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O-Zone: Love letter

Posted Oct 26, 2013

London – Let’s get to it...

Reese from Hagerstown, MD:
The outrage from the fan base stems from a feeling that we've heard this before. I always believe the Jags will get better; it just never seems to happen. When Gene Smith took over, we were told that the team would be built through the draft from the ground up, to breed long-term success. Now, we're told Coach Bradley and GM Caldwell will build through the draft for long-term success and we have to be patient as the plan is put into place. It's just frustrating and discourages fans to believe that the team will ever get any better. I'm still hopeful, but it will be another kick in the pants to see this team get blown up in four years by another general manager and head coach.
John: This has been quite a week for analyzing the outrage of the fans. I’ll address it once more and try to move on. No one questions that the fan base is frustrated and angry, and no one questions that Jaguars fans have endured losing. A lot of losing. It’s also true that fans have heard before many of the same things David Caldwell and Gus Bradley say about building for the long-term.The question becomes, “What Should the Jaguars Do?” Do you put in place a plan that reacts to short-term wishes of fans such as signing patchwork free agents or signing well-known popular quarterbacks to improve marginally? Or do you build through the draft and try to establish a long-term sustainable model that might be difficult early? For the short-term, fans might like the former, but if you believe the latter model is the correct model, it’s foolish and irresponsible to do anything else.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Standing in front of Buckingham Palace for hours making funny faces at the Queen’s guards. #shadricksighting
John: Obviously.
Paul from Lohrville, IA:
Since Chad Henne is presumably the starting quarterback the rest of this season, do the Jaguars take a real look at retaining him? He may not be a franchise quarterback, but he seems togarner respect from the team. He is competitive, and was supportive of Blaine the last two years. I feel there are a lot of playoff-caliber teams that would rest easy with Chad as their backup. What is a high-quality backup quarterback (insurance policy) worth to a team building for the future?
John: That’s a question that probably won’t be answered fully until very late in or even after the season. Henne indeed has handled himself with professionalism and class since signing in Jacksonville. It appears he will get an extended chance to play, and if that doesn’t end with him establishing himself as a potential long-term starter, then there would be a couple of issues going forward. Does he want to go to a situation where he could potentially start? Does he like this situation to back up a younger player? Do the Jaguars want to have a veteran quarterback as a backup, or do they want a younger player in the role. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Henne here as a backup, but that’s not a decision that has to be made in November.
Zach from Ponte Vedra, FL:
With all the great quarterbacks in this upcoming draft, do you think the regime will look to draft a more prototypical pocket passer, or join the read option trend with a running threat?
John: I think they’ll take the best available quarterback. Ideally, that would be a quarterback who can pass prototypically from the pocket and develop into an elite player that way. If he can run, so much the better.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Not sure I agree with the get-players-through-the-draft approach. If you see a guy you like and trade a fifth-round pick for him isn't that better than drafting in fifth round and hoping you made the correct decision?
John: If you’re absolutely sure you’re right, sure. Building an entire roster in that manner would be difficult because if you like that player it stands to reason the other team might like that player and be unwilling to trade. Building through the draft is the best way to identify affordable young players that you like, then get them into and develop them into your system.
Glen from Lake City, FL:
What's with all of these people comparing the Chiefs to the Jags just because we had the same record last year? Have they forgotten, or do they just not know, the Chiefs had five or six Pro bowlers last season and the main thing wrong was the terriblequarterback play they were getting? I think if Caldwell and Bradley saw it was only better quarterback play that we needed, they would both be ecstatic.
John: There’s a lot of truth in your email. People compare the Chiefs to the Jaguars do so because the records were the same. Not everyone takes the time to look deeper than that, and that’s OK. It won’t change the Jaguars’ approach, nor should it.
Adam from Jacksonville:
Any chance Blaine is traded before Tuesday's deadline?
John: I highly doubt it.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Maybe you won't bite on 0-16, how about #1 overall pick?
John: That absolutely has to be considered a possibility. With the Jaguars are 0-7, it would be disingenuous not to say that was possible. And before I get a chorus of, “But the Jaguars are 0-7, so 0-16 is possible?” Of course it is. I’ve never said it’s not possible. I have simply said I don’t believe it will happen. And I don’t. The second half of the season is full of teams at various stages of development, and it also features several teams not yet established at the quarterback position. With that being the case, it’s not extreme to think about the Jaguars being competitive over the second half of the season.
John from Jacksonville:
The talent of the Jags is not good at any position but this is a quarterback league, so your best player needs to be thequarterback to have a consistent playoff team. That is our biggest issue. I believe an average quarterback would get usfour wins this year. A top 10 quarterback would get six wins, and an elite quarterback could get us up to nine wins with this talent. Do you agree?
John: I’d agree it’s probably something close that. An elite quarterback along the lines of Peyton Manning probably gets this team to .500. But that’s *really, really, elite.* Beyond that, it would help, although not likely enough to make the postseason.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
Hello John, the past few weeks the O-Zone has descended into a relentless negative vibe; and frankly a repetitive rut. Most of it is just venting. If you dare say anything positive, you are immediately labeled a Hack of a self-serving franchise. We need the balance back, yes, negative stays cause we are down and out, but lets have some constructive queries and real football observations. Some of the questions are astute comments relating to the bad situation we are ALL in, but not rants. The instructional questions/answers are good too. Mix it up please; the continual repetitive negativity is getting boring. Some of us actually believe in Stand United. BTW, try the Blackbird in Earls Court, across from the tube entrance to the right. Couple of stops from Chelsea, classic English Pub, try the ESB
John: You ask. I answer. That’s the deal.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I've been way over-reactionary. I've been maybe insulting to you, the owner, and the franchise. No maybe. I'm sorry. I love them. I love when they cover and knock down passes. I really love when they intercept. I love it when they string it out to the sideline and stuff it for no gain. I love when they make first downs (#moodachay). I love when they catch the ball down field.I love big runs. I love them, John. I love the Jaguars. It's been hard loving them, but I do.
John: I answer this becomes it seems like the appropriate time to post and respond to this email. It indeed has been low-slung month in the O-Zone, with the tone of the inbox often angry, hurt and resentful. I get emails daily from people railing, venting and fuming about the results of this season. Usually, I try to respond even-handedly. Occasionally, I might take a little poke back, but not usually because at the core I get that most emails feel the way you, do, Scott – that while insulting and angry, deep down you are that way because you want desperately for the team to win. The team wants to win just as bad, but the decision-makers can’t act desperate and they can’t respond to situations with quick-trigger emotion. It’s the job of the people running the Jaguars to make long-term, unemotional decisions and the job of the fans to dislike it when the team isn’t winning.

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