Let's get to it . . . Kelvin from Atlanta, GA:
Why was a penalty called on Vernon Davis Sunday for standing on a podium when the Lambeau Leap never is called a penalty? He didn't use the football as a prop.
John: I thought the penalty of Davis was a little silly, too, but under the league's current rules, it probably had to be called as excessive celebration because he used a prop – the camera platform. The legality of the Lambeau Leap has been grandfathered in by the NFL.
Chase from Section 411:
So, if free agency begins March 13, how soon after that should we find out about the Jaguars' first few signings.
John: I'm not sure, but I'm not planning to take the 13th off.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
Being an avid Jags fan, I didn't watch any other games until the playoffs. It is easy to see what we need to be one of them. Not much on defense. On offense though, I noticed that the receivers made the routine catches (if there is such a thing), but they also made a lot of difficult catches or catches of poorly thrown balls. I know that isn't all we will need to be a playoff team, but it looks like our biggest need. Your thoughts?
John: That without question is the biggest need. Covering the Jaguars all season, I don't get to closely watch as many other games during the season as I might like, but watching the playoffs, that certainly is something that stands out: the wide receivers on playoff teams often make plays "above the Xs and Os" – i.e., special plays that if they didn't make them you might not blame them. The Jaguars' wide receivers too often did not make routine catches, but at some point you also have to make the unusual catch, too.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
I have a post-season overtime question. Suppose the team that receives the ball possesses it for an entire 15-minute drive and scores a field goal as time in the overtime period expires. Will another overtime period begin with the trailing team receiving the ball or will the game be over?
John: Congratulations, Stephen, for continuing this line of questioning for yet another day. In your scenario, the game will continue on the first play of the second extra period.
Kenny from San Diego, CA:
Is there any argument that can be made that Arian Foster is a better back than Jones-Drew? If there is then I don't see it.
John: Well, sure, there's an argument. Foster is one of the two or three best backs in the NFL and if you watched the playoff loss to the Ravens or the victory over the Bengals, you saw that he is capable of turning short gains or losses into long runs. He has the knack for the big run, and not just because Houston has perhaps the NFL's best offensive line. I agree that Jones-Drew probably is better, but I wouldn't say there's no argument.
Chester from Copenhagen, Denmark:
If Nike has the NFL contract from 2012 on will that mean all teams will get new jerseys or do they have a separate contract for them?
John: All uniforms will be done by Nike, which means there likely will be some subtle changes for all teams. You won't see drastic, wholesale changes league-wide.
Alan from Sheffield, England:
With all that Tom Coughlin achieved in Jacksonville and with what he has achieved so far with the Giants, if he beats the Patriots again in your opinion would he get into the Hall of Fame?
John: Coughlin because of the way things ended in Jacksonville never got the credit around the league he deserved for being a very, very good coach here during that time. It is also a testament to his consistency and focus that he has lasted and indeed flourished in New York for an extended period. We used to joke when Coughlin was in Jacksonville that because of his intensity and how he worried about what we said in the media he never could survive in New York. Remarkably, he has navigated some tough times and will be remembered as one of the great coaches in the history of a storied organization. And yes, if the Giants beat the Patriots in two weeks, I believe he'll be in the Hall of Fame – or at least he certainly should be.
Steve from Section 206:
After the results of the AFC and NFC Championship Games, the retention of Josh Scobee just became more important.
John: The Jaguars didn't need post-season results to understand Scobee's importance.
Alex from Ormond Beach, FL:
Great teams don't make mistakes. They take advantage of them. Kudos to both the Giants and the Patriots.
John: The conference title games indeed exemplified an oft-overlooked part of the NFL – that for all the talk of coaching, players, talent, schemes, etc., etc., more often than not games come down to doing simple things and not making mistakes at critical times. Such mistakes hurt the Jaguars early this season, and took away their chances at a competitive season, but the same held true this past weekend for four teams playing for the chance at the ultimate pro football prize.
Robert from Jacksonville:
Some so-called Jags fans were ragging on Gene Smith for drafting small-school guys and saying the Jaguars need to get Vincent Jackson or Marques Colston or both. What I thought was funny is that both of those guys are from schools that don't even have football teams anymore. Jackson went to Northern Colorado and Colston went to Hofstra.
John: Irony can be pretty ironic.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
So, the 49ers got to the NFC Championship Game after going 6-10 the previous season. What did they do? They thrived off a good defense and run game, got rid of their rah-rah defensive coach, brought in a new coach and system, believed in their quarterback and ran with it. Sounds like a situation that is occurring in another part of the country.
John: This has become a prevailing O-Zone them in recent days, and that's understandable. I'd caution that there are two sides when it comes to the 49ers-Jaguars analogy. One is that, yes, a coaching/culture change can make a substantial difference provided all players buy in. The other is that even if the culture changes and things improve, it doesn't always mean making the conference title game. The NFL is about staying healthy and getting in the playoffs. Once you're there, it's about making plays and playing intelligently at critical times. For all of the bells and whistles that are popular to discuss these days, it's still football and in the big games, that's still what wins. Overall, though, I think the Jaguars-49ers comparison has merit in one sense – that the Jaguars will improve next season in part because of a move toward a more disciplined, focused organization.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What Jeremy Mincey said about not giving his team a hometown discount was a good indication of a player that cannot be trusted to give a long contract to, It's not just business. Guys of high character do not say things like that. It's disrespectful to the team and the city. All he has to say is he would love to stay in Jacksonville and let the chips fall where they may, I guess he feels pretty good about winning five games this year. Does Knighton or Alualu get a cut?
John: All Mincey said is what pretty much every free agent in the history of free agency has said, that the NFL is a business. Mincey wasn't being disrespectful – and the Jaguars certainly won't weigh that against him in free agency. What he said also was in no way a reflection of his character. Relax, Don. I don't know if the Jaguars will pay Mincey what he wants, but I know what he said about the hometown discount won't and shouldn't play a role in the process.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
O'man, what a treasure you've become and your enthusiasm by keeping up the O-Zone brightens my weekends. Fans want to put a timetable on when Gabbert can officially be declared a success or bust. When he was drafted, wasn't he expected to sit the first year, get a little playing time his second and be ready to compete for the starting job his third season. Even with his rookie mistakes this year, wouldn't you think he's ahead of schedule?
John: Ask the stuff about Gabbert tomorrow. I stopped at, "what a treasure you've become . . ."
Alicia from Jamaica:
Do you think that our top defense will stay a top defense next season?
John: I think the defense will continue to be a strength, and I believe that if the Jaguars are to make the improvement many expect it will need to play at a high level. Will they finish sixth in the NFL? I don't know, and it really doesn't matter. The defense this season was good – good enough to keep a functioning offense in more than enough games to make the playoffs. That's the mark of a good defense in this day and age. If the Jaguars add a strong pass rusher, there's no reason the defense can't be that again.
Jon from Columbia, TN:
Has Eli Manning earned the status of an elite NFL quarterback? Do you think he ever can get out of Peyton's shadow?
John: I absolutely believe Eli is an elite quarterback. Getting out of Peyton's shadow is a more complicated process, but he's certainly getting closer to that than once seemed imaginable.
Albert from Memphis, TN:
Has there ever been a Super Bowl in Jacksonville? If not, do you ever see it happening?
John: Way to research, Albert. Appreciate the effort.
Doing his research
Let's get to it . . . Kelvin from Atlanta, GA: