Let's get to it . . . Brad from Orange Park, FL:
I'm wearing a little thin on hearing how players that are underperforming at their respective positions are "great blockers." Wouldn't you rather have a great pass-catching tight end and receiver? The rushing champion the past two seasons has come from a sub-.500 team, right?
John: There's no question pass catching is more important at the wide receiver position, and Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey's point in praising how Laurent Robinson blocked against the Ravens wasn't saying otherwise. His point was that Robinson, while having caught only one preseason pass, is very much engaged in the offense, and is practicing and playing well. Sometimes catches are slow to come, and there is a belief that Robinson will be productive soon enough as a pass catcher. Mularkey said as much Saturday. As far as tight end, I'd say the position's value to a team is about 50-50 blocker/receiver. The blocking part gets overshadowed because the league is emphasizing passing more than in the past and because receptions are easier to quantify than blocking. Still, that doesn't make blocking unimportant as much as it makes it overlooked.
Sonny from Ponte Vedra, FL:
If one wide receiver is targeted more than another, obviously his stats are going to look better. I don't understand why this isn't taken into account when people look at stats. If one guy gets more opportunity, then he will look better. Correct?
John: Because I am very perceptive this way, I will assume we're talking again about Robinson. Look, the better Justin Blackmon is, then the more Blackmon is going to be targeted. It appears that Blackmon is going to be very good, and if that's the case, he will be targeted more than any Jaguars receivers. This will hurt Robinson's numbers in one sense, but over time Blackmon will draw double teams and defenses, and that will help Robinson. I have some more thoughts on Robinson, but because this clearly has become the angry, frustrated fans' Topic of the Week, I'll save it.
Trey from Jacksonville:
I'm not that worried about Robinson. I think he will come around. We have to give these guys a chance. We haven't even played a game yet.
John: Who let you into my inbox, you logical son of a gun, you?
Bobby from Blaine, WA:
How do waiver-wire claims work? I was reading ESPN's AFC South blog and Paul Kuharsky types, "They (the Colts) have the No. 1 slot in waiver claims..." How is it the Colts get No. 1 and not just teams picking up anyone like in free agency? Is it like the draft? I thought teams can get anyone off a waiver at anytime throughout the season. What determines an "order" to what team picks? Please help my NFL knowledge.
John: Yes, it works similarly to the draft in that when a player is waived, each team has a chance to claim him in order of record. That means the Colts have the first opportunity and the Giants have the last. Now, once a player "clears" waivers he becomes a free agent. That means he is then free to sign with whatever team he chooses.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
I believe the Jaguars will be able to compete with most teams when they play well, play smart and are healthy." Very insightful, John. How's life out on the limb? What team can't do this? The question is, will they . . . not can they.
John: There are teams that can win playing less than their best and that can withstand injury. Those are the elite teams. I don't think the Jaguars are elite yet, but I believe they are well-coached and talented enough this season to contend if they do things right. And yes, that is indeed the question.
Dane from Jacksonville:
You may have covered this already, but hypothetically speaking, if all of our offensive linemen were healthy, what do you think the starting lineup would look like?
John: Eugene Monroe at left tackle, Eben Britton at left guard, Brad Meester at center, Uche Nwaneri at right guard and Cameron Bradfield at right tackle. Will Rackley and Britton will compete at left guard when the former is fully healthy, and my guess is Britton will start, but we'll see.
Carlos from Mexico City, ME:
Nothing Jags related, but I'm just curious to know your opinion on this. Do you think Terrell Owens will have a bust the Hall of Fame some day?
Draa from St. Augustine, FL:
Do you think the situation with MJD has anything to do with the bad play Thursday night? Until last week, players thought MJD would be back, just like fans. Now there has been trade talk and the situation seems to have gotten a lot more negative. Do you think that had any part in the way we played or was it just a bad game? Thanks for the great work John.
John: It was just a bad game. I don't believe for a minute the players were thinking about Jones-Drew during the game, and I don't believe there was a letdown based on anything involving him.
Jay from Tampa, FL:
Do you think Blaine is still expected to be our franchise quarterback? And do you think BG and JB could be this year's version of Andy Dalton and AJ Green?
John: Yes, and while I don't like to compare players, yes, I think Gabbert and Blackmon will be a very effective combination – more effective than I expected shortly after the draft.
Alex from New York, NY:
I'm sure I don't know what a "base" is in this phrase you wrote: "Gabbert has improved his fundamentals and he is establishing a base."
John: It wasn't a great answer. What I meant was Gabbert is not only establishing confidence, but establishing to himself what he knows he can do. After a few preseason games, there are plays the Jaguars now know he can run well, and throws they feel they can rely on him to make. He also is showing the team and himself he can function in the pocket, run the offense and make certain throws. That's the base. What's next is making more throws, perhaps running no-huddle and throwing more deep balls. He's doing the basics. Once those are done well, you can start to do more.
Kyle from Crane, TX:
In their second year, I expected more than one guy (Gabbert) from last year's class to be contributing. Rackley has been demoted, Shorts is still a No. 4 receiver, and Issac and Prosinski are barely holding on to the roster. Is last year's draft class looking like kind of a bust to you?
John: Not if Gabbert is good. And not if Cameron Bradfield is, too. And not if Rackley is a solid backup who can start and play well. And not if Shorts is a good No. 4 receiver. Oh, and not if Issac and Prosinski are contributors to special teams.
Sal from Jacksonville:
I understand about Smith being hurt, but the replacements have some speed. I'm afraid I don't buy the EXCUSE you gave. These players are professionals and should be ready to play whether the week's practice was the roughest, or a short week. Apparently you have no answer to the lack of speed in the linebacker corps?
John: Buy whatever you want. My life changes not a bit, and remember, I'm not interested in answering antagonizing questions. But in your case I did answer. The Jaguars' linebacking corps late last season of Daryl Smith, Paul Posluszny and Russell Allen was not slow, and I don't think that group together will be slow this season. Yes, they're professionals, but if you don't think playing a second prime-time road game in six days with long practices in the heat mixed in takes a toll on the legs then you've never spoken with people whose job it is to understand these things and prepare a team for the conditions. I have, and I believe that had an effect on the speed of the defense. If you don't like the answer, I really can't control that.
Stan from Bakersfield, CA:
You should name today's column after another Zeppelin song.
John: How 'bout Over the Hills and Shut Up or Whole Lotta I'll Name My Own Columns.
Allen from Douglass, GA:
Is Blaine comfortable enough to boss his receivers when corrections or adjustments need to be made for Blaine's benefit to create better opportunities between himself and his receivers? Have you seen or heard of anything like this? I know the team generally sees him as a leader but is he fulfilling his role in its entirety?
John: I have seen Gabbert be much more forceful with receivers in practice than he was last year. I can't speak to whether or not he does this during the game, but Gabbert knows the offense, knows receivers' roles and is confident enough to be a leader, so I don't see this being an issue.
Hunter from Duval County, FL:
Joesher: I am disappointed to see the overabundance of positive emails on the ozone. In order to ensure equal broadcasting time, I'd like to complain about the stupid looking sport coats you have been wearing on your videos with J.P. Shadrick. How are you going to be the face of the franchise dressed as such?
John: Hunter, It's O-E-H-S-E-R. And my sport coats aren't as stupid as your shoes.
Let's get to it . . . Brad from Orange Park, FL: