Final day for looking back.
Let's get to it . . .
Sandro from El Paso, TX:
I am awfully excited for a team that's 2-9. For once, we can say our quarterback has played two good games back-to-back and we see the result is different. Henne finds our playmakers. I just hope it's not a fluke.
John: There is indeed some excitement right now – certainly more than you might ordinarily feel for a team that is 2-9. It's not wait-at-the-airport excitement, but there's some optimism – primarily because what you're seeing is a team doing some things it hadn't done in a long time. The Jaguars are moving the ball, and scoring points. They're doing it in the passing game and it looks like they're doing it with some elements that may be able to contribute for the long-term. So far, there's no indication it's a fluke. Chad Henne on Sunday wasn't spectacular, and didn't do anything out of the ordinary; he just did his job and did it calmly and efficiently and that's what he's supposed to do. It's OK to be somewhat excited about that.
Jami from Wye Mills, MD:
Let's hope that your inbox will be more positive this week. I'm betting it will.
John: Just a bit.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Something that needs to be mentioned regarding Henne's performance against Tennessee is he not only overcame an early interception, but seven sacks as well. You don't often see a quarterback take that much heat and still keep his eyes down-field. Major kudos to Chad.
John: That was maybe the most impressive thing Henne did Sunday. He was under significant duress early, and overcame it. It was a situation where there could have been a lot of game-turning mistakes. Henne indeed deserves credit. It was an improvement.
Kyle from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
It appears Henne sees the field better and makes quicker decisions than Gabbert, but does not have as big of an arm. Is this an accurate assessment? What were Henne's shortcomings/weaknesses in Miami? What is your opinion on his upside?
John: Your assessment is pretty right on. It appears we saw a fairly significant difference in Henne and Gabbert Sunday. Henne indeed seemed to handle the rush and maintain his consistency under pressure well. While Gabbert showed strides and progress, he hadn't done those things as well during his time as a starter. Henne's issues in Miami were consistency and inexperience. He had several big-yardage games and sometimes those were followed by multi-interception games. He finished his Dolphins career with more interceptions than touchdowns. The other side of it is that he was young, with his two full seasons in Miami being his second and third seasons. He was off to the best statistical season of his career in 2011 when he sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in the fourth game of the season. As far as his upside, I don't know that he's as physically gifted as some NFL quarterbacks, but he certainly seems capable of making the throws and leading the team. If he's reached the point where he can do what he has done the last two games consistently, his upside may be pretty far up.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I'm not ready to crown Henne the future of the franchise, but I think he's a good option going forward. I know he'll have bad games, but the difference right now between him and Gabbert is that he has good games, while Gabbert had good drives. A good drive, or even a good quarter doesn't win games.
John: It's hard to argue that. Gabbert showed progress, but the question through the middle part of this season was, "Is the progress coming fast enough?" Henne indeed has proven capable of putting together extended periods of production and consistency and that has helped the offense look significantly better the last two games.
Ross from Mechanicsville, VA:
Shorts and Blackmon! Seems like we may have a new Thunder and Lightning, but it is way too early to tell. I noticed a general feeling of connection with Henne in some of the interviews afterward. Is that relationship