Let's get to it . . . Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
About a month ago, you posted my comment about how no one should expect a backup player to be brought in to "mentor" and instead will be brought in to compete for playing time and push starters to a higher level. After the Henne signing, my opinion has not changed. If Henne plays, it's because he outperformed Gabbert in training camp and preseason and earned the job. Mularkey's comments were far from damaging or unwarranted. If you read between the lines, it's Blaine's job to win or lose. I look forward to the competition at QB this off-season.
John: I'm not sure you have to read between the lines to know that it's Gabbert's job to win or lose – or to know that Henne was signed because the Jaguars wanted a viable option in the event that Gabbert either is injured or if he doesn't play better this season than last. What Mularkey said was simply honest. A lot of people have tried to interpret what he said one way or the other. No reason for a lot of interpretation. Gabbert's the starter entering training camp.
Mark from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I don't think you are giving yourself enough credit. I suspect that some readers think you're a solid number 2.
Mike from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Ya know John, I was a die hard "Ask Vic" fan and had a difficult time adjusting to somebody new taking his spot. But, now I am really liking your responses!! Hope you don't up and move too!!
John: Glad I wore you down. It's not really an unusual phenomenon for me. People rarely like me in the beginning, and eventually – after years of having their senses numbed – they find something about me that's not overwhelmingly offensive. I'm a charmer that way.
Jarrett from Crosby, ND:
Please quit your unnecessary capitalization. Thanks.
John: You're Welcome.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
What is your best guess for the chances of the Jags signing Matt Roth?
John: I'd say very low for now. The Jaguars in the last two weeks have re-signed five defensive players from last season – cornerback Rashean Mathis, tackle C.J. Mosley, end Jeremy Mincey, linebacker Russell Allen and safety Dwight Lowery. For the next few days, at least, that's probably about it. I get the idea they will seriously monitor the market for defensive ends, and that could mean some interest in recently released Kamerion Wimbley of Oakland. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney also would make sense if he is released. The Jaguars signed Roth a few weeks into free agency last season. I doubt they'll re-sign him, but I expect them to sign a veteran defensive end – and if they do, it probably will be at that sort of pace.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I have read many fans' opinions that the Jags are stupid for not signing every big-name free agent that hit the market. What is the most polite way to inform them that they, in fact, are the idiots?
John: That was pretty polite.
Micah from Jacksonville:
Well, Mario is gone. Please post your top ten beers, Johnny-O.
John: I probably can't do justice to a Top 10, but I'll name the four that most immediately come to mind these days. 1, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 2, Magic Hat No. 9. 3, Intuition People's Pale Al. 4, Goose Island 312.
Don from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Chad Henne is a great pick up. Just a couple of years ago he was considered a top QB. Still lots of potential there and Blaine Gabbert will need some stellar play to keep his job. The Robinson pick up was sweet also. Not many 4.3 guys around with great hands. Speed not seen since Jimmy left. Nice Job so far! Mario would have been great but after looking at that price I was thankful it did not happen. Go Jags.
John: We've gotten more emails along these lines in recent days, and fewer from those rioting outside the gates. Perhaps the latter group is resting and preparing for the next onslaught.
Blake from Jacksonville:
I think what analysts and fans are missing in this desire to make a big splash and spend to the cap is the down the road consequences of fiscal irresponsibility. You run the risk of not being able to re-sign players coming into the prime of their careers. How do the Texans allow themselves to get to a point where they can't afford to keep the player they drafted first overall just six years ago?
John: That's true, although I can't honestly say I wouldn't have liked the Jaguars to pursue Williams. And although I didn't love the receivers available, I could see the on-field benefit of one of the big-name players. That's the part of me that doesn't have to manage the cap and consider long-term ramifications.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Do you believe the Jags moved faster on Henne to avoid the impending hoopla surrounding He who shalt not-be-named(should He become available)? By being proactive they avoid the fervor of the circus carnies.
John: The Jaguars moved quickly on Henne because if there's a player you want in free agency, you have to move quickly. The rest is just a pleasant side effect.
Steve from Jacksonville:
I heard a comment on the radio yesterday to the effect of "Gene Smith thinks this team's talent is better than its record" and that he expects improvements with the new staff. I actually agree with that provided the QB develops. I think our best free agent was our coach and owner. Do you get any sense of this "inside the building," as they say.
John: Absolutely that's the feeling inside the building.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I hope that I am not already on auto-deleted because it would make all of this fruitless. I don't think anyone is perfect, even a god-like creature such as Gene Smith (even though I like Gene and think he is a great GM). With that said, the one area that really disturbs me about Gene is his "strength in numbers" tendencies. Last year, it did not work out well at the WR position. This year we are trying it at RT (Britton, Whimper, W.Robinson, etc.). I would like to see us solidify the sieve at RT before Gabbert winds up in the ER or ICU. What are your thoughts on bringing in Eric Winston or Demetrius Bell?
John: I don't think it's a strength-in-numbers approach as much as a roster-management approach. Ideally, Whimper will be a backup and if healthy, he can probably be a good one. The team liked what they saw from Robinson last season, and tackle is a position where often an unknown player who has been released by a team or two can develop. I know everyone wants to hear the sky is falling with the offensive line, but I just think there are bigger concerns.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
It's tough seeing all these guys in free agency come off the board. Regardless if the Jags sign them, it sure would have been nice to hear reports that some of those guys were in town and talking to management. I know teams play it close to the vest, but everyone and their mother knows where Manning is at today. If they sign every guy the fans want we'd have a bad team. But on the other side of the coin, the team is pretty disconnected with its fans on a lot of levels. Maybe the change at the top will help, but I can definitely understand the frustration of the fans. We want to see the effort made.
John: I get the frustration, too, and I've said several times late in the week I was a little disappointed they didn't pursue Mario Williams. My understanding is there was certainly interest, but not $96 million interest. If you argue with me that the Jaguars could have pursued him more, I wouldn't argue heavily. What I would argue is that because the team hasn't made public every player it pursued it's somehow disconnected from fans. The Jaguars care about fans, and want to do the right thing by them. That doesn't always mean making the most 'popular' moves or divulging their plans publicly.
Nathan from San Clemente, CA:
Robinson? Really? That much money? The Eagles paid Jackson not much more. I am worried the only reason Robinson was as productive last year was from Dez Bryant and Austin drawing the better defenders. That is a lot of money for a No. 2. I feel like we blew it.
John: That's the risk of free agency, and we won't know until next season. It's interesting: There were many angry that the Jaguars signed no receivers, many ecstatic when they signed Robinson and just as many worried when he signed. That's why teams can't worry about making the fan base happy in the short term with free-agent signings. It's impossible, Sign good players and they'll be happy in the long term.
Chris from Jacksonville:
You're punctuation is horrible.
John: No its not;
A punctual guy
Let's get to it . . . Mike from Bridgeport, CT: