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Operate for the long-term

Posted Nov 11, 2012

Let's get to it . . .

Cristina from Jacksonville:
I’m done with "flashes" Gabbert has shown! I want consistency! These so-called flashes" are one in maybe very game! I don't care if he is young, so is Luck, so is RGIII, and they show a lot more consistency than Gabbert!
John: To be fair, there has been more than one so-called flash in games lately, and a pretty strong argument can be made that he has looked much better in the last month than at any time in his career. Had he looked like this for a stretch as a rookie, a lot of people would have felt pretty good about him. All of that said, your bigger point is that there needs to be more and it needs to be enough to produce victories. Without question, we’re getting to that point where it needs to happen in a hurry.
Ken from Jacksonville:
The top of my screen has a banner ad that says, "Relive Every Jaguars Game Online in Commercial-Free HD." I don't think I've done anything to deserve that sort of punishment.
John: We’re not going to spend all day in gallows humor, but I’ll give you that one. Funny.
Tiler from Greensville:
When are we going to hear from Gene Smith? When's his press conference? I want to hear it and I want to see it.
John: I’ve gotten a few emails wanting to hear from Gene Smith. While head coaches speak daily throughout the season, general managers typically don’t hold press conferences during the season unless there’s a newsy event to merit it.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
It will be a painful lesson and one that probably won't happen, but if I was Coach Mularkey, I would put Justin Blackmon on the Inactive List for the next game. He needs to take a break, sit down and watch an NFL game from the sideline and realize that this isn’t college anymore. Jack Del Rio did it for Derek Cox his rookie season and that has appeared to pay-off somewhat.
John: I doubt it will happen, either. Blackmon needs to play. There’s nothing to be learned by taking away game repetitions.
Jamie from St. Simons Island, GA:
I was glad Thursday was on national TV for one reason: the analysts were forced to give their take on the Jaguars. Deion said it best when he said he "felt sorry for Gabbert," because the playcalling was atrocious. In your "What we learned" column you criticized the Pick 6 Gabbert threw. Yes, the pass was behind the receiver and looked like an easy interception, but when you hardly run routes deeper than 10 yards down the field the entire secondary can press the line of scrimmage. There were multiple times when all 11 Colts defenders were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. How does anyone expect Gabbert to make a play with that? I don't know. I have never seen a more vanilla offense. Run up the gut or a pass out to the sidelines for 6-8 yards. Unbelievable.
John: I won’t disagree. Gabbert is throwing the ball better the last few weeks and with a few exceptions, he has done fairly well taking care of the ball and avoiding costly interceptions. The lack of a running game in recent weeks has hurt, but if the ball doesn’t go downfield, it’s much easier to cover the area of the field near the line of scrimmage.
William from Savannah, GA:
What I saw Thursday was a team that had mentally checked out this season. Yes, there were some players giving it their all (most of the defensive line and Poz), but when you check out, you tackle half-heartedly (defensive backs), you lose your focus (dropped balls by the receivers and backs), or you don't make that extra effort to complete your assignment. It makes me wonder about a lot of things - who will be around and who won't be around next year, was Del Rio doing it with smoke and mirrors the past couple of years, is the lack of Session and Smith having that much of an impact on the defense. Any insight?
John: A lot of good questions, too. It’s too early to know who will be around next year, although if there are changes off the field that will influence the changes on it. I only saw Del Rio’s final year, and I’d make an argument that had the Jaguars won a couple of overtime games this season, this year wouldn’t feel drastically different than last year. What was most interesting was your statement that the Jaguars checked out. When you lose by double digits at home, that’s what people will say. But I didn't see a team that had quit Thursday. I saw a team making a lot of avoidable errors, and trying to do a lot of things as individuals and when you do that, you start flailing and looking desperate and undisciplined. Playing like that doesn’t help you win, and it looks bad, but it’s not quitting, it’s just not playing smart, winning football.
Debs from Jagsonville:
I really didn't mind Mularkey throwing the headset and clipboard/playcard. And personally, I didn't care about the unsportsmanlike call. I want to see passion. I want to see fire. I realize penalties don't win games, but up until now, I have felt management/Mularkey are passive and not taking this personal or serious. I wouldn't want him to do it again. But that's my highlight for the game.
John: You’re not alone. Many people wrote about liking the enthusiasm and the fight. And that’s fine. But just because you hadn’t seen Mularkey lose his cool doesn’t mean he or management lacked passion. Mularkey would tell you the same thing. He and management were passionate and bothered by the losing long before he threw the clipboard and they’ll continue to be so. In the long run, the only thing losing your cool will do is lead to penalties and a lack of discipline. That will lead to a lot worse football than we’ve seen so far.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Put 1-8 aside for a minute. These guys act like they don't have a clue. Typically, it's hard to see mental mistakes until someone like Lage points them out but, my 11 y/o who watches very little football says, "Don't you have to touch the guy if he falls down dad?" It hurt so bad to not answer my own kid but I knew the next question was "why didn't he?" That's just one example. The only reason I used the Wayne play is because my son questioned it, so don't start in with your crap about all he got was an extra three yards and a first down and that they probably would a got a first down on the next play anyway!
John: You made very good points, but when in the world did I say, "all he got was an extra three yards and a first down?” The play was inexcusable. It allowed a first down. It typified a lot that has gone wrong this season. I may be guilty of a lot of “crap,” but goodness, not that.
Zeleznoc from Jacksonville:
When it's third down and 3-to-4 yards to go why do the receivers consistently run sideways along the line of scrimmage (or behind) or one-yard over it so that a completed pass gains only 1-2 yards? Seems like Football 101 that receivers go beyond the first-down marker.
John: Yes, it does.
Fred from Jacksonville:
Two comments in regards to coaching. First, when Coach Mularkey says the team will finish strong he is trying to be positive, raise enthusiasm. But it comes across as he doesn't recognize the problem(s). Second, tell me Coach Mularkey didn't address the team about emotion leading to unsportsmanlike conduct when he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
John: Two comments on your comments. Mularkey’s job is to coach the Jaguars. That matters far more than how his comments come across to the fans. Second, Mularkey was pretty clear after the game Thursday and again Friday that he wasn’t proud of his unsportsmanlike penalty. And he absolutely has to address it with the team. You can’t win games with six unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The Jaguars on Thursday played like an out-of-control team, and you won’t win in the NFL that way.
Lee from Stuart, FL:
Shad Khan is evaluating? That's a copout, big deal. What does he know about football and building a football team? It may be a business, but the bottom line in this business is wins and losses.
John: Evaluating is a copout? He’s seven games into his ownership. Be frustrated. Be angry. And, of course, it’s about victories and losses, but for argument’s sake, say Khan right now fired everyone fans want fired. And say the Jaguars started 1-3 next season and looked bad. Should he fire everyone then, too? Khan bought the Jaguars to win, but he’s also smart enough to know you have to make decisions and personnel moves based on the long-term.

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