Let's get to it . . .
David from Kingsland, GA:
Could your answer to Tommy about things "snowballing" when they go wrong also indicate we’re not as far away from being good as it seems? If one or two injuries, or a couple players struggling, can "snowball" into what we are witnessing now, then getting Smith and MoJo back, and upgrading a few spots in free agency and the draft, can quite possibly stop the "snowball." Do you agree? If only it was possible to sign a franchise quarterback in free agency.
John: Yes, if only that were possible . . . but seriously, of course, the snowball can stop. Better quarterback play overall would help immeasurably, and consistency at that position absolutely would make a significant difference. Does that mean going from two victories to the playoffs? If that quarterback is the caliber of Andrew Luck, yes; if not, it’s much tougher. But as for whether the Jaguars can turn into a six- or seven-victory team quickly, sure they can. Had they won overtime games this season and gotten better quarterback play, that was possible this season.
Billy from Cynthiana, KY:
I know you don't like talking about the draft yet, but if we do have a Top 2 pick do you take Manti T'eo? He is said to be the next "Ray Lewis." He sure would look good with Poz.
John: My first thought is that’s awfully early for a linebacker. My second thought is April is a long, long way away.
Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
While I never thought that Del Rio was the second coming of Vince Lombardi, the team did play with a toughness when it came to stopping the run and running the ball. Can a coach actually dictate the personality of a team?
John: When things are going well, yes, because when things are going well, players respond to the personality of a head coach and play in a way that’s easily identifiable. When things aren’t going well, everything appears to be in disarray and there isn’t really a personality.
Roderick from Jacksonville:
Can I get a response from you?
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Whether or not Shad Khan parts with Gene Smith in the offseason is not yet decided (or not yet disclosed). But, do you think it would be wise to "handcuff" Gene until that decision is made to prevent him from making decisions that could hurt the team going forward? I'm thinking of decisions like cutting players, or extending contracts, or things like that.
No. That would not be wise. Look, whatever happens in that vein after the season, contract extensions that would significantly affect the Jaguars’ salary cap are going to be discussed at length with Khan – as always is the case. There seems to be this perception among some people that Smith signs and releases people willy-nilly, after which Khan checks his twitter feed or goes online only to discover a major move has been made. This is not the case. There aren’t many moves to be made between now and mid-January that dramatically affect the salary cap or the roster in a negative way. Take the case of Jason Babin
, for example. The Jaguars acquired him last week and he is under contract, but there was no signing bonus or guaranteed money involved, so there’s nothing that can’t be undone.
Justin from Jacksonville:
I believe that all current signs point to me being right about that Tom Brady guy! Thoughts.
John: Shad Khan, hire this man!
Shawn from Honolulu, HI:
Being a former lineman myself, the majority of our problems ARE the linemen. Yes, everyone blames the quarterback. The truth is if the offensive linemen played good, you could put Tim Tebow in the backfield and make him look good. The way our line has played this year, not even Tom Brady could break out of the bottom three quarterbacks.
John: Yes, he could, and so could a lot of quarterbacks. Not that the line couldn’t play better. It absolutely could, but a veteran quarterback who can move around the pocket, buy time and get rid of the ball to beat the rush can make a struggling line look a whole lot better.
Trey from Jacksonville:
I thought this team and this offensive line would be fine running the ball without MJD? Rashad who? How does a guy miss seven straight games and is still your leading rusher? Embarrassing. Oh so now we need a DT? I thought we had "three really good ones?"
John: As for first your question, a lot of people thought so, too. Don’t feel bad about being wrong. As for your second question, you’re right there, too. The team is 2-10. A lot needs to be reevaluated.
Michael from Brentwood, MI:
First, you avoided the second part of my question yesterday. Second, I believe what we were getting at months ago was the cost of winning pointless games. Had the Colts won more last year they would be out of Luck - they lost out on purpose and claimed the prize. We shouldn't be trying to win now when it will only cost us better talent later.
John: I didn’t “avoid” the second part of your question. I just didn’t “feel” like answering it.
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
So, we lost because our defensive players were trying to do too much? Do you think that if we don't try too much we may have more chances of winning? We might have to try that, then.
John: I get that it seems counterintuitive to say a defense struggles because it’s trying to do too much, but what we’re talking about here is misplaced effort. As strange as it sounds, misplaced effort can sometimes hurt as much as not trying hard enough. That’s particularly true in the case of run defense or special teams play, where one or two players trying to pursue the ball in the wrong gaps can create running lanes and make an entire defense look bad. You’ve got to try hard in the NFL, but you also have to do so intelligently.
Trey from Eagle Mountain, UT:
We can still blame Gabbert for the offensive woes when he was playing. As bad as this last week was, Henne still put up more offensive production (yards and points) than Gabbert did before his injury. I've heard many Jags fans judge Henne’s abilities based on that one Raiders game, and say that the next two games weren't the "real" Henne. I think Henne’s poor play in Oakland was an anomaly – his first snaps taken in his first real game time with the starters since he has joined the team. I still think this team is better with Henne at quarterback. This offense clicks better with Henne at the helm.
John: So far, you’re right. And you’re right that even against Buffalo – in very difficult weather conditions -- Henne had more moments of effectiveness than Gabbert did in many games this season. I’m curious to see how the rest of the season plays out. I expect Henne to play better Sunday, and I expect that the weather against Buffalo hurt his performance pretty significantly. He’s right not to use that as an excuse, and you don’t want your quarterback never being able to function in weather, but we’ve seen enough from Henne to at least let these next four games play out to see what’s there.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
O-man, I've been a season-ticket holder since Day One and I can actually say that I have no hope left for this year or even for next year. I hope Mr. Khan does the right thing and blows this entire organization apart and rebuilds it piece by piece into the winner that it should be. He needs to get rid of the coaching staff, the players that are under performing and even the GM. Your thoughts??
John: I think there are many fans who feel that way. I think the decision to that is very difficult and sometimes it’s right and sometimes it’s wrong. I think that’s why owners in the NFL are judged on such difficult decisions.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I think you should have moved Kansas City above Jacksonville this week. They won, scored more points, and in lieu of the tragedy that occurred last week, they deserve to be above us.
Alex from San Diego, CA:
I see all these people talking about Alex Smith. How about Philip Rivers?! I could absolutely envision the Chargers listening to offers for him in the offseason. There is no denying he has supreme talent and can make all the throws. He is a proven winner and could lead this team at a much higher level than Gabbert, Henne or even Alex Smith. Thoughts John?
John: I think you’re right that he has supreme talent and can make all the throws. I think that’s why he’ll be playing for the San Diego Chargers next season.
Brandon from Taylorsville, NC:
I have a feeling Vick will be the Jags’ starting quarterback next season.
John: I get that he did a great job writing for this web site, but I’m not sure he has the mobility or arm strength anymore to be the answer at quarterback. Besides, I think he likes it in Green Bay.