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O-Zone: A rare sight

Posted Nov 18, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it...

Bryan from Jacksonville:
During Sunday’s game I got the feeling the younger players were starting to "own it." They stepped up and made plays. Ace Sanders and Jordan Todman were two guys I'd cite as examples. What did you see?
John: Pretty much the same thing. Todman has made plays the last two weeks after struggling on kickoff returns in London. But Sanders, particularly, seems to be developing and gaining confidence. He seemed quicker and more decisive Sunday, which is exactly what you want to see from him at this point in the rookie season. You also saw some of the same thing from safety Johnathan Cyprien. There were times earlier this season you didn’t see much from either player. On Sunday, you noticed those guys – mostly in positive ways.
Kevin from Belden, ND:
Denard Robinson did not get one touch on offense. What happened to 10-to-15 touches a game? He was drafted as a playmaker. How is he supposed to make plays if he never touches the ball?
John: First, what David Caldwell said in the offseason was that Robinson could get 10-to-15 plays a game – not 10-to-15 touches. Yes, he was drafted as a playmaker and the Jaguars have tried him in various situations. He frankly has struggled in most of those situations, including a fumble last week in Tennessee. He will touch the ball more and the Jaguars aren’t done with him, but he hasn’t earned more opportunities to date.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Yea! Tampa wins! Te-ddy! Te-ddy! Te-ddy!
John: II’m glad you had a good day.
J. Hooks from St. Augustine, FL:
Wow, that game was ours to win. I miss Justin Blackmon. He would have definitely made a difference. Good job, defense! Stand United.
John: I agree this was a game in which Blackmon would have made a real difference. In fact, this was the first game I really thought Blackmon’s presence would have made a difference in winning and losing. Had the Jaguars had one more playmaker on the field in the second and third quarters – one more player to get a few first downs, to shift the field or make a big play – that could have been the difference in the second half. The Jaguars need to figure out a way to move offensively without Blackmon, and that will be difficult, but without question his absence was a factor.
Jody from Fort Pierce, FL:
Special teams looked good. Defense gave up some plays but for the most part looked good. But what happened to the offense? One moment I am cheering of the bold play-calling; next, I am predicting what the play is before we snap the ball.
John: What happened to the offense isn’t a real mystery. The offensive line is struggling to run block and the Jaguars are beat up at receiver. Fans have an instinct to criticize play-calling after losses. The instinct is probably as old as football itself. But under the circumstances, with new players everywhere at wide receiver and a running game averaging two yards a carry, finding plays that work . . . well, it’s a challenge.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
freemattscott yet? I don't even acknowledge Gabbert as the backup and Stanzi was a free-agent pickup. They drafted Matt for a reason. Why not see what he has to offer? I like the direction, but would like to see Scott get a chance?
John: The Jaguars didn’t draft Matt Scott. They signed him as a collegiate free agent. He’s on the practice squad, which is one reason he’s not playing.
David from Jacksonville:
Well that was exciting...for about 15 minutes. It’s as if the offense just died as a unit. It’s mind-bogging O-man, just mind-boggling.
John: Is it? The Jaguars are without a ton of wide receivers on offense, and they’re also struggling mightily to run the ball. There’s a limit to how consistent you’re going to be when that’s the case.
Biff from Jacksonville:
I find it funny that folks continue to get angry/frustrated considering the known state of this team. I'll take what I can get and I surely enjoyed that first quarter and the plays that made the first two drives. That said, are you seeing anything that is a cause for Henne not throwing the ball downfield more?
John: Your attitude toward the first quarter is a good one, and if you watched that, it was easy to see some progress there. It was also easy to see some progress in the play of Ace Sanders, Johnathan Cyprien and some of the other defensive backs. As far as Henne going downfield, I haven’t gone back and looked at the game in detail yet, but when you’re working without a lot of your wide receivers, there’s sometimes not much to be found when you look downfield.
Princefigs from Jacksonville:
Does Poz really mean THAT much to the defense?
John: He means a lot, but the Jaguars actually played pretty well against the run on Sunday. They allowed 14 yards on 24 carries, so it’s hard to be much better than that. They allowed a lot of passing yards, but maybe the biggest difference was the lack of turnovers forced. They forced four last week and none this week. The four makes the defense look a lot better.
Luis from St. Johns and Section 412:
I saw a good game. Too bad the officiating crew missed it.
John: Now, that’s pretty funny.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
Rashad Jennings is looking good. He has outrun our entire offense, but he was obviously a big part of the reason we were so bad last year. We are so much better now. Please Fire Caldwell so the team has a chance, Mr. K.
John: (Yawn).
Sherick from Jacksonville:
Even though the Jaguars are losing, how do the fans and players alike manage to have camaraderie?
John: The fans genuinely like being fans of this team, and the players genuinely like being around each other. The players also believe they are part of something that’s headed in a positive direction, and fans following closely have the same feeling. It’s easy to have camaraderie in that environment.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
When Gabbert was starting your readers clamored for Henne. Now that Henne is starting they are clamoring for Gabbert. My question is does this wishy-washy group really know what they want? It's obvious that a new quarterback will come with the next draft and neither will start.
John: I learned a long time ago to not throw “readers” into one general group. Some wanted Henne and others wanted Gabbert at the start of the season, and there is disagreement now, too. Fans want to win. They want good quarterback play. When neither is happening, there’s a natural tendency to want the team to try something else.
David from Kingsland, GA:
Personally, I am really hoping that by draft day there is an obvious consensus top quarterback choice. There is only one thing the Jags have had more trouble doing than drafting an above average quarterback . . . and that's having success in the first round. I just hate that the success of this team over the next three-to-five years is completely dependent on picking the right guy in Round One!
John: It really doesn’t matter if there’s a consensus choice. What matters is that David Caldwell makes the right choice. As for your bemoaning that the Jaguars’ success will depend on picking the right quarterback, well, that’s just how it is.
Joe from Section 101:
I am more than willing to go through one more season like this one if it means we end up with Jameis Winston. That guy is unreal.
John: He’s awfully good. I don’t know that that’s the Jaguars’ end game, but no question he is good.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Ouch. This one stung a bit. The game clearly shows where the Jags need to go. A good team does not move itself out of field-goal range on consecutive drives. May not have been enough to win, but would have been enough to keep up momentum.
John: Yes, offensive players were frustrated by that stretch, but I didn’t see this loss nearly as painful as some of the ones in the first half of the season. That’s probably because I’ve tried to see this season on the big picture more than through the lens of winning and losing each week. The Jaguars were tied at halftime Sunday, and it wasn’t a fluke. They then took quite a punch with a 91-yard touchdown and a few questionable calls and still didn’t fold. They don’t have the offensive firepower – or perhaps the offensive line – right now to keep pace with a team that scores in the high 20s, but if you were looking for progress in a bunch of areas and if you were looking for increased competitiveness, that was there on Sunday.
John from Savannah, GA:
I said last week that Will Blackmon's touchdown was the play of the season for the Jaguars. I should have added "so far." Obviously Jason Babin scalping Andre Ellington this week was the play of the year so far. I'm glad he has another vocation to fall back on after his football career is over.
John: I must admit I’ve never seen a play quite like it in the NFL.

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