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Ozone: There for all to see

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Brad from Jacksonville:
Please tell me we're done seeing Blaine Gabbert under center in a Jaguars uniform. Chad Henne, though imperfect, on Sunday played with the skill and the poise of a real NFL quarterback. Gabbert winning the starting job in the preseason is nice and all, but the regular season is here and Henne outclasses and outmatches Blaine in almost every way. #standunited
John: This understandably is a theme in the Monday inbox. The offense looked better with Henne Sunday, and Henne certainly made it more difficult for the Jaguars to put Gabbert back in the starting lineup against San Diego if he is healthy this week. At the same time, Bradley did not commit to either player as the starting quarterback Sunday. He pointed out that while Henne played well at times, he made some mistakes at key times. He also said that he didn't know enough about Gabbert's condition to say anything concrete Sunday, and wanted to focus on the Broncos game. He didn't offer any hints either way, though certainly it will be harder for most fans to see Gabbert starting Sunday after Henne's performance against Denver.
Josh from Jacksonville:
It's hard to see how Henne gets pulled for a healthy Gabbert. It looks like Henne gives the players around him the best chance to develop this season. All of a sudden, this previously inept offense looks workable.
John: Yes, Henne played well at times. Henne threw two interceptions, one at a critical time, so it's not as if this was a defining performance that made Bradley's decision a no-brainer. It also remains to be seen if Gabbert is healthy enough to play Sunday. There are some plates in the air on this one. It will play out this week.
Scott from Section 137 and Ponte Vedra:
Would you sum up the last four Gene Smith drafts as busts and that is why we have to completely rebuild again, with the exception of Blackmon?
John:If the past four drafts had been productive, Gene Smith would still be the general manager of the Jaguars. Smith drafted Cecil Shorts III, too. Many of the rest of the selections are gone. Call them what you want, but yes, a ton of the draft selections didn't work out, and the Jaguars are building the roster in a lot of ways starting with this season.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I need to eat crow and give the Jags kudos. They really put up a good fight. One thing that really irked me was that STUPID personal foul penalty against Branch. That was completely pointless and costly to our chances to win.
John: It didn't help. It was a little confusing at first when the official announced the penalty, because he made it sound as if the penalty was a blow to the head, which may have meant it was a penalty for Branch hitting Manning. If it was indeed on Branch for fighting after the play, and the consensus was that it was, then yes, it was costly and inexcusable.
Kathy from Lake City:
John:Um, it's not happening.
Hoosier Jag from Indianapolis, IN:
Shooting ourselves in the foot with too many mental/young team penalties at critical times and we were still in the game. It is still hard to convince my friends that we are getting there, but we are.
John: What was interesting after the game was that the players and coaches talked a lot more about the mistakes and missed opportunities than they did about any satisfaction over keeping the game close. That's a step in the right direction.
Scott from Honolulu, HI:
I didn't have a problem with the fake punt; why not try to steal a possession early? The dumb personal foul penalties though, those really sting. P.S. That Blackmon kid has a chance to be pretty good. #actuallygottomoodachay
John: The fake punt was indeed questioned by some. I find that a little amusing, because had the Jaguars played things straight on Sunday, I would have received a ton of emails saying, "Why didn't they take a lot more chances? What did they have to lose?" The Jaguars were trying to steal a possession early. My guess is there were some other things in the game plan to try to do the same thing, but this opportunity presented itself. It wound up not working, but the way Manning and the Broncos' offense played this season, it wasn't like the Jaguars were guaranteed of stopping Denver on a long field compared to a short field. They went for it. They were aggressive. At another time in this building process, against another opponent, maybe that doesn't make sense. Sunday, it did.
Rickshade from Jacksonville:
John, have the Jaguars ever played on Sunday Night Football, or do you not know?
John: They have played once in the regular season. They lost to Pittsburgh 26-21 on October 5, 2008 in Jacksonville.
Clint from Richmond Hill, VA:
Silver lining? We seem to have a potential Pro Bowl wide receiver in J. Blackmon! Something for Caldwell to build around. Thoughts??
John: Justin Blackmon is a lot better than he was late last season and frankly, a lot better this season than I anticipated. Bradley said when Blackmon returned from his four-game suspension that he was impressed with and optimistic about how Blackmon had worked during that period. Some people raised eyebrows at that, but Blackmon played very well during the preseason, and he played better so far during the regular season. He has shown signs of being elite. That's a huge development for the Jaguars.
Jeff from Ellicott City, MD:
Proud of the team, John. They came to play and made a game of it as the biggest underdogs in history. If the Jaguars can play like that (and add Cecil to the mix) we will be far from 0-16.
John: This was a popular sentiment in the O-Zone after the game, too. The fans should be proud. The team fought hard and played better than many expected. What's funny is what a score does for perception. I got a lot of emails talking about how hard the Jaguars played. They played hard in the first five games, too. On Sunday, the effort produced a few more plays – and so did Justin Blackmon – and suddenly people praised the effort. This team is trying hard. I don't see that changing.
JT from Port St. Lucie, FL:
I'm impressed with this loss. For the first time this season, I'm impressed with this team, these players, and this coach. We hung with the NUMBER ONE "ranked" team in the entire league and if Shorts didn't get hurt, it would have been that much closer of a game. These men, this team, this regime. I tip my hat, sirs. I'm happy for the first time in years.
John: See? Popular sentiment.
Steve from Woodbine, GA:
I have noticed when someone, including me, mentions how the Jags are the punch line to jokes in the national sports media you seem to make light of the fact that we care what the national media thinks about our Jags. My question to you is: are we not supposed to feel a sense of shame and maybe even anger when we hear our team being disrespected? I mean, isn't that what team pride is all about? I don't know about you, but I grew up around here. This is my home and when the rest of the NFL community is laughing at our team and our city, it is embarrassing!
John: It's not my intention to make light of what fans are feeling. What fans feel is legitimate. My point is that there's really not much anyone can do right now about how the national media talks about the Jaguars. Not right now. At 0-6 with a lot of one-sided losses, people are going to say and write what they want, and there's not a whole lot me, fans or anyone around the team can say to change the narrative. When the Jaguars start being more competitive, then when they start winning, there will be a lot more that can be said. That's why I advise in the meantime not to let it get you down or too upset and not worry too much about what you can't control.
Princefigs from Jacksonville:
I'm not even mad. The Jaguars' offense was ten times better than at any other point this season. The offensive line played much, much better than anyone on earth expected. Henne played decent. Blackmon was a beast. The defense played well against Manning. Overall, this is the first time I saw actual improvement. If we continue to play like we did today and keep improving, we will win a game or two this year.
John: That was one positive from the game – that observers got a chance to see improvement. Bradley and the coaches for the most part had seen improvement all season. A possible exception was the loss to Indianapolis, when the team really just didn't play well. But overall, there is improvement and Sunday it was there for the naked eye to see.

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