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Not in the mirror

Posted Jan 15, 2013

Let's get to it . . .

Nick from Sarasota, FL:
Do you think MJD is the long-term answer at running back? It seemed a little fishy that the so called "minor" injury ended up keeping him out the rest of the season. Could it be that he did not want to play because he did not get his contract? And if he is not the long-term answer, do you think we could get good value for him in a trade?
John: I never called Jones-Drew’s injury minor. The team didn’t, either, and I didn’t see anything “fishy” about it. Jones-Drew is a running back, which means any foot injury is serious. Jones-Drew wanted to play, and as I stated often during the season, nothing in his playing history indicates he ever has done anything but prepare to be on the field as much and as effectively as possible. Now, is he the long-term answer? Being he is entering his eighth season, that seems unlikely, but I also doubt he gets traded. The trade value for a running back at his age coming off of an injury wouldn’t seem likely to merit it.
Jesse from Section 236 and Orange Park, FL:
I heard someone say coaches want a right tackle who is a better run blocker because they will be pulling and moving more while run blocking than a left tackle, who is usually a better pass blocker protecting the weak side. If Luke Kuechly is the best pass blocker that has come out of the draft in years, then, the Jaguars should draft him at left tackle and move Monroe to right tackle or trade him for a high pick. Could Eugene make the switch to RT and perform at a high level?
John: First, Kuechly plays linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, but Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M is considered one of the best left tackles to come out of college in a while. At this stage, I haven’t heard anything to make me think that’s the Jaguars’ likely direction in April – although I will preface that by saying we’re a long way from the draft. I don’t doubt that Monroe could play right tackle, but he’s more of a left tackle and it’s not a position the Jaguars necessarily need to upgrade. Monroe didn’t play as well late in the season as he did early and I believe he’ll play better next season. For now, I don’t know that we need to spend much time speculating about moving Monroe, but that probably won’t stop many from doing it.
Sean from Jacksonville:
How is Julio Jones, a wide receiver and offensive player, allowed to make the interception for Atlanta's defense on the last play of the game?
John: You’re referring to Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones making the interception to end the victory over the Seahawks Sunday. Teams can play players wherever they want whenever they like, so the Falcons put Jones in the game to defend the last-play Hail Mary – presumably because he is one of the best athletes on the team with perhaps the best hands. It’s not uncommon. In fact, when the Jets beat the Jaguars in the playoffs following the 1998 season, Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson ended the game with an interception in a similar situation.
Don from Heathrow, FL:
I'm still waiting to see how Chris Mortenson puts the Tebow toothpaste back in the tube. I'm sure he'll claim that the plan was to bring Tebow to the Jags before Gene Smith was fired...what are your thoughts?
John: I don’t know that Mortensen needs to say anything. He’s not a fortune teller and he can’t control the future. My guess is Mortensen talked to someone he trusted close to the Jaguars late in the season who told him it was a “virtual certainty” that Tebow would be here. If he heard that, he was doing his job by reporting it. After that, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan began the search for a general manager and began discussing in detail the plans going forward. At that point, it’s not ridiculous to think the outlook could change.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
It seems extremely unlikely, but do you think the Jags would try to do anything to get Flacco? That's assuming that for some reason Flacco and Baltimore can't come to an agreement.
John: I’d be shocked if the Ravens and Joe Flacco don’t come to an agreement. If they don’t, then it would have to be considered. Franchise quarterbacks rarely come available, and he at least has to be considered in the discussion when it comes to franchise quarterbacks.
Ashley from Kingsland, GA:
I realize I'm going to annoy people with my question/statement, but how is it that Caldwell can say that Tebow is more or less, "off the table?" I'm just curious how we write him off as a bust when we have many players that other fans would consider a bust? Yes, Tebow is a "polarizing" figure, but he would be living in a town where people are somewhat used to him, so I really don't see that being an issue...thoughts?
John: We’re about ready to move on from this issue – really – but this question was asked so nicely I felt compelled to answer. You have to remember where Caldwell is coming from. From his perspective, he has no investment either way in the Tebow discussion. He doesn’t dislike him or like him as a person, and I don’t know that he cares if people call Tebow a bust or not. He also can’t say, “Well, the Jaguars have other players who fans consider a bust so why not add one more?” His job is to start now, in January 2013, building a roster he believes can win. That begins with addressing the quarterback position. If he doesn’t believe the Jaguars can win with Tebow there, then he not only has the right to take Tebow “off the table,” he an obligation to do so. Finally, don’t forget: the ultimate issue isn’t that Tebow is polarizing; the issue is few in the NFL believe he is good.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Now, I could care less about Tebow. HE WAS GIVEN A CHOICE TO COME HERE - to his hometown, and compete for quarterback. He said, "Thanks but no thanks" and went to New York. With that said, what do you make of the general manager saying “NO” to potential Tebow scenarios while our most probably head coach is tearing it up in San Francisco with a spread-option offense and Tim Tebow is one of the best suited to run such an offense?
John: I don’t know that there’s widespread agreement that Tebow is well-suited for the spread option. That has been floated by some because Tebow’s running ability appears to be his best strength, but the spread option as it is being run in the NFL requires speed and it requires an accurate passer. Tebow is a strong runner, but he is not fast on the level of an RGIII or Colin Kaepernick. He also at this stage is not an accurate passer. I’ve said throughout the fall that I believe the best scenario for Tebow might be to go to an offense with a well-established spread option quarterback. That way, he could be a backup, learn the scheme and not be perceived as a threat or distraction to the starter. This would allow him to be part of an offense that he could potentially grow into and allow him time to learn some of the skills many believe he lacks. But to bring him in now as the focal point? No, that scenario doesn’t appear probable this season. On a final note, you said Tebow said “No” to Jacksonville and a chance to compete for the quarterback situation. That’s not actually true. The Jaguars told him he wouldn’t be competing for the position, which may have contributed to his decision.
Alex from Jacksonville:
Seems almost every team in the divisional round this past weekend scored at least 30 points. Basketball on grass in full effect . . .
John: It was an entertaining weekend.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
A lot of good football this weekend, eh?
John: Not if you listen to Alex.
Bill from Jacksonville:
During the season, fans and some media members complained about Mike Mularkey continually telling fans, media, and players the team was close – telling people how "proud" he was of the team. One player said after the Bengals game, "What this team needs is some attitude and edginess,” and another said, "Not everything should be lollipops and pats on the butt. I mean, we have only two wins, right?” These aren't simply the thoughts of frustrated players. These are players who like the fans and media believe Mularkey didn't set a tone or hold players accountable, right?
John: Fans and media indeed tired of Mularkey saying the Jaguars were close. However, I didn’t see this as the end-all issue the way others did. Mularkey had to do his best to get the team in position to win each week, and I don’t know that publicly saying there wasn’t enough talent to win or that they were far away was the way to do that. The tone around this team was fine entering the regular season. Then, the losses began to pile up and criticism mounted. That’s what happens when you lose. Fingers get pointed, and blame gets assigned. Mularkey could have coached better. Players could have played better. Everything could have been better. That’s why there are wholesale changes at hand. Now, could Mularkey have been tougher on the players behind closed doors? Perhaps. You talk to some players who said that was an issue and you talk to others who say it wasn’t. Again, when you’re 2-14, everyone’s looking for a reason and people usually look somewhere other than the mirror.

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