Ugly morning in the O-Zone. As expected. As it should be.
Not likely to change in the coming days. Sigh.
Let's get to it . . .
Skip from Jacksonville:
You are on the one-yard line. You have one of the best running backs in the NFL. Would you have kicked a field goal? Same deal from the two-yard line? I don't blame the players for this loss. This was a coaches' loss. Del Rio and Koetter lost this game. This was stupid, stupid, stupid.
John: I didn't see the play-calling as that bad in the red zone. The pass on 1st-and-goal from the 2 should have been caught by Marcedes Lewis, and once the second-down play lost seven yards and the next gained eight, I didn't have a problem with kicking the field goal on fourth down – even from the 1. You needed points out of that drive. As for not trying to run on 4th-and-2 the next time down, running two yards in goal-line situations – well, the odds aren't with you. The players have to make the plays there. In those two cases, I don't know that it was coaching.
Levi from Jacksonville:
What happened to Eugene Monroe? Was he injured or benched during the game?
John: He was out in the second half with a shoulder injury. He was not benched.
Matt from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I am no football genius, but it seems to me Cecil Shorts has done absolutely nothing positive all season for the Jaguars. Am I way off here?
John: You are not. I have had emails calling for Shorts to be cut. We're not close to being there yet, but he has not contributed much so far.
Adam from Jacksonville:
I'm sure your inbox is filled with disgust and anger, but I really like what I saw in Gabbert and our defense. It was not a win, but there were lots of positives. However, I've never been so angry with a punter in my life.
John: Your anger is not misplaced.
Chris from Houston, TX:
If Gabbert continues to look this poorly, and the Jags end up with the first pick in the draft, any chance we draft Andrew Luck? Have you ever seen two "franchise" quarterbacks drafted by same team in consecutive years?
John: I don't know that I grasp the first part of your question. I just don't see Gabbert having looked poorly. He's a rookie quarterback who is developing. As for the hypothetical part of your question regarding Luck, I'll write this once this week: If the Jaguars would happen to have the first pick – which I do not believe they will have – and they believe Luck is as good as many believe he will be and that he is better than Gabbert, then they should take him. An elite, franchise quarterback is that valuable.
Craig from Jacksonville:
Their punter had seven punts for a 44-yard average. Our punter: seven punts for a 31-yard average. I know the Jag brass are the experts, but are we fans totally crazy about not understanding why Turk is our punter?
John: You are quite sane. Considering the results of recent weeks, you're fair to ask the question.
Ray from Lake City, FL:
We lost again! It's not JDR's fault, although he took the heat. It's the players. These guys are getting pay days and not performing. Blaine looks good for only playing a couple of games. We need a high- powered receiver. Where do we begin to look?
John: Gabbert does look good. I'm not sure what people are seeing who believe otherwise. As for receiver, look in the draft. That's where it will happen. It almost certainly won't happen in free agency.
Bill from Jacksonville:
"It's just the preseason" and "Cecil Shorts might be the best WR on the roster." Care to take back anything you said?
John: I've already said I was wrong about Cecil Shorts, though in my defense, I said by the end of the season he might be the best wide receiver on the roster. He hasn't developed as I thought he would. I'm surprised. I stand by my comments about the preseason to an extent because my point was the preseason is not necessarily a good gauge for how a team will do during the regular season. I will say this in my defense, too: people were criticizing the Jaguars' defense in preseason and the defense has been pretty good.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
We have spent a lot of time debating the best way to prep a young QB: start him or let him learn from the sideline. How about punt returner? Our rookie is lost out there and his inexperience is costing us valuable field position.
John: Your points are correct. Shorts made some errors in judgment Sunday that you can't have. I'd be surprised if there's not a change there this week.
Jake from Tulsa, OK:
First and goal on the two-yard line, the best player we have watches a rookie in his third start throw two incomplete passes. That was plays, not players.
John: Not that time. Lewis has to catch the ball. He said it himself. The call worked. And you can't run Jones-Drew in every situation. You have to mix things up at least a bit.
Xander from Jacksonville:
I'm sure the O-Zone is a place of anger and resentment today.
John: I'm ducking and running, baby. Ducking and running.
The Final Word from Jacksonville:
Mark my final word. This ugly start is a blessing. Hill finally kept his hands on a ball, Meester did exactly the opposite of what helped lose the Carolina game in a big way, AND the Jacksonville Jaguars broke their low point streak against the number one rated D in the league. More to work on but something more to work with. Most exciting Jaguars game of the year. We can beat Pittsburgh, we can contend Baltimore and We Are definitely Jaguars. I've seen flashes of next year two games early. I don't mind losing if it means positive changes before the next draft. I think it's safe to say Gabbert will be even better next week. John?
John: We've actually gotten a few more of these than I anticipated. A few fans can see the positives, and there are positives. I agree that Gabbert is showing signs and considering the fact that the defense is without a premier pass rusher, the unit is playing very well. It's not enough, because when you don't win, nothing's enough, but Gabbert remains the key to the future and he's developing.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Don't like the punter gesturing to the home fans to boo him some more. Do you?
John: I didn't see it, but I've heard plenty about it. If it happened the way I've heard, I honestly don't like it. Not a bit.
Jeremy from Navarre, FL:
It's now apparent that Meester likes Andrew Luck more than Blaine Gabbert. But seriously, the guy has lost the game for the Jags 2 weeks in a row, cut him!!!
John: You'll read a lot of things in the O-Zone. You won't read me advocating cutting Brad Meester. He made a mistake Sunday, but he's a quality center and the Jaguars are better with him than without.
Ronnie from Jax Beach, FL:
Dare you to publish this one: If you can't beat the Bengals at Home, WHO can you beat? Answer that!
John: I'll take your dare. How about Pittsburgh on the road?
Nathan from Jacksonville:
I doubt they will let you post this in O-Zone but maybe you can send back an email. Do you think Weaver will just fire JDR and let Gene Smith hire a head coach? Or do you think he is going to fire both and get a fresh start?
John: They'll let me publish it. As for the answer, I don't know how the situation will play out. I'm not sure anyone does yet.
Matt from Amarillo, TX:
The same mistakes can't be made over and over again. There is no excuse for not scoring touchdowns from two yards out, and having to settle for field goals. There is no excuse for the botched snap late in the fourth quarter. We have to be able to flip field position, even kicking into a stiff wind, there is absolutely no excuse for multiple 25-yard punts. Some changes need to be made, I can understand a mistake here and there, but the same repeated mistakes made every week is unacceptable.
John: When you're right, you're right. It's frustrating, disappointing and regrettable.
Tudor from Saint Augustine, FL:
1) Get rid of Turk. 2) Teach team basic Pop Warner concepts such as snapping the ball properly 3) Fans have every right to be furious this time around. A lot of the anger I agree is overblown but this particular game warrants it. The Jaguars lost because they couldn't punt or snap the ball properly in the 4th quarter. That is unacceptable!
John: As with a lot of today's questions, there's not much to say. It's a day for venting. Fans do really have the right to feel as they do. It's difficult and it has to change.
Scott from Woodbridge, VA:
My parents always taught me if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all. So with that . . .
John: My parents taught me that, too. They didn't teach me how to answer questions after a game such as the one we saw Sunday.