Let's get to it . . .
Bruce from Mississauga, ON:
If Gabbert and Henne are essentially the same guy right now, does it make sense keeping both? Why not let Henne go and make a play for someone like Kyle Orton? He could be productive for a couple of seasons and allow Blaine time to be assessed until the end of his contract.
John: I wouldn’t say they’re the same guy at all. They are statistically similar this season, but one (Henne) is a veteran who gave the team a spark at midseason then struggled at times behind a struggling line with an improving, young receiving corps. The other (Gabbert) is a guy with potential who seems to still need time to develop and may or may not do that developing. The reason for keeping both would be that you want to see what Henne can do when everything’s functioning well around him and you want to see if Gabbert can fulfill his potential. The other reason for keeping both is you’re not sure who your quarterback is and more time is needed to let it play out. That’s not the situation you wanted to be in now, but pending the upcoming month, it’s indeed where the Jaguars are. Regarding Orton, or any other quarterback allowing Gabbert to be assessed, I don’t know how much assessing can be done if he doesn’t play.
Dale from Jacksonville:
Vito blogs that Khan may keep Smith and Mularkey in order to bring in Tebow to raise the profile of the team. Shouldn't the focus be in bringing in the personnel that give us the best chance of winning? The profile will then rise for all the right reasons and not as a result of bringing a circus to town!
John: There are those who feel that way . . .
Tommy from Jacksonville:
John, let the naysayers nay. You and I both know this Tebow kid is a winner!!
John: . . . and it’s pretty well-established there are those who feel that way . . .
Post Me from Jacksonville:
I used to be a Tebow hater, but after a season filled with disappointments, I'm ready to see what this kid can do in a Jags uniform. I say we give him a chance to play quarterback for one season and see what he can do. I know you'll say that management has to make decisions about the future and direction of the franchise long term blah blah blah . . . but at this point who in here really trusts management — aka, Gene Smith— when he's made more bad decisions than good throughout his tenure? He's close to being fired anyway; maybe Tebow can save his job.
John: . . . Management has to make decisions about the future and direction of the franchise long term . . . blah blah blah . . . ah, yeah, there are those who feel this way.
Keith from Summerville, SC:
We should lure Bill Cowher out of retirement by any means possible. Talk about selling tickets next year. I'd pay to see that team.
John: I’m getting Bill Cowher emails, so it must be close to the start of the new year. You know he has a house in Ponte Vedra, or had one or put it up for sale, or had a real estate agent or something, right?
Brandon from Orlando, FL:
I don't believe I will recognize this team after this upcoming draft. Except for the stache. That will be my only certainty.
John: You’ll certainly recognize the ‘stache, and there will be other similarities. But there will be change, too. What it will be I’m not sure anyone knows completely, but there almost certainly will be pretty significant change.
Mingo from West Timor:
I believe the Jags currently have a better draft position than the Chiefs. Think about it. With no clear top pick, the odds of trading down and gaining more picks is low at this point. But with the way the draft is set up, owning the No. 33 pick could produce that possibility. Once the dust settles on Thursday a targeted player would have likely fell to the second round giving teams plenty of time to think about trading picks.
John: The earlier you pick, the better your draft position.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Here's some really crazy talk for you. How about trading (straight up) Gabbert or Henne for...wait for it...Alex Smith?
John: I don’t know why the 49ers would want to do that. If the 49ers deal Alex Smith, they almost certainly would be looking to get a draft selection or two for him, not another quarterback. If they want a backup quarterback, they could just keep . . . well, Alex Smith.
Randy from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada:
In my opinion, here are my 10 things the new Jaguars’ general manager needs to do to start repairing the team. 1) Let Gabbert and Henne go, get a draft choice, whatever for each. 2) Bring in an open-minded, new-age coach; sorry, but Mularkey is from the dark ages. 3) Trade down to draft Geno Smith, and a road-grater guard (Kevin Zeitler type) with the extra pick. 4) Say a heart-breaking goodbye to Maurice Jones-Drew
; the ship has sailed, the team won't get much for him now, and his cap space will prove handy; bring Tebow in, have dual starting quarterbacks. 6) Don't panic with the defence, it is the strong point of the team. 7) Trade Bryan Anger
at once, if only to distance the team from one of the most outrageous draft picks in NFL history. 8) Draft or pick up a free-agent running back, as we saw this year the need to have depth at the position. 9) Draft a defensive end to work into a rotation of quality, developing talent already there. And last, but most importantly... 10) Give John Oehser a raise! You deserve a medal for guiding the fans through this trying season.
John: I always love getting emails from people from Canada. I like how they spell defense with a ‘c.’
Marshall from Section 113:
Adam Schein, NFL Columnist, named Gene Smith a "Scrooge" because his draft record is wretched. Schein predicts that Gene Smith and Mike Mularkey are out. He also stated that Shad Khan wants to sell tickets and this act is not getting it done. What is your take on his statement?
John: Everybody has an opinion about what will happen this week. There are arguments to support a whole lot of scenarios, and I’ve probably heard them all. As of now, my most honest assessment is I just do not know. I am on record saying I believe Gene Smith is a good football man, and 2-13 doesn’t make me feel differently. I believe he’s a better GM than his record indicates, but Smith’s the first one to tell you the NFL is a results-based business and there’s no point in trying to argue 2-13. I have seen Mike Mularkey coach for a year and believe he’s a better coach than the record this season indicates. As to Schein’s prediction, at 2-13, “Everybody’s gone” is an understandable prediction, though not necessarily one that I believe will be correct.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Everyone complains that next year’s draft doesn't have a surefire quarterback. If I remember correctly Matt Ryan wasn't "Andrew Luck," but he seems pretty elite to me. What are your thoughts?
John: Matt Ryan wasn’t Luck, but he was considered by many a pretty safe bet. As it turns out, that was true. Your point, though, is a good one and speaks to my point that you don’t worry about draft position during the season, because you just don’t know how players are going to play out. Somewhere in this draft, there is a quarterback who can be elite. It’s just not obvious. Somewhere, there is a pass rusher. Somewhere, there is offensive line help. You just have to find the right guys and get them into the right system. The Jaguars lately haven’t done one or both or all nearly consistently enough and the result is 2-13 and a lot of uncertainty as the end of the regular season draws near.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
John, Daniel from Johnston, IA, had a GREAT idea and you agreed saying "it would obviously never happen." I am a believer of can as opposed to cannot for this big, "compelling" idea. NFL owners have great power to bring about change and this matchup, I believe, would gather superior TV ratings as it's almost like a reverse Super Bowl. I think that most fans would relish this matchup for the coveted and famous first draft pick. But, the more I think about it, the winner of the game would prove to be the better team and therefore, not qualified for first pick. Oh well, never mind.
John: This is in reference to an idea from Daniel this week about having the two teams with the worst records play a game to decide the No. 1 overall selection the following spring. You’re right that the winner would be the better team and therefore not qualified, but that’s not why it would never happen. It would never happen because such a game would have to be agreed upon in a Collective Bargaining Agreement, and players never would agree to it. There is too high an injury-risk factor and too much resistance from players to add meaningless gimmicky games. We’ve discussed it more than it merits, because it has zero chance of happening, but it’s a fun discussion.
KC from North Bay, CA:
John - have you ever had to cover such a trainwreck of a season before? This just seems like a debacle of epic proportion...
John: I’ve seen some stuff. I started with the Jaguars in February 2011.