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A Happy Coincidence

Black Friday O-Zone.

Let's get to it . . . Hunter from Duval County, FL:
Did you write yourself a question in the last column?
John: I did not.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I don't think you can coach courage. What I see of Gabbert is the lack of same. He is great when the pocket is clean, but if he is pressured his reaction is to fall backward as he makes the throw. Further, he is not going to run into players at the end zone or for first down. It is what it is. Tell me I'm wrong.
John: I have seen Gabbert run for first downs and I have seen him do it with defenders about to tackle him. If you haven't seen it, you're either not watching or watching it with a biased eye. Furthermore, I don't want my quarterback trying to run over defenders at the end zone or for first downs – and most coaches and general managers in the NFL don't want that, either. That's not their job. Their job is to complete passes and lead the offense. Their job is not to be a running back and it's not to prove to the world they can run over people. As for Gabbert's pocket presence and willingness to stand in against pressure, I see it improving. And to be honest: I'm a bit worn on this toughness issue with Gabbert. I heard it for years covering Peyton Manning. Fans can talk all they want about quarterbacks not being tough or courageous. Play the position for a game or two and see if you can do it without being tough and see if you can do it lacking courage.
Michal from Atlanta, GA:
Sweetwater, seriously? I would rather drink rubbing alcohol. I can't get away from it up here. Try something nice like Kronenbourg or Guinness or Fat Tire even. I still don't get why people drink Pabst and Sweetwater.
John: What are you doing Saturday? Me and some friends are going to watch Florida-Florida State. I'm bringing the rubbing alcohol.
Eric from Boone, NC:
Three minutes left in the first half: game tied 3-3 and the Ravens have less than one yard to the goal line. Rice, easily the best offensive player the Ravens have, and he loses four yards. This should tell all the Jag fans who cried about mojo not getting the carry what could happen.
John: The best offensive player doesn't always mean the best play for a given situation, particularly when a team knows it's coming. Fans don't want to hear that because fans always know best.
Stan from Jacksonville:
Regarding the question about how you do it every day Vic used to say the paycheck keeps him going. It's all about the money.
John: Wait a minute . . . my predecessor got paid for this?
Ross from Jacksonville:
I am thankful to have a team that I have followed and respected (win or lose) since the first season when I lived in Jacksonville. I am also thankful for the writers who work strange hours and days for our information and entertainment. For what are you thankful this year? What do you think the Jaguars are thankful for this year?
John: The Jaguars are thankful for fans such as yourself. I am thankful for readers such as yourself.
Michael from Jacksonville:
Is Von Miller starting a trend? A 4-3 OLB with a 3-4 OLB skill-set and it's safe to say it's working out pretty well.
John: I'll clarify my answer to say I'm not comparing Miller to Lawrence Taylor, but the question reminds me of what happened around the NFL in the late 1980s. Taylor was a special talent and a dominant player. Throughout the league, teams built their defenses to mimic the Giants and drafted outside linebackers high in the draft with the idea they would be the next LT. It took several years before people realized there was only one LT. Miller seems to be a special player, but I don't know that there are always enough players to make the appearance of one special player become a trend.
Mike from Jacksonville:
One more observation on Gabbert shying from contact. In the Patriots game a rush came right up the gut and Brady fell away and threw a terrible pass. All quarterbacks do it from time to time.
John: Furthermore, all quarterbacks are expected to do it from time to time. It's one thing to stand in and make a throw. It's another to do it when a linebacker is taking aim at your ribs and has the chance to knock you out of a game, or several.
Captain MoJo:
If you could eliminate one item from your normal family Thanksgiving menu, what would it be?
John: Sweet potatoes.
Jason from Madison, WI:
Is it wrong of me to worry that the rookies might be eating too many cookies?
John: Funny's funny and that's funny.
Keith from Deleon Springs, FL:
Clint Session is a beast and Jag fans love to watch him play. What a hitter. Having said that, I think a lot of us are more concerned about his well being, do not want to see long-term issues to a great guy. Second thing, Gabbert is getting better, he makes throws that David could never make and his athleticism is starting to show. In football, as with life, not everything goes as planned and I am impressed with how the Jag players have stuck together during a tough season. Almost to a man this roster is full of achievers. Almost all are former team captains, conference all stars, or team leaders. These are not guys who are accustomed to losing and I am confident they will continue to work hard and there will be a payoff.
John: You make a lot of good points. The Jaguars placed Session on injured reserve because he had a second concussion this season, so that's a nod toward being concerned about his well-being. Gabbert indeed is getting better, and as far as the roster being full of achievers, that's the idea – that in tough times these are guys who won't quit. Times are tough now. That will be tested.
K.C. from Jacksonville:
What do you expect from Houston's offense this weekend given the loss of Matt Schaub? I would expect to see them run the ball a lot to take pressure off of him and to try and set up big plays to their wide receivers via play action. Also, how much of a factor do you think Andre Johnson can be given that this is his first game back from injury?
John: I don't think Houston will change much because they likely won't need to change much. The Texans are not a pass-oriented team despite the presence of Schaub and Johnson. They are a team patterned after the Broncos of the 1990s – i.e., a dominant, downhill running team that passes best off play-action. As you said, they'll run a lot because that's what they do – regardless of whether the quarterback is Schaub or Matt Leinart. I believe Schaub's absence will hurt Houston, but not until the post-season. And as for Johnson, I expect him to be a factor because he's one of the best receivers in the NFL over the past five seasons – actually, he's the best – and when he's on the field he's a factor whether or not he has a huge game statistically.
Rich from Jacksonville:
Doesn't it seem odd that not one of the Florida NFL teams showed an interest in drafting Tim Tebow and now many of us who were Gator fans during Tebow's years at Florida, when they were winning National Championships and when we followed his runs at the Heisman Trophy, are now eager to watch the Denver Bronco games because of the excitement that he generates by the NFL successes that the former Gator QB has had? I wonder if the Jaguars would be concerned with a blackout this Sunday if No. 15 would be putting on a Jaguars jersey instead of a Broncos jersey.
John: It seems just about as odd as the Broncos still not being sure of their long-term viability at the quarterback position. For the most part, people watch it because they can't believe it's working. Once it stops working, it won't be quite the draw.
Terry from Jacksonville:
Do you think Suh will need to schedule another meeting with Commissioner Goodell to understand why ripping a player's helmet off or kicking him when he is down is considered a penalty, or does he finally understand why he is considered a dirty player?
John: I can't speak for what Suh does or doesn't understand. What I don't understand is how Suh doesn't seem to understand his own behavior. He's an otherworldly player who is as out of touch with reality on a more consistent basis than I have seen in a long time. It's truly bizarre.
Malachi from Canyon County, CA:
Happy Thanksgiving John! Get you some football, food and beer!
John: I got all three. The whole "Thanksgiving" thing? A happy coincidence.

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