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No hard feelings

Posted Nov 17, 2012

Headed for Houston.

Let's get to it . . .

Jody from Fort Pierce, FL:
Your story on Alualu had me thinking. Will this fan base ever show up and be happy about a draft pick; you know, have signs saying, ‘Welcome; We are behind you, etc?’ Or are they doomed to be the spoiled sport fans they have been? I am not sure other than the paycheck I would want to play here. Fragile Fred? Milking Mojo? How in the world could you be disappointed in having either of those two be a member of your team? That should be all Marcedes, Cox, Alualu, or any of the others this fan base likes to bash so much needs to realize not to listen to any of them.
John: You raise some good points, but the reality of professional sports is that players get criticized and praised at various times in their careers. I covered the Colts for most of Peyton Manning’s career there and there were times when some fans said quarterback was a problem. Let that sink in. Are Jaguars fans tough on their players? Yes, but they also love and defend them pretty fiercely, too.
Scott from Jacksonville:
To generalize, probably the best answer to every question is "winning." The beer will be colder . . .”
John: Your email went on to make some good points. You said “beer will be colder,” though, and that was good enough for me.
Zach from Little Rock, AR:
Greg Jones being out has made a huge impact on the lack of a running game. Jennings just isn't getting the push from the offensive line either. Would you agree?
John: Yes. Jennings has missed holes and missed opportunities at times in the last four games, but there’s no question Jones has been missed, and there’s no question the line could block better. When you run for less than 70 yards a game, there’s a lot not going right.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Would you rather have a quarterback who is inconsistent but has high highs and low lows, or one who is consistently mediocre? That's how I see the comparison between Gabbert and other young quarterbacks. He isn't very good, but he's also not very bad. The other young guys seem to have better games and put up better numbers, but they also have terrible games where they throw three picks and cost their team the game. What's your pick?
John: I want a quarterback who’s showing clear signs that he has a chance to be a franchise quarterback. That’s what most people want, I think. That’s the frustration many have with Gabbert. He has shown signs at times – enough to make you believe, “maybe” – but as yet they have been too rare. It’s extremely hard to judge because what’s going on around him hasn’t been very good, either. As easy as it is to say, “Well, the quarterback should make plays and everyone else better,” that’s difficult for a young quarterback and most of the young quarterbacks have more around them than Gabbert. That’s the biggest reason why the most important question around the franchise remains unanswered.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
The Jags gotta take a shot down the field every once in a while, right? You never know, they may hit one from time to time. And if nothing else, teams can’t bunch the line if you make them respect the deep ball. TAKE A SHOT!
John: I agree to a point, but at the same time, there’s something flawed in the reasoning that you have to throw the ball deep once in a while just to loosen the defense. That really only works if you complete the deep ball now and again. If you don’t, teams have no reason to respect the deep ball and the result is you’re throwing deep for the sake of throwing deep and facing long down-and-distance situations after incomplete passes. Now, if you complete a few it will loosen up the defenses; if not, you’re just making matters worse. That said, yes, the Jaguars need to throw it downfield more. No question.
Chris from Philadelphia, PA:
Most Jaguars fans are frustrated with Gabbert because they look around the league and see young quarterbacks providing their respective teams a 'spark' they otherwise didn't have. Unlike Luck, RGIII, and even Tannehill and Russell, Gabbert doesn't appear to do that. Though I am far from ready to write Gabbert off as a bust, it would be prudent to follow the Packers' model from a few years ago when they drafted Brian Brohm and Mike Flynn in the same year to backup/push Aaron Rodgers before he became a superstar. If Gabbert is the player we all hope he is, he will rise above the competition and become a legitimate starting quarterback.
John: There’s no question that’s why Jaguars fans are frustrated with Gabbert. Luck and RGIII have come into the league polished and have the feel of franchise guys. I’m not ready to anoint Tannehill and Russell yet, particularly with Tannehill struggling recently. The Packers’ model was more about a philosophy of taking developmental quarterbacks than it was about pushing Rodgers, but I can see a scenario where the Jaguars draft a quarterback next year. That doesn’t mean Gabbert won’t be the guy, but there is a school of thought in which it would make sense to draft the position, create competition and have the option of eventually trading the player who didn’t end up as The Guy. Not saying that definitely will happen, but if you finish the season uncertain on Gabbert’s future, it’s an option that could make sense.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
I noticed you posted a few questions about MJD holding out and I got to ask the haters something. Do they think he is the only person to ever ask their boss for a raise and get told no or not right now?
John: Based on personal, recent experience, I assure you he is not.
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
I don't want to start draft talk early, but I'm going to anyway. Barring a complete turnaround, we're going to be able to pick one of the top three or four talents in college. At what position would that talent most help the team turn the corner? Edge rusher? Shut down corner? Something else.
John: The Jaguars certainly could use an edge rusher. And a shutdown corner never hurts. I wouldn’t object to a go-to, No. 1 receiver right now, either. The point is that when you’re 1-8, you could use a lot of help in a lot of places. Philosophically, if you can find immediate impact pass-rushing help and think that guy is a long-term game-wrecker that never, ever hurts.
Brett from Ocoee, FL:
As much as I would like to see the Jaguars upset the Texans on Sunday, that is a tough task for any team in this league. However, in the final six games of the season, we should be competitive. The Patriots are the toughest opponent in that stretch, but they have a defense that we should be able to score against. This offense has to start scoring points consistently and the remaining games need to be decided late in the fourth quarter. That would be the improvement I need to see in order to like this roster and this staff going forward. Go Jags!
John: Good plan.
Scott from Section 139 and Ponte Vedra, FL:
Can you give us an explanation as to why the pundits were so right that the Jaguars would not be a very good team this year? What information did they have such that they were dead on with their prediction? In other words, how were they able to tell this before we even played a game? Thanks.
John: They did what most pundits do. They looked at last year’s record and guessed. In the Jaguars’ case, thus far, they have been right. They did the same thing with the Eagles and predicted a Super Bowl run.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
Someone asked what you thought Khan would do in the offseason. I'm almost certain he will focus intensely on developing his other 50 businesses, and maybe buy a few more. This one is his toy and only cost a little more than his boat, which probably doesn't directly generate a single dollar of revenue.
John: I believe he’ll do as you say and at the same time, I believe he’ll focus on the Jaguars. Khan indeed has many interests outside the Jaguars, but he didn’t buy this team to continue to be 1-8. The Jaguars are a priority to him and I can’t imagine he won’t address issues in an appropriate manner to be as successful as possible.
JP from Jacksonville:
When I was twelve I had two goals in life: to one day own the Jaguars, and to celebrate Movember with the most awesome 'stash south of the Mason-Dixon line. Shad Khan has since come to town and destroyed both of my dreams. My question to you, John, is what dreams of yours has Mr. Khan shattered?
John: He bought the yacht I was thisclose to buying. We discussed it and I agreed we should move forward with no hard feelings, but . . . actually, I'd rather not talk about it; it was a difficult time for me.

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