Let's get to it . . .
Patrick from Murfreesboro, TN:
Blaine Gabbert is our best chance right now. Do you agree, John?
John: We'll see. The Jaguars did not look like a playoff team in the first two games, and to me, it appeared quarterback play was the biggest reason. For that reason, I had come to the belief they should start Gabbert, but that I wouldn't have minded McCown getting another chance or two to be that "game-manager," "squeeze-the-most-out-of-the-conservative-offense guy." I was hoping McCown could do what many thought he may have been capable of doing. As for Gabbert being the best chance right now, time will tell. During the preseason he did not appear to be quite ready, and that was why McCown started the first two games. I'm anxious to see if the rookie is significantly more ready once the lights come on for real.
John from Jacksonville:
This is really infuriating. Signing another nobody, done nothing, wide receiver that isn't going to contribute or improve our very sub-par, bottom-tier wide receiving corps – I'm sick of it. Sign someone that is worth their salt, for the love of Lambeau!
John: Such as?
Andy from Saint Johns, FL:
Does anyone even realize that Matt Roth is on pace for a 16-sack season?
John: I'll bet Matt Roth does.
Lavoris from Jacksonville:
Now that Blaine Gabbert is getting the start, is it safe to say that the Jaguars are using this season to rebuild?
John: Time will tell. Players and coaches don't feel that way. They will do what they do – i.e., prepare and plan for every game trying to win. If they win and stay competitive, then it will be termed a gutty, gritty impressive season. If they fall out of contention, it will be termed a "rebuilding" season. Whatever you label it, Gabbert's development is the central story.
Christer from Copenhagen, Denmark:
First an opinion: Cam Newton is the league's "wunderkind-QB" these days. The way we stop him is by not letting him on the field. Playing grinding running football, the way we know how. And a question: Do you think Gabbert will play the whole playbook, a simplified version or just be a ballmanager?
John: They will tailor the game plan around what the team does well – i.e., running the ball – and what Gabbert is ready to do well. That won't mean using the entire playbook and I don't expect Gabbert will be at the line of scrimmage audibling to obscure plays in the back of the playbook, but his strength is his arm. You have to let him throw.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
I think the beginning of the Gabbert era should be known simply as "Sunrise."
John: I'll pass it along to marketing.
Kaarel from Tallinn, Estonia:
Bigger arm than Byron's? That would take some arm. Hopefully it also loads quicker.
John: It's some arm. It loads quickly.
Scott from Newcastle, UK:
Does starting Gabbert give JDR a shorter or longer leash in terms of job security? Or is the leash still the same length?
John: However long the leash, the length is still the length.
Clif from Bethesda, MD:
I am so pumped right now. I have not been this pumped to see a QB of ours play since Brunell. My question is if you see the offensive line playing better because they want to protect the young Gabbert? Do offensive lineman worry about who is behind center? Would the Colts block better for Manning than they do Collins?
John: Offensive linemen block how they block. At least they better. A quarterback such as Manning can make a line look infinitely better because of his ability to move in the pocket and get rid of the ball to avoid sacks.
Garrett from Drewval, FL:
"[Garrard] had several games last season very, very similar to the one McCown had Sunday." The only game I can really find that is similar is the Chargers game early on in the season. Also you said that McCown had the better preseason. This is the case, but McCown mainly played against backups and it's only the preseason, I just don't see how JDR can cut Garrard based on this alone. No one can ever convince me that JDR is telling the truth when he says it's a "pure football decision" to go with McCown. Don't coaches consider that the preseason stats are skewed due to playing against backups/with backups?
John: The decision was based on more than statistics. There was no feeling that Garrard was the player he had been the past four seasons. I've gotten some criticism about saying, "You have been heard" at the end of yesterday's O-Zone in a question about Garrard. Let me clarify: I don't know Garrard that well, and I have no interest in kicking him while he's down. That wasn't meant that way and I wish it hadn't been taken as such. The reader was making the point that if Garrard had been the answer he probably would have been signed by someone else by now, and I was agreeing that there is probably some truth in that.
