Let's get to it . . .
Ryan from Jacksonville:
During training camp the theme was, ‘Eliminate the worst possible scenario’ – in Gabbert's case, limiting interceptions. He was pretty effective in doing that, with some exceptions. Do you think this coaching philosophy hurt Gabbert's decision-making? He often looked downfield, began his motion, then checked down. Henne sees double coverage and throws at it regardless – with risk comes reward, though. I see Gabbert as a young player who bought into his coach's philosophy, and executed it pretty well.
John: There’s probably some truth in that. Like anything, it must be kept in perspective. A quarterback can eliminate the worst possible scenario and limit interceptions. Gabbert did say during camp that that was an emphasis, and he did for the most part limit his interceptions this season, but there are times the ball also must go downfield. Henne certainly seems to throw downfield more than Gabbert, and a big reason for that probably is having more experience and having seen more defenses and more looks. Gabbert almost certainly benefitted from snaps this season and it stands to reason that with repetitions, he would continue to improve. The question remains when he will get that opportunity. That’s where you must look into the crystal ball, because if Henne plays well, regular-season snaps may be limited for Gabbert for the foreseeable future.
Chad from Orlando, FL:
Why are people so cross with the Babin signing? He's a veteran defensive end with a proven resume of getting to the quarterback – sound familiar? Remember Aaron Kampman, an aged defensive end, and how much better our pass rush was when he was healthy? If Babin stays healthy, I don't see why he couldn't provide the same improvement like Kampman did. On the business side, we were awarded him as opposed to a free agency bidding war. Now we don't have to focus on a defensive end draft class where the top end guys have production on par with Andre Branch
John: I don’t know why people would be angry. It always amuses me when people get angry with NFL owners for wasting money, like they really care if Shad Khan wastes his own money or not. Look, Babin is a no-risk signing. If over the last five games it looks like he can rush the passer effectively, terrific. Goodness knows, the Jaguars need that guy. If it looks over the last five games like he can’t, then you part ways. If there’s someone on the Jaguars’ roster waiting to bust out and develop, there are plays and spots in the rotation for a player who’s earning that opportunity. As I said Thursday, the Jaguars have 13 sacks this season. I don’t think Lawrence Taylor/Reggie White is getting bumped to the side for Babin. This can only help, and if it doesn’t, you move on relatively painlessly.
Ray from Jacksonville:
The question regarding Rashad Jennings
and hesitation versus patience made me think about John Wooden's old saying: "Be quick, but don't hurry."
John: Wish I’d said that.
Trace from Jacksonville:
Most running formations involve sending a receiver wide to one side, to keep the defense watching for play action. If a running back takes the handoff or lateral, and sees that he'll be stopped well short of the line, is there any reason he can't throw at that WR at least to avoid the negative yardage?
John: He can if the linemen haven’t yet gone upfield. However, if the offensive linemen have crossed the line of scrimmage – as often is the case on running plays – then it’s a penalty.
Dan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Let’s face it. The more intriguing matchup this weekend is you versus Lageman in a wing-eating contest. I would like to set the spread at 8.5 wings. I'll take O-man 8.5 wings. Please let me know the wing count for each! Go get ‘em.
John: Anyone who has seen my trim waistline and toned biceps should know I rarely eat meat and typically stick to a heart-healthy diet.
Steven from Jacksonville:
I’m going to college to be a teacher/coach at the high school level. In one of my classes we talked about what shouldn’t be used to grade an individual. Two of those three were "improvement" and "potential.” I understand that Gabbert has improved from last year and has this potential word being used a lot. But you grade someone on results, which Gabbert doesn’t score well.
John: True, but in professional sports, there are times when that formula doesn’t translate. Kobe Bryant was drafted out of high school, and scored 7.6 points per game as a rookie. I’m not looking for a chorus of, “BUT . . . BUT . . . BUT BLAINE’S NOT KOBE!!!!” That’s not the point, and I don’t know what Gabbert’s end game is, but it’s incorrect to say development and judging based on potential isn’t part of the equation at times for young professional athletes.
Steve from Leeds, UK:
“I did write that pass rushers often take time to develop and I wrote that Pierre-Paul got his first sack in his 11th game. That’s not remotely the same thing” – Mr. O, How long have you been doing this now? You must know what you said the other day means EXACTLY the same thing and Branch is going to be the next Pierre-Paul!
John: Yeah, you’re probably right.
Sam from O’Fallon, IL:
Fantasy question, one point for catch, one point per 10 yards, 2 points for a 100 yard game, and 6 points for a touchdown: Blackmon or Shorts?
John: I was told there would be no math.
Mr. Sir from Jacksonville:
I'm guessing they pay you a salary to write the O-zone and Jaguars articles in hopes that you will pique fans' interest enough to increase ticket sales.
John: No, they pay me a salary so I can embarrass myself publicly and be insulted by people dissatisfied with a free website. So far, I’m doing a great job.
Wes from Jacksonville:
The more I think about my team, the more dissatisfied I am with them. I'm a different fan, but the winning isn't the way I'd like it to be. I hate a lot of decisions that brought us here. I hate that we gave up Garrard, and we skipped Tebow. I believe Gabbert can and will be great, just not in Jacksonville. I also wish Khan would over step Smith, and grab Tebow . . .
John: I’m really looking forward to next week.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Is Chad Henne
a bad practice player? Or is Blaine Gabbert
a great practice player? Or possibly both? I understand the team needed to give Gabbert a fair shot as a starter, but all through the summer and in training camp, all we heard was Gabbert was head and shoulders above Henne. I've heard of players who don't practice great but step it up when they get in the game...is that how Henne is, or do our coaches lack the ability to evaluate talent?
John: You heard that because it was the case. Gabbert looked very, very good and because he had started last season and because he was the player the team believed would be the franchise quarterback – and sure, because he had been drafted No. 10 overall – all of those factors made it pretty clear for the first half of the season that Gabbert was the starter. Shoot, after the Oakland game it was still pretty obvious Gabbert should be starting. Henne got an opportunity and changed that dynamic against Houston. Is Henne a gamer? Is Gabbert great in practice? I don’t know. What I do know is Henne is playing effectively and the Jaguars are functioning offensively and that means Henne will get an opportunity until those things aren’t true anymore.
Abe from King of Prussia, PA:
I've heard a lot of "Trade for Colin" talk about the 49ers. But frankly, if everyone wants a 49ers quarterback, I'd rather go for the one that's already developed and try to pick up Alex Smith. We've spent years developing Gabbert, Leftwich, with a decent but unspectacular Garrard, and I'd rather skip that if possible with the next guy. Of the two quarterbacks, if you were the GM and you wanted to make a play for one, which would it be?
John: I’ve heard the same talk and it baffles me. It’s evident that Jim Harbaugh wants Kaepernick to be his franchise quarterback. So while my answer to your question is that between Smith and Kaepernick I’d take Kaepernick, it doesn’t matter, because . . . so would the 49ers.
Nick from Orlando, FL:
If I fail any of my final exams this semester I'm blaming it on Jaguars.com and the O-zone. It blows my mind how I can sit down and read 30 articles on the Jags but I can't read a chapter of my history book..... But seriously, wish me luck.
John: Good luck and a word of advice. If you get bored studying physics, we have videos on the site, too.