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Go beat him

Game day.

Let's get to it . . . Keith from Palatka, FL:
"It's only a game;" surely you jest. That may describe high school or college, but not the NFL. It's big business – for owners, GMs, players and fans. Without each component, there is no NFL. Why should owners, GMs and players expect fans to support them if they steadfastly put an inferior product on the field? After the first three games, it became apparent we would be lucky to win another game. After such high expectations, to say I was bitterly disappointed is an understatement. No one wants to accept responsibility for this mess. If anyone says anything to the contrary, they are "whining." I'm not whining; "I'm mad as hell and don't care who knows it." When you know your team has little chance of winning, it ain't a whole lot of fun. How long, O' John, how long? Be patient? We have been for over a decade. Carpe diem and fire Gene Smith (now or at the end of the season).
John: Keith, I get the frustration. Everyone gets the frustration. One thing I want to make clear (if I hadn't already) is I don't consider voicing frustration "whining" and I'm not a believer that fans should be patient. Fans should want to win now, and they should be angry when it doesn't happen. What are they supposed to do? Be happy losing? The team had high hopes, too, and it's not as if the fans are more "bitterly disappointed" than the coaches and administrators. I assure you that's not the case. I'm not sure what people want when they demand people accept responsibility, though – short of people resigning midway through seasons. I don't think that's necessary or appropriate, nor do I think it would improve anything. Shad Khan will evaluate what's going on and he's well aware of who is in positions that should be evaluated. I suppose the people in those position could offer themselves up for public flogging or for people to pelt them with rocks and garbage, but at 1-8, that would probably leave people unsatisfied, too.
Chuck from DeLand, FL:
The way I see it, the Jaguars have won one game, lost three games and been beat five times – if that makes any sense. It sure helps me sleep at night.
John: It makes sense to me. It doesn't help me sleep, but it's disturbing – I will give you that.
Chris from Section 232:
Alualu had one decent game, and it came in a loss, so who cares?
John: I assume you're referring to the story this week on Alualu saying he felt better than he has since he entered the NFL. The assumption is that because it's a Jaguars-oriented website and because he plays for the Jaguars and because he was a Top 10 selection that readers of the site might care. The story didn't say Alualu had played great all season, or that it wouldn't have been great if he had been healthy from the time he entered the NFL. The story was about Alualu possibly reaching full strength for the first time in his NFL career. If that's the case, he has a chance to develop into the player many believed he would be when he was drafted, and Chris, I think if that happens, a lot of people would care. I know the Jaguars would be pretty fired up about it.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
In addition to the "oblivious" cam, I think it's absurd that the video department displays happy birthdays on the video board at halftime. Clearly, nobody in the stadium is happy with being down two-to-three scores at the half. The cheerleaders need to pack up, Jaxson needs to be airlifted out of the stadium, and the guys running out onto the field with our flags after a meaningless score need to just stop all together. I paid good money for a winning product and patronizing me when we're losing badly isn't the answer.
John: Andrew, it's the job of the people running the game day operations to provide some sort of entertaining product regardless of what's going on on the field. It's obviously not meant to diminish the play of the team, but to provide the fan as much entertainment as possible.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
Mike Harris seems to be making a few plays lately. He's what? A sixth-round rookie? What have you seen of him (practice, etc.) and what do you think of his potential?
John: I think Mike Harris has played well given the opportunity, and has shown that with a full offseason and a bit more time to develop, he has a chance to contribute and possibly start. In other words, he has done exactly what you hope any rookie outside the first round will do.
George from Savannah, GA:
Is it too early to plan on looking at Collin Klein as a replacement for Gabbert?
John: It is for me. You plan how you see fit.
Chris from Athens, GA:
In regards to your answer to Michael Friday, while I agree you need to find your franchise quarterback, so many teams fall into the trap of constantly looking for the quarterback and not addressing things that make it difficult for any quarterback to succeed – thus continuing the cycle of mediocracy or bottom dwellers. Not saying Gabbert is a franchise quarterback – he certainly hasn't proved it yet – but I think there are greater needs for the Jags than quarterback. O-line and a pass rusher on D to start, are more pressing needs. Thoughts?
John: My thoughts are I think I answered this when I answered Michael Friday, but I do know I'm tired of mediocracy -- and dictiopedias, too.
John from Jacksonville:
I'm now considering looking at the situation as the Jaguars having 24 pre-season games to start the 2013 season. We've completed 13 and have 11 more to go. I'm expecting us to be fierce and awesome 11 games from now as we continue to improve. We will be the team nobody wants to play next Fall. Are you with me?
John: I don't mind that approach for fans. I think the team can take a similar approach, but with a twist. The final seven games of this regular season indeed need to be approached as a time to improve as a team and develop/evaluate players, but I don't think it's time to play the entire roster or experiment, as some have suggested. The last seven games are a huge opportunity, because you're playing teams with a lot at stake and you'll get their best the entire game. That means the evaluation you do will be real and will matter, and that's not always the case in the preseason.
Michael from New Orleans, LA:
Cam Newton, RG III, Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton and Sam Bradford sport losing records. So do Drew Brees and Tony Romo and Matt Stafford. Only Ponder, Luck and Wilson have winning records, based mostly on the strength of good defense and a noisy home crowd that doesn't leave during the third quarter. Another quarterback might get you to 3-6, but I'm not sure that would satisfy the people crying out for wholesale change. Since patience, understanding and reason don't work with these people, can we just jump straight to public scorn and ridicule from now on?
John: Sure, we can. Many already do.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Regarding the "Leftwich-Roethlisberger" principle, I wanted to add that because "franchise" or even average quarterbacks are so rare, if I were a general manager I would want to draft one every other year on average. I don't care if I have Tom Brady under contract for six years; injuries at that position can devastate a team faster than injury at any other position in sports. If you draft three quarterbacks in six years and two are busts and one becomes a Pro Bowler, who cares about the two picks that didn't work out? I view young quarterbacks a lot like stocks. Buy low, sell high, keep the best ones for yourself - rinse and repeat.
John: That's a very good approach – in theory. It's much more difficult to do in fact. That's because in reality once you get that franchise guy there is an awfully big temptation to draft players around that franchise quarterback. In a perfect world, the team would be good enough and confident enough to use the draft as a mini-stock market, and there would be cases where it would work, but it's rare that franchises really have the guts to operate that way. You only have so many draft picks, and when you need 30-to-35 good players to have 22 starters and the beginning of depth, it's awfully difficult to use draft picks for speculator purchases.
Jeff from Wake Forest, NC:
For 13 years, we had to listen to how wonderful Peyton Manning was. Then, the Colts stink for one year and are blessed with the quarterback already heralded as the next great franchise quarterback in the mold of Tom Brady. In the sitcom of life, the Colts are Raymond and we are Robert.
John: I hear this concern a lot. I'll continue to say what I've said for years. Franchise quarterbacks in your division make life difficult, but they shouldn't make it impossible. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers. Right now, the Bears have been every bit the Packers' equal this season. You know what you do when you have a franchise quarterback in your division? Get good enough to beat him. It's not against the rules.

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