JACKSONVILLE – One more day to Look-Ahead Wednesday. (Sigh.)
Let's get to it … Matt from Lafayette, IN:
Back to reality ...
John: I received more emails along these lines in the wake of the Jaguars' loss to Tennessee Sunday than I cared to count. While that makes sense considering Sunday's ugly nature, it begs the question: was that loss the Jaguars' reality? The thought here is it's far too early to say that – just as it was too early to say what happened in Week 1 was the Jaguars' or Texans' reality. I continue to believe this team has a chance to be a seven-to-eight victory team this season. But that only will happen if the team plays well – and plays in the manner in which it was built. And because of the way the team is built – to run, play defense, win close games – there is a possibility of one-sided losses when the team gets behind; it realistically is not going to often rally from a two-score deficit. But when it plays teams without elite quarterbacks and/or elite offensive lines – such as the Texans and a lot of other teams on the schedule – then this defense can control the game. It follows that in those situations the Jaguars can stay in those games. If the Jaguars stay in games, the run game appears good enough to be effective. What this team can't do is get in situations where it must throw on every play or where it must overcome a lot of second-and third-and-long situations. Few teams function well in that situation, including this one. This style of play doesn't make the Jaguars elite. It probably won't make them a Super Bowl team. But it can make this team an improved team that's going to be in more games than not.
Hassan from Irving, TX:
Through two games and 40 carries, Leonard Fournette has looked like a big, powerful, superstar back. But looking at his stats, he has a 3.5-yards-per-rush average, a long of 17 and only six first downs. It seems he is getting hit at or before the line of scrimmage every time and he just powers his way for two- and three-yard gains. What are your thoughts on the offensive line run blocking the first two games?
John: My thoughts are that your thoughts are accurate thoughts.
Ethan from Rhode Island:
Alright, O – Ryan Nassib: just a guy to hang out and hold a clip-board, or "competition?" Might be no way to know just yet, but do you have a gut feeling yet?
John: This regime doesn't sign players to "just hang out," so the feeling must be that at some point there's a chance that Ryan Nassib can help this team. Can he ever start? Considering he has thrown 10 NFL passes, it's a very long shot. I think what Head Coach Doug Marrone said in his press conference Monday will hold true – that Nassib was brought in because the team needs a practice quarterback, and because quarterback Blake Bortles dealing with a right wrist injury means the Jaguars need a third quarterback should Bortles and Chad Henne be unavailable. There are those who are floating the theory that Nassib is here in case the Jaguars want to bench Bortles and play Henne to avoid Bortles getting injured and therefore not be forced to pay Bortles' $19 million injury clause for next season. The Jaguars eventually could need a third quarterback for that reason – i.e., somewhere in the final couple of months of the season. We're a ways out from that.
Fred from Jacksonville:
So, here's my impression of Blake. He will not create the opportunity to win, but his play can create the opportunity to lose, and that is not a viable person to be your quarterback. What says the Big O?
John: Bortles must prove this theory incorrect. Thus far in his NFL career he has not done that.
Daniel since Day 1 from Jacksonville:
What Bortles has in escapability pales compared to his turnover problem. And he was lucky they didn't have two or three more picks Sunday. Punting on fourth-and-long is always better than turnovers on second-and-long. We knew Blake was done a month ago. It's time to cut our losses.
John: A few thoughts on your thoughts. First, nothing said or done in the last few days indicates the Jaguars are ready to "cut their losses" and move on from Bortles. Marrone during his postgame press conference Sunday said he didn't consider making a quarterback change, and he talked more about Bortles being put in bad situations by penalties then he did anything else when discussing Sunday's quarterback play. And I really didn't think turnovers were the primary issues for Bortles and the offense Sunday. Yes, three turnovers are too many, but the Jaguars allowed just six points off those mistakes. Far more damaging was the offense's lack of plays downfield and the feeling that nothing was going to happen in the passing game. Bortles had 41 yards passing in the first half and 93 after three quarters. No matter how effectively a team builds around the running game, it's tough to win in the NFL with essentially zero production – or threat of production – from the passing offense.
Scott from Palatka, FL:
On pace for 8-8, I'd be happy with that.
John: Short and sweet – but there's some truth in your conciseness. I've said throughout the offseason that I believed this was a team capable of winning seven or eight games. I think a lot of observers feel similarly – or did before Sunday. And because of how this team is built – dependent on the run game, apparently limited in the passing game – there were probably going to be a few games in which they would be overmatched; it's hard to come from behind when you struggle to pass. From that perspective, it's not a shock this team would be 1-1 with a very good game and a clunker. I'd guess there might be a clunker or two left this season because there will be times they have trouble making up deficits. But if they can win their share of the other games, then yeah … they can still make that .500 push. That's not as outlandish as many believe.
Ridicules, John. Just ridicules. I know we need to move on but that Houston game got me sippin' the kool aide again. We won't be a contender until we get a quarterback. It's just that simple.
John: I can't make this up.
Doit from Jacksonville:
The Jags should trade Blake Bortles right now. He's a liability. What could they get for him? And they seriously have nothing to lose by signing Colin Kaepernick. The whole issue with him is overblown, quite frankly.
John: Why would another team trade for a liability? Would you trade for a liability? As for Kaepernick, Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin in late August said "We did the study, the research and we weren't interested." I don't expect that to change.
Ernest from Rockville, MD:
Hi, John! The reason the Rams are getting a prime-time game is because this will mark the return of the NFL to the Southern California media market (only New York City has a larger media market) after a 22-year absence after the then-LA Rams and then-LA Raiders left in 1995. It's the NFL so it's always been about money and TV ratings! The NFL realizes both teams have not played well but they are willing to ignore the records to finally broadcast a game in Southern California.
Patrick from Springfield I Jacksonville:
Is the product on the field supposed to be congruent to the value of the entertainment dollar on the field? I understand the Jags won't win every game, and the game-day experience at EverBank is enjoyable and memorable, but the watching the team play like they have in recent years is starting to make me wonder if the Jags are a good investment. I feel slightly cheated.
John: I'm not smart enough to explain big words like congruent. I'm barely smart enough to use mass transit in our nation's larger cities by myself, and PKav handles Uber on the road because even when I can find the app, things go awry when I'm involved. I am smart enough to know the Jaguars haven't been good enough for a long time, and I know everyone around the Jaguars gets that. Losing's frustrating. It's not cool. No one likes it. As for whether they're a good investment or not, only individuals can answer that. I can tell you the Jaguars want to win, and they need to win, and they won't stop trying to win. Beyond that, I can't offer promises. No one can. This is professional sports. Not scripted television.
Thrill from the 'Ville:
I'm so glad the current front office and coaching staff use the word "win," instead of the words "get better." Clearly, it's made all the difference.
John: Words don't win games. Players win games. And quarterbacks. And coaching. Because it's always coaching in the NFL.