Matt from Indianapolis, IN:
Does Gabbert have a bigger arm than Leftwich did? Say what you want about how good of a QB he was - Byron had an absolute cannon. I'm going to be pretty excited if Gabbert's arm is stronger.
John: Be excited. Gabbert can make all of the throws, and he has a pretty impressive combination of big arm and quick arm – i.e., his throws to the outside get there in a hurry. My main concern over Gabbert is pocket presence and his tendency to run very, very quickly when pressured. If he works through those issues – and that's part of the learning process for a lot of young quarterbacks -- he has a chance to be special.
John from Saint Augustine, FL:
Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions and 26 touchdowns in his rookie season. I realize the difference between Manning back then and Gabbert now however the point I wish to make is that the Colts allowed Manning to throw the ball around a bit and make some mistakes. I hope the Jaguars allow Gabbert the same freedom. I recall them keeping Byron Leftwich on a very short leash and some said it stunted or at least slowed his development.
John: I don't think Gabbert's leash will be as short as many are assuming. And yes, Manning made some mistakes. Gabbert will make mistakes, too – a lot of them. There will be patience needed in the coming weeks and I hope all of the people who have been calling for Gabbert remember that. Don't know that they will, but here's hoping.
James from Charlottesville, VA:
I am very excited to see the kid in action, and I'm anxious to see how our defense fares in slowing down Cam Newton. However, I believe there is one matchup that will define this game and its outcome: Eugene Monroe versus Charles Johnson. This is what we drafted him for. Put up or shut up.
John: Monroe has played better in the first two weeks of the season than he did in the preseason. Left tackles have big matchups often during the season. Here's another one. We'll see what happens.
Zain from Orlando/Chicago/Nashville:
The D certainly deserves the props it's getting, but let's hold off a little before using terms like elite. Defensive statistics like yards/points allowed per game are inflated/deflated based on style of play, and based on the Jaguars' smash-mouth, grind-it-out style of play, those numbers could certainly be inflated. Courtesy of Football Outsiders, we're 5th, 14th, and 15th in yards/points/tds per play. Definitely improving, but hard to say we're more than middle of the pack.
John: Not sure I ever used "elite" with the defense. If I did I must have been caught up in a haze of quarterback/head coach questions. I'd say the defense is improving and playing well enough to keep the Jaguars in a lot of games if it gets adequate play from the offense. That's more than could be said last season and is something on which to build.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Amidst all of the drama at quarterback, Courtney Greene gets replaced by Dwight Lowery – finally! Look for fewer big plays over the middle and long touchdowns. Do you think starting Gabbert this early is a mistake? I am always dubious putting a young QB in before he is truly ready.
John: I was leaning toward believing it was time to play Gabbert, but only because it didn't appear the Jaguars were getting good enough quarterback play to contend for the playoffs. I don't know that Gabbert is ready, and I do think he could have improved with some more time to watch and study, but I also don't think it will hurt him to play.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
I thought your article was spot on. Let no one ever say that Johnny O didn't warn them Gabbert may be downright terrible at times. If anyone ever tries to say you called Gabbert the next coming or other such nonsense, I got your back. Besides, Big Head's first year was horrendous and he was a No. 1 pick.
John: Appreciate the support. Manning's first year was a struggle as you say, particularly early, but then toward the end of the season there increasingly times when you could see he was going to get it. By Year 2, he was a Pro Bowl selection. Every quarterback's different, but that's obviously the trajectory you'd like to see.
Eric from Boise, ID:
How are you seeing questions from foreign countries – i.e. Joshua from Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany? Why would they be a Jaguars fan? Makes no sense.
John: I have a dynamic writing style, a physique to envy and hair to die for. That's going to draw some attention, internationally speaking.