Let's get to it . . .
Joe from Jacksonville:
So, there was a guy named Tebow that played ball in high school in Jacksonville! John, it seems there was also a Tebow that played at Florida...coincidence? Please investigate . . .
John: I started to do just that, and to my regret, I ran out of time this week. Someone mentioned to me early in the week that the Jets had a kid who had played high school football locally and the word was he played college ball somewhere around here, too. I thought, “I should do a story on this kid, you know, get him a little publicity, get the word out . . .” I got busy and couldn’t get around to the story. Perhaps another year. I hope he understands. Sounds like a good kid. Very deserving.
Duran from Rapid City, SD:
Unless your team is in dire need to free cap space, you are not going to let your franchise players, Most Valuable Players, or elites even get to free agency. Any signing of free agents should be taken with a wait-and-see approach because these players came from a team that did NOT want to pay them. I see it more as just plugging a hole until we find the right guy and doing so with this thought, “Whatever the chances they might be that ‘Guy,’ don’t bet the house on it.”
That is indeed the risk in free agency. For every Paul Posluszny
, who becomes a focal point on the team, there are many, many more who don’t quite fit, who are dramatically overpaid and who don’t contribute to the level expected. That means it’s hard to find quick fixes and it’s why it’s tough to do a quick build in the NFL – unless, of course, your quick build is the drafting of an elite, ready-made quarterback.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
Do you think the game has slowed down for Gabbert? It seems that is the point most young players’ potential starts to become kinetic. If it hasn't happened yet, then not playing won't help it much. Play time is what he needs.
John: I don’t think the game has slowed down enough for Gabbert, though it appeared from watching this season that that process was beginning. And that is indeed the dilemma with Gabbert. He needs time. How much more can you afford to give him? I don’t know that we have an answer yet.
Scott from Ponte Vedra, FL and Section 143:
I know our run defense would be improved with Daryl Smith
in the lineup, but shouldn't our last place rating on run defense also reflect poor line play by Knighton, Alualu and Mosley who were touted to be run stuffers?
John: When you’re 2-10 and ranked last in the NFL in run defense everything gets the blame.
Bobby from Jacksonville:
My issue with Gene Smith being general manager right now is we still have the same inept group of people evaluating talent for next season. When the new regime starts when he is finally fired at the end of the season (which I fully expect to happen), they will be starting months behind everybody else and being behind in anything is traditionally bad.
John: This is a concern I hear a lot. First, as Shad Khan said last month, the evaluation process is ongoing and there’s no indication a decision either way has yet been made. And while there are assumptions currently being made on this front, we all know what they say about “assuming.” As for the concern about a theoretical new “regime,” changes such as that almost are always made in January if they occur. There is time for evaluating the roster and determining direction at that point whatever decision Khan makes.
William from Jacksonville:
You referenced Shad Khan being an engineer, and the patience they tend to exhibit. Members of the Jaguars media, and coaching staff, also preach patience with the rebuilding of this team. My question is, where did being patient for nine years with Jack Del Rio get this franchise? How did that patience pay off, John?
John: I don’t think fans should be patient. Absolutely they shouldn’t be. I’ve been pretty consistent saying fans should want to win now and should be upset when their teams don’t. That’s why it’s not unreasonable for fans to be mad right now. I imagine Khan is upset, too. He doesn’t want to lose and doesn’t like 2-10. At the same time, it’s his responsibility to do what he feels is best for the franchise and make decisions that will lead in the long run to winning. I don’t know that that’s patience as much as taking a step back from the emotion of a situation and trying to see what’s best. Khan has said he will evaluate everything, see if changes should be made and then act accordingly. That won’t have anything to do with the past nine years or with Del Rio and it likely won’t even take the emotion of fans into account, because you can’t make rational decisions doing that. That’s where Khan must behave different than a fan, and it’s understandable that that’s frustrating, but that’s reality.
Paul from Jacksonville:
League coverage has changed over my lifetime, going from a mostly-weekends, mostly-in-season affair to 24/7/365. In that process, we as fans have benefited from this in terms of access to information and analysis. Have we lost anything in this process?
John: Aside from perspective, no.
Anthony from WI:
If there is a change to the kickoff rules in the form of Schiano's plan, Bryan Anger
becomes a great pick! In all seriousness though, do you have any sort of inside information as to how long this might take to come to fruition? Belichick was right – it isn't ‘If kickoffs will be eliminated,’ it's ‘When will one of the most exciting plays in professional sports be eliminated?’
John: I agree with Belichick that it’s coming, but I have no idea when. My guess is it won’t be next season because an idea that is as hard to imagine initially as this one could take some time and discussion for people to accept. But most football people consider it the most dangerous play in the sport now that the onside kick rules have been altered, and with the focus on player safety, Belichick is probably right – the question is not if, but when.
Joe from Orange Park, FL:
The Houston Texans have 33 batted balls this season. Second place? The San Diego Chargers with 17. How does a team go about stopping a defense from batting balls down at the line of scrimmage?
John: Play someone other than the Houston Texans.
David from Kingsland, GA:
I have always been a Gene Smith defender but not any longer. Thinking back, we ended last season with our biggest need being a pass rush. We had a Top 10 pick and plenty of money under the cap. We are now "worse" than we were last year. The same can be said of the QB position a few years ago.
John: I’m not going to turn this answer into an overall “defense” of Gene Smith, but I have to disagree with your premise. It was pretty much agreed entering last offseason that the No. 1 need was wide receiver. The Jaguars are significantly better at that spot now than they were in January. The pass rush absolutely is not good enough, but it wasn’t the No. 1 need on the roster entering last offseason.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
I've read some people saying they think the Jags shouldn’t play MJD and Shorts and others the rest of the year so they will have a worse record thus getting a better draft pick. While I understand and appreciate that thought, FORGET ALL THAT NOISE! I would rather them play better and bring that winning spirit and culture back to the team and the fans. Winning makes you feel real good. I know I am in a much better mood when I see them play good and sure the team is too. And I know that your inbox is much easier to rummage through when they win, too.
John: Forget my inbox. There’s a month left in the season. Play to win.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 122:
Where do you see the MoJo contract situation going this year? Undoubtedly he is our best option at running back. Does coming off an injury hurt his bargaining position at all? I think lots of this will be dependent on what happens at the general manager position.
John: Coming off the injury sure doesn’t help, though he’s absolutely the best running back on the roster. The general manager position always dictates direction, but Shad Khan was the owner of the team last offseason and will be again this offseason, so I doubt the team’s general stance changes much.
Mike from Kissimmee, FL:
If the season ended today, what would you be most excited about going into the next season?
John: My boss, Senior Vice President of Communications Dan Edwards, has promised I can get a new digital recorder. I’m pretty jacked about that.