Let's get to it . . .
Blake from Carbondale, IL:
If we were really just two or three plays a game from being a six- or seven-win team – and I believe we were – why do we not expect more than five wins next year? With the play of Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon
, improvement by Blaine Gabbert
, an O-Line and D-Line improved through the draft and free agency, and a healthier defense, doesn't it seem to reason that we might push for a .500 season?
John: Absolutely. I wrote last year that I believed the Jaguars could push for .500. I still believe they could have done so, only because there were several games – three overtime games and some close losses – that could have gone the other way. That does not mean the Jaguars were close to being a playoff team. But coaching and a solid vision can make a difference, and while the Jaguars in retrospect didn’t get that last year, that doesn’t mean they can’t get it this season. If things break right, and if the Jaguars improve at spots, sure, they could push for .500. Could they ascend higher than that this season? That would be a tough task.
Roger in Section 211:
I hear the words "tape" and "film" used frequently in reference to archival recordings of games and players, but aren't both terms obsolete? Teams don't use videotape or celluloid anymore, do they? Aren't games recorded digitally, which would mean that coaches review the video, not the film or tape?
John: Point taken. Video is the more appropriate term.
Nick from Keansburg, NJ:
Is signing MJD going to be a major priority for the franchise? And what do you think our chances are of getting Percy Harvin?
John: I don’t see a deal with Jones-Drew being a priority until after the regular season. The team was reluctant to extend him with two years remaining on his deal last offseason, and I’ve heard nothing to indicate that team officials feel differently this offseason. After that, each side can determine how they feel about moving forward. As for Harvin, we can keep on asking about every potential available player, but the Jaguars are going to lean more toward the draft than compiling a roster from trades and free agency.
Brennan from St. John’s, FL:
Is it possible that the new uniforms could be an edgy, Oregon-style design, or is another traditional design more likely?
John: Anything is possible.
Emanel from Jacksonville:
I understand the best teams in the NFL build from the draft. Should the Jags stick with the system even if the team doesn't immediately get a winning record? It's easy to get another knee-jerk reaction from another losing season. How much patience should we have moving forward?
John: Absolutely you must stick with the system, particularly now that you have a new general manager in place in David Caldwell and a new head coach in Gus Bradley. There is a feeling among some in the fan base that they are tired of “building,” but realistically, the building process for Caldwell and Bradley starts now. You can’t throw their philosophy aside and start over just because of one season.
Chad from Dallas, TX:
Based on talent and winning alone. Who would you prefer starting for the Jaguars at quarterback next season? Tebow or Gabbert?
John: You asked two questions, each unanswerable. Based on talent, you take Gabbert. He has a significantly better NFL skill set than Tebow, but clearly he has yet to have that translate into NFL success. Based on winning, you might take Tebow because of what happened in Denver in 2011, but that’s difficult to judge because so many factors contribute to winning and losing. Who would I prefer start at quarterback for the Jaguars next season? Gabbert, because he’s on the roster and Tebow is not. Tebow might conceivably get you a victory or two more, but I don’t believe he’s the long-term answer at the quarterback position.
Johnny from Section 141:
If the Vikes want to trade Harvin, will we PLEASE get him!? Who doesn't need this guy on their team? To paraphrase your predecessor: Who doesn't need Michael Jordan? The guy is incredible, and proven. Spare me the "ankle injury" nonsense; we all know what that was about. Oh, and I don't really care if he's a "locker-room distraction," either. Just win, baby.
John: I get that Harvin is good. At the same time, I always am wary of “incredible” players who are compared to Michael Jordan and aren’t wanted by their current teams. But that’s just me.
Andre from Ocala, FL:
I'm confused when people say this would have been Gabbert's draft class if he stayed in school. I thought Gabbert gave up his senior year at Mizzou and therefore his draft class would have been last year. Help me understand this one.
John: He did give up his senior year to leave Missouri. The point people are making when saying this could have been Gabbert’s draft class are making the case that he was a high school senior in 2007-2008. He theoretically could have redshirted in the fall of 2008-2009, played 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and therefore been eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Some Dude from Jacksonville, FL:
John: Is that you, JP?
Andrew from Houston, TX:
I know Andre Branch
struggled as a rookie, but so did the rest of the line. As you stated before, defensive end sometimes take more time to develop compared to other positions. Wouldn't he be perfect for this "Leo" position that will be incorporated into our defense this year? With a year under his belt and a fresh start, he could really take a step. Along with a few other players on our roster, he is too young and talented to be given up on yet.
It doesn’t sound as if personnel or coaching has given up on Branch. David Caldwell has said he liked Branch coming out of Clemson, and Todd Wash said early this week he believes Branch can be an effective pass rusher. It sounds as if Jason Babin
will be the first “Leo,” but it also sounds as if Wash believes Branch can develop into that role as a backup to start and into more of a front-line role long-term.
Jackson from Houston, TX:
What are your thoughts on the rumors floating around the internet that Jadeveon Clowney could sit out of his junior year? Do you agree that he gets a bad deal of having to risk serious injury that could affect his career or do you believe that he should honor the scholarship he received?
John: I don’t think Clowney will do that, and yes, I do believe a player such as Clowney should be able to enter the draft if he’s projected as a first-round selection. But the issue isn’t about honoring the scholarship. It's about the league having rules against players declaring too early for the draft. There is certainly an element of that rule that helps both the NFL and college football financially, but the rule also is in place to protect players. While there are exceptions such as Clowney, the majority of players aren’t physically ready to play in the NFL before they have been out of high school for three years.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Knowing what they know now about Blaine Gabbert, how can these coaches and general manager say with a straight face that Gabbert would be a first-round pick in the upcoming draft? It boggles the mind. It's like they're pooping in my mouth and calling it a sundae.
John: They say it because they know the grades people had on Gabbert coming out of Missouri, and they know that there have been factors working against Gabbert. They also know the guy has ability and potential, which are things that get you drafted early in the first round. No one in the organization has said in recent weeks that Gabbert is being guaranteed a position, or that there won’t be competition. They are saying that he will have a chance. This seems to offend people for some reason, but that’s OK. It’s the job of the coaches and general manager right now to keep an open mind and evaluate all the resources at their disposal. It’s the job of fans to be angry when they hear things they don’t understand or don't like.
Andy from Roswell, GA:
So, if Flacco is intercepted at the end of the Denver game (as he should have been), would people still be clamoring for him? How one event can change so many things? This guy is really good, but is he *that* good?
John: If you mean, is he good enough to consistently get an NFL team to the postseason and contend for the Super Bowl, then history tells you, yes, he is.
Zach from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I was reading through some pre-draft stuff and apparently Jarvis Jones' 'clean bill of health' will be sent to NFL teams later this week. What kind of impact do you think this will have on his draft stock, specifically with the Jaguars?
John: It will be a part of the equation, and it will certainly help. Teams no doubt will all do their own research into the matter, and that will probably be more a part of the equation than anything Jones sends franchises, but anything done to erase uncertainty is important.
Gabe from Sioux Falls, SD:
Let's be honest, it's about the money.
John: Well, yeah.