Let's get to it . . .
Dave from Ada, OK:
Is there any feel for what kind of owner Shad Khan will be now that he has more understanding about being an NFL owner? Is he going to be more “hands-on” and try to micromanage the team, or is he going to stick with the 'departmental' approach, and give his head coaches and general managers autonomy as long as they perform? The reason I ask is because of the Tebow-to-Jacksonville issue where Khan asked Gene to try to acquire him for the Jags. Are potential general managers going to see Khan as someone who interferes with their decision making, or not?
John: I don’t know how candidates for general manager will perceive Khan, but if a candidate is smart, he’ll make a decision based on his conversations with Khan rather than perception. The reason I say that is this: the Tebow situation last March has been interpreted by some as Khan “interfering” with Gene Smith. Did Khan ask Smith to pursue Tebow? Yes. Khan has said as much. But Khan told Smith to pursue it and allowed Smith and the Jaguars’ football people to be forthcoming with Tebow, telling Tebow they wanted him while being clear about his potential role. This reportedly helped Tebow decide to go to the Jets. Khan could have forced the issue by offering Denver more or better draft picks for Tebow, and he also could have forced the issue by telling Smith and Mike Mularkey to play Tebow at quarterback. He easily could have told Smith and the football people, “I want Tim Tebow at all costs and he will play quarterback.” He did not do that. Did Khan get involved on that issue? Yes. He owns the team. He can be – and should be – involved on big-picture issues, but given how it played out, I doubt the Tebow situation last March would scare off candidates.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Is it odd that the Jags are (reportedly) interviewing two guys from the Cardinals for the open general manager job? In my opinion, you need to get a general manager that comes from a team that has had consistent success and has shown the ability to restock players seamlessly through the draft and free agency. Granted, the Cardinals did go to the Super Bowl somewhat recently, but other than that, they've been unsettled and underwhelming at quarterback, mediocre to worse at running back, and with the exception of a few bright spots on the roster, they're just an OK team at best. Why do we want to pull a general manager from a place that has not succeeded in evaluating and picking players?
John: The notion that every general manager hire must come from a contending team is common, but also incorrect. First, a huge factor for a team’s success is quarterback, so to eliminate candidates from a team that has struggled to find one is to eliminate half the candidates in the NFL. Also, just because someone has worked for a team that has struggled doesn’t mean that person is doing a poor job. He may be saddled with a general manager who won’t listen to the staff, or he might be with a team that’s close to turning the corner. By the same token, getting a general manager from a team that has had success could mean you’re getting a guy who has been on a staff fortunate enough to have an elite quarterback but has been pedestrian elsewhere. That team can still win. Having worked for a successful team is one element on the resume, but it shouldn’t be the end all.
Alex from New York, NY:
Where does Ray Lewis rank all-time for you?
John: Up there.
Stevie from Cork, Ireland:
Will deciding to allow the new general manager to make the final decision on whether to keep Mularkey cost the Jaguars a shot at one of the higher- profile head coaches (e.g. Andy Reid or Lovie Smith) as they will most likely have new teams by the time the new general manager is hired and (possibly) fires Mularkey?
John: It could in theory, but as I mentioned in our live chat Thursday on jaguars.com, the general manager position is important enough that you want to make sure you get it right. I expect the Jaguars to make their decision on a general manager by early next week – that’s a guess. At that point, a head coach or two could have been hired, but remember: Mike Mularkey is the head coach of the Jaguars, and we haven’t heard anything official that that won’t be the case. Also, even if you were going to make a change at the spot, you wouldn’t want to hire a new head coach before you hired the new general manager, so not making a decision on Mularkey yet really doesn’t set the Jaguars back.
Jonathan from Lawrence, KS:
I have read from multiple outlets that the Jaguars’ general manager search is going to be held back by the reports that Tebow to Jacksonville next year is a virtual lock. How much will the future Tebow issue really have in the search for a new general manager and how much say will the new general manager have on the decision to sign Tebow?
John: It stands to reason that the quarterback position and Tebow have come up in the conversations Khan is having with the general manager candidates. Khan is a good listener, and my guess is when those issues are discussed the conversations are an exchange of ideas as much as Khan saying, “I want this and you must do this.” The best answer to your question is as of right now, probably only the candidates and Khan fully know.
Joshua from Germany:
One of the reasons they got rid of instant replay all those years ago was the amount of time it added to the game. Now with all the TV timeouts stretching out these games, what does it say about the NFL that they care more about TV deals than good officiating?
John: Well, the league has replay and it adds to length of game, but I do know that length of game always is an issue for the NFL. If you’re asking, “Does the NFL care about making millions and millions of dollars from television revenue,” yes. Yes, it does.
Dan from Fort Collins, CO:
Now that we're getting a new general manager, do you see Maurice making a play for more money again?
John: I have no idea if Jones-Drew will seek a new contract next season. I do know from the Jaguars’ perspective, the identity of the general manager isn’t likely to change their stance. There was a perception last year that Jones-Drew’s holdout was Jones-Drew versus Gene Smith. But do you really think Smith made that decision on his own on a matter so high-profile and just stubbornly stood his ground without having the support of the owner?
David from Waxahachie, TX:
John: That’s a different question than if you hadn’t added the last two words. If it came down to just training camp and preseason, it seems evident from what occurred last year that Gabbert likely would win the job. If it comes down to games, clearly there were instances last season when Henne performed well enough to win the job. I’ve said several times that this could be the biggest issue facing Gabbert. He has performed well in the offseason, training camp and preseason. It has been in the regular season that he has had most of his struggles, so it is there that he must be evaluated. The question becomes how long until he has another chance to be evaluated during that time. That, we don’t yet know.
Ryan from Enid, OK:
Hindsight is always 20/20, but here's a fun hypothetical: What if Jacksonville stays pat in the first round and takes Colin Kaepernick early in Round Two?
John: Then, Kaepernick would be with the Jaguars, and perhaps Ryan Kerrigan as well.
Sonny from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Could this off season for the Jags be more exciting than the last regular season?
John: Unfortunately, yes.
Chris from Tampa, FL:
Much is made about halftime adjustments in the NFL, so much so that coaching staffs are often criticized for either not making any, or making the wrong ones. It seems to me, that with only twelve minutes, adjustments made at halftime are not really any more important than ones made during the game. What really goes on at halftime, John?
John: The first thing that happens is I type a quick comment for the live blog, then go to the restroom. I wash my hands – honest – then head to the food line to see if there’s anything healthy. If there is, I bypass that and stock up on cookies and chili, always taking a few extra cookies for JaguarsInsider. I then return to my seat, eat the cookies, feel a lot worse about myself and get ready for the second half . . . oh, you meant the coaches. I have no idea if they have cookies in the locker room or not.