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A good sign

Let's get to it . . . Fred from Palm Coast, FL:
I get where Mr. Kahn is coming from and agree hasty decisions aren't the answer. Where I disagree is that midseason decisions are considered hasty. We keep going out there week after week, with the same game plan, trying the same plays, then expect some different result? Isn't that the proverbial definition of a fool? We have to try something different. We can't keep doing the same things over and over. Try something – what the heck?
John: This is indeed the source of frustration for many, and it stems from the NFL being a very public undertaking. Fans see a team struggling and want changes NOW – and when your team is losing, one week and particularly one month can seem like forever. The problem is there is very little significant that can be done during a regular season from a personnel point of view. You don't add difference-making players in November, and there's really not much point in overhauling the game plan. There simply isn't time to make the major adjustments or additions needed. Fans get tired of coaches and players saying, "We've got to do what we do better," but there just aren't a whole lot of reasonable alternatives during the regular season.
Mike from Kissimmee, FL:
Before the Jaguars beat anyone, they are going to have to stop beating themselves – all these turnovers and penalties that are killing potential scoring drives etc. Robinson fumbled on a promising drive, Knighton got hit with the personal foul on the Ross interception, the pass interference calls, the holding call on Bradfield that stalled another drive that would have resulted in points. This must stop if the Jags plan on ever winning another game this year.
John: Yep.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
A thought about Blaine. He simply does not have the tools to be an NFL starting QB. He won't be the first. Kerry Collins, David Carr, Akili Smith and many others did not make it. One thing I learned years ago is the worst thing about being staying wrong. John, I feel for you. Keep your chin up.
John: I appreciate your encouragement, but it's hard for me to say Gabbert doesn't have the "tools." In fact, he has every physical tool. What he lacks is experience, and once he gets some more of that we'll have a better idea about his future. And I know this isn't your point, exactly, but Kerry Collins played in the NFL for a decade and a half, started much of that time and started in a Super Bowl. In fairness, let's not put him in the David Carr/Akili Smith category.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
On a scoring play, can a coach challenge the call and have the referee review the play even though it was already reviewed in the booth? And if so, do you think a referee would ever reverse the booth reviewer's call?
John: No. Once it is reviewed in the booth, the decision is supposed to be final.
Scott from Section 139 and Ponte Vedra, FL:
It seems that the preseason really is no measure of how good a player will be as we sorely miss Jones-Drew in the running game. Wouldn't you agree and also do you think that Cox may not be the elite cover corner you wanted us to believe?
John: Yes, the Jaguars do miss Jones-Drew, Scott, and let me let you in on a secret – whether you or anyone else believes Cox is elite matters to me not a bit. As far as how good Cox is, I think it breaks down pretty simply: when Cox was healthy this season he played at a very high level. When he has played with a back injury the last two weeks, he has not played as a well. As for now, my view is that that's not a coincidence.
David from Lafayette, IN:
O-man, it seems like each week you get someone writing in about the team being sabotaged by management to perform poorly so it can eventually move. While "Major League" was a great movie, and conspiracy theories are fun, this isn't the California Penal League, Vaughn; we wear caps and sleeves at this level, son.
John: Well put.
Jim from the Villages, FL:
Is Daryl Smith going to be ready for next Sunday?
John: Daryl Smith is on injured reserve/designated to return. The earliest he will play is the second-to-last game of the season.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
As bad as things are now they are going to go even worse when Tim Tebow takes the Jets to the playoffs and that will start today. Just to let you get prepared. Go Jags!
John: Don, you sent this at 7:12 a.m. Sunday, and it's probably not fair to post this after the Jets' 28-7 loss to Seattle Sunday, but what the hey! Life's not fair.
Jason from Kadena, Okinawa:
It's painfully obvious Gabbert doesn't trust himself to throw downfield when the pressure is on. It seems all the coaches have to do is take away the safety valve in the flat, keep the back in to block and force Gabbert to throw downfield. It's not like the Jaguars are going against stellar corners each week. The hardest part of it is waiting on a quarterback who hasn't really improved since preseason. Sometimes, guys just can't play at this level; the Jaguars seem to have drafted a lot of those over the years.
John: I wouldn't advocate taking away a safety valve; besides, if you do that and Gabbert starts throwing interceptions, then where does that leave you? Gabbert needs to go downfield more and receivers need to get open downfield and coaches need to call more downfield plays. As for your final points, about Gabbert not improving since the preseason, I don't see that. Now, can an argument be made he hasn't improved enough? Sure, but he certainly has improved.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
I am tired of the Gabbert bashing. He may have improved more in one season than anyone on the team. We need the right coach and players to surround him. Do you think this is a playoff-caliber roster? If not, how long should it take a GM to build a playoff-caliber roster?
John: This is not a playoff caliber roster. Now, before that comment causes an outcry of, "SEE! WE TOLD YOU!," relax. Obviously it's not playoff-caliber; the Jaguars are 1-8 and almost certainly not headed to the playoffs. As for how long it should take, there are many, many factors. If your roster includes quality veterans and a solid core when you take over, it shouldn't take long; if not, it will take longer. The question now is not how long should it have taken to build, but whether or not the proper pieces/process are in place moving forward. That's what Shad Khan will decide in the coming months.
Josh from Jacksonville Beach and Section 106:
You said good teams overcome bad calls. It just seems to me that the calls come at the most inopportune time, and really affect the team. The third-down stop in Oakland and the penalty. The Green Bay fumble. The Indy interception. All three of these "stops" and reversals resulted in points for our opponent. It just seems nothing is going right for our Jags.
John: There's no question there have been bad breaks. Here's the other side, though. Every team has calls go against it in crucial situations. The good ones make a stop or get a first down to overcome that penalty or bad break. As an example I'd cite the Jaguars' first home loss of the season – against Houston. Early in the second half of that game, the Jaguars trailed by 10 and forced an incomplete pass on third down. The Jaguars had momentum, but on that play, rookie defensive end Andre Branch was called for offsides. The Texans drove for a touchdown after that, essentially clinching the victory. That play indeed was a very bad break, and the call was questionable, but the Texans drove 72 yards after the penalty – plenty of time to make a stop and control your own momentum.
Phil from Woodmere, NY:
Thursday night had a rock-bottom feel to it. There's nowhere to go but up from here, right John?
John: You certainly have to hope so.
Robert from Oceanside, CA:
Was it me, or did Tyson Alualu have the best half of his career in the first half Thursday? He looked quick!
John: I can't categorically call it the best half of his career, but he played well. While he took criticism his first two NFL seasons, he actually played well at times during those seasons. The hope around the Jaguars is Thursday was a sign that Alualu is recovering from the offseason microfracture surgery. The belief around the team is that he has played well against the run this season, and if he indeed can be as quick on a regular basis as he was on Thursday, then that's a very good sign.

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