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Confidence remains

Let's get to it . . . Bob from Paget Parish:
What happens in Denver if the Broncos lose on Sunday?
John: The people there will be very, very sad.
Drew from Buford, GA:
You are not reading emails all the way to their point. My point about Porter and Holt is that fans didn't complain about the Jaguars' management making an effort. Porter sucked with us but we complained about him, not the decision to try to address a need. If I know I have been lacking in some aspect of anything over such a long period of time and do little to address it, shame on me. I like that they finally picked up MSW. We need help there.
John: I did read the email all the way to the point. It wasn't that I didn't understand what you were saying, but that I didn't agree with it. Those reading my answer to the point will know that what I was saying – and will continue to say – is signing Porter or any other player who is unproductive, disruptive and/or not worth the money is not a mistake that can be just written off as, "Oh, well. We tried." Decisions like that can set you back and that's not a way to build a championship roster. More often than not, free-agent wide receivers are a long-term mistake and although people continue to say, "I told you so" about the Jaguars' wide receivers, I continue to say, "Show me a receiver who could have helped and who would have been a significant addition, one worth having around for a long-term contract." That's not the snappiest "quote" I've ever written, but throwing free-agent money at players for the sake of showing fans you're making an effort has been tried before. Ask a Redskins fan.
Jody from Pace, FL:
So the Colts, who have been one of the three best teams in the NFL the last 10 years, are 0-fer and the only significant difference this year is No. 18 is on the sideline. I guess having a quality quarterback can be all the difference. I am excited about watching the development of Blaine Gabbert and seeing us rise to the level of perennial playoff and Super Bowl contender. In Gene I Trust.
John: The Colts and Manning are an extreme example, but there's no question the quarterback – particularly an elite-level quarterback – is the key element to putting you among the better teams in the NFL. You can do it without that player, but it is very, very difficult.
Jason from Guam:
The 1996 Jaguars were 3-6 before going 9-7 and making it all the way to the AFC Championship Game. I still have faith.
John: Faith is a very good thing.
Mike from Tampa:
This might be a silly question but since I hear a lot of talk about Mike Thomas being a great slot receiver could you please explain to me what exactly is a slot receiver and where do they line up? Just wondering, thanks.
John: Not a silly question. The slot receiver usually lines up between the offensive line and the standard outside wide receiver position. The slot receiver also usually runs routes in the middle of the field and is usually a smaller, quicker player who doesn't mind getting hit and is able to make receptions despite contact. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is generally considered the best in the NFL at the role.
Sean from Mandarin, FL:
I haven't heard you mention anything about the wasted time-out at the end of the game, a time-out that we desperately needed at the end. Go back and look at the film. Right before the two-minute warning there was a wasted time-out because they called it too late into the play clock. If they'd have called it right after the previous play, or just not called it at all right there, it would have been more beneficial than wasting it. Dropped balls are bad; wasted time-outs are worse.
John: You're right. It was a timeout they should have had at the end of the Steelers game. Didn't mean to not mention it. Clock management loses a lot of games in the NFL. You can't guarantee the Jaguars would have won that game if they had the timeout, but it could have helped.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Just thought I'd let you know that every day I relive Donovan Darius's clothesline against your old team at least once a day, except I replace Robert Ferguson with you.
John: Just thought I'd let you know that emails like this have much more oomph when they make sense.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
So, what's the deal with Cecil Shorts?
John: Shorts has struggled to start the season, and that he has is surprising to many around the Jaguars. There was a lot of hype around the Jaguars regarding Shorts early in training camp – including hype from a certain writer – and there was a reason: he was playing very, very well. While Shorts has struggled to start the season and hasn't caught a pass, the belief around the Jaguars is he still will be a very good player – and that he will make an impact this season. Most rookies have a period when they struggle. Shorts is going through his, but the feeling remains that that won't last.
Kenny from San Diego, CA:
Tell Kevin that every team would be scary if they got better in every aspect that he mentioned. It's like saying the fat kid would be skinny if he wasn't fat. duh.
John: That was sort of something like I sort of thought I sort of said.
Mat from St. Augustine, FL:
"The Jaguars took left tackle, defensive tackle and quarterback to try to build their core. Few in the NFL would argue the approach." This almost seems like you are saying Gene drafted the positions OL, DL, then QB on purpose. That would seem to be opposite to the best available player regardless of position theory that we have been force fed since Gene took over. I'm sure you can clarify.
John: Not on purpose, necessarily, but there are positions you wouldn't necessary grade as being first-round worthy – and there are positions that have more value than others on draft day. I don't know that you would ever grade a center as being the best available player in a draft, or a punter, or a middle linebacker. The Jaguars do draft best available player, but in the case of say, Blaine Gabbert, they obviously had a high enough grade on him to pursue him at the spot. I don't know that they would have done that if they already had a young, developing quarterback.
Spike from Jacksonville:
What do you expect out of Mike Sims-Walker Monday?
John: I expect him to be a fairly significant part of the offensive game plan. He has a good grasp of the offense, and the Jaguars are confident he can contribute.
Sam from New York, NY:
"Hill struggled to start the season and Miller has been placed on injured reserve. Combine that with a surprisingly slow start from Lewis and you had the No. 32-ranked passing offense in the league." You forgot to mention that there is a rookie QB playing like a rookie QB. The team has essentially the same offensive personnel it did last year, but they are mysteriously struggling. Are you really unable to admit that the difference is Gabbert? The Saints' passing defense isn't exactly elite, you know. I am not down on the kid, but blaming the receivers for the struggles in the passing game is a farce. They were average to start the year and they are average now. The difference is Gabbert. He has more upside than Garrard, but he is nowhere near as consistent or reliable as David was. I expect that to change, but just because he flashes great ability doesn't mean he should be immune to criticism for the team's slow start. You are perpetuating a silly myth that the receivers and offensive line are responsible for the offensive struggles. Both of these units are relatively unchanged from last season. It is fair to say releasing Garrard was a mistake, or would have been, had he been healthy. As it is, he wasn't, and we are stuck with a player who needs at least the rest of this season to develop. As for the Panthers' and Bengals' receiver situations, they weren't all that productive with similar players last year. Newton and Dalton were clearly more "NFL ready."
John: So having A.J. Green and Steve Smith has nothing to do with the success of the Bengals and Panthers? Gabbert obviously is going through struggles. I may have to go back through the archives, but I think I acknowledged that and wrote to the point of being redundant to expect it. Still, to think that he is getting adequate help is incorrect. If the Jaguars' receivers to date had been as good as they expected they wouldn't have re-signed Mike Sims-Walker this week.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Not a question, but your responding with a little more attitude....I like it.
John: Shut up.

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