Let's get to it . . .
Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
Your response to someone asking if Jags fans can ever be pleased. "Not unless the Jaguars win the Super Bowl." Are you kidding me? I think there would have been plenty of Jags fans thrilled with 17-3 over Peyton Manning's Colts. But not this Painter/Orlovski iteration. There would have been plenty of Jags fans pleased if the passing offense looked anything short of completely inept. I don't think we need the Super Bowl to be pleased. I think we need consistently competitive on both sides of the ball, make the plays you should make, beat the teams you should beat, steal an upset here and there, get better, and play a fun brand of football.
John: You're right. They would be thrilled with that. And then, after a good night's rest, they'd be angry when they realized the Jaguars didn't win the Super Bowl.
John from Jacksonville:
Can you please tell me why the heck we didn't draft Tebow?
John: I'll begin this by saying I'll answer one Tebow question this morning. Just one. The Jaguars didn't draft Tebow because they did what nearly every other NFL team did: they watched tape. And if you watched Tebow Thursday, you again saw why -- that he can not make the throws from the pocket that most people in the NFL believe a quarterback must make. And while what Tebow's doing in Denver is a remarkable story, I'm still not of the belief that it's something that can be successful for the long haul. Vince Young had similar success with a relatively comparable style early and it just wasn't something that led to long-term playoff-level success. There undoubtedly will be critics galore who bring out the old arguments that the Jaguars should have drafted Tebow. I didn't believe they should have then and I don't believe they should have now. I'll say this: he's a very good late-game quarterback and when things break down, he can make plays with his legs. In most of the games he has won, a lot had to go right for the Broncos to have a chance at the end of games in which Tebow played remarkably poorly for the first 55 minutes. And yet, somehow, those things have happened and he must be given credit for making winning plays at the end of games. That has made for a thrilling and compelling first month. I don't believe it will be something that's sustainable, but time will tell.
Ray from Jacksonville:
I think Clay from Jacksonville should try this experiment: 1, Put the guarantees paid to Poz, Landry, Session, Roth, and Coleman on one side of a balancing scale, with the guarantee paid to Turk on the other; 2, Put all the wasted free agent money in history on one side of a scale and the "good" free agent money from history on the other side. 3. Compare results.
John: You can drive yourself crazy comparing the blow-by-blow results of any team's free agency or draft. I'm not sure anyone can look at the moves the Jaguars made during a hectic, time-compressed free agency period this past July and August and think the Jaguars didn't spend wisely and make dramatic improvements. Did they miss on Turk? Yes. Beyond that, it was one of the better free-agency spending periods in recent memory.
Travis from Tampa, FL:
Funny on how your question by John from Milton Keyes, England, you mentioned Peyton Manning first, over Tom Brady. Something we should know? You also don't think Ben Roethlisberger, with his two (100 percent more than Manning) Super Bowl rings doesn't qualify?
John: I mentioned Manning first because I wrote him first, and Brady second because I wrote him second. I think I was pretty clear in my answer that it wasn't a scientific list fraught with meaning and implication. And as for Roethlisberger, yes, he has a chance to make the Hall of Fame. I'd put him in the "might" category. I'm not one who automatically grades quarterbacks by counting rings. If that was all there was too it, Trent Dilfer and Jim Plunkett would be in the Hall of Fame and Dan Marino would not.
Jim from Jacksonville, FL:
Re running or passing on first down. You mentioned that an incomplete pass gives a 2nd-and-10 situation. Watching the Jags get stuffed on the run on first down so frequently, it often leaves them nine or eight yards on second down. Obviously, a play-action pass provides greater opportunity for more yards and perhaps a big play in the overall scheme of things. Which leads to the question: Why is the coaching staff so adamant about running the ball on first down?
John: I am always hesitant to get into broad-brush criticism of play-calling. There are so many variables and changing factors in each situation that it's hard to know exactly why plays are called in certain situations. Often, coaches are trying to establish something for later in a game or even trying to test something to see if it might work against a certain scheme or personnel package. On a fundamental level, I agree with you: I like to see passing on first down because it allows the quarterback to pass when the defense isn't gearing up for a heavy pass rush. Yet in the case of the Jaguars, their best player is a running back and their offensive line is a very good run-blocking unit, so it's not hard to see why they are more comfortable running on early downs.
Jory from Kodiak, AK:
I have a question and a comment. My question is, bias aside, do you honestly believe that Blaine Gabbert has the natural skill set to develop into a successful NFL quarterback? Secondly, I just wanted to say that all of these fans are getting on my nerves. I am a lifelong Jags fan, and although I have been disappointed at times I have never dreamt of bashing the team like I see many of these so-called fans do on a daily basis. I love my Jags no matter what.
John: Yes, Gabbert absolutely has the skill set. Although there are times – like most observers – I'm not crazy about some things I see, I believe Gabbert is playing far better than most believe and believe if he was getting more help from his offense the concern many feel wouldn't be nearly as acute. As far as the fans go, I think most of the fans who bash feel the same love you do. They just have a less lovable way of showing it.
Greg from Jacksonville:
During the Colts game what was the reasoning behind the Colts changing quarterbacks? From what I am seeing they need to really inventory what they have at QB besides Peyton so they can make decisions for the future? It seems Painter and his backup are not very good, how did this happen to the Colts? Interested in your take since you know them well.
John: They changed quarterbacks because Painter wasn't giving them a chance to win. As far as what happened, the Colts essentially knew that it didn't matter how good the backup was, they weren't going to win with Manning not in the lineup. Because of how much the offense depended on Manning's abilities at the line of scrimmage, there might have been two or three quarterbacks aside from Manning who could have produced a playoff season if inserted into the lineup and those guys weren't going to be available. They were also handcuffed by Manning's durability. A really good backup wants to go where there might me a chance to play. Manning missed one play because of injury until this season and rarely didn't take a snap in practice or in games. It's not exactly a fertile ground for building or reviving a backup's career.
Peter from Kingston, ON:
Most rookies do not play at a high level, but people only hear about those who do; that's where the expectations come from.
John: Correct. More often than not, players play small roles as rookies, then develop into contributing players after that. A team with an established roster will rarely have a rookie playing a key role. The Jaguars are still relatively young in the process of rebuilding the foundation of the roster, so for now, players are being asked to play big roles as rookies. Ideally in the future, that won't be the case as often.
Kirk from Ponte Vedra, FL:
So the best Jaguar receiver in franchise history was Jimmy Smith. What made him such a great receiver for us that none of our guys have and is there anyone in the league now or in the upcoming draft that mirrors the talent he had?
John: Smith was a rare combination of size, speed and strength at the position. His strength made it nearly impossible to defend him with press coverage. Certainly, there are current NFL receivers who on some level remind you of Smith, but I'm not sure anyone plays with quite his style of overpowering defenders and simply being too strong to cover in tight spaces.
A bunch of smaller answers
Let's get to it . . .
Mike from St. Augustine, FL: