Let's get to it . . .
Antony from Columbia, SC:
It's only preseason, so six months from now, it will mean nothing, but we saw everything we needed to see from Blaine Gabbert Friday. Better mechanics, good vision, good accuracy. It doesn't guarantee regular-season success, but man, was it good to see.
John: That's the exact proper perspective. Blaine Gabbert on Friday indeed looked good. There's no question. There were observers who criticized plays, particularly a throw on his third series when some interpreted him as ducking away from a rush. A closer look at that play makes you wonder just what else he should have done on the play, and the reality is when faced with point-blank pressure, any quarterback throws the ball, then protects himself. It's called intelligence and self-preservation. Gabbert stood in against pressure on the first play for the Jaguars' offense, and looked very good for most of his time after that. I'm not sure you could have asked for a better start. This is what the Jaguars wanted to see.
Chris from New York, NY:
WOW! Gabbert completed four passes on the opening drive against a defense that wasn't even trying. We're going to the Super Bowl! He's like Tom Brady.
John: You're ridiculous, and if I'm not mistaken, maybe even a little sad and small.
Joel from Atlanta, GA:
O-Man, how was it to have this inbox this morning? Mike Mularkey really energized the fan base with that two-point conversion call, preseason or not.
John: Chris excluded, the inbox was pretty good – not too much ridiculous one way or the other. I think most people saw the game for what it was – a step in the right direction. I went through the inbox and my editorial content pretty thoroughly and found nary a Super Bowl prediction or a Tom Brady comparison, but maybe I just missed it. As for the two-point conversion call, it may have energized the fans, but it was really a no-brainer from Mularkey's perspective. He played in the NFL, and if there's one thing any NFL player will tell you they hate it's preseason overtime.
Sal from El Paso, TX:
Dear O-Man, (maybe now I'll get printed) could you please not be so casual when you assess a player as possibly "special." Gale Sayers was special. Derrick Thomas was special. Come one, come all I guess.
John: Yeah, when you're right. You're right.
Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
The replacement refs had a bad game; especially at the end. The game should have been over as soon as the Giants' quarterback committed the penalty with two seconds left. If the Giants had scored on that last play, that would have been a heck of a mistake to make.
John: Yeah, I thought they missed it, and yes, it would have been a heck of a mistake – except that it was the preseason, so it wouldn't have been tragic even in a football sense. One thing this preseason is showing is officiating the NFL isn't as easy as it might look. I figure the officiating will improve. Things often do with experience and time, but it certainly doesn't seem like an issue that's going to fade.
Colton from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars will be good enough to make playoffs?
John: I'll give a little bit of a "coachy" answer, but we're a week into preseason, and maybe that's the time for it. I think you saw Friday night what the Jaguars will have to be to contend for the postseason. By that I mean they're going to have a good enough offense to put together some drives, and make some big plays, but I don't think they're going to be a dominant enough team to overcome a slew of mistakes. That's why the penalty and turnovers we saw in the first half can't happen. Few teams can overcome those, and certainly teams beginning to find themselves can't. The Jaguars are going to have to play disciplined and smart and I'm guessing the lack of that sort of play at times will be Mike Mularkey's biggest gripe from Friday.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
What are you hearing about John Chick's recovery? I thought he looked like a pretty good pass rusher and a guy that can really help the depth of the d-line. What do you think? I'm rooting for him.
John: Chick is still on PUP, and working to return some time this season. Right now, from afar, he's got a long way to go, but time will tell.
Bo from Miami, FL:
I think Maurice Jones-Drew wants more money.
John: What do you mean?
Joe from Section 104:
Gene Smith is fond of saying "availability supersedes ability." When is it time to call the Zach Miller experiment over? It seems that many players get weeded out in high school and college due to injuries based on their body type and the position they play. It seems as though had Zach Miller been a tight end early on and exposed to the rigors of that position he would have either developed the ability to stay healthy or been "weeded out." Having played the less physically vigorous position of quarterback his ability to stay healthy has not been as thoroughly tested. Sound thought process or totally bologna?
John: Zach Miller played option quarterback in college. He took hits. I am as struck by the reaction to Miller's injury this week the same as I usually am when a player who has been injured before is injured again. Fans typically respond as they have this week – with vehemence and outrage that the player has not been released. They seem personally offended that the player has been injured, not realizing it is a violent game that puts strain on the body. What these people also don't realize is that there's no reason to immediately "give up on a player." If, for example, Zach Miller is placed on injured reserve, what is the harm in bringing him back for next season to see if he can stay healthy? Now, if that scenario happens – and there's no reason to believe it will – the Jaguars would probably try to find a backup tight end to compete with Miller, but to rush to release him just rids your roster of a capable player. A franchise must avoid this sort of frustrated rush to judgment and make more long-term decisions.
Gpiros from Savannah, GA Since the Tom Coughlin era we have not drafted-jar-on-the shelf quarterbacks like Green Bay, New England etc. These same teams seem to have groomed those same players into starting players each and every year. Why does Gene not try and do the same?
John: To draft jars on the shelf, you first have to have players playing on the field. That has been the Jaguars' focus the past three or four drafts. Once you have players playing as starters, you can draft people to develop behind them.
Shane from Jacksonville:
I know we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves, but I'm excited! I am extremely excited! I look at our receivers and for the first time in a while, things are looking good. I'm thinking that having Robinson and Blackmon on the field together is going to free up some space for the other WR and our TE. Hopefully we get really solid production from our other WR and TE, kinda like Robinson in Dallas last year. I am pumped and thankful that football is back. And more importantly the Jags are going to be in the hunt this year! GO JAGUARS!
John: Yes, Shane. Be excited. Realize that it's not going to be perfect, but there's no reason not to be excited. Things feel good around here.
Steve from Section 122 since Day 1:
John. In my opinion, it's starting to look like MJD only wants more money. Have you given any thought to that?
John: I think Maurice Jones-Drew wants more money.
Rashaad from Section 410:
Blaine Gabbert played a good game but that throw on third down where he threw the ball away in the face of the rush instead of standing tall and hitting a wide open Robinson concerns me. Seems like he's still scared back there.
John: I was waiting for this question, and touched on it with my first answer to Anthony. I'm assuming you meant a 1st-and-5 throw to Robinson. Gabbert indeed missed with the pass, but the ball came out at the last minute and there was nothing he did that any quarterback wouldn't have done. Again, go back and look at the first play of the game for the Jaguars' offense. He got hit and stood in the face of the rush. Don't fall into the trap of saying that every time Gabbert protects himself in the face of a rush he's not "standing tall." Watch any quarterback. When they are about to be hit, they protect. Eli Manning does this all the time. I watched Tom Brady do it last year and thought, "My goodness, if Gabbert did that, the criticism he would take . . ." He's not scared. He could have protected the ball better on the fumble, but he's not scared. He's just not.