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O-Zone: Start making sense

Posted Dec 4, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...

Duran from Rapid City, SD:
I was a little taken back by the message from Coach Bradley in his postgame locker-room speech Sunday. It almost had a feel of, "We won – BUT – we have to play better." While there is plenty of room for improvement, this seemed like the scenario with the Dad that is never satisfied no matter what his son accomplishes or how hard he strives to impress his father. Am I delusional? I hope so, because in that scenario, the son can only take that type of attitude so long before he just gives up.
John: I think you’re off base, and I wouldn’t worry much about players getting discouraged by the approach. What you heard was Bradley again getting across the core of his philosophy – that is, that you must strive to improve whatever the result. When he talks about not focusing on winning or losing, he doesn’t mean winning doesn’t matter; he means that he wants players focused on something bigger that will lead to sustained excellence. That was true at 0-8. It’s true at 3-9. It will be true whatever the Jaguars’ record is in future weeks and future seasons. The players bought in and believed in Bradley – even at 0-8 – so nothing about what they heard on Sunday is a surprise. And Bradley delivers it in such a way that players get it. Besides, the players are big boys. They can handle being told that at 3-9 they still have to play better.
Jason from Falling Waters, WV:
Your predecessor would always preach, "Players not plays." Do you believe our recent production is due to great play calling?
John: That certainly has contributed, though I’m not a big believer that success or failure in the NFL comes from one thing. The league is not played in a vacuum and there are always interacting factors. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has done a nice job being creative lately, but he was pretty creative all along. It’s tough to be creative if the plays aren’t working. Use Sunday for example: if Marcedes Lewis drops the pass from Maurice Jones-Drew or if Cecil Shorts III doesn’t hold the touchdown pass – neither of which is a circumstance Fisch could be expected to control – all of a sudden we’re not talking about his great play calling; I’m probably getting questions about why in the world he would have Jones-Drew pass instead of run. I wouldn’t say it’s, “Players not plays.” You need guys who can make plays and you need guys who can call plays. On Sunday, the Jaguars had both.
Mike from Houston, TX:
Everyone here was talking Super Bowl and teasing me that the Jags suck. Well look at ‘em now. Now, they're all crying every week especially after the Texans beating from the Jags. Here's to another crushing win on Thursday! Go Jags!
John: Your world sounds like a very emotional, dramatic place.
Mark from Ocala, FL:
Please tell me the powers that be are rethinking the definition of intentional grounding. I tire of watching quarterbacks avoid a sack by fumbling the ball three inches in front of themselves with a wrist-flick reminiscent of someone shaking water off their hands. In no known universe is that an actual pass. Is there ANY talk of rethinking these atrocities?
John: Almost certainly not. The league is very much about player safety, especially when it comes to quarterbacks. It’s highly doubtful officials are going to start passing rules that might have quarterbacks taking more hits.
George from Harrisburg, PA:
John, have the Jags been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet?
John: No.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
If either Mojo or Babin or both are back next year that will show a lot about this coaching staff and how players like playing for them. If these guys are willing to likely take less to stay on this team and be part of something special versus take more money elsewhere and not know what to expect, that will definitely show something about this staff leading them.
John: It’s too early to know what Jones-Drew or Babin will draw on the open market next offseason – or even if they will hit the open market. Remember, while there is an assumption that every free agent garners big money, the reality last offseason was a relatively flat salary cap kept contracts down. There’s every possibility that will be the case this offseason. That could mean tougher going for older free agents such as Jones-Drew and Babin, but whatever happens with those two there’s no question these players like playing for this coaching staff. And yeah, there likely will be some veterans who want to be a part of this going forward.
Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
Kept shouting Moodachay at the TV. Relatives thought I was drunk.
John: And perhaps they were right.
Dan from Jacksonville:
I personally am a big fan of Chad Henne. Do you think there is any chance he might get the starting QB job in the 2014 season?
John: I doubt it, though he certainly has done better things the past two weeks than a Jaguars quarterback has done in quite a while.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
Finishing strong and winding up with a second place finish in the division would be great.....except come 2014, the Jaguars would have to play a significantly tougher schedule than if the team finishes in last place in the division. I would almost rather see the Jaguars play well enough to "almost win" a couple of games in the next month and have an easier schedule in 2014. Do you think anyone in the organization even thinks about this?
John: No. First off, circumstances often change to make a schedule easier or harder than it seems before the season. The Texans games looked brutal when the season began. Now, Houston is 2-10 and has lost 10 consecutive games. And remember, only two games are really influenced by where you finish. Every AFC South team plays six games against other teams in the division, four against another division from the AFC and four against a division from the NFC. That leaves two games to be played against the corresponding team in the other two divisions in your conference. Yes, it makes it a bit tougher, but this is the NFL. It’s not supposed to be easy.
Carl from Orlando/Jacksonville:
Is Sen’Derrick Marks eligible for the franchise tag? Is it too early to try and get him locked up? I can't help but grin when thinking of how disruptive he is when we get pass-rush help
John: He would be eligible for the franchise tag, though I doubt that the Jaguars would use it on him. More likely they will try to sign him to an extension, and I’d be surprised if that doesn’t happen.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
It was nice to see MJD earn another "first" with the touchdown pass. What big "firsts" remain that are within grasp for MJD to achieve this year?
John: He has never had a sack.
Scott from Zanzibar:
Violently shaking a vending machine for free Doritos - Shadrick sighting?
John: You saw that, too?
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
I’ll admit watching the Jags win is much more fun than watching them lose. Still, I can't get past the point that two years ago it was fun to watch them beat the Colts and in turn give them the first pick in the draft, which turned out to be a pretty solid starting quarterback. Now it's like deja vu all over again as we see the Texans most likely picking No. 1, which they'll probably use to take the best quarterback available. So I'll ask again are these few wins in a season of going nowhere worth the next ten years of watching Luck and Bridgewater play against us four times a year because of a couple of feel good games? Sorry, John, they are not. I know, I know....#standunited
John: There are so many issues with his logic it’s hard to know where to begin, but the one that I always come back to is, “Where do you stop?” and “How do you execute it?” Say the Jaguars are inclined to lose to prevent the Texans from selecting first overall. Is that the strategy whenever you have a losing record? To lose on purpose to hurt your rivals? Do you do it when you’re mathematically eliminated? When the Jaguars were 4-7 in 1996, should they have lost for draft positioning? Or to hurt an opponent? Should Gus Bradley tried to have motivated his team extra special to win in Cleveland last week to worsen their record and then tell the team this week, “No, no, no, fellas…don’t try to win this week because there’s a college player who may not be really, really good or maybe won’t be and we don’t want that to happen because no way can we ever beat another team if they have a good quarterback…?” It just doesn’t make sense.
Jeremy from Miles City, MT:
I would rather have a five-to-seven-win team that looks this good and get the eight-to-10 pick than a one-to-two-win team that looks as bad as we did early and have the No. 1 pick because at least now we know we have a decent amount of talent to add said pick to instead of having virtually no talent to add the No. 1 pick to. And if Caldwell really believes in a quarterback that much he has more than enough ammunition to go get him.
John: Now, that makes sense.

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