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A case of clamoring fans

Let's get to it . . . John from Milton Keyes, England:
Just wondering how many players from one generation would make it into the Hall of Fame. Could you name 10 current players that you think might make it?
John: This is not a comprehensive list, but I'm sure I can get 10: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Champ Bailey, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Darrelle Revis and DeMarcus Ware. Those seem certainties, and since you said might, I'd add Charles Woodson, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers, Adrian Peterson. There are more, but that's at least 10.
Norm from Dothan, AL:
Amazing! The Jags play their heart out and win. Then all these negative comments, on different sites from fans, complaining about this and that. Is there any pleasing our fans?
John: Not unless the Jaguars win the Super Bowl. And that's OK. It's what fans are supposed to expect.
Drew from Buford, GA:
While the Jags are pretty bad on offensive diversity right now and last in the NFL, I must say, I am very impressed with how they all play as a team, especially defensively. Honestly, on offense, the numbers are a reflection of the talent level. With Lewis, they should be a little better, but let's face it, defensive backs are not losing sleep about facing us. But to still be as competitive in every game as we have been is a testament to this team and shows how close they are to truly being a yearly competitor. Any chance our draft spot would land us Alshon Jeffries?! Would Jags management pony up for a free agent like D-Jax if he is available? Adding those two guys would be incredible.
John: I continue to say I'd be surprised if the Jaguars don't address receiver in the first round. I also think the receiver area is enough of an issue – and enough other issues around the team are on solid footing – that you could see them draft a receiver in later rounds and sign a veteran free agent. The free agent would have to be the right fit, because that's a huge bust-risk position in free agency, but if there was one who's potential and character merited the price it would be a possibility. It will be interesting to see what happens with Jackson. He just missed a game after missing a team meeting. Without knowing details, it's safe to say that's something to be investigated before signing a player to a big money contract – no matter the talent level.
Dane from Jacksonville:
With Matt Schaub out for the season the division is now up for grabs. Now is the time to get hot before Tennessee does. Just win, baby!
John: I guess I just see things differently. Schaub's absence likely will hurt the Texans, but even if Houston goes into a major slide, the Jaguars probably need to win six of their final seven games. I'm not saying that couldn't happen. I'm saying I want to see them win two or three in succession and get to within arm's length before I use the phrase, "Up for grabs."
John from Jacksonville:
First, there are a lot of components to our team that are very good and exciting to watch. However, I don't see much improvement on a weekly basis with our passing offense, yet I keep hearing not to expect much until after the off-season. What is different during the off-season that is going to make much difference that practicing during the week between games can't correct? What are they practicing each week during the regular season that doesn't help resolve their timing, routes, etc now instead of the off-season? Just trying to better understand the "behind the scenes" better.
John: Most of the practice time during the season is focused on installing the game plan and preparing for the opponent. That doesn't leave much of a chance to hone basics and fundamentals. That's in addition to the fact that help is not on the way at the positions that could use help. Also, it is a widely-held belief among NFL people that second-year players typically make the biggest jumps. That's because they have the experience gained as a rookie and time to combine that experience with a full off-season to work with teammates, get into the playbook and work on areas that need improving. Gabbert didn't have any off-season this past season, so it stands to reason that many of the areas in which he must improve – and any young quarterback has such areas – should improve this off-season.
Kirk from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Which one matters more to the Jags the rest of this season, Mathis and Britton on IR, or Matt Leinart trying to win the AFC South for the Texans rest of the way? I know I speak for a lot of Jags fans when I say I cannot wait for our next home game when Leinart comes to the Bank.
John: I'd say Mathis on IR is the biggest impact. Britton hadn't been playing this year, but Mathis had been playing at a high level and will be hard to replace. I don't worry much about who's playing for other teams. The Jaguars need to take care of themselves before what's going on with Houston matters.
Evan from Ponte Vedra, FL:
With Eben Britton basically out for two years now, do we address the right tackle position in the draft in the first or second round or is right tackle easier to find later in the draft?
John: Much will depend on Britton's long-term diagnosis. It stands to reason with the back issues that the Jaguars could draft the position in April. If that's the case, my guess is it would be with a mid-to-late round selection – sometime after Round 3.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
That was the last game that we're likely to see Rashean Mathis play in as a Jaguar, isn't it, John?
John: It depends. Mathis played well this season, and it wouldn't be out of the question to see him brought back at a reasonable price with a short contract. If he's looking for big money and a long-term deal, that could change the equation. Veteran players are often wise to stay with a team that knows them and understands their value. Such situations often extend careers compared to a player going to an unfamiliar team for slightly more money.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Am I missing something? Is 14/21 not 66.6 percent anymore? I'd call that well over 50 percent. Not saying it was a fantastic performance or anything, just confused.
John: It is indeed 66.6 percent. A reader wrote of Gabbert's performance that it was nearly 50 percent, and I made a weak attempt at a joke by noting that indeed it was. When I signed on for the O-Zone, I was told there would be no math on the quizzes, so that's that.
Dan from Fort Wayne, IN:
So when does Lewis end up as the second tight end? I think Lewis is a proud guy so give Zach Potter a chance to be the No. 1 tight end the next two games and give Mercedes a reason to step it up or lose his place permanently.
John: We're a long way from that. Lewis is still the best tight end on the roster, and despite a drop Sunday, coaches say he had a dominant game blocking.
Ryan from Duval:
So I get that fans can be irrational and unreasonable, and that Gene is building this team "the right way." But, I vividly recall many fans clamoring for the front office to add talent to our passing game last season. Maybe not an expensive free agent, but perhaps a high draft pick. Gene clearly didn't think that was needed and boy he could not have been more wrong. I think that's a 1 for the fans.
John: I also vividly recall fans clamoring for cornerback Rashean Mathis to be cut or replaced, for the defensive line to be overhauled, for Eugene Monroe to be written off as a bust and for any multitude of other things to happen. The Jaguars added a high draft pick to the passing game. His name was Blaine Gabbert. After that, they picked in the third round. There are only so many picks in a given draft, and we've been over the free agency thing over and over.
Brett from Ocoee, FL:
Dillard has impressed me all season. It seems like he produces every time they put him in. He has done a lot with the limited exposure they give him, so I say give him more exposure. In three-plus wide receiver sets, put Hill and Dillard on the outside and Thomas in the slot. Thomas is our best receiver and I think his effectiveness would be maximized in the slot and generating mismatches. At this point, there's no reason not to get a better look at the entire receiving corps. It can't get any worse than last place.
John: It seemed obvious Sunday that the Jaguars made changes offensively to work different receivers. Chastin West caught three passes and Dillard caught a touchdown. They're trying to get into situations where Gabbert can do what he does best, and using different formations with different receivers should be part of that.
Jonathan from Jacksonville:
"He looked good and had too much ability in training camp." Was this in pads or in shorts?
John: Both.

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