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O-Zone: What's next

JACKSONVILLE – One more day of Colts talk. Cool. Reliving that for another day will be "awesome" for everyone.

Let's get to it … Jesse from Jacksonville:
This is different than previous years. When I watch these games, I see NFL talent on our roster, talent that we were missing for so long. Is the sloppy play – people being out of position and penalties that sustain opponents' drives – a coaching issue or do we blame the youth on the roster? Either way, it has to improve.
John: This is a legitimate question and one that Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley seemed to wrestle with in his press conference Monday. He talked a lot about self-inflicted wounds, discipline and focus. Those are all things that concern head coaches because they're things they know they shouldn't be seeing. And yet, the Jaguars saw a lot of them Sunday. The easy thing is to blame the head coach and/or coaching. That's the instinct and that's who and what fans blame because … well, what else do you blame? But there is another, real element that you point out: it's still a young roster with a lot of new players coming together. It's still a second-year quarterback and it's second-year receivers and a rookie running back and a whole lot of youth everywhere. Many of the mistakes made Sunday – missed field goals, running out of bounds covering punts, face-mask penalties, interference penalties – were made by young players. What is it? Who to blame? Blame it all, but your final line is the most appropriate: either way, it has to improve. Yes, it does. Now is the time.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
This will sound like I'm grasping at straws, but bear with me. Listening to Sunday's game, the announcers mentioned the windows were open on only one end of Lucas Oil Stadium. Two questions. One, are there windows on both ends of the stadium? Two, if one end is open and one end is closed, doesn't that provide a competitive advantage? Both field goals Jason Myers missed were on the open end. I know some stadiums are built with an open end, but in this case where areas can be opened or closed isn't opening one end similar to the Colts opening the roof for one half of football but not the other? I remember hearing the league doesn't allow that.
John: There are windows on both ends of Lucas Oil Stadium, but only one side has windows that open. That's the North end of the stadium. The window operates under the same rules as the retractable roof, meaning whatever decision is made on open and closing can be made before the game and changed at halftime.
Tom from Jacksonville:
John, why do sooooo many internet sports sites have David Caldwell on the hot seat? ESPN, Bleacher Report, to name a few. Big Cat Country locally also?
John: I assume it's because the Jaguars are 1-3 after being 4-12 and 2-13 the past two seasons. I don't believe David Caldwell is on the hot seat, and I think the team is a ways off from any changes on the coaching or personnel front, but if you're asking why people believe differently … well, it's the record.
Nick from Fort Polk, LA:
I'm thinking a little more clearly today. Looking back on that game, you can see why we gave Julius Thomas all that money. We need him in the red zone bad.
John: He would help. I don't imagine he would hurt much in the rest of the field, either.
Dan from Shelton, CT:
I've calmed down now and really thought about the game. Gotta get better in the second half of games.
John: No doubt, and that really has become the theme. The Jaguars, particularly offensively, have played OK-to-well in the first half of three games only to play not well at all in the second half. That's the difference between 3-1 and 1-3 right now. Is the offense and the team overall playing better than last season? I would argue that they are. Is it better enough? The record would indicate that it's not and the record is what matters.
Thomas from Amelia Island, FL:
We are once again the worst team in football! Go Jaguars!
John: Nah. They're not the worst.
Jordan from San Antonio, TX:
Last year, the complaints were about getting blown out because the offense was inept at moving the ball for nearly four quarters. This year, they struggle in the last two. I see the progress and the promise. I also understand that it's a process … and I'm patient. #DTWD
John: There's truth in what you say. A big truth that in the long-term should not be overlooked is that the Jaguars are having more stretches of playing really well – particularly on offense – than was the case last season. The offense is showing signs of real growth at pretty much every position. No way last season does Bortles have a half like he did in the first half on Sunday; not even close, actually. At halftime of that game it was easy to think, "This guy might be really good." That wasn't easy to say often last season. At the same time, the Jaguars lost a game Sunday they absolutely could have and should have won. Something was missing in the second half and something has been missing in the second half a lot this season. So patience? Yes, it's fine to show it. But it's understandable if it's not widely shared.
Robert from Van Nuys, CA:
I just woke up Monday and I had a bad dream. Did we just lose to a 40-year-old backup quarterback? Did our rookie kicker miss three field goals? Man I'm not sugarcoating it: We aren't going to do anything in this weak division this season. I'm saying that hoping I am wrong, but ugh … this loss ... The football gods knew we were playing mistake-free football, so they said, "Miss a field goal? Not once, not twice, but thrice!" Geesh, for the love of Duval! TEAM CONSISTENCY … TEAM CONSISTENCY …
John: Technically, Jason Myers missed two field goals – and I'll give him an unneeded, unwanted and unimportant pass for the "first miss." That's the one that came just after Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano called timeout, the attempt that didn't count. Myers said afterward he wasn't sure whether to kick it after he heard the whistle for the timeout, so he just took a swing. But whatever. He missed two more later and this is not the time to split hairs over a field-goal attempt that didn't count. Unfortunately, what you had wasn't a dream. It's the Jaguars' tough reality, and it's a low moment. That doesn't mean the Jaguars can't climb out. It does make it harder for fans to believe in this right now, and that's unfortunate.
Jake from Hamden, CT:
Zone, I'm with you … I wasn't looking at Sunday as a 'must-win' but to let that one get away stung … big time. But to me this season was always going to be about how the team looks down the stretch and not out of the gate. Being competitive has been a major stretch for this team the past several years and in three of four games, we've been much more competitive. That's all well and good (and keeping my belief in Gus) but it's time to start stacking up some Ws.
John: That's where we're at, unfortunately. The Jaguars this season have gone from being noncompetitive and overwhelmed in a lot of games to having infuriating, maddening mistakes cost them games. That's what struggling teams normally do, so in that sense the Jaguars this season feel more like a normal struggling team than a perpetually overmatched one. Normal struggling puts you closer to getting things turned than being perpetually overmatched, and if the Jaguars can do a better job finishing what they start, then there's hope to get this turned. That's the positive. The negative is that normal struggling still stinks and still means you're losing.
Chuck from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I think it was Davon House who dove and fumbled a punt on the one-yard line. Any reasonable explanation for this or just another case of bad judgment, ineffective coaching or lack of focus? We were lucky that the Colts had downed the ball before House dove for it.
John: Actually, it was none of the above – and it had nothing to do with luck. It also was not in any way a bad play by House. House knew the NFL rule that once a ball is touched by a member of the punting team a member of the receiving team can touch it – and even fumble it – and the receiving team will still have possession. At that point, House knew he essentially had a chance at a free return. If that situation comes up again, House said he will do the same thing again – as well he should.
Anthony from St. Augustine, FL:
This team lacks everything I see that a winning team has. This team is the second-worst team in the NFL behind San Francisco. What now?
John: Now, you get ready for Tampa Bay, try to get an impact player or two back into the lineup from injuries and finish a few drives that you haven't been finishing. That's not the final answer, and that won't put the Jaguars in the Super Bowl, but that's "What's now."

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