A lasting influence

Let's get to it . . . Chris from Crestview, FL:
Buffalo used to have Trent Edwards. He seemed to become a dink-and-dunk quarterback, never going deep. Gabbert seems to be doing the same thing quite often. Is this the result of coaching? Or was it simply last game they didn't want to try to go deep because of the line issues?
John: The line issues certainly played a part in the game plan Sunday, and when there were deep balls called, either the receivers didn't run good routes, Gabbert was pressured or something else broke down before the play had a chance to develop. The biggest play Sunday was a 32-yard pass to Laurent Robinson, and the Jaguars hit a 39-yard touchdown to Cecil Shorts in the opener, so it's not as if Gabbert never has gone downfield this season. I'd say as the offense gets more in synch you'll see more happen down the field.
Stephen Season Ticket Since Day 1:
What YOU aren't understanding is the game has been changing over the past few years with the leap in performance of the newcomers to the NFL. College quarterbacks are coming out of college more prepared and performing better early. Dalton, Newton, Ryan, RG3, Flacco, Stafford, Freeman. All have led their teams to wins and have a few big-time games in their first two years. I mean crossing the 300-yard marker; not just not throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in a year. We are sick of being mediocre and laughed at. I love the Jags to death and always will, but I don't see the Jaguars winning any time soon. But I'm prepared. It has been going on for years.
John: I understand it perfectly. I also understand Gabbert had his best game in Week 1, and appeared to be improving. Maybe all of that improvement just blew up in one week, but I tend to doubt it. He must improve, and the growth we saw in preseason needs to continue, but I just didn't see as many plays there to be made Sunday that everyone else seems to have seen.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
I think people misinterpret depth as needing a starter to come in when a starter goes down. Players are starters and players are lower on a depth chart for a reason. If we had a full second string of offensive linemen that could be starters, guess what? They'd be starting on our team or another team, not sitting on the bench most of the time. Losing your starter sucks, not only because you're losing a starter, but because you have someone of lesser talent who has big pants to fill.
John: I think people misinterpret depth, too. I think you nailed it and I think people who read what you wrote and thought about it rationally would understand depth . . . and I think when people talk about depth tomorrow, they're still going to misinterpret depth.
Jon from Jacksonville:
Is it just me, or would the Jags be better suited to a 3-4 defense? They have great two-gapping tackles and guys who could be "tweeners" in the 3-4, and it seems like Posluszny could be one of the inside backers. It wouldn't radically change anything, but it might be a nice wrinkle.
John: People might think this answer is sarcastic, and it's not the intent, but the Jaguars' linebackers as a group seem to be struggling right now, with depth being an issue. I don't know that the logical move is to a scheme that employs more linebackers.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I have come to believe we are experiencing more injuries than usual at the NFL at this time of year. Aaron Hernandez, Pierre Garcon, Ahmad Bradshaw, just to name a few. Could this be a major impact from the new CBA rules that regulate offseason conditioning?
John: Every year, there are injuries and every year, people wonder if there are more than usual and if there is a reason. Injuries happen in the NFL. I won't say it's not unusual for the Jaguars to have had as many as they have had the last two years, but they happen in the NFL and there's not usually a definable reason.
Barry from Palm Coast, FL and Section 214:
Do other NFL teams acknowledge and support the military as much as the Jaguars do, or is it something that gets more attention here being that Jacksonville is a military town?
John: All NFL teams honor the military, but with the Jaguars being in a military town the team certainly does it much more than most franchises.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
The difference between J.J. Watt and Jared Allen vs. the Jags is our left tackle neutralized Allen and our right tackle played sievishly against J.J. Doesn't Mathis usually play over the RT? What adjustments do you foresee being made to help contain Mathis?
John: The Colts move Mathis around, but it doesn't take a football genius to know they'll probably put him over the right tackle more often than the left on Sunday. I'd expect the Jaguars to give the right tackle a lot of help Sunday. A lot of help.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
I'm going to have to disagree with you on the Greg Schiano topic. Since this tactic has been successful in the past for Schiano (twice at Rutgers did his team force a fumble like this), he has every right to try it again in the pros. Herm Edwards (who knows something about running the clock out turning into a disaster) says you play to win the game.
John: Imagine the outcry if Manning had thrown deep. He would have been running up the score. The game was over. To do what the Buccaneers did is bush league. Argue all you want, and you'll believe what you want. I can't control that, but it won't play well among other NFL teams.
John from Jacksonville:
I wish we could put an end to the "injuries are not an excuse" comment I hear so much from players and others. Injuries definitely are an excuse of not playing as well. Sure, it's professionally correct to make comments to eliminate "excuses" but we all know they are excuses that weigh into the outcome of a game. It applies to any team and ours is affected more so far because of the number of injuries while installing an entire new system.
John: No question injuries matter. I've always thought that once you get to the playoffs in particular the biggest factors are often injuries, quarterback and home-field, and maybe in that order. If a pass rusher or a key let tackle or wide receiver go down, it can dramatically alter a play or two. A play is enough in the NFL.
Evan from Section 139 and Ponte Vedra, FL:
With our run defense so porous and us ranking 31st, how are Alualu and Knighton doing individually?
John: I'm told Alualu is playing well, despite fans' outcry to the contrary. Knighton played well against Minnesota and Mularkey said this week he didn't play as well against the Texans.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
In reference to Nick's question about Daryl Smith, it pains me to see that PP is all alone in the middle without Session and Smith. That's what made the defense so awesomely solid last season before the injuries.
John: It sure didn't hurt.
Scott from Honolulu, HI:
I didn't start following football until my early teens. The biggest reason I started was Steve Sabol and NFL Films, most notably after watching The History of Pro Football on HBO in the early eighties. After seeing it, I was hooked. I watched anything and everything I could find from NFL Films. I've been watching the NFL for almost thirty years, but I know so much more about the history of the NFL because of Steve and Ed Sabol and NFL Films. R.I.P., Steve Sabol, and thank you.
John: You have been heard. If you grew up an NFL fan in the 1970s and 1980s, before ESPN and 24-hour cable changed how we view the league, NFL Films indeed shaped your view of the sport. Indeed – RIP, Steve Sabol. His influence will last as long as there is an NFL.

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