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O-Zone: Just win, baby

Posted Dec 3, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...

John from Savannah, GA:
I'm seeing people on Twitter sad we are winning. On Sunday, I watched a game with my son and we had a blast. He doesn't care where we draft. He was happy for the win and you know what? I am too. Is that so crazy?
John: It’s not crazy at all. You were happy Sunday because the Jaguars won, but it’s quite possible, too, that you were happy because you see real improvement and real progress. That’s more important than draft position. People who want the Jaguars to lose for draft selection can feel how they want to feel. They can worry about what they want to worry about. What they shouldn’t lose sight of is the fact that this team has improved dramatically since the first month of the season. THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT TO HAPPEN. YOU WANT YOUR TEAM TO IMPROVE. You want your team to start playing well enough to win. After that, you can keep adding players and keep building the roster. So John, you’re not crazy to feel good about the victory. The Jaguars will draft where they draft and they’ll pick who they pick. Just as David Caldwell and Gus Bradley have signed and acquired players that appear to fit and appear to be getting better, they’ll do the same next offseason and the offseason after that and that’s how this thing will get built.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
Seven and nine seems really possible, bruh.
John: Slow down, bruh.
Todd from St. Augustine, FL:
I thought the offensive play calling was innovative and utilized our personnel really well. You saw MJD used as a decoy to cause misdirection and Ace Sanders getting the ball in open space. I hope those fans who questioned the abilities of Jedd Fisch to run this offense have watched the last few games.
John: I hope so, too. It takes time for an offense to find its identity and as Gus Bradley has said often this season, there was a process for Jaguars coaches to learn what these players do well. They appear to be learning that in recent weeks, and the results have been a bit better because of it.
Philip from Davenport, IA:
I know this probably wouldn't happen, but if Chad Henne plays ungodly bad for some reason the next couple of games and the Jaguars were to bench him would they go back to Blaine Gabbert or go straight to Ricky Stanzi to give him a chance to see what he can do?
John: You’re probably wasting some mental energy on this one. There are four games left in the season, and Henne would have to play awfully poorly for more than one game for your scenario to play out. But because you asked, Blaine Gabbert is the backup quarterback for a reason. He would play.
Dave from St. Augustine, FL:
How am I supposed to feel about reading you asking how to feel about telling Steve how to feel?
John: The same way I feel writing about you reading about asking how to feel about telling Steve how to feel: tired … very tired … and a little worse for wear.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
Maurice Jones-Drew is only two seasons removed from being the rushing champ, and although he did it on an outrageous amount of carries, he looked sharp and explosive that year. Even when he has holes now, he seems sluggish. To me, unless his injuries were far more severe than I understood, two years of aging and hits shouldn't slow him down to looking like a nimble fullback. Is he out of shape or possibly playing injured right now? If not, we should seriously consider signing or drafting a home-run hitter because we've had a lot of opportunities this season for 40-50 yard runs that needless to say didn't come close to that.
John: First off, he is not out of shape. And yes, his injuries have been severe. He returned from a serious injury to win the rushing title in 2011 and the foot injury that ended his 2012 season was a very serious injury for a running back. Jones-Drew may not be the back he was when he was younger; few backs are when they are in their eighth season. But even considering that, he has been a big reason for the Jaguars winning their last two games. He has been effective. As for signing or drafting a running back, at some point the Jaguars will need to do that, but I don’t see it as one of the more pressing needs. Finally, in reference to there being “a lot of opportunities” for 40-to-50-yard runs, I’m not sure about there being a lot. There have been a few, but it’s not as if the Jaguars running backs have just left miles and miles of yards on the field.
Aaron from Carbondale, IL:
0-16 didn't happen. No losing on purpose. Khan, Caldwell and Bradley knew what they were doing. A team that is better now than it was early in the season. Cecil Shorts III has become a big asset. You've been very accurate this year. Say, "I told you so." I want to hear it, and you've earned it.
John: There’s no reason to do that. I’m wrong more than I am right. I know this because I’m fortunate enough to have a wife to remind me.
Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
3-13? I just watched the Open Locker Room video. I am proud to say I'm a Jags fan, not just because of a win, but because of the personality of the organization top to bottom. I cannot say enough good things about the team.
John: There are a lot of good things going on, and while the approach of Jaguars Head Caoch Gus Bradley is one of them, he’s not the only one. There’s a good vibe and energy around this franchise right now. Perhaps most importantly, it feels like a vibe that will go on.
Brandon from Palatka, FL:
I have definitely bought in to Gus Bradley! I looked at the playoff hunt and with the Jaguars playing like this, there’s still a chance the Jaguars make it! Go look at teams ahead of us and their schedules.
John: Wow. You have bought in. Look, anything’s possible until you’re eliminated, but I’m not going to have any serious conversations about the postseason here in the O-Zone for a while yet. What’s more important – really, really important – is that the Jaguars are playing significantly better now than before the bye. They have been able to focus on areas and improve them. It happened with the run defense coming out of the bye and it has happened with the run offense in recent weeks. That game-winning drive on Sunday? The Jaguars couldn’t think about doing that early in the season. That’s tangible improvement and it was done after the Jaguars entered the bye week in what appeared to be a pretty dark place. That’s impressive, and it bodes well for the future.
Princefigs from Jacksonville:
What was up with D. Robinson? No offensive snaps?
John: Robinson struggled at times this season. He had issues with ball security. The offense has gotten the running game going in recent weeks, but the games have been close. It’s hard to risk a fumble in a tight game. There will be a time Robinson gets a chance to get back into the offense. That time hasn’t the last few weeks.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
All this road success is nice but how about some home cooking this Thursday?
John: My guess is that will be a huge focus for Gus Bradley this week.
Steve from Nashville:
The Jags now have second place in the division firmly in their sights. Unfortunately, that means a tougher schedule next year. (I have given up on getting a high draft pick next year)
John: Don’t fret so much about next year. Schedules have a tendency to get tougher and easier in spots you don’t expect. As for the draft, the Jaguars currently hold the No. 2 spot, and however many games they win they’ll be in a position to select a good player.
JIMBO from Riverside, FL:
Just wondering: If the Jags win out and the Colts lose out, the Colts will have one game up on the Jags going into the last game of regular-season play. If the Jags beat the Colts, the two teams will have identical records. Who wins the division?
John: The Jaguars are 3-9 and the best they can finish is 7-9. The Colts are 8-4 and the worst they can finish is 8-8. It will be extremely unusual if they finish with identical records.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
"Good teams find a way to win.” Is this getting to be a good team? Or, is that premature?
John: They’re getting better. Considering where they started this season, that’s impressive.
Ryan from Boone, NC:
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Maybe we should just tie out and make everyone happy...
John: Not damned at all. Win.

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