JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Alphonso from Orlando, FL:
’s injury proneness and lack of consistency have not changed. Chad Henne
on the other hand is being blamed for interceptions tipped at the line. It’s almost stubborn at this point. I say Henne starts. What say you, O-man?
John: I say this is going to get kicked around and analyzed ad nauseam in the coming days and weeks, but the bottom line is this: the reason the Jaguars have not absolutely come out and named Henne or Gabbert the permanent starter is that neither has earned being named the absolute permanent starter. Yes, Henne has been better thus far. Few would debate that. Gabbert has struggled a lot this season – more so, even, than in his first two seasons. For that reason, people are ready to write him off. The Jaguars aren’t ready to do that – in part, because history shows that quarterbacks often develop later in their careers and he still has played relatively few games at quarterback. As for Henne, while the offense has produced yardage, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley has continually talked about missed opportunities by Henne. That infuriates people who want Gabbert out and Henne in permanently, but the Jaguars aren’t at the point where they’re saying, “Chad Henne is clearly the guy and we’re done with Blaine Gabbert.” They just aren’t.
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable:
It appears that Blaine Gabbert has officially been pondered in favor of Chad Henne. That is to say a-now- relatively-healthy Gabbert is being demoted in favor of a more effective Henne. Your thoughts?
John: My thoughts are you’re a little ahead of yourself, and that I don’t how “relatively-healthy” Gabbert is. Henne’s the starter for this week, and while many people are calling for that to be permanent, it’s not decided. Could it be? Could Henne win the job? Yes. It’s not done yet.
Stan from Jacksonville:
Why can't you just act normal?
John: Why can’t you just (EDITOR: DELETED)
Dave from Orange Park, FL:
It seems Henne gets more balls tipped or batted down at the line than any other quarterback I've ever seen. Four yesterday (two for picks), three or four last week – is there a problem with his launch point? Is he not aware of his passing lanes? Is he tipping his throws for the D-linemen?
John: This indeed is an ongoing issue for Henne. He has had seven passes batted this season, which is tied for most in the NFL, and had nine last season while starting six games. It’s hard to pinpoint why it is that way. He’s not particularly short, doesn’t take an inordinate number of sacks, and his pocket awareness is certainly at a professional level. He often has played on teams that are struggling, so as is often the case in football, it’s probably not all on him, but it does happen a lot.
Adam from St. Johns:
One thing the fans haven't been cognizant of is the fact the Jags haven't been playing a last-place schedule. Not even close. The Rams are .500 and the Raiders are one game from .500. My point is: we're slowly seeing the team improve against good teams.
John: The Jaguars indeed have played a difficult schedule. The Chiefs, Seahawks, Colts and Broncos certainly are among the Top 10 teams in the NFL, and few would argue much if you placed them all in the Top 5. That doesn’t make 0-6 look any better, particularly when the losses have been so one-sided, but the schedule won’t get more difficult.
Frank from Orange Park, FL:
How many of Henne's interceptions have been in the red zone this year? Seems like when we get close to scoring, I just know a turnover is coming.
John: Two of Henne’s interceptions have come in the red zone. Each was against Seattle.
James from Orange Park, FL:
The Jags have lost 11 straight games dating back to last year. In that vein, they only have given more to go to make it 0-16. After their performance against Denver, I have a little more faith that there won't be an 0-16 season for 2013. Just a bit more.
John: Thanks for the statistical update, James. This will help. I get that there will be some people doing the match and figuring out how many to go until 0-16 overlaps the two seasons. That’s fine, but there has been so much change from this season to last – head coach, general manager, much of the roster – that few around here link the two seasons. The Jaguars are concerned about this season and more specifically, the next few weeks and months, and not really about what happened last season.
Clayton from Jacksonville:
Why would the Jags release Lowery for nothing instead of trying to trade him, even if it’s for a seventh-round pick? I'm sure there is a good reason, I just don't know it.
John: What makes you think they didn’t try?
Zain from Orlando, FL:
Is it just me or does Blackmon catch an inordinate number of his passes over the middle of the field? It was all slants and drags Sunday, and I noticed it last year, too. Is this by design, due to capability or both? Also, I like Blackmon, but I'm not ready to anoint him as a star yet. I will say I'm very excited about the Shorts / Blackmon combo as long as they can stay on the field.
John: Blackmon does do a lot of his best work over the middle. He’s really good on the slant and it’s a relatively low-risk pass that helps an offense function. It also gives the quarterback and the offense confidence because it produces first downs and puts the offense in control. He runs it a lot because he’s really good at it. As for anointing him a star, I have no idea if he’s a star yet and don’t really care. What’s important to the Jaguars is he’s giving them an option offensively on which they can rely and build game plans and schemes around. For an offense that struggled to start the season, that’s critical.
Hogfish from Mayport, FL and Section 441:
Remember when the Blackmon suspension was announced and many fans were clamoring for him to be cut? That seems like a long time ago now.
John: Yeah, there was a reason that didn’t happen.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
That's what I had been hoping to see so far this year: a young team making a few rookie errors but that overall looked well-coached and talented. A team that hadn't made those mental errors, and with a decent quarterback, could have won. It also shows to me that if not for one Peyton Manning, the Broncos could be just as easily a 0-6 team themselves.
John: I don’t know what the Broncos would be without Manning. If healthy, then I think they would be OK. As far as your point about the Jaguars, that’s what I expect you’ll see more often than not the rest of the season. People wanted to see it already, and that makes sense. Remember, this was a huge overhaul and it takes time for young players to get to the point where everyone understands the concepts and schemes enough to reach a competitive level. New coach, new coordinators, new roster, new coaches, uncertainty at the quarterback position – it all conspires to sometimes make the team look further away than it actually is.
James from Pitt Meadows:
I love MJD. He really has been the only bright spot for the Jags in the last four or five years, BUT he really isn't getting it done anymore. I'd love to see Todman or Forsett get more carries, thoughts?
John: My thoughts are that if the line doesn’t run-block better, it doesn’t much matter who plays running back.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Dumb as I am, I'm starting to enjoy the season. The coaching staff is obviously teaching. Young players are getting better. The coaches are figuring out who can do what and into which roles they go. There is something new each week. This creation is beginning to look like an NFL team. It would be nice to win one.
John: You’re not dumb, and my guess is you’ll enjoy it more as the season goes on. The Jaguars are indeed trying to give young players a chance to improve, but the most accurate part of your email is that coaches are trying to figure out who can do what. That’s exactly the process, and it’s easy to forget that that takes time. There are a limited number of real games and real snaps and real opportunities for teams to find out what really works with a certain group of players. This group in a very real sense came together only recently, and with so many changes, the coming-together process is still ongoing. As they get more comfortable with what players do well, you’ll see continued improvement. While the process of getting to 0-6 may have seemed long and painful to fans, within the context of an organization building toward a long-term goal it’s only the beginning. Over the course of the season, you should see the graph overall go up, and if you do, then you’ll enjoy the season and it will have been productive.