Let's get to it . . .
Buddy from Jacksonville:
John, I get that the season has been a disappointment, but as the season winds to a close . . . I don't know . . . I just always hate the end of football season.
John: I feel the same way, and assume a lot of readers do, too. If you love football, which if you're reading this you presumably do, this time of year brings sadness – and a feeling of not wanting it to be over. When you reach this point of the season, particularly a 2-13 season, it's easy to say, "Let's get to the end" and "Let's see what happens next." That happens soon enough. There's plenty of time to break down what went wrong and what the team hopes will go right in the future. For now, there is still one game, but after Sunday, the reality is there won't be a football game involving the Jaguars until August. That's seven months without the weekly energy and anticipation of preparation and the weekly payoff that comes each Sunday. One more season is past. One more chapter is in the books, and if it wasn't a successful chapter, it nonetheless was a story of its own and much, much better than seven months of the alternative.
Hogfish from Mayport, FL and Section 441:
Do schools teach spelling and grammar anymore?
John: I has no idea.
Mike from Section 208:
Just like in 2002, I'm not sure how our general manager can survive here for another year. Just like in 2002, we may prove to regret him going elsewhere if his reputation with the rest of the NFL community can be believed.
John: That's the dilemma whenever deciding on the future of a general manager or a coach. Sometimes, circumstances and luck dictate success or failure in the NFL – and as a result, owners always run the risk of letting very good people go when making changes. Tom Coughlin left and won two Super Bowls. Dirk Koetter left a struggling offense in Jacksonville last year and is now running a very good offense in Atlanta. Other coaches have been successful here and not had the same success elsewhere. Owners must make necessary decisions knowing that risk, and at some point must trust those decisions without worrying about how they might someday be perceived.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
With all due respect to Mr. Khan's intellect, please explain to me how a quarterback who was benched in favor of MARK SANCHEZ will help this team accrue wins.
John: There are those who feel this way . . .
Charles from Midlothian, VA and Section 410:
I was one of the fans adamant that if we drafted Tebow or signed him they could keep my tickets. After 2-13, I don't feel that way anymore. I also don't see him as polarizing as I once did. The pundits could be wrong, and as some Tebow lovers have pointed out, he did rally the Broncos to the playoffs. So who knows: under the right coach with the right game plan, he could prove everyone wrong and make Tebow and the Jaguars the redemption story of the year next year? I honestly feel we can't get a whole lot worse and at this time, we might as well take a shot. What's the worst that could happen?
John: . . . and increasingly, there are those who feel this way.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
Hey Forrest FYI - Justin Blackmon leads all rookies in receiving yards. That seems pretty great to me.
John: Blackmon has done exactly what a team wants in the second half of the season. He has improved and shown that there's no reason he can't keep improving. If every rookie did that, teams would be very, very happy.
Josh from Jacksonville Beach, FL and Section 106:
I heard some sports guys speculating on the radio that some of Gene Smith's picks could be a result of Wayne Weaver trying to be thrifty. Basically Mr. Weaver didn't want holdouts in the first round and wanted less expensive free agents. This would explain the Alualu pick (at least in my mind). Do you feel there is any truth to this?
John: The only explanation you need of the Alualu selection is that the team believed he would be an elite-level defensive tackle. He never has been healthy enough in the NFL to show whether that was the case or not. I get that people have a tough time grasping this because they've never had a chance to see what he could have been, but the Jaguars weren't the only team with a first-round grade on him and he wouldn't have been available in the second round. He hasn't been a Pro Bowl player, but I don't believe his selection had to do with being thrifty.
Terri from St. Mary's, GA:
With the significant amount of injuries we sustained this year, what can the team do to prepare players' bodies to help lessen the chances of another injury-riddled season? That wasn't the only reason for the lack of success on the field this year, but it definitely didn't help.
John: Players spend the offseason training to get their bodies in the top possible shape. This process is helped significantly if the player does not enter the offseason already injured. An uninjured player can train and work to be in the best possible condition whereas an injured player often must spend the off-season rehabilitating. Once the season begins, it's difficult to do much to prevent most NFL injuries. This is a constant topic at the end of seasons as players are placed on injured reserve, but the reality continues to be that many injuries are mostly luck and not things that can be controlled by strength and conditioning people or trainers to any significant degree.
Steve from Section 215:
What is the point of placing MJD on injured reserve with less than a week to go in the season? How does it benefit either the team or him?
John: It opens up a roster spot. In this case, the Jaguars used it to sign defensive tackle Jerome Long off the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad.
Chris from Jacksonville:
I thought that Cooper was the oldest Manning brother.
John: He is. I wrote "middle" on Friday and I have no idea why.
Phil from Woodmere, NY:
This season really stunk, John. I'm actually tired of it and ready for the draft. But, I still feel the need to express gratitude to the team for going out there and never quitting on us, the fans. A special thanks to guys like Poz, Meester, Monroe, Big Greg, CSIII, as well as all the other guys who despite tough times, tried their best. I enjoyed watching the guys play hard every game and can't wait for the draft and for next season! And lastly, if the team signs Tebow, I will consider that action as being disloyal to the fanbase, and will distance myself from the team until he's gone. It won't be a divorce, but a separation of sorts. Hopefully, others will voice the same opinion so our beloved team's owner knows that the support he will lose for making that move will overshadow the support he will gain.
John: You had me until the Tebow comments. I'm on record saying I'm skeptical that he's a long-term answer at quarterback in the NFL. He hasn't done enough to make me feel otherwise, and at the same time, what he did in Denver is intriguing enough that it can't be 100 percent ignored. I don't know that he'll get many more chances, but my guess is he gets at least one more. Perhaps that will be here and perhaps it won't. Still, any player move wouldn't be a statement of disloyalty but a move to do something, anything, to improve the team. Question whether the move would work if you like, but not the intent.
Chuck from Summerville, SC:
What do you think the possibility of having three quarterbacks, one being the one that shall not be named, and the others being Gabbert and Henne, through training camp and pre-season, then keeping the two top guys? I know if Tebow doesn't win the job some people will say that we didn't give him enough time but at least we can say we tried.
John: I wouldn't be shocked if that scenario plays out. The thing you wonder with both Tebow and Gabbert is that each is in a situation where very few things will be answered until the regular season. If a team signs Tebow and doesn't give him a chance to start in the regular season, his supporters will say, "But he wasn't given a chance; he's not a practice player; he's a gamer." His history suggests that may be true. If the Jaguars make Gabbert the starter entering the season, people will point to him looking very good in OTAs, training camp and the preseason last year and say, "Nothing matters until the regular season. What's he done in the games?" If any of those three players are starting at quarterback for the Jaguars on opening day next season, there will be more arguments against than for. It's not the ideal situation, but we're discussing it an awful lot, so it seems, alas, it's indeed the situation the team faces.
An unideal situation
Let's get to it . . .
Buddy from Jacksonville: