Tough day in the in-box, as expected. Sigh.
Let's get to it . . . Judd from Jacksonville:
All right, John, give us the silver lining – I gotta admit, I've drank the Koolaid and I've defended the moves Gene's made. But I have come to accept that this team with this GM and this coaching staff and these mediocre draft picks unfortunately don't offer hope for returning to the glory years. When you hope to be a .500 team in the fourth year of your rebuilding project and your team can't even do that, it's just time to call it what it is. This team is a long way away. I'll still be there every game and I'll renew my two season tickets when the time comes, but that doesn't mean I have to trick myself into believing a false hope that this team is on the verge of something. It just isn't there. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear I'm not...
John: All right. We'll get this one out of the way first. This is a familiar refrain this morning, and understandably so. We got many, many emails critical of Gene Smith and the direction of the franchise Sunday, and considering the 1-3 start and 0-2 record at home, that's to be expected. We won't run every one of those emails, because there's no reason to be redundant, so we'll give the answer and get it out of the way. It has to improve. Gene Smith has said himself that while he believes in the roster and the direction, it must be validated and the way it is validated is winning. Right now, the Jaguars are 1-3, and that trend can't continue. The belief in the organization is that things are being done right. Sometimes, as Mike Mularkey said, there are bumps in the road on the way to success. Right now, things are really bumpy. We'll see if that changes. But as far as a silver lining – no, this is not a day for silver linings.
Shane from Jacksonville:
I think we lost the game because we did not execute on long drives. If we had touchdowns we would have won the game. Other than that Blaine Gabbert continues to grow and I can see the big picture and light at the end of the tunnel. Am I a good fan?
John: Shane, today you're not only a good fan, you're a rare one, too.
Sapofeo from Parkland, FL:
I've noticed a change in your tone. I sense an apprehension in your words over the past few weeks that leads me to believe you're starting to get that pit in your stomach that the rest of us have. Am I wrong? Are you seeing something you don't like?
John: Well, I sure didn't like Bengals 27, Jaguars 10, but all kidding aside, these emails – and I get a few of them each week – do make me smile. People try to analyze answers for some hidden truth and often times it's just me answering questions. My advice: Don't stress too much trying to read between the lines and interpret tone in what I write. I answer a lot of questions and a lot of emails, and there are some days – like anyone – I'm trying to stay afloat. A big part of the job is trying to keep perspective on the big picture in what often is a week-to-week, reactionary league. That's not easy, particularly on days like this. I've said since the offseason I thought the offense would struggle early and get better late. I still think that. I didn't expect the offensive line to struggle like this and I didn't expect the defense to have two sacks. I also didn't expect the run defense to be struggling so much without Daryl Smith. Do I think things can get better? Yes. Do things look bleaker after a day such as Sunday? Of course, but I also know from experience teams can look bad early and improve, and that still could happen with this team.
Jamie from St. Simon's Island, GA:
Not a question, but an observation. There was a drive early in the fourth that pretty much sums up the Jags this season (and the past five years for that matter). First-down incomplete pass (or drop) on a potential first down throw; second down, untouched defender sacks Gabbert for a loss of 11; third down and long, short screen pass that had no shot for the first down; fourth down, punt and GAME, SET, and MATCH! Sunday was an utter embarrassment and pretty much un-watchable.
John: No. It wasn't good.
David from West Duval, FL:
How is it possible for a team to be so ineffective in the pass rush? It is absolutely painful to watch us get zero sacks while the Bengals absolutely embarrass our offensive line. What does the coaching staff do to address this? There is no way the lines can continue to perform like this and win more than three more games this season.
John: I'm going to give the defense a bit more of a pass than the offense, but not by much. The defense has to get better pass rush, but I still believe at least some of the lack of effectiveness comes from not stopping the run. As for the offensive line, that's a group that has to get better. There is something to be said for continuity. In fact, there's a lot to be said for continuity. It's critical. But there was far too much pressure on the passer Sunday and it's pretty close to impossible to succeed under those circumstances.
Kevin from Farmington, MO:
There is no hope. Our best days are in the way too distant future. Most of the NFL is lapping our team with very few exceptions. Teams are daring this team to throw and they can't do it with any semblance of a modern passing team. When is this team going to be competitive on the offensive side of the ball?
John: I won't say there is no hope, but I understand the angst. When is the team going to be competitive on the offensive side of the ball? Blocking the pass rush and having receivers create separation would be a start.
David from Charleston, SC:
Do you know how many nationally televised games the Jags will have this year? Or do they decide what games to play the Sunday of the game?
John: Nationally televised games are most-often decided well in advance – usually before the season. There are exceptions. Sometimes, a team will get moved to a nationally televised late afternoon slot if it is playing well and other times a game can be "flexed" into the Sunday night time slot late in the season. Those moves are usually reserved for teams playing well or teams in playoff contention. For now, the Jaguars have one prime-time, national game scheduled. That's against the Colts on Thursday, November 8.
Greg from Jacksonville:
I'm tired of this.
John: So are a lot of people.
Matt from Indianapolis:
The Jeff Lageman game film analysis videos are absolutely fantastic. Is there any way that he could do a breakdown of film from each week's game a couple days later, to highlight stuff that most of us missed?
John: Lageman's breakdowns are very, very good. He usually breaks down part of the previous game for Jaguars All-Access, which streams live on jaguars.com Mondays at 7 p.m. and is archived on the site. As for more extensive breakdowns, once All-Access is over, it's pretty much on to the next game. We try to look forward more than look back. It's the nature of media and the NFL.
James from Palm Coast, FL:
Terrible, terrible game. The offensive line, what can you say, no pressure on their quarterback, the defense couldn't stop anyone. But I liked what I saw with Gabbert. When he has time he's accurate, plus when he moved out of the pocket he made a couple of heads up plays. The quarterback is the future so I can take that from the game and maintain hope. Your thoughts on Gabbert?
John: As hard as it may be to see on days such as Sunday, I agree with you more than most people will.
Nick from London:
Shall we just do Fred Taylor questions again today?
John: I gave it some thought.
Matt from Jacksonville:
I was reading on article on nfl.com about the list of eligible people for the Hall of Fame and noticed Keenan McCardell, what do you think the chances of him making the HOF are??
John: I think it will be difficult, primarily because there are a number of receivers who probably need to get in before he does – Jimmy Smith, Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt among them. Randy Moss and Terrell Owens also figure to be in the conversation five years from now, and there's also Cris Carter, Andre Reed and Tim Brown. McCardell is deserving of consideration, but it's going to very difficult, and my personal respect for him aside, I doubt he makes it.
Johnathan from Richmond, VA:
Bridgett, will you marry me? I don't know if this is serious or not, but Bridgett, if you're out there, give the guy a break. And give me a break.
John: We could all use a smile on this Monday.