play one more time when I come down for the final home game against the Redskins?

I would say there’s a chance. I wouldn’t say there’s a great chance.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Brett Favre recently said that Philip Rivers might be the most under-appreciated quarterback ever. Do you agree and who else would you put up there?

I absolutely agree and would include on the list of unappreciated quarterbacks several who are often forgotten wrongly because they didn’t win Super Bowls. I would put Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly and Sonny Jurgensen into this category, as well as Y.A. Tittle from the pre-Super Bowl era. I also think Dan Marino often is incorrectly not included among the absolute best all-time quarterbacks for exactly the same reason. All are in the Hall of Fame but are typically automatically placed below Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks – many times unfairly. Yes, Super Bowls are important when judging a quarterback, but too many people make them the end-all. There’s no such thing as an end-all in football. It’s the ultimate team game and too many factors play into all things to make judge players on any one measure.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

For the first time in quite a while, I am truly excited about the next game. It will be very interesting to see how Kessler, coming off his first NFL win, performs against the Titans. He should be more confident, especially with Leonard Fournette back. Do you expect interim play caller Scott Milanovich to try and open things up with more downfield passes against a team ranked 28th against the pass?

Yes.

Charles from Savannah, GA

I may be putting the cart before the horse here. Do you think the Jaguars will be able to retain Jalen Ramsey after paying Blake Bortles? My worry is that another team will come in and pay Jalen a ton of money.

Your worries are a touch premature. The Jaguars can’t re-sign Ramsey until after this season because league rules mandate that drafted players can’t sign their second contracts until after their third NFL season. The Jaguars also have the option of exercising a fifth-year option on Ramsey for the 2020 season. They then have the option of using the franchise tag on Ramsey, meaning they can control his rights through 2021. I doubt it will get close to that point, because I imagine the Jaguars will re-sign Ramsey to a long-term deal well before his fifth season. That could be as early as this offseason. Stay tuned.

Mark from CT

Would you say the Jags are more likely to look for a new quarterback in free agency or the draft?

The draft.

Abel from Jacksonville

The attendance at Sunday’s game was really sad. I hope they don't cover seats with tarps again. That would really be embarrassing.

The announced ticket sales for Sunday were 67,030. Actual attendance was lower. That’s what happens in the NFL these days in the back half of a disappointing season. Sunday was not a “Jacksonville” thing. Look around the league and you will see teams in similar situations with similar crowds.

Sam from Orlando, FL

I’m beginning to think you are possibly related to Blake the way you defend him.

Blake who?

Matt from Bracknell, UK

Listen up, John. Bortles was given every opportunity going from the management, the players, the local media and most of the fans. He was a good guy we all wanted him to do good. It’s on him. Injuries or not. He could not have asked for greater commitment and backing. So, let’s have you guys give Cody Kessler a fraction of the support that Bortles was given and see how he goes with a proper run. Stop even muttering about Bortles coming back. You have a memory like a goldfish. Don’t you recall Bortles throwing the football like a boomerang at least a dozen times in November? My guess is Bortles is supporting Kessler. You and Sexton should do likewise.

I don’t “support” Jaguars players. I answer questions about the team when asked. I’ll probably keep doing it about all Jaguars players, particularly my family members.

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