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Candlelight dinner at Sbarro's

Let's get to it . . . Rick from Tampa, FL:
Do you think by the end of the year you will know where Gabbert is or do you think more time is needed?
John: I think we'll know where Gabbert is by the end of the year, but that's not really the question. The question is will we know where he is going to be? That's far tougher, but I'll say what I've said all along – that by the end of the year, we need to be saying, "Yes, this guy has shown people he can be the franchise quarterback." He hasn't shown that consistently enough yet. The final 11 games will be key.
Forrest from Jacksonville:
Why do people think speeches produce winning? All the pep talk is forgotten the first time someone hits you in the mouth.
John: People like speeches because they see them in NFL Films and in really inspiring sports movies. I like speeches as much as the next guy. There are really cool speeches in Remember the Titans, and that's one of my favorite movies. There was something called a "Gipper" speech in a movie that was cool, too. So, I'm fine with speeches. They're just not important in the NFL.
Vinny from Saratoga, NY:
I have nothing against sports reporters and believe MOST are honest and objective. Still, I firmly believe John Clayton went overboard with his recent comment about the Jaguar: "Instead of putting a tarp on empty seats, how about putting a tarp over the team?" If he wants to dismiss the Jaguars due to their lack of offense/defense that's one thing. But, to also take a shot at the lack of fan support is uncalled for in my opinion. Over the past couple of years, numerous analysts have made it clear that they do not think the Jaguars will survive in Jacksonville. However, I must address this and I hope I am heard. "Hey Mr. Clayton, I think it's time for you to put a tarp over your big mouth considering Shahid Khan has promised to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville."
John: I didn't interpret Clayton's comment as commentary on the Jaguars staying Jacksonville. I thought he was talking more about the team's level of play thus far this season. Really, I've never known John to be unduly biased or critical, and I took his comment as his way of trying to be funny. And you know what? When you're 1-4, people are going to make jokes. It's the way it is.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
Maybe our brilliant owner could focus on winning first, then try to broaden our fan base. Nobody loves a loser, John.
John: He knows this, but building a winner takes time. Until that happens, he should what, comb his mustache and say, "Just wait until we win?" You control what you can control and work on all areas. When the winning comes, the rest of the franchise will be ready.
Peter from St. Johns and Section 242:
It seems you sidestepped Rod's question about the future of the franchise. It would seem the odds increasingly favor a move. The commissioner has already stated the obvious - the team is gone if we can't boost attendance. The more losses, the fewer seats filled. One tarp came off last Sunday to accommodate Bears fans, not Jags fans, bolstering any Khan argument regarding poor local support. Games in London are a good indication Mr. Khan wants to boost the NFL brand, not fill our stadium. Yes, relocating the Jaguars would cost Mr. Khan a ton, but a mere investment that he could easily recoup many times over in a large, lucrative market such as Los Angeles. Only a clear commitment to winning – a housecleaning at the end of the year – might prove this wrong. The more likely scenario is that relocation is already a done deal. Mr. Khan didn't get rich by being stupid.
John: I didn't remotely sidestep the question. Khan's not planning to move the Jaguars. If he was, he wouldn't be talking about building the team and the town. He also wouldn't be hiring people to increase sponsorship and the game-day experience in Jacksonville. My point was if the Jaguars provide a good product on the field, a good game-day experience and a fair ticket price and fans don't come, then indeed the franchise will be in danger. I'd say that's true of any market. The Jaguars are not winning consistently. If they do and there are attendance problems then there's a real problem, but it has nothing to do with the team's current on-field performance.
Holger from London, UK:
The combined record of the teams the Jaguars lost against is 16-4. The Raiders game should more competitive than those losses.
John: Yes, it should.
Brent from the Southside:
I know you won't print this, but I know you won't print this.
John: I have printed practically nothing since joining
Chad from Jacksonville:
Hey John, thanks for being something positive for the organization. When the team frustrates me to no end, I can always count on the O-Zone. Pound for pound, since your hire, you may be the most reliable person in the organization. Thanks for being here day in and day out. You help pick us up when the team lets us down.
John: No snideness in this reply, because while your words are appreciated the reality is there is no shortage of reliable people in the organization. That's the frustrating thing about losing – that everyone in the organization from coaches, to players, to front-office, to marketing, to ticketing, to us here at to my nemesis, Ryan Robinson, are some of the best, most-capable people and workers I know. It is an easy organization to believe in, and that's what makes you believe that success will come.
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid. In 2004, the Bills started with a 1-4 record but had a point differential over those five games of 15. Only 15 points separated the total points of the Bills versus their opponents. Three of the five games were also settled by three points or less. This year, the Jags are 1-4 with a point differential of 73. The Jaguars' opponents have outscored them by more than double with three of the five games being decided by 17 or more points. Sorry, I'm just not buying it.
John: I'll agree with you that the point differential is strikingly different. The point I've made when writing about this is that the Bills struggled offensively, then got better late in that 2004 season. The circumstances were admittedly different in Buffalo. Specifically, the Bills had a veteran quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, whereas the Jaguars have a young quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. But Mularkey's point isn't necessarily that the Jaguars automatically will turn the season in the manner of the '04 Bills as much as things in the NFL can change very quickly and there's no reason to give up on a season because you're 1-4.
Joe from American Fork, UT:
John, in watching games this year there have been several times where I have watched the QB come up to the line and point at a linebacker and say "51 is Mike." What is the QB pointing out there?
John: I assume it would be the opposing quarterback pointing to Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and identifying him as the mike – or middle – linebacker.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
There is but one thing I question about Gene's draft philosophy, and that is picking a certain personality type. It's too safe to win with. It takes all kinds in this world. Sometimes you need the quiet guys; sometimes you need the hot-heads. You get a room full of quiet guys with nobody stirring the pot and it's boring. Sometimes those quiet guys need to get disturbed. Coughlin had it right--football players need an edge, and right now we have a room full of quiet nice guys who need someone to annoy them into action. Football is not a game that runs on good feelings and quiet contemplation. Do we have any players rocking the boat in the locker room right now?
John: Sorry, but I just don't buy into this way of thinking. Coughlin was all about character when he coached the Jaguars. When we covered the team, Pete Prisco and I used to joke that that version of the Jaguars didn't have enough hot-heads and thugs, either. They made four consecutive playoff appearances because they had good, talented players. The Colts teams I covered also didn't have any stand-up-and-make-speeches-get-in-your-face guys. They won because they were well-coached and outplayed their opponents. The Jaguars don't need players to rock the boat. They need players to make plays.
Kyle from Jacksonville:
Forty-six? You don't look a day older than 45½! So is this when the streak dies, no ozone over the weekend? You don't have an intern who can pretend to be you?
John: Our public relations intern Garrett "Go Get 'Em Petty" has his girlfriend in town visiting. I don't want to interrupt their handholding in the parks and romantic candlelight dinners at Sbarro's, so I'll almost certainly be O-Zoning to Daylight.

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