JACKSONVILLE – Ozone late night. Two victories in three weeks.
Let’s get to it . . .
Matt from St. Mary’s, GA
It seems like an entirely different team ever since the bye week. Why do you think that is?
John: I think there are a lot of reasons. First, the schedule has not been nearly as difficult. The critics among us will emphasize that, but that’s not fair because the Jaguars have been better – whatever the competition. I think a lot of it simply has to do with the natural evolution of Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley’s process and the timetable of the overall building process. That’s the reality of a rebuild. The Jaguars very much started from Square One this offseason with a lot of newness and a lot of unknowns. Bradley preached improvement with the idea that that winning would then take care of itself, and it took time for the benefits of that to start showing. When that happens with a young team there can be a steep learning curve. Players don’t always get it overnight. Continuity doesn’t always happen overnight. Circumstances don’t always line up overnight. The Jaguars’ defense simplified some things over the bye and that has helped the unit play better. That has kept the Jaguars in more games. They also have faced two teams with uncertain quarterback situation. The Jaguars aren’t an elite team, but in Year One of the building process, they are starting to be more competitive by the week and that’s a critical step to be taking.
Donny from Jacksonville:
All kidding aside, forget 2-8 or whatever our record is now. The Jags are 2-1 in the division with both wins coming on the road. You've got to win the division games to be a contender, and although they're not contending now, it's a step in the right direction for sure.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
When the fans were calling Branch a bust, aren't we now glad that the coaches didn't listen.
John: Branch is indeed an example of why teams can’t listen to the outcry of fans over this player or that player. This is not to say that Branch is going to develop into a Pro Bowl player. That may or may not happen. But he has talent and ability and there was no reason before the season to part ways with him. The Jaguars did not and with five games remaining, he has shown signs of developing into a productive player. We don’t yet know his end game, but the Jaguars are better right now with him on the team than they would have been without, so yeah – credit the coaches.
Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington:
Whoop, there it is! Do your job. Just keep getting better and better. This team has a little SWAG. I see a solid foundation in progress. The last three weeks have been interesting and fun to watch.
John: Yes, they have been interesting and fun – and that’s what people anxious about winning and the draft-day ramifications need to realize. This is an organization that’s building a foundation and trying to establish a culture. Winning absolutely, positively is not a negative in that situation.
Princefigs from Jacksonville:
Was the defense that good . . . or the Houston offense that bad?
John: The Houston offense didn’t play well, but remember: this was a Houston team that was eighth in the NFL in total offense entering the game. The Jaguars held the Texans to 218 total yards. It may not have been the Texans’ best game of the season, but they have been putting up points lately and their losses have been close. Don’t denigrate what the Jaguars did Sunday. The effort deserves better than that.
Chuck from Summerville, SC:
John: Yes, there has been a lot since the bye.
Daniel from Gainesville, FL:
Three straight games leading at halftime. Two out of the three we held the lead all game and two wins out of those three. That bye week was much needed and I think the youngsters are developing nicely.
Brandon from Kentucky:
Is Gratz as good as he has been playing?
John: The Jaguars like him a lot, yes. They liked him coming out of training camp and while he has been injured much of the season, nothing has happened to make them like him less.
Donny from Jacksonville:
Lance from Lenanon, TN:
I now have to agree with you O-man and bow down to your greatness! Those helmets are starting to look really cool!
John: Bowing is a good start.
Mike from East Smithfield, PA:
I don’t believe Denard Robinson
should be our quarterback, but how is he as a passer compared to say, Terrelle Pryor? Do you think other teams would’ve considered giving him a chance as a quarterback?
John: I don’t believe Robinson is as good a passer as Pryor, and I don’t believe other teams would have considered giving him a chance to play quarterback. That said, the Jaguars haven’t given up on him being a productive player, and in the way he was used Sunday – as an occasional threat out of the shotgun passing formation – he indeed could be dangerous.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
John: Um, no.