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A day of unbridled optimisim

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Let's get to it . . . Bryce from Algona, IA:
In your Ten Things article this week, you mentioned that Gabbert thinks he's good. My question is: Do you get an impression of him being overly cocky or is he more of the humble type?
John: I probably didn't explain that comment enough. He does think he's good, but it probably would have been better to say he believes he is good. And that's a good thing. A quarterback must believe he's good and think he's good. There are enough fans telling him he's not, enough critics criticizing and enough defenses trying to stop him – and he'll make enough mistakes – that without that confidence, a quarterback has no chance. Gabbert is a good mix. He's confident, but not so much so that he doesn't believe he still has to work. And he seems willing to work. The package hasn't yet all come together, but all you can ask of a young quarterback is to show signs and desire. He's doing both.
Ryan from Clyde, OH:
Rick used to say receivers were "a dime a dozen" but also said to get a top receiver you have to look early in the first round – i.e. Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, etc. I think if the Jaguars want a top wide receiver they have to look in the first round or try to get lucky later in next year's draft. Have I been heard?
John: I don't know every "ism" of my predecessor. I do know that sometimes you can't overgeneralize a position. Whatever the position, to get a player of superstar quality, it stands to reason that your chances increase the earlier you select him in the draft. You can get a wide receiver later in the draft, but generally speaking, first-round players are first-round players for a reason and your chances at a big-time player are better than afterward. Not breaking anything new there, just sort of clarifying the obvious. My predecessor is right in the sense that you can find productive receivers all over the draft, but your percentages go up greatly early in the first round.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Our defense is much improved from last year. I feel we are one DE away from being very, very good on the defensive side of the ball. Can this DE be the returning Kampman? Or perhaps Austen Lane? What is your perspective?
John: I expect Kampman to miss Sunday's game, but to return the following week against Pittsburgh. If he does, we'll get an idea if he can be that guy this season. If so, he could be the final piece to a very, very good defense.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Why not bring in T.O.? The "development" of our young receivers is not going according to plan and if he is only here half the year, his effect on our team chemistry would be minimal. Other than M-80 our receivers have not stepped up, and T.O. is instant exposure. I'm failing to see any negatives here, it isn't like he is washed up quite yet.
John: Of all the reasons to sign a wide receiver, I, too, would put instant exposure right there at the top.
Bonnie from Jacksonville:
Time for a ladies day since questions or comments don't get posted unless you're a guy or a "hogfish." Vic acknowledged the female fans, who usually had better perspective than most of the men who get posted, more than you seem to. I'm not hating on you, John. Just trying to represent the female fan base who have opinions and questions, too. WE WANT TO BE HEARD!!!
John: Bonnie, you didn't ask a question.
Taylor from Jacksonville:
Receivers are a dime per dozen. Look at the Patriots. Is Wes Welker any more of an athlete than Mike Thomas? If you're going to show one side to an argument, then show both. Going after wide receivers in the first round is what got us in this hole that we have been trying to dig out of ever since Gene took over. What turned around the Lions? Was it drafting Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson? No, because they were 0-16! But when they finally realized they are easy to find they started taking important positions and now they take off. I understand Calvin Johnson is a great fantasy wide receiver, but football is still played and won inside the tackles. But it's OK. Because you never played football you would never know that.
John: You're right. Calvin Johnson wouldn't help. His eight touchdowns aren't helping the Lions. I don't advocate taking a receiver in the first round for the sake of taking a receiver, but I also think having a big-time player at the position makes it far easier to win consistently and get points and first downs in critical situations. The Lions are good for many reasons, but their core of Suh, Stafford and Johnson is a big one. The Jaguars have drafted Alualu and Gabbert to form part of the core and a big-time wide receiver – the right wide receiver – could add to that. As for the not playing football thing, I'm going to tell my mommy you said that.
Darren from San Antonio, TX:
I love living in Texas and being a Jags fan. I loved the Hail Mary pass and the game we blew out Dallas last year. The Mike Thomas signing was brilliant. Do you think he can better than Wes Welker, if he can be a true slot receiver?
John: I admire your enthusiasm. In my role, I strive to maintain a hint of objectivity.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
All this team needs now is a win to get the season rolling! They beat a good Titans team, should have beat the Panthers, and hung tough with the Saints. The division games are still ahead of them and the kid is only going to get better. The players are working hard and playing hard and that seems to show up sometime in the season. Remember this defense is only going to get better as they play more! There is a lot to be excited about on this team and let's hope time is kind to them! Let's Go Jags!
John: This unbridled optimism has me a little off my game.
Mike from Houston:
What would you do with the first pick of the draft if you were controlling Jags' decisions? Take Luck or trade down?
John: First off, I don't see the Jaguars holding the No. 1 selection. If that happens to occur, it all depends on your evaluation of Gabbert and your evaluation of Luck. If you truly believe Luck is the next great quarterback, and you believe he's better than Gabbert, then you draft him. What they do for your franchise is obvious, as is their rarity.
Doug from Ponte Vedra, FL:
After rounding Turn One in our season, how do you rate the play of our safeties and nickel backs? We have kept some pretty good opposing quarterbacks in check so far...please assess.
John: They've played well. Dawan Landry has helped solidify the run defense, and Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman are assets in coverage. Rookie Chris Prosinski seems to be developing in the nickel and appears to have a chance to play a bigger role in the future. The Jaguars in the off-season focused on improving that area and having it no longer be a liability. I'd say they accomplished that objective.
Kelvin from Atlanta, GA:
Do you think since we have a team full of "nice" guys that D. Smith didn't run over Brees on Sunday? If we had some with more of the killer instinct like MJD, that would've been a TD.
John: Daryl Smith admitted he wished he had that play to do over again. A mistake doesn't mean a guy or a team is soft. If you'd like to tell Smith he lacks killer instinct, have at it. I'll pass on that one.
Ken from Knoxville, TN:
Aaron Kampman has been a pointless free agent. He played half the season last year, and got hurt. He has been hurt this whole season, and he'll get hurt again. If he starts this Sunday he'll get injured and be out another year. Prediction: Kampman will be on IR by week six. You heard it here first. Cut the dude. Save money.
John: Injured players understandably are a constant source of frustration to fans. It's the job of team executives and coaches not to let such frustrations lead to foolish decisions. Is Kampman frustrated? Sure. Do the Jaguars want him on the field? Obviously. Do you release a player who has the potential to help you because he has been injured? Not unless there's evidence to suggest he'll be injured again or will hurt himself. Kampman is a potential impact player who could give the Jaguars a big-time pass-rushing presence. Don't give up on him until you're sure he's not capable of being that anymore.

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