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O-Zone: Sixth sense

Posted Oct 22, 2013

LONDON – I am writing from the left side of the road.

Let’s get to it . . .

Joe from Jacksonville:
Why do you keep saying the team is experiencing ups and downs? It's all downs, John. We are the worst team in the NFL by a long shot. We haven’t even been remotely close in any game since Tennessee last year. If you call covering the spread against Denver an “up,” then we might as well start playing high school teams where it is acceptable to lose and get treated like little babies. Gus Bradley can hold their little hands and walk them back to the locker rooms.
John: I keep saying the team is experiencing ups and downs for the reason I do most things. Because I feel like it. It’s a big motivation for me, and frankly, a lot of fun. When I talk about ups and down, I do so within the context of this season, which is clearly the start of a long-term building process. There’s no question it has looked bad so far, but it was generally expected that the first half of the season would be difficult. Perhaps not this difficult, but certainly difficult. During that timeframe, there has been some improvement, particularly at St. Louis and at Denver. There also have been really bad performances, such as the one against the Colts at home and the one Sunday against San Diego. Good analogy at the end there, by the way. I feel better now, too.
James from Orange Park, FL:
There are more than a few things that puzzle me about the Jaguars, but at the top of the list is how they perform so badly at home and so much better on the road. Zero touchdowns at home after three home games? C'mon!
John: I wish I had an answer for you. I just don’t know.
Andrew from Section 432:
How does a winless team get as many taunting penalties as the Jags have this season? I know I'm being dramatic, as I can only recall the one on Evans last week and the one on Marks Sunday, but come on. You haven't won a game all year. Act like you've been there before. Oh wait, they haven't. No one on this team has any business trash-talking.
John: No, they don’t. It’s something that needs to be fixed. The penalty on Evans last week was actually a case of Evans yelling at his own team, in an encouraging manner, but he did it while on the pile. As Bradley said later, that’s going to get called in that situation. Marks’ appeared less excusable. Either way, it’s something that needs to stop. I don’t think it will be a long-term characteristic of this team, but it has been a short-term characteristic and it has been harmful.
Kyle from Orlando, FL:
Stats lie. I don't care how many possessions we had or how many passing yards Henne had. When we get into the red zone against a team that can hold the ball that long, you HAVE to score. We didn't do that....again.
John: That indeed is the issue – that while the offense has produced more yards with Chad Henne playing quarterback than it did with Blaine Gabbert, neither quarterback has produced enough points. That’s not saying that Gabbert is better than Henne or vice-versa, just that Henne hasn’t done enough to make it a no-brainer decision to start him. When you’re 0-7, there aren’t many no-brainer decisions.
Charles from Jacksonville:
"Bad teams do things to beat themselves, and they don’t have the pure, raw, win-the-one-on-one-matchup talent to overcome mistakes. This is where the Jaguars are. They won’t be here forever, but it’s where they are now." These are your words. We’ve been here for years. What are you talking about? You spin the same spin just change the dates and names.
John: Thanks for reminding me of my words. Well-written! People ask me questions. I answer the best I can. People expect more. That final part, I can’t do much about.
Ryan from Enid, OK:
Does Bradley keep his job if (when?) Jacksonville goes 0-16? I know the organization is committed to him, but can he survive that stigma?
John: Without question.
Wayne from Jacksonville:
We have never seen such bad offensive play-calling. What happened to our running game? When we faced several third-and-short situations we passed the ball when Maurice Jones-Drew probably could have "pushed it." Does Gus or Jed have any answers? It's the same old play-calling. I thought our offensive coordinator was better than that. I just don't understand where we or they are coming from.
John: I don’t know the specific plays you’re addressing. I do know that Bradley talked in the post-game about not having a whole lot of confidence in how the Jaguars have performed in the red zone this season. That was why he opted for a field goal in the third quarter when the Jaguars got close. The way the Jaguars have run-blocked at times this season, it would be reasonable if the coaches had the same feeling about running on third-and-short. I’m not saying the play-calling has been perfect this season, but when not much has worked it’s tough to know exactly what to dial up in various situations.
CJ from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars will score a touchdown at home this year?
John: Yes.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Alabama would not beat the Jaguars, but Alabama does not beat itself with undisciplined play. Nick Saban does not just say, “I am disappointed and we have to clean it up.” He takes away playing time. Do it again, find another team. We celebrated a 31-yard catch like we won the dang Super Bowl. We are frigging 0-7 and celebrating a catch. SAD.
John: I don’t know the details of how Nick Saban coaches college players at Alabama. I’m sure he coaches with enviable toughness and it’s quite possible he would do a better job in the NFL his second time around. I do know I’m gotten a few emails criticizing tight end Marcedes Lewis for his reaction after his early reception Sunday. I can’t criticize that too much. It was a reaction based on enthusiasm and it didn’t strike me as premeditated as much as the response of a player excited to be playing and excited to have made an impact. I also know it’s funny that I have gotten emails all season about the players not showing energy and when one does, I get just as many criticizing him for doing it.
Jim from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Something is really wrong here. Rebuilding teams, expansion teams, bad teams, declining teams, young teams score touchdowns. This team has played three home games and has yet to score a touchdown. Not even one. The 'Oh-we-are-rebuilding-from-scratch' canard and all the rest of the talk from any of the talking heads, players, whomever is growing very hollow. If they had scored a touchdown or two in all of the three losses at home, I could say 'Ok, rebuilding.' Instead I see total failure. This needs to be addressed. And soon. Thanks.
John: Yeah, it hasn’t been good, and I get that the “canard” can get tough to hear. Remember, though, the Jaguars knew this season was going to be tough and knew they were probably going to take some hits along the way. The quarterback play at home has been rough, and as Bradley said Sunday, the Chargers’ game was really, really disappointing. And as far as addressing the problem, I’m all for it. Whaddya got?
Troy from York, PA:
Hey O-man, is it me or did the defense play with a lack of enthusiasm and urgency?
John: It’s not you. Bradley talked extensively about the lack of effort Sunday, and about being able to sense something wasn’t right from the start. That sort of feeling usually manifests itself on defense, so it makes sense that’s where fans would see it, but it’s more accurate to say it was a problem on both sides of the ball. A lot of teams play with more energy some weeks than others. Teams with a lot of playmakers and front-line talent can overcome it more often than those without.
John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Why haven't we seen much of Denard Robinson?
John: He has made enough mistakes at wrong times that it has been difficult to get him on the field.
Jay from Atlanta:
I can't help but feel all of our players refuse to play for Jacksonville. They go through the motions and just bide their time until their contract expires, so they can go and play well for a team people respect. I am sick of that feeling. But what do you expect when the team you play for is doing all they can to get moved to LA or London?
John: I understand you feeling that way. I can’t change that, nor can I control you being phenomenally inaccurate on both of your key points.
Andrew from Panama City Beach, FL:
I have never met you face-to-face. But if I did...I'd be sure to tell you I don't like you.
John: I appreciate the effort, but I’d probably sense it.

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