Let's get to it . . .
James from Fleming Island, FL:
What is your position on a team not giving its best to raise draft position? Do you secretly hope the Jags lose the final two?
John: If I secretly hoped that and said it, then it wouldn’t be a secret now, would it? But no, I don’t hope that – secretly or otherwise. Right now, this is a franchise that will benefit from winning and learning how to win. History also shows clearly that while there are indeed times a team benefits from an earlier draft selection, the process is so uncertain that having that earlier position guarantees little. The Jaguars will get better this off-season whether they select fifth or 10th. Win games. That’s the objective.
David from Charlotte, NC:
You may not like to hear this but should the math work out and suggest losing to the Colts would send the No. 1 pick and therefore, Luck, to the Vikings or Rams, don't the Jaguars have a long- run obligation to our fans to lose the last game? Khan is business man and losing that game is crystal clear more beneficial to the Jaguars than a win.
John: I don’t mind hearing it. I love hearing from fans. It keeps the O-Zone going. I still don’t agree, because if watching the NFL long-term shows you anything it’s that nothing in the league is crystal clear. Luck looks very, very good. So did Ryan Leaf. So did Peyton Manning. So did Carson Palmer. So did Alex Smith. So did . . .
Kevin from Jacksonville :
With the league turning into a passing league, would you be supportive of a head coach that installed a passing offense? I believe Khan's remarks last week indicated he is aware of this change in the league.
John: I don’t think there’s any question that the Jaguars will move to a more aggressive, pass-oriented offense in the future. You’ll see wrinkles and approaches in the future that haven’t been seen in the past because whoever is coaching will have an off-season to design an offense that plays to
Blaine Gabbert’s strengths. Without question, Khan believes it’s a passing league. Without question, Gene Smith does, too. That’s why he used the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 Draft on a quarterback.
Todd from Summerville, SC:
It seems the defense has fallen off slightly since Mel Tucker was made interim head coach. Do you think it has or is the quality of the teams we have been playing just been a bit better lately?
John: No question it has, but it has nothing to do with Tucker taking over as interim head coach. That’s what injuries do to a team.
John from Jacksonville:
I thought Matt's comments about injuries not being an excuse and your "precisely" reply was syrup sweet and motivational but are missing the point of why injuries, in black and white reality, are an excuse. Not the only excuse but "a" excuse. I don't suggest the team shut down and not try, I'm just suggesting the level of talent does decrease as we witnessed in blow-outs like that of SD and Atlanta. I'm tired of people turning their eyes at the obvious for the sake of romanticizing the sport and using the same ole cookie cutter phrases over and over again.
John: I’m not sure that we’re not arguing the same point from different angles here. Everyone in the NFL knows inherently that injuries are a major factor each season, perhaps – as you said – THE major factor for every team. Injuries at key positions are often the deciding factor in the post-season, and when football people talk about the post-season they often talk in terms of attrition and survival as much as they do strategy. Still, while injuries are a huge issue, we can say it and the coaches can know it, but players and coaches can’t say it or act as if they believe it. They absolutely can’t.
Tim from St. Petersburg, FL:
The Pro Bowl voting is a beauty contest, not a vote for the best players. Do All Pro Bowl voters take into account the types of schemes players are in?
Daryl Smith will never have the gaudy sacks of Terrell Suggs, but I submit he is a better linebacker.
John: You’re right. A player such as Daryl Smith is at an inherent disadvantage because the scheme in which he plays ensures he’s not going to have big sack numbers. The Pro Bowl voting indeed is flawed, as is any vote. Too often players and coaches know only the teams they play, and fans vote based on highlights and their allegiances. That’s why I prefer the All-Pro voting, and even more so, Hall of Fame voting. The Associated Press All-Pro team is done by media members, most of whom take the process very seriously. The Hall of Fame is done by an even more exclusive, long-standing group of media members, even more of whom take the process even more seriously. While either process is flawed because any process involving human beings is flawed, it’s better to have people voting who you know will take it seriously and commit the deserved effort.
Darrick from Jacksonville:
The way I see it, any coach that doesn't want to come to Jacksonville because it presents too great of a challenge is exactly the person we don't need or want as our next head coach. We need the kind of leader that steps across the line when all others shrink away and says, “I'm the man for the job,” the kind of person that believes he possesses the skill set necessary to lead men to victory. True leaders could care less about how well their name is recognized. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
John: I don’t know, but I agree with you and while I’m a worrier by nature one thing about which I don’t lose sleep is whether or not the Jaguars can attract a coach. They can, and they will.
John from Jacksonville:
The most important message that I heard from our new owner is that it's a two-way street. I fully expect he will put his heart, soul, and cash into building a successful business and delivering a winning product for years to come. However, if the fans don't step up and fill the stadium, I fully expect he won't be as patient as Weaver was and that we will hear in 3-7 years that he will move the team because we didn't meet our part of the two-way concept. I hope that our fan base increases and we eventually are able to pull the tarps and export the crows.
John: You’re pretty much on target. I don’t care about pulling the tarps, because the capacity in EverBank Field even with the tarps is still a bit large for any stadium in this era, but without question, Khan expects to build a winner and expects fans to respond to that winner. When he discussed the concept last week, his approach was in no way confrontational or threatening. He simply said that the stadium must be full to make Jacksonville a viable long-term proposition. He wants to be here, and gave all indications that he will be. It’s hard to find fault in that.
John from Savannah, GA:
Green Bay loses for the first time and Indy picks up its first win. The NFL really is "Any Given Sunday," isn't it?
John: Always was and always will be.
Renzo from Jacksonville:
To all my fellow jag fans, do not get Michael Lombardi confused with the great Vince. Hang tight! Things will get better around here and soon there won't be enough room on the bandwagon. Have I been heard O-Man?
John: I wasn’t confused and I doubt many were. I’ll say the same thing about the Lombardi piece that I say about many such pieces. Take it for what it’s worth. Trying to predict the future on any player is projection at best and guessing at worst. Maybe Lombardi is right, but the people who spend the most time around Gabbert – and not coincidentally, who have the most to lose based on his success or failure – don’t believe he’s right. Time will tell.
Greg from Carlsbad, CA:
And don't forget, there's no state income tax on that new coach's salary.
John: That’s yet another reason Jacksonville is an appealing position. To think otherwise is short-sighted and incorrect.
Fred from Naples, FL:
If the Jaguars do play a game overseas, wouldn't the earliest they could do that be in 2 years as next year’s schedule is pretty much set?
John: No, it could be next season. Opponents are set, but not times and dates.
Clyde from Sanford, FL:
Just wanted to say as the unofficial spokesmen for Section 144 especially Row V, Happy Holidays to you and your family and thank you for making the O-Zone interesting, informative, and most of all entertaining.
John: And to you and yours.