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Who's counting?

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Game-day O-Zone. Cool morning. Great football weather.

Let's get to it . . . TL from Jacksonville:
If things don't pick up for the Bengals game, you might get a day off next week. Let's hope not. Jags fans, that Bengals game looks very winnable - let's fill the stadium! Save the Whale!
John: No day off wanted. No day off needed. They're all winnable. Buy tickets. Save the whale.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
There has to be another Jimmy Smith out there on someone's practice squad. Our wide receiver position should be a revolving door until we find a wide receiver that can produce early and often. What say you, Duke Oehser of jags.com.
John: I say these things take time. Jimmy Smith was in Jacksonville for more than a season before he began to flourish and develop into a big-time player. The point is, it's hard to just bring in a guy and have him be Jimmy Smith. Players need time to adapt and show their abilities.
Jeff from Wherever:
Is our receiving corps really that bad? How would we know? In three games, we have 70 pass attempts and 40 completions. Most teams had over 70 attempts their first two games. Obviously, the dropped balls are the receivers' fault but, given the lack of passes thrown, I think the sample size is too small to judge our receivers as poorly as many have.
John: You have been heard.
Mike from Mill Valley, CA:
I'm sorry people can't appreciate the service you provide by doing this column five or six times per week. I really enjoy the O-Zone and I hope all the whining and insults don't make it too onerous.
John: Thank you. The whining and insults are part of it. And it's seven a week. But who's counting?
Kenny from Pewee Valley, KY (Jacksonville-now):
I think your response to Ben is dead on "... because I don't believe the elite quarterbacks reach their 'full potential' until six or seven years in" Many fans here are still accustomed to the college game and a player lasts three or four years. I have difficulty looking back sometimes at the first five years at my job and I have been there 12 years! It is much easier to criticize someone on such a big stage than being an everyday guy. Patience everyone, patience...
John: One of the hardest things to remember with a young NFL quarterback is that it's a long maturation process. People have gotten tired of me saying there will be ups and downs – sometimes in the same game and often to a frustrating extent – with Gabbert, but that's the reality.
Jim from Jacksonville:
"Benjamin from Jacksonville: For the most part, Jaguars fans are an exasperating lot. They just don't get it. Most never will. If ignorance is bliss, we have the happiest fans in the league." Somebody hire this guy. Is this not the best assessment of the typical disgruntled Jaguars fans I have ever heard!
John: Believe it or not, they're no more disgruntled than any fans. Fans are fans are fans . . .
Evan from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Do defenses still keep eight men in the box if you line up with four-wide sets and run from that formation? Even with subpar receivers, I would think either someone would get open or it would make it easier to run the ball aka Peyton Manning with Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, etc.
John: That's the theory a lot of today's offenses use. With a quarterback who can operate a four-wide offense with efficiency – and with an offensive line that can keep the defense off the quarterback long enough – it indeed can open up running lanes.
Jagwirejake from Orange Park, FL:
An absurd thought but what would it do for this fan base- The NBA seems to be headed toward a cancelled season and some players are looking for Jobs. Hey, they are athletes. One certain guy seems to tuck the ball and smash into the paint like he's carrying a football anyway. I don't know what kind of speed he has but he would make for a large presence in the middle of the field. Oh and think of the stories on ESPN. I'm talking King James. Just so you know none if the above is serious but some of our fans would fall for it.
John: Oh, the fun we have in the O-Zone. James could have been a heck of an NFL player, though – probably at tight end or receiver.
Frank from St Augustine:
I am a Jags fan, but they are close to losing me. Here is what I see as the major problems the team is facing: 1) Roster has a significant lack of elite TALENT and SPEED. When you watch other NFL teams that actually DO possess speed and talent across the board - it is really apparent that we don't stack up. 2) No hitters on defense and there has not been any since Donovin Darius left. Think about it - is there ANYONE on our D that opposing offensive players fear? When is the last time we saw a Jags D player actually "jack someone up" like Balt, Pitts, etc. etc. 3) Dirk Koetter is absolutely horrible. He has had years now - and what he shows me is that he is like a lot of the rest of the team - AVERAGE. He does not and will not ever have the ability to create an offense that rises above the players that he has . . . to me - that is what a good coach can do and he shows nothing. 4) Our two cornerstone tackles, Monroe and Britton, are dangerously close to being "busts" in relation to where they were drafted. 5) I could go on. I am a Jags fan but they really do have a ton of deficiencies and the last thing we need now is Drew Brees . . . unfortunately, I see Jimmy Graham completely exposing a slow LB corps all day and just eating us alive on third downs. I hope I am wrong.
John: I hope you are and think you are on several fronts. I agree that the Jaguars at times look slower than you'd like, but I think a lot of that is offensive style. Passing teams tend to look faster than running teams, and with the Jaguars' offense emphasizing power running, they don't look as fast as other teams. Defensively, I don't see the Jaguars as slow, but they do lack an elite pass rusher and that can make teams seem slow. I won't cover all of your points, but I just don't see the roster being as deficient as everyone else. Add a big-time wide receiver and pass rusher – and let Gabbert grow up a bit – and this team will look faster and better in a hurry.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
You're the GM of a football team. Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor are on the board. And it's your turn to pick. Who do you pick? Here's going with Freddy T.
John: I go with Taylor, too, and that's not a knock on Jones-Drew in the least. He is much, much better than I thought he was before I began covering the Jaguars. Jones-Drew is very, very, very good – one of the best runners of this decade. From what I've seen, I give Taylor the nod.
Shay from Jacksonville:
You continue to post questions about Garrard so that you can take pot shots at him. You admit you don't know him. How about interviewing him and asking what his status is? Maybe he doesn't want to play. Maybe he is looking for the right team. Maybe he has options. It is better to ask, then to keep making assumptions. Fans are interested. He was a Jag for a very long time.
John: I continue to post questions about Garrard because fans continue to ask – and continue to do so in far greater numbers than I actually post. And if you think what I've been writing are pot shots, I'd invite you to read other writers or listen to other commentators who talk about Garrard or other players. I'd like to think I'm relatively fair by comparison.
Xander from Jacksonville:
Met Tyson Alualu on Friday. I told him to get a sack for me. What are the chances of this happening?
John: I would think you could buy your own snacks. Oh, sack.
Reese from Frederick, MD:
We were at this point last year, weren't we? Nobody thought we'd beat the Colts and it turned out to be one of the best games/wins I can remember.
John: Yes, the Jaguars were at that point last year.
Jason from Mims, FL:
It's not just Jags fans that wine and over react and say dumb things. My brother is a Cowboys/Bucs fan, and my dad is a Dolphins fan. Both wine about the same things we always read on this site. Whenever either screams "Just get rid of him!" about their own quarterbacks, I ask them who they plan to put in his place. Same with receivers, same with coaches. Fans are fans, but some of us can choose to be more informed with our arguments. Freebird!
John: I prefer beer.

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