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Big Cat Country Q&A: Why do the Tennessee Titans always seem to have our number?

NFL: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s answer some questions ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ matchup against the New York Jets!

Colin from Tampa, FL

Q: If the Jaguars has better coaching two years ago, do you think we could have been competing for a playoff spot back then?

A: In 2016, the AFC South was very winnable. All three teams other than the Jaguars finished one game away from each other at either 9-7 or 8-8. The Jaguars meanwhile were 3-13 at season’s end having lost eight games by a touchdown or less. I don’t think better coaching that year gets us at least six more wins, but it’s not absurd.

Tom from Miami, FL

Q: Why believe in Blake Bortles? Majority of his throws are based on crossing routes and yards after catch. We will never be good with Bortles.

A: We were good last year with Bortles. Some weeks it was because of him and some weeks it was in spite of him. I firmly believe last year’s Jaguars team goes to the Super Bowl if Nathaniel Hackett hadn’t called too conservative a game in the second half of the AFC Championship Game. And there’s nothing wrong with crossing routes and yards after the catch. Not all of that is on Bortles, but rather who the Jaguars have at receiver. It worked last year and it’s worked at least once this year. You play to the strengths of your roster, not the other way around, and Hackett has a good enough offense to complement this defense.

Cheapseat from Jacksonville, FL

Q: Would the addition of Leonard Fournette have changed the outcome of last week’s game? Do you think he could’ve gone and the coaching staff just got too confident in our ability to roll over the Tennessee Titans?

A: Yes, if Fournette was at full strength and had been playing I think the Jaguars are at 3-0. I don’t think, however, that the coaching staff got “too confident”. I think they took a gamble based on the potential for Fournette to worsen his injury and went with T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant. It didn’t work but it was hubris — it was caution.

Jackie from Kingsland, GA

Q: Could Le’Veon Bell be a good investment for the Jaguars?

A: Yes. But it’s not happening.

Elsie from Tampa, FL

Q: Why don’t we sign that nice pro-life man from the University of Florida?

A: Steve Spurrier is happily coaching in Orlando.

Colt from Pittsburgh, PA

Q: What scares you the most (if anything) about this Week 3 matchup against the Titans? I hate the term “trap game” in the NFL but... this seems like a trap game.

A: It doesn’t feel like a trap game to me, but the Titans had our number last year and really frustrated Bortles in two awful games last year. I can’t shake this nagging feeling in the back of my head that gives them a chance despite the Jaguars being the better team. All in all, I think we win by two scores on Sunday.

Jason from Bakersfield, CA

Q: Why do the Titans always seem to have the Jaguars’ number?

A: I got some variation of this question about a dozen times this week and I wish I had a good answer. I don’t. The Titans stole our soul in 1999 and we still haven’t gotten it back from them. I think the answer is somewhere between scheme (their offense is hard to defend with a mobile quarterback like Marcus Mariota and their defense sits on the deep ball while spying Bortles) and the unmeasurable (they’ve gotten in Blake’s head and play harder against us than most other opponents).

Keith from Franklin, TN

Q: At what point does Nathaniel Hackett start taking serious heat from the organization for poor play calling? How long do you think his leash is?

A: Play calling is not the issue, although looking back on it I’m curious why we didn’t run more against the Titans last week. I know T.J. Yeldon was hurt, so maybe that’s the reason? Either way, Hackett is not the issue. He calls the plays — it’s up to Blake to get the ball in the right spot and for the receivers to not drop it. Against the Jets this week, my guess is that Fournette will be back and the run game will bounce back, allowing Bortles to settle back into the game manager role and not have to shoulder too much of the burden of this offense.