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O-Zone: Pretty darned sweet

Posted Dec 6, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...

Lance from Jacksonville:
You know what? This could have been the fifth win in a row!
John: Mmm-hmm.
Adam from Jacksonville:
Ace Sanders, Offensive Weapon?
John: Well, yes, apparently so.
Kent from Jacksonville:
Just want to be the first to (sarcastically) ask: Why don't the Jags take a look at Ace Sanders at quarterback? He looked good on the gimmick play! And Austin Pasztor is playing his butt off. Maybe he deserves a first look at right tackle next year? Keep up the good work!
John: Good sarcasm – clever stuff. And yes, Pasztor likely will get the first look at right tackle next season. The Jaguars can’t draft every position next offseason, and the way the team is playing right now, they may not want to draft every position. Pasztor is exactly what you need as a building team – a young player who didn’t cost you a draft pick who’s playing well enough to start.
Joe from Colorado Springs, CO:
7-9?
John: Hmm…
Cole from Jacksonville:
Hi America. We still play football in Jacksonville. Thanks for watching. #standunited
John: It’s good that fans have something to feel good about. I don’t know if the nation noticed the Jaguars Thursday night or not, and I don’t particularly care. The Jaguars are playing better and improving. If they keep doing that, the rest will take care of itself.
Clayton from Jacksonville:
A bright spot is how things turned around after the bye. That is a sign of a great coaching staff (regardless of the first-half schedule being tougher than the second half). Similar to making halftime adjustments in a game, Gus & Co. said they would evaluate and change some things to bring the best out of their players over the bye. They have clearly done that. This is a very smart coaching staff and that is very exciting.
John: There’s no question that’s true. The team has won four of five since the bye, so the team has shown significant improvement. Particularly encouraging is that they improved against the run and running the ball, which were areas on which they focused at the bye week. It’s not always possible to show tangible improvement in such a competitive league, but in this case, the Jaguars did it.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
We can all tell that Coach Bradley's approach works because despite some very low periods, this team has stayed true to his message. It's easy to have a good vibe when you are winning, but when you are as terrible as we were earlier in this season, it's a whole other deal. I know I am impressed.
John: It has been impressive.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Considering Ace Sanders’ speed, with some better route-running skills, could he become a legit deep threat, maybe?
John: Maybe, but he more likely will become a very good slot receiver. Sanders seems more quick than straight-ahead fast, which is why slot is his more natural position.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
Great job with the O-Zone, O-Baby! Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?
John: His kids can fend for themselves.
Michael from Reynoldsburg, OH:
As the season progresses it appears that the Jaguars, Texans, and Titans will pick very close in the draft order of upcoming draft. Would you ever endorse the strategy of picking a player in the first round to avoid gift wrapping and handing him to a division foe?
John: Not unless you think he can help your team, too.
George from Savannah, GA:
Does David Caldwell meet with his scouts during the football season or are scouts out on the road until the end of the college games? Also, does he already rank the quarterbacks and have a general idea before the combine.
John: The scouts are on the road most of the fall and return in December. They are in this week, as a matter of fact. He probably won’t have a hard, fast list before the combine, but without question he has a general list of players on whom he wants to focus.
Steve from Hudson, FL:
You seem to have a busy workload with all the articles. O-Zone, First off the Field, etc. When do you get time to drink beer and reboot that brilliant mind?
John: Evenings of days that end in “day.”
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 147:
First off, I'm not a lose-to-get-a-better-pick person. My thought is that the Jags will end up in the 5-10 pick slot, and with a couple extra picks this year from trades if they really like a QB in the 1-5 range they could move up to get him. Am I really wrong in this thinking?
John: No.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
Am I crazy for wanting to see Gabbert play out the rest of the season? Henne isn't playing well enough to justify keeping him on the bench, and if I were David Caldwell I would want to be absolutely sure what I have in Gabbert.
John: You’re not crazy. The heart wants what it wants. But don’t look for the Jaguars to bench Henne, and I doubt you’ll see Gabbert play for the Jaguars again unless Henne gets hurt. The Jaguars have won four of five games. They like a lot of the decisions Henne is making. I wouldn’t say Henne played great Thursday; there were some long stretches where he certainly didn’t. But he also didn’t make costly errors that took the Jaguars out of the game. Right now, that gives the team the best chance to win. And right now, that’s going to be the basis for deciding who starts at quarterback.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
He may have only gotten one sack, but I saw Ryan Davis by the quarterback more than a few times this game. Do you think he's earning himself more playing time?
John: Yes. Davis has shown up big in at least two of the four games in which he has played. This is a coaching staff that likes to reward players for showing up.
Kathy from Jacksonville:
Seeing the Jaguars at 4-9 now really looks good! Having scored in all four quarters of the game also looks good. Winning four in a row is beyond good! I just don't have anything bad to say. Go Chad Henne! Go Jaguars! Go John!
John: Go Kathy!
CT from Section 231:
You've been saying we should be happy with the last couple of performances even if we would have lost. I agree, but Thursday was the opposite. Even though we won, that was a very poor performance. Luckily, Houston was even worse. How did things go so wrong after the first quarter?
John: My, my, my how the standards have changed. Five weeks ago fans were worried about the Jaguars being historically bad. Now, they’re complaining about how they are winning. Look, the Jaguars weren’t great at the end of the game. They weren’t great through a lot of the game. They probably can’t be defined as a great team yet. But they’re learning how to win and they’ve clearly established the identity and foundation going forward. They’re better than some teams in the NFL. That wasn’t the case in September, so this is going in the right direction.
Justin from Jacksonville:
Another day, another dollar. This should stop feeling like a surprise, but it keeps feeling good. It's the right coach, right general manager, right owner – who with enough talent might just make a juggernaut in years to come. Am I jumping too far? Or, do we Jaguars fans have reasons to think that we're witnessing the birth of something special?
John: I’m never one to make outlandish statements predicting the future. So much must happen for an organization to achieve special things. It must stay injury free. It must find the right quarterback. It must hit on draft choices outside the first round. It must have first-round draft picks become elite players. But are there reasons to be optimistic? Yeah, you could say that. There are plenty of reasons.
Wayne from Jacksonville:
This whole tank for the draft is nonsense. Keep winning, it's fun and apparently contagious. Go Jags!!!
John: Yep. It’s fun.
Donny from Jacksonville:
4-12??
John: I doubt it.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 233:
John, for a lot of reasons, this one was sweet. Best Jaguar win in a few years. Love the direction and the organization (even you). Keep it tight, my brother.
John: It was certainly a sweet victory for the fans. I sense that’s because the fans had been aching to see this team play well and win in person. I said before the same and said afterward that I didn’t think it was critical to the long-term foundation of the franchise for the Jaguars to win Thursday. That’s going in a good direction whatever the results of the final three games. But for the home fans who want to have fun going to games, it was important for the team to win, and for the stadium atmosphere to be positive and fun. It certainly was that Thursday, and yeah, for the fans who were there, I imagine that was pretty sweet.

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