Michael Mandarin, FL:
At what point does Shad Khan release a statement to the city of Jacksonville and the fans? We're currently going down as one of the worst franchises in NFL history (statistically speaking), and now this with Blackmon. It seems like Mr. Khan is a great guy, and hired the right personnel, but I would like a statement from him just to comfort the fan base. Or is that asking too much?
John: What could Khan say to comfort the fan base? The Jaguars are 0-8 with all of those losses by double digits. Khan already has said he believes in Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell, saying it on more than one occasion while the team was in London. No one with any knowledge of the situation believes Khan believes anything to the contrary. A statement isn’t going to be much comfort to fans, and if he made it, it’s an unusual enough move that media would make a big deal out of it and try to figure why an owner would issue such a statement. This is a long-term process, and as the team improves over the long-term that will provide more comfort than statements. The best thing Khan can do is what he plans to do – support Caldwell and Bradley, and help them continue to work this plan.
Bryce from Algona, IA:
Was the Blackmon incident not already foreseen? A multiple offender who has little to lose on a 0-8 team is on a bye week with much downtime to his devices. I put all of the blame squarely on Blackmon, but was there anything the organization could've done to help him protect him from himself?
John: The Jaguars, from David Caldwell to Gus Bradley and throughout the organization, have supported Blackmon. Professional football players are adults. There is a limit to what a team can do.
Todd from Stuttgart, Germany:
Very unfortunate about Justin Blackmon
. He was exciting to watch. How much does this affect the growth of the rebuilding process now that in all reality you have to assume he will no longer be in the future plans of this organization?
John: I don’t know that we can assume your premise is correct. Blackmon’s future with the organization, while less certain than it was a week ago, is hardly decided.
Ken from Summerville:
I know Blackmon is suspended without pay. Does his salary still count against the cap or is it subtracted?
John: A suspended player’s salary does not count against the cap. That means the only part of Blackmon’s salary this season that counts against the cap are the four games he played, and whatever portion of his signing bonus was prorated into this season.
Howard from Homestead:
Every single first-round receiver we've drafted was derailed by substance abuse. Not one or two – every single one. At this point, if the Jaguars draft another wide receiver that high, he'd better be a complete teetotaler when it comes to ALL drugs and alcohol. Think how far ahead this organization would be today if they had held such a line in the past. There is something about the makeup of a person willing to run in the middle of a field and take these hits that lends itself to substance abuse. It's idiotic not to take that into consideration when drafting this position.
John: I was struck by how many people shared this view, and how many lumped Blackmon with the team’s previous troubles with first-round wide receivers. I understand fans are scarred by past failures, but the team won’t screen certain positions more carefully than others just because there were some players at the position who have had past problems. As far as your last comment, that “there is something about the makeup of a person willing to run in the middle of a field and take these hits that lends itself to substance abuse,” that’s just silliness, Howard. C’mon.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
If Blaine Gabbert
doesn't see the field again this year, what happens to him in the offseason? He has a year on his contract, so would they keep him around as a backup, try to trade him, cut him, use him at the concession stands, let him run and get the tee after kickoffs? I'm just not sure what to expect…
John: In your scenario, I would expect him to be released.
Blake from Jacksonville:
I hope Blackmon gets the help he needs and gets another chance. He doesn't strike me as a bad person and I don't think the appropriate thing to do is to kick him out and wipe your hands of him as most in the Jacksonville media are suggesting. It seems the rationale behind that is to save face and move on, which is kind of sad. It would be a much better story if Blackmon gets help, comes back as a better person and goes on to have success. It appears that's the Jaguars hope, which strengthens my opinion of how they plan on doing things.
John: The Jaguars’ reaction to the Blackmon situation was well-articulated by Caldwell Friday, when he said, “It’s not in our nature to just turn our back on one of our members that needs our help.” There is a limit to what the Jaguars can say about this matter, and thus a limit to the details the team can provide, but the Jaguars want to support Blackmon as much as possible. That will anger a lot of fans calling for his immediate release, but that’s OK. It’s the team’s job in this case to do what’s right, not to react to quick-trigger public sentiment.
Daniel from Section 146 since Day 1:
Every time someone suggests the team is moving, you or I can name an endless list of examples why that isn't true. But every time someone suggests that the general manager has done an awful job and must be replaced, you insist there's no reason to even consider that a possibility. Caldwell's talk is cheap, and I believe Mr. Khan believes it is cheap. There's no tangible evidence from the Caldwell's history, or the current roster, or from the owner; that Caldwell is capable of executing this plan. Why should we believe you have inside information that Caldwell is meeting Shad Khan's expectations with this job performance so far?
John: I like people to enjoy this website, and make every effort to ensure they do. My magical powers stop when it comes to being able to make people believe what they don’t want to believe. So, believe what you want, Daniel. Honestly, it matters to me not one iota.
Eric from Boston, MA:
Not a fan of the "nothing-to-lose" approach, either, in regards to play-calling. Anyone who argues it’s the right move to just chuck the ball down the field is lazy with their analysis of the game and where our squad is at talent-wise. With that being said, an obvious glaring area of need is the interior o-line. Do you think Dave is now more inclined to draft high at these positions?
John: I think he realizes it needs to be addressed. How early in the draft he will do that addressing remains to be seen.
John from Gloucestershire, England:
In the last two games, the Jaguars won the coin toss and elected to receive at the start of the second half. This gave our opponents the first chance to score, which they duly did, putting seven points on the board. When facing an opponent with a strong offense like the Chargers or the 49ers why hand them an advantage at the start? Is it an etiquette issue to give the visiting team the ball or what's the reasoning behind it?
John: It has nothing to do with etiquette and everything do to with game strategy. The idea is if you can score late in a half and get the ball to start the second half, you have a chance to gain momentum at that point in the game. The issue, of course, is that you can’t be so far behind at that point that it doesn’t matter. That has pretty much been the case for the Jaguars the last two games.
Michael from Gainesville, FL:
The knowledge gap analysis doesn't just apply to your teenager. It should be abundantly clear to anyone not asleep the NFL intends to play a "season" in London by alternating teams into that role, then backing that game with their bye. Khan is simply getting a jump on this plan to capitalize on the market share there. He will enhance this effort by feathering in promotional events with his soccer team. He's good.
John: Yes, he is.
Daniel from Wilmington, DE:
Do you think Jacksonville needs to run a no-huddle offense? It seems like when the Jaguars run it, they look more effective.
John: I think Jedd Fisch would love to run more no-huddle. The catch with the no-huddle is you need to get first downs to run it. If you run no-huddle and don’t get first downs what you have is three quick plays and a punt and it doesn’t look very effective at all.