Sunday. The bye is over and it's game day. At last.
Let's get to it . . . Jeremy from Oceanside, NY:
Do you think the poor play of the defense, should it continue, will take away the momentum Mel Tucker seemed to have gained last year on his way to getting a head coaching job in the NFL?
John: It certainly wouldn't help, although it also wouldn't end his chances. Head coaching opportunities often aren't purely based on the ranking of an offensive or defensive coordinator's unit the previous season. Nor should they be. The attributes of a successful head coach – organization, leadership, overall vision for the team, motivation on a weekly basis, communication – are very different than the Xs-and-Os focus of a coordinator. That's why it's common for successful coordinators to not be successful head coaches. I think Mel Tucker will be a very good head coach in the NFL, and I think that opportunity will come relatively soon.
Will from Jacksonville:
Zoolander Reference?! You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.
John: That Hansel is so hot right now.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
What do you expect from Marcedes Lewis the rest of the season? It seems he should get the ball more.
John: Lewis so far has performed very well this season and deserves some credit for responding after a difficult season last season. There indeed have been times when he's been integral to the passing offense and times when he's helped the Jaguars look pretty efficient offensively. A lot of players in the offense should get more involved. My guess is Lewis will be pretty involved moving forward.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Thirty-second in passing, still checking down to Greg Jones when there is time, accuracy issues, and a "clock that expires too fast." I'm curious as to what will it take "to signal the end of his time as the team's future," because to me the last two years have looked like red flares in the dark.
John: Time. It will take time.
John from Section123:
It would seem the Jaguars would have to have a winning record in these last 11 games to keep everything intact next season. Going 6-5 over the next 11 games, winding up 7-9, seems like it would do just enough to appease everyone and keep Gene Smith around for another draft. Anything less, and there's probably going to be some corrective changes. Maybe not Gene Smith, but...
John: We'll see. It is pretty evident that what has happened the first five games isn't what was expected on a lot of fronts. I don't know what the exact record will have to be over the final 11 games. I'd guess it's more a case of needing to see by the end of the season that there is a foundation and that things are moving in the right direction. A season is 16 games, not five.
John from Jacksonville:
My question is how hot is Gene Smith's seat? He is entering his fourth year and we haven't even been close to making the playoffs? I'm tired of your excuses for Gene Smith. This is a business and I pay money for results. I'm tired of paying to see my team get stomped year after year!
John: We addressed the temperature of the seat in the previous question, and I'm as worn out on the whole "excuse" theme as followers of the Jaguars are of losing. One thing should be clarified, though. The Jaguars were a victory from the postseason in Smith's second season as general manager. That's not enough, and no one's saying it is. I will say one final thing here on the excuses. As long as there's an Ozone, I will answer questions and try to provide reasons and explanation for things that happen. People ask me why Tyson Alualu, for example, isn't playing as well as people expect. I could rail or write him off as a bust or call Gene Smith an idiot for not being able to know in advance that he would sustain a knee injury that hampered him. That would be short-sighted, unreasonable and I don't think people come to the O-Zone for that. Instead, I will try to provide some insight into why things happen and perspective on what's going on. That won't stop, and if it did, I wouldn't be doing my job.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
Let's say things don't drastically improve. Do you think Tony Boselli might be considered for the GM position? Seems a natural fit to me, and I think it would excite the fan base. I know you don't make a hire based on the fan base, but if ever a fan base needed something to get excited about...well it's ours!
Rob from Moorpark, CA:
Why is it that you can cross the plane as long as the football gets across but you have to have both feet in the end zone?
John: A receiver at some point has to establish himself in bounds to have possession. It doesn't matter where he is on the field. A player crossing the plane already has established himself as being in bounds and is therefore eligible to score.
James from Jacksonville:
Any word on Clint Session?
John: There's nothing new on Clint Session. He's on the Physically Unable to Perform list and has been since the beginning of training camp. Considering he has been dealing with concussion symptoms and hasn't played since last season, that wouldn't seem to indicate he would return this season. He still wants to play, and the Jaguars want to give him every chance to do so. The Jaguars have about three weeks this season to determine if he can do that.
John from Section 214:
Can we just have another bye week? I was much happier not having to watch this team play last Sunday. Watching the Jaguars is kind of like slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
John: Ah, come on John. It's a new week, a new Sunday, a new hope. The first five weeks weren't a lot of fun, but the great thing about the NFL is that for four and a half months or so, there's a new game, a new chance and a new story. The Jaguars didn't expect to be 1-4 and they didn't expect to have the results they have had at home this season, but they still honestly feel good about things and there's a belief they will play better after the bye week.
Grant from Macclenny, FL:
I remember when we had the Killer B's in coverage. Them were the days, huh John?
John: I remember covering Aaron Beasley and Fernando Bryant, and yes, those were good days for the Jaguars. But don't spend too much time in the past. If you're not watching Derek Cox this year, you're missing some very, very good corner play. Rashean Mathis is still returning from a knee injury and although he's not at the Pro Bowl level he once was, the Jaguars' cornerback position could be in far worse hands. The Jaguars have had a lot of issues this season, but cornerback wouldn't be high on my list of problems. Get the pass rush going and you'll be a lot happier with the pass protection. That's usually how it works.
Paula from Montgomery, AL:
I'm a bit confused by some posts in here regarding the offensive line's performance between the Bengals and Bears games. (The most recent by John from Jacksonville) It seemed to me that we (fans in the stands) were doing A LOT more "move those chains" during the Bengals game than the Bears game (before the collapse). Maybe I was just hugely distracted by the arrogant Bears fans in our section and didn't notice. Can you help me by explaining what was the progress that I missed? I must tell you....that was a long ride home on Monday.
John: What we were referring to when discussing the improvement was pass protection. While the Jaguars moved the ball at times against the Bengals, the pass protection broke down pretty significantly far too often. Against the Bears, particularly early, Gabbert had more time. The Jaguars are looking to build off that progress.
Spike from Jacksonville:
Ozone, I was disappointed to hear that Daryl Smith won't play Sunday. Why not just put him on injured reserve?
John: It's pretty simple why you don't put him on injured reserve. Although the groin injury that has kept him out has lingered longer than expected, he still has a chance to return this season. If and when he does return, he's the best player on the defense and has a chance to make your team better. If a player such as Smith was on the street and you had a chance to sign him with the idea that he might make you better in a few weeks you would absolutely do it and take your chances that it would work out. Considering what the Jaguars know about Smith and his past performance and reliability, he's absolutely worth the wait in this situation.