Game-day O-Zone. Enjoy. I'll be blogging throughout the game from Bank of America Stadium. Hope you'll join me.
Let's get to it . . .
Marcus from Baltimore, MD:
I have two questions. No. 1, if we solve every other problem on the team, can Gabbert take us to the playoffs this year or the next? No. 2, do you think Gabbert can be consistent?
John: If every other problem on the team is solved, then absolutely Gabbert can take them to the playoffs this year and the next. That being said, no NFL team has every one of its problems solved and whatever problems the Jaguars currently face this year won't likely be solved by season's end. To answer your second question, I honestly don't know if Gabbert can be consistent. If he can, the Jaguars can be a very improved team from last season. If not, the Jaguars as a team will be inconsistent.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
People like Robert from Middleburg, FL, need a wake-up call. Let me try to ring the bell. I'm beyond tired of hearing people complain about the Jaguars' ticket prices. I pay $60 for one ticket in the outfield (fair territory) at Yankee Stadium. That's about double what I could pay for one ticket at EverBank Field. When you consider baseball teams play 81 home games, and football teams play eight, you can see great value in a Jaguars season-ticket plan. Probably not the best example to compare the biggest-market baseball team to one of the smallest-market football teams, but it just gives you an idea of how good Jaguars fans have it. Jaguars tickets are incredibly cheap as far as entertainment dollars go. That's a fact. Oh, and from '08-'10 the Jags went 5-11, 7-9, then 8-8. Now, if that's regressing I think we all need to go back to middle school and take up pre-algebra. Go Jags!
John: It almost goes without saying you have been heard.
Blake from Jacksonville:
Amen on your response to Ken yesterday... ball placement over separation always wins!!
John: Separation obviously is great to have from your receivers. And at times, you'll see receivers on some teams running wide open, but to win big games consistently and to be an elite team you usually need a quarterback who can get the ball to receivers who don't appear "wide" open.
Nate from Lake City, FL:
All the excitement and press has been about Blaine this week, as it should have been, but I get the feeling that if Jones-Drew can get just a little help from the quarterback, he may have a very special year! That and a much-improved defense will give the Jags a chance in any game!
John: The better Gabbert gets, the better Jones-Drew will be this season – and he appears to have a chance to have a very good year.
Stuart from Saint Louis, MO:
Yo Gabbert Gabbert? Five syllables are too many. It needs to be two or three syllables, so 'Sunshine' would work. And it can't be manufactured to just say "it is 'this.'" Sunshine was organic and came to be because fans called him that, so unless Gabbert's teammates have a better one, Sunshine it is.
John: Give it time and don't force it. Besides, where is it written that a quarterback needs a nickname? Rodgers. Brady. Manning. Roethlisberger. The greatest quarterbacks aren't known for nicknames. They are known for making plays, putting their teams in position to win and doing things average quarterbacks can't do.
Kyle from St. Augustine, FL:
I'm sick and tired of listening to fans who complain all the time, and never have anything positive to say (if you wish to call them that). This team has a solid foundation because Gene drafts the right way. We are set up to be a force in the future.
John: I agree. This is a difficult time for fans and observers when it comes to the Jaguars, and a time when patience is needed. The roster has improved and progress has been made. The team is not as far from being competitive as it may appear. I believe that, but I also understand it's hard to see at times. The reason it's hard to see is because most really good NFL teams right now pass effectively and the Jaguars are still moving toward being able to do that. That's the final piece of the puzzle, and it remains to be seen how long it will take for that final piece to develop.
Thrill from Jacksonville:
When you covered the Jaguars during the early years, was it conceivable that Kerry Collins would have a career twice as long as Tony Boselli?
John: I wouldn't have guessed Collins' career would have been twice as long, but who could have guessed Boselli's career would have been cut dramatically short by a shoulder injury? That said, it was never a reach to think Collins would play longer than Boselli. Quarterbacks naturally have a longer expected career span than most positions.
Kenneth from St Augustine, FL:
Several so-called experts say the Jaguars have the better defense. Everyone knows we have a better run game than they do. But yet, the Panthers get the edge on the run game. Am I missing something here? If we do anything good my first choice would be running the ball down their throats. Help me out here, your thoughts? The QB must go down and go down HARD. Go Jaguars!!!
John: I believe the Jaguars will win today. I say that because I believe the Jaguars' defense has improved dramatically since last season. I also believe that when young quarterbacks look very, very good in multiple games early in their careers – as clearly has been the case with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton – they usually have a game pretty soon where the opponent confuses them. I also believe Newton is still making mistakes and believe the Panthers' defense is vulnerable to the Jaguars' running game. I don't believe most prognosticators have taken the time to really break that down, and that the reason so many are picking against the Jaguars this week is it's trendy to pick against Jacksonville right now. Then again, I really, really thought the Jets game was a pretty good match-up for the Jaguars last week, so listen to me at your peril.
Mac from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I'm tired of national media making a joke of this team and its head coach. It is sickening.
John: The national media has had its fun with the Jaguars of late, and as you indicated, the joke has gotten more than a bit tired at this point. As I've written often in the O-Zone, the national media rarely knows as much about individual teams as its fans do, and because of the 32-3 loss to the Jets last week, the view of the Jaguars has gotten a bit skewed. The Jaguars' roster is a better one than the one that came within a victory of the postseason last year and they are solid in most areas of the lineup. It will be critical to get quality play from the quarterback position the rest of the year and there need to be a few more upgrades overall, but this team is closer to being very, very good than many people – its own fans included – might believe.
Joey from Hays, KS:
You say most fans act just like Jaguars fans. Does that mean most people are idiots? Cause you can't say most people in America are idiots. That's not nice.
John: When I say most fans act like Jaguars fans, I don't think of them as idiots. Fans are supposed to be reactionary, passionate and unreasonable at times. They make quick-twitch judgments, are often wrong and rarely see the big picture. That long has been the case and I imagine it will continue to be the case for as long as there are sports. Sports are fun and not everyone is supposed to know exactly why things happen or grasp the big picture. That doesn't make people idiots. As I've said often, it just makes them fans.
Collin from Tampa, FL:
The JTW show this week was sickening. "Lagey" said that he didn't want to see "run left, run right, run left, run right." That is not how all Jaguar fans really feel. The best game I've ever seen was against the Tampa Bay Bucs with Quinn Gray as QB. The Jaguars ran the ball 23 times to open the game up and ended up winning by one point. When asked about balance, Jack Del Rio said, "We were balanced, we ran left 11 times, and right 12." I fell in love. Stop all this talk about "throw it around." It's absurd. Stop it. The Jaguars are a running team who beats teams down. That's the only way we ever beat teams like the Colts. MJD is the franchise and our team can run with nine men in the box, how many teams can do that? Maybe three – maybe. We're a special running team. We need to be who we are.
John: I fear you may dislike the future.