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O-Zone: Time to build

Posted Oct 10, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Lance from Jacksonville:
Well, Dave Caldwell is being sent out to watch Bridgewater this weekend. This is maybe the best news I've heard in a while as it's an indication that Khan doesn't share Gus' enthusiasm for Blaine Gabbert. Thank goodness!
John: I find the phrasing and tone of this email curious. First, Caldwell isn’t being “sent” anywhere by Shad Khan, and there aren’t marching orders from the owner’s office to go scout this player or that player. It doesn’t work that way. As general manager, Caldwell scouts many, many players and if I’m not mistaken, he already has seen Louisville play once this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he saw them again. Louisville has NFL players, including Teddy Bridgewater, worth scouting. And general managers often go to Thursday games because they can get there, then get to a Saturday game or get to their own Sunday game. Finally, to think that the organization is somehow at odds over or particularly “enthusiastic” about Gabbert again is to miss what’s going on. The Jaguars are supporting Gabbert. He is the starting quarterback. Caldwell and Bradley have said repeatedly he needs to play better than he already has, and there never has been anything said that he’s the starter for the long-term future. He can earn that, but it has to be earned. At this stage, no one has earned the right to be considered the Jaguars’ starting quarterback of the future, so it stands to reason the Jaguars are scouting quarterbacks. Of course, they are.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436:
If memory serves, Tony Boselli was banged up a lot of his rookie year missing games with high ankle sprains and hamstrings and look how he turned out.
John: I’m not sure how accurately memory is serving. Boselli missed the first three games of his rookie season with a knee injury. He played every game after that.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Would a victory in Denver this week be a greater upset than the playoff victory in January 1997? I just don't see any possible way the Jaguars could win this game, even if it were played 100 times.
John: Sure, there are ways the Jaguars can win. It’s the NFL. The Jaguars will need to create turnovers. They’ll need to play well offensively. They’ll need to play well defensively. Remember last season? When the Jaguars very nearly beat the Houston Texans in a road game when no one gave them a chance? This is a bigger task than that, but as was the case that day, it’s not impossible.
Tony from Jacksonville:
Despite however impossible it may seem for the Jags to best Peyton Manning and crew on Sunday, I'm still inclined to pose a what-if scenario. What if the Jags do beat the Broncos and then go 1 – 15? What would everyone think then? Any given Sunday, right O-Man?
John: I bet some people would say, “Wow, I’m surprised the Jaguars beat the Broncos.”
Richard from Starke, FL:
Was Lowery's concussion that bad or does this move also reflect the theme of going with the younger guys?
John: Yes.
Dennis from Lynchburg, VA:
Sen'Derrick Marks has proved to be a great signing that I assume Caldwell would like to keep around. Is there any word of an extension this early in the season and if not, what advantages does the team hold in a wait-and-see attitude?
John: David Caldwell has said repeatedly that free agents will be addressed after the season. This applies to Marks as well. I suspect the Jaguars will try to keep him.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Where is all this "parity" the NFL promised me? Where can I send a letter?
John: This answer has nothing to do with the Jaguars’ season, but there rarely is parity in the NFL, and there hasn’t been much for a long, long time.
Christopher from Jacksonville, FL:
"The window in the NFL typically stays open as long as you have a quarterback playing at a high level and typically closes when you don't." You said "it" without saying it because obviously the Jags window is closed, right?
John: The question was about the Texans, and I assumed it was about the Texans’ window as a team competing for a Super Bowl. I thought it was sort of assumed that at 0-5 the Jaguars’ window wasn’t open yet.
Clyde from Jacksonville:
What's going on with Gratz?
John: He’s returning from a high-ankle sprain. He seems to be getting closer.
Mike from Jagsonville:
Yes.
John: Agree to disagree.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Hey Mr. O, what has happened with our OW Denard Robinson? So much hope and excitement during preseason about his speed, his talent, all the positions and schemes he could play, and right now he is not even getting play time, even with our poor W-L record.
John: You’re right. Denard Robinson struggled mightily in the first four games of the season, enough that he did not play on Sunday. I expect the Jaguars to use Robinson in the future, but I expect the focus for now to be on getting the run game and passing offense moving a little better than they did this past Sunday. Once they find something they can rely on, then maybe you see them adding wrinkles.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
It is really hard being a Jaguar fan right now. But I figure the Chiefs and the Colts who had the No. 1 pick in each of the last two drafts saw immediate improvement due to those drafts. Do you think this team is one draft away from making a significant step? I am not asking for the Super Bowl but to just not get laughed at by....well everyone.
John: I don’t know that you’ll see the dramatic improvement to Super Bowl contenders that those two teams made. Not that it can’t happen, but it’s hard to project that in advance. I do think that with one more draft – and the acquisition of veteran free agents – the Jaguars will show improvement next season.
Dude from Jacksonville:
John are you Brain DeAD? How many times you gonna post the 0-16 comment?!
John: As many as I want.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
If the Jaguars are winless heading to London do you think that will diminish the profile of the game over there and detract from building an international fan base?
John: It won’t help. Of course, ideally the Jaguars would be better in this first year heading to London because fans enjoy winning more than losing. This is a four-year process and as the Jaguars get better during that period, the fan base there will grow, too.
Josh from Lynchburg, VA:
So by my count, the Jags will have 10 picks in the 2014 draft – 1-7, a fifth from the Lions and a fourth and a fifth from the Ravens. I'm looking forward to another successful draft, moving this team further in the right direction.
John: So are the Jaguars.
Jim from Jacksonville and Section 201:
Why, on the 4th-and-5 field-goal attempt that resulted in an encroachment penalty on the Rams, weren't we given an automatic first down?
John: Offsides is not an automatic first down. It does create a scenario in which a team could continue jumping offsides in that situation, but the rule is that you get half the distance to the goal.
Daniel from Santa Rosa, CA:
Since you won't comment on possible victories let me provide some possibilities of winnable games (if the ball bounces right): San Diego (which team shows up?), Arizona (St Louis 2.0?), Tennessee (we can play tough in the division), Houston (trending downward), Buffalo (maybe a worse quarterback situation than us?), Cleveland (are they really as good as the record implies?). That's eight possibles. What say you?
John: There are 11 possibilities at this point. I’m not being stubborn, and I should clarify why I haven’t answered the question of what teams the Jaguars could beat. That would require being able to predict the future with scenarios such as injuries and where teams are in relation to the playoffs and quarterback situations. When the second half of the season rolls around, many teams will be in different situations than they are now. Who thought a month ago that Julio Jones would be out and Atlanta would be 1-4? Who thought the Texans would be 2-3 with uncertainty at quarterback? It’s a long season. There will be winnable games.
Stephen from Abiquiu:
11-5? Just to mix it up.
John: Perhaps, though obviously not likely.
Jefferson from Phoenix, AZ:
John, I hate playing pessimist, I prefer playing smart*bleep*...I'm just better at it. We're five regular-season games into the current regime coach/GM. I see far less faith across the boards then I had with Smith and Del Rio/Mularkey. In all honesty, IF things don't work out as planned, how long do Bradley/Caldwell get before they start the cycle again? Hoping this won't be the case, just curious what timeframe they've been given by KHAN!
John: There is more pessimism outside the team because of the 0-5 record. Khan doesn’t feel that pessimism. He is aware this is a building situation and the expectations for this season were realistic. I don’t know the exact timeframe, but this regime will have enough time to show progress, and to build the organization.

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