Let's get to it . . .
Mike from Kissimmee, FL:
I'm failing to understand why Jaguars "fans" are complaining about picking up Mike Sims-Walker instead of Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd has one good season under his belt and correct me if I'm wrong, but is in his ninth season. Sure MSW is no Megatron, but he knows the system, players, playbook and coaches. MSW is obviously not a permanent fix at WR, but he is a decent addition.
John: Whatever the name, whatever the circumstance, I'm not one to get excited about midseason pickups. It's rare they have the impact fans expect. The Jaguars didn't pursue Brandon Lloyd, and it's a safe bet one of the reasons is that he has had one season over 800 yards receiving. It's also a safe bet than another reason is that no team he has been with – including Denver – has wanted him enough to re-sign him to a long-term deal. As for Mike Sims-Walker, the Jaguars had a chance to bring back a player familiar with the offense at a reasonable price. It was no-risk in the short- or long-term. The wide receivers on the roster did not perform well the first six weeks and when Sims-Walker became available, the Jaguars decided to see if he could give them some sort of productivity at the position.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
All of the emails you post bashing Gene Smith for being a bad GM focus on the lack of offense. They make no mention of the fantastic job he has done rebuilding the defense. If we scored 30 points a game and were still 1-5 would they bash him for a poor defense?
John: No. Fans are rational sorts who think before they act and are very understanding. They'd understand, and praise him for a great offense and for restructuring and solidifying a roster that was once in shambles.
Aaron from Orlando, FL:
What did we trade away to get Gabbert? I like the kid but how much did we lose on this upcoming draft?
John: The Jaguars traded the No. 16 overall selection and their second-round selection to the Redskins to trade up to No. 10 to take Gabbert.
Patrick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Will the Jaguars have a blackout Monday night in your opinion?
Drew from Buford, GA:
Jerry Porter didn't work, Torry Holt didn't work, etc. But fans didn't complain there because there was at least an effort to improve an area that needed improving. Let's face it, there has been no activity at all to improve our receiving corps and that is arguably the one aspect of our game that is lacking right now. We are playing these games so close and things are looking up. The one part of our game that is currently suffering is that we pose such a low passing risk to opponents. This is not a secret. It would be nice to see this acknowledged and that they understand something needs to be done, this year or next or whenever, just let us know it will actually be addressed and not continue to be ignored.
John: No one complained about Jerry Porter? The Jaguars sure did, and from what I understand, the fans did, too. And rightfully so. The sort of "effort" you're talking about – overpaying players who contribute little or nothing – is exactly the sort of short-term, fan-pleasing, "effort" that causes foundations of franchise to disintegrate. And what are the Jaguars supposed to do to acknowledge the problem? Take out ads? Run messages on the scoreboard? "We're terrible at wide receiver? Come taunt us? Throw eggs and garbage at our children?" They know there's a problem. It's obvious it's an issue. They didn't address it in free agency last season because there was no one available worth the price, and they may not address it in free agency next season because it's simply historically not a good way to address the position. I do believe they'll address it in the draft, but to say the Jaguars don't understand that something needs to be done? That's just silly.
John from Jacksonville:
I am not sure of the Titans and Texans remaining schedule, but I'm not big believers in either of those teams being 'elite'. With that said, what record do you think wins the South this year? I'm starting to think it could be 8-8 or 9-7. In which case, it would be a big stretch, but not impossible for the Jags to at least make a run at it if they can get hot.
John: I think nine wins it if you win tiebreakers. I think you'll need 10 if you don't. Can it happen? Sure, if you're not mathematically eliminated, anything can happen.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
What do you think of Oakland giving up a first- and second-round pick for Carson Palmer? Is that the worst move of the year considering Carson Palmer is 31 years old?
John: I'll play devil's advocate a minute. I always thought Palmer was a good player, potentially an elite quarterback. If he has four or five productive years in him, then it's not a bad move. Is it a big risk? Absolutely. Quarterback is the one position where a lot of the normal rules – i.e., not giving up draft picks for veterans – don't apply. If he takes the Raiders to the playoffs, then a first- and second-round selection isn't a lot to give up. That's the devil's advocate view. My gut says it won't work out well.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Can a team lineup for an extra point and run a fake to get two points or do they have to lineup as if running a play to get two points after a touchdown?
John: You can do it with a fake. As long as you run or pass it in, it's two points. The formation doesn't matter.
Greg from Jacksonville:
It seems to me that GM Gene is extremely stubborn when it comes to spending a quality draft pick on a wide receiver. Do you think the Jaguars will spend a first or second-round selection to pick a big time WR, or will GM Gene once again try to find a gem in the later rounds? If WRs are a dime a dozen, I'd like to drop off a donation of a roll of dimes.
John: It's questions like this that make me a take a deep breath and try to remember that some people don't get how to build a team. The part I don't get is the "stubborn" comment. Smith took over a team that needed reconstruction. He selected two offensive tackles in the first two rounds of his first draft, and used a first-rounder the next year to take a cornerstone of the defensive line. In his third draft, he went after a franchise quarterback. Whatever your opinion of how those players are developing – and I'm of the belief that it's better than many think – where would you philosophically have taken a receiver? Not address offensive line? Not address defensive line? Not address quarterback? You can't take every position in the first round every year. It just doesn't work that way.
Lee from Duval County, FL :
Why is everyone talking about next season? We are still two games out of first place with nine games to go (five of which are in the division). The Texans and Titans play this Sunday and we go head to head with Houston next week. Let's pack this stadium Monday and lose the doom-and-gloom disposition. We are who we are. Let's man up and go "Greg Jones" on every team we play! WE DON'T QUIT IN DUVAL! GO JAGUARS!!
John: Great attitude. And that's the attitude the Jaguars have to have. Analyzing the team it's difficult to get excited about the possibility of contending for the postseason until they get a victory and maybe another one or two to follow that up. If that happens, then yes – considering the talent on the roster – then people will get excited. And they'll be right to.
Andy from Appleton, WI:
Is it just me, or does the defense seem to start a bit slow at the beginning of games allowing early points before finally shutting down the other team's offense? By the way, can't wait for this Monday night game, just got to shut down Ray Rice and hope our offense gets the gears churning early to get some first half points to keep the crowd in the game.
John: It's not just you. The defense has started slow. Not starting slow is a huge theme for the group this week, and you know what? It better be.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Care to recant the "Sims-Walker is banned" comment? What's your take on bringing him back?
John: I'm amazed at the emails I've received about the Sims-Walker-is-banned comment, particularly considering it was part of what was obviously a tongue-in-cheek ending to Monday's O-Zone. At the time, it seemed Sims-Walker questions were going the way of some themes that tend to get out of hand and tiresome. The Jaguars signed him. It was surprising. I made the point several times in the O-Zone that I didn't think not re-signing Sims-Walker was the reason the Jaguars' receivers were struggling as a group, and I still believe that. But I have nothing against Sims-Walker and will have no problem talking about him. I hope he does well.
Anything can happen
Let's get to it . . .
Mike from Kissimmee, FL: