BAGSHOT, England – Let’s get to it . . .
The Baguar from Bagsonville, FL:
Every time I read the comments of Khan and Gus Bradley, I do not know whether to laugh or cry. What do you recommend?
John: I recommend you do neither, actually. So far, everything I’ve seen from Shad Khan indicates that he will do whatever it takes to build a winning franchise. There are fans who have criticized the Jaguars for not spending in free agency this past offseason. Don’t forget: Khan spent significantly the previous offseason on two players that by any definition did not work out – Aaron Ross and Laurent Robinson. Those players were added with the idea they were missing pieces who would make a difference. They did not, and when Khan brought in David Caldwell and Gus Bradley, he did so with the idea of finding a real path to success on a long-term basis – not a patchwork plan that would sound good in the offseason and never yield results. The path the Jaguars have chosen is with an eye on the long-term, and the short-term in such a process isn’t always easy.
Myles from York, England:
More Johnny O, less Richard Graves. Need more be said?
John: I completely agree.
Steve from Woodbine, GA:
So why would a 0-7 team close practice while on a PR visit to London? I mean what exactly are they trying to hide?
John: Their game plan.
Nate from St. Augustine, FL:
I've seen a lot of steady improvement this year - the offense is moving better, defense is creating turnovers, legitimate stars are emerging (i.e. Blackmon, Cyprien) but everyone's concern is the quarterback position. Shouldn't we try to put more pieces together next year before we draft a "top tier" quarterback?
John: No. If the Jaguars indeed determine that the quarterback of the future is not on the roster – and right now, signs point to that being the case – then the time is probably at hand to go quarterback. There needs to be a quarterback available that you think is the right guy. It appears that almost certainly will be the case in May.
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
Since Bradley has faced the 49ers several times in the past, do you think that could help the Jags? I know our defense doesn't have the talent the Seahawks have, though.
John: Bradley absolutely will be familiar with what the 49ers do. The plan will be sound. Whether the Jaguars execute that plan, we’ll see Sunday.
John from Section 132:
I haven't seen many games on TV played in London. Do you think the NFL asks the referee crew to minimize penalties in order to make the game more exciting for the new viewers? I only ask because...well, we like to create a lot of penalties.
John: No, I don’t think the NFL asks the referee crew to minimize penalties.
Eric from Jacksonville:
John, you must understand the mistrust of Caldwell since he is preaching the same things as Gene Smith, who ran our franchise into the ground. I generally agree with the philosophy, but it’s hard to hear the same things that Gene Smith said.
John: Honestly, I don’t understand the mistrust of Caldwell. That’s because the things he says fit perfectly into how you build an NFL team. Now, did Gene Smith say the same things? Sure, a lot of teams say they’re building through the draft. To actually do it, and to have the commitment to stay the course, that’s what’s difficult.
Blake from Jacksonville:
I don't get some people's inability to comprehend how the Jags are worse this year than last year (debatable). They "blew up" a 2-14 team. Blowing up a team doesn't imply instantly making it better; it implies deconstructing it and risking getting worse so that it may be reconfigured in a manner consistent with the GM's vision of what the roster and salary cap should look like. It's not hard.
John: And yet apparently it is.
Bobby from Doboy Island, Georgia:
Hypothetically, let’s say you thought Gabbert or Henne was the worst quarterback in the history of professional football. And you wrote that verbatim in an Ask Oehser column. Do you think your ability to do your job and interview those players would be negatively affected going forward?
John: They surely wouldn’t love it, but with those two players, it wouldn’t matter much. Each understands that the media has a job to do, and while they may not love what is written, they deal with reporters professionally and courteously.
Evan from Section 137 and Ponte Vedra, FL:
Just one simple question. Why are we performing so poorly on the field and do not appear to be the least bit competitive. We were better our expansion year. Can you offer some insight?
John: Yes, daily.
Jeff from Malibu, CA:
Was it a Jags decision or does the league determine that in-season practices are closed? Seems like it would help build the London fan base to have open practices?
John: No teams have open practices during the season. Teams are working on game plans, which they logically prefer not be public. As far as building the London fan base, the Jaguars are doing something pretty significant. They’re playing a regular-season game there the next three seasons.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Maybe you won't bite on 0-16, how about #1 overall pick?
Chris from Jacksonville:
The Cowboys will be the Jags’ opponent for next year's game in London – it’s bad enough that fans in Jacksonville are losing a home game, but to lose one against a premier franchise that only plays in Jacksonville once every eight years is a complete disservice to the fans. Plus, if the goal is to expand the Jags fan base, shouldn't we be playing a much less popular team (Browns, Bills, Titans) in London? Is there anything that can be done to fix this?
John: No, but from this chair there’s not all that much to fix. When I was growing up a Washington Redskins fan, I didn’t watch the games to see the opponent; I watched because I wanted to see the Redskins win. I sort of assumed that Jaguars fans felt the same way. I’m not discounting your point, because I understand there are fans who feel the same way. I just can’t relate to it.
Bruce from Gotham:
Wouldn't the kickoff be 6 p.m. London time? Too many pubs, huh?
John: The kickoff is at 5 p.m. as Daylight Savings Time begins in England Sunday morning.
Sage from Orlando, FL:
Would the Jets & Jaguars trade Garrard for Henne or Gabbert? (Why not, since neither is the future anyway)
John: Goodness no. Why?
Tom from Fernandina Beach:
John, the prevailing wisdom on the sports net is that the Jags have given up on Blaine Gabbert
and will draft a QB next year. Your thoughts?
John: It looks more like that now than it did a few days ago. I’d say something has to change pretty drastically now for that not to be the case.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Screaming "These aren't chips, these are fries!" at a fish and chips stand. #shadricksighting
John: That’s who that was.
Daniel from Santa Rosa:
I've seen some comments about how Bradley might be in trouble if the season doesn't get better. And I've seen your responses that he will survive this year (which I know he will). My question: "Is winning a primary or secondary goal this season?" From what you've written and what the Jags collectively have said, it's about assessing talent and improving. Of course, everyone would like to win games, but it seems like the primary focus is not on winning today, but winning in the future (next season).
John: The primary goal is to win this season. What the Jaguars didn’t want to do was sign players to long contracts who would turn out to be short-term fixes.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
John - Do you get the sense that our players feel like this is a "home" game?
John: Not yet, but I get the sense it could get close to that in a year or two.
James from Jacksonville:
Did someone really use Josh Freeman playing Monday night as an example of quarterbacks that could have been had? Did that person actually watch Freeman play Monday night? Yes. We need a quarterback, but not one that is no better than what we already have.
John: Aren’t you adorable, with your logic and reason. That has been the point all along. The Jaguars know they need a long-term answer at quarterback. They didn’t feel there was one available last offseason that made sense, and because of that, it made sense to see what they had on the roster. So far, none of the quarterbacks on the roster have proven to be that guy. I would think a move would be made in that area during the coming offseason.
Joy from Section 103:
We will be there Friday, John. Save us some beer.
John: Shadrick’s here. Don’t dawdle.