JACKSONVILLE – One more day to Look Ahead Wednesday.
Let’s get to it . . .
Vishwa from Jacksonville:
Losing aside, it must be a tough decision for Khan, Caldwell and Bradley to stay the course and build this the right way. Jacksonville being a small market, it is tempting to keep a patchwork going. But they are showing this is a mature organization that is not afraid to make the tough decisions necessary to build a long-term solid, successful team. Kudos to them, and I am sure they will stay the course. Looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel.
John: There indeed should be light at the end of the tunnel. It’s difficult to discuss or hear what you’re saying, because fans of this team have seen a lot of losing for a long time. Because of that, talk of rebuilding and staying the course in difficult times rings hollow. And now, the Jaguars are in a four-game stretch in which the margin of defeat is historic and therefore pretty disheartening. But yes, it would have been easy to patchwork. The Jaguars made a thought-out choice not to do that. They are being criticized in a lot of circles for it, but often you have to go through a time of criticism before you see the results of a long-term strategy.
Mark from Orange Park, FL:
John, let me suggest that some of our offensive linemen have no character. When I hear that offensive linemen get days off from practice, well, it drives me nuts. Their play does not warrant this benefit and if they had any work ethic they should be embarrassed to take it. I want comment on their coaches or bosses offering this reward.
John: This seems to be a constant source of irritation and misunderstanding among fans. Veteran days off are not a reward, and they’re not based on work ethic. They’re also not based on a team’s record or current circumstance. They are a way of trying to ensure that injured and/or older players make it through an entire season playing at as a high a level as possible. It’s fairly common around the NFL and has nothing to do with performance.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
The attendance has been extremely light at home games thus far. It's probably as bad as I've seen it since 2009. Yes, the team is terrible, but there was noticeably less of a marketing push this past offseason to sell tickets. Why?
John: I can assure you there was no less of a marketing push this past offseason to sell tickets.
Doug from Jacksonville:
I was at the game so I didn't have the benefit the real fans who watched on TV had, but Gabbert ran out of pockets when no one was open. He usually looked to have opportunities for some gains with his feet. I am not saying Gabbert is great, but announcers love to pile on. I heard tell of MJD losing a step as well. This may very well be, but my binoculars told me at the game there were no lanes, no holes. By the way, the record of the four teams who gave the Jags their four losses so far is 13-3.
John: Yes, the Jaguars have played a difficult schedule, but that’s no excuse for losing every game by double digits. It’s just not. But your point on Gabbert is one with which Gus Bradley agrees – certainly for now, at least. Bradley supported Gabbert after the loss Sunday, and he supported him even more strongly on Monday after reviewing video from the game. The reason is as you said – that watching tape there were a lot of times when Gabbert simply had no receivers open, and then chose to run. Gabbert certainly could have played better, but this wasn’t a case where you watched a replay of the game and everything fell on Gabbert.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
Not for nothing, but a 21.2 QB rating leads me to ask how long it's going to be before the team gives Stanzi or Scott a chance to start. Even the Browns turned to Hoyer.
John: In reference to how long Gabbert has to show he should continue starting, the timeframe is not limitless. If coaches believe he is playing poorly, I don’t see him starting all season. We’re not there yet.
JT from Starkville, MS:
Mark the words, John. Gabbert is going to figure something out this week, and come in with a strong game next week. Feel it in tha bones. Or just a guess. Let's see. Mark 'em.
Tom from Melbourne, FL:
It's the lack of talent, right? I can see more than a few of our current starters who wouldn't play a down for most other teams. Just need to get some better players in the offseason.
John: The talent needs to improve in the long-term. That was made pretty clear all offseason. There are positions where the Jaguars aren’t as strong as other NFL teams, and there’s no doubting that the depth isn’t what it could be. Most of the starters could play somewhere else, but is this group high in talent compared to the rest of the league? No, it is not.
Robert from Jacksonville:
With the NFL trade deadline approaching, are there any foreseeable trades possible for us to improve our offense?
John: It’s hard to predict trades in the NFL, because you need a trading partner and you often need unforeseeable circumstances such as injury to spur a team to be a trading partner. But if the Jaguars did trade, it likely would be to procure draft selections rather than players to play this season.
Tariq from Jacksonville:
With Blaine grabbing all the attention, MJD quietly rushes for 23 yards and 1.3 yards a carry. At least we didn't give him that extension, and since we're rebuilding we might as well trade him for more picks next year. #Bridgewater
John: To who?
Ima from Jacksonville:
0-16 is a bit optimistic. I sense 0-32 is very doable with Bradley and Caldwell "competing" against other NFL coaches and GM's. Your thoughts?
John: My thoughts are because it’s difficult to see the long-term when things are going poorly in the short-term, your concern is understandable. I also think that while understandable, it’s off-base and short-sighted, but that will be borne out over time.
Javier from Alexandria, VA:
In the Colts game, Gabbert was targeting CS3 more than he had previously. Another thing I noticed is how often CS3 was double-teamed to force Gabbert to throw to a different receiver. I do think the return of Blackmon and a healthy Lewis will mean a lot more to this team and Gabbert than you let on.
John: There’s no doubt it will help. Lewis and Blackmon are first-round talents, and defenses must account for them when they’re on the field. I don’t think it’s fair to say their absences are the reason the Jaguars are winless, but the Jaguars will be better when they return.
Brian from Mandarin:
“Perfectly good pocket" – please. Maybe a perfectly good surprise pocket. Gotta fix the line first.
John: Your question alludes to an issue that makes it difficult to judge Gabbert. There did seem to be times on Sunday when he left the pocket before it was necessary. There were also times he needed to run. When you have to run so often, it makes sense that you start doing it more than necessary. But yes, the line has to get fixed. And Gabbert has to be better in the pocket. It’s a double-edged issue.
Steve from Jacksonville:
I like managerial discipline but I like winning a LOT more. Do you expect that along with what will surely be a high draft position that the Jags might take more interest in free agency next year? I get building through the draft but at some point it's a business/ticket sales issue and you have to just go get guys where they are desperately needed. Even if you feel you're overpaying a bit. Thoughts?
John: I imagine this will be one of those questions I get a lot in the coming months. I’ve certainly gotten it a lot in the coming days. I’ll answer it how I’ve been answering it: Yes, I believe the Jaguars will spend more in free agency this offseason than last. The plan never was to never spend in free agency. The plan was to build first through the draft, and then to supplement through free agency when it makes sense. Next offseason’s draft will be the second for Caldwell, which should give you another two or three core young players. At that point, it makes more sense to spend to add 25-to-27-year-old veterans to the core than perhaps it does now.
Cameron from Jacksonville:
“And it’s not as if there are interior lineman and defensive lineman out there just waiting to come in and start. As hard as it may be to believe, there just aren’t." That's an actual response we received from you. Yes, there were interior linemen available. That is what the offseason is for. Instead, this organization chose not to spend any significant money. Don't you see that the fans understand we didn't need to go blow a ton of money, but we did complain about the bargain-basement shopping that failed miserably.
John: Yes, it was an actual response from me. It was in response referring to roster moves made this past weekend, not last offseason. I do understand what fans complain about, Cameron. I read it pretty much every day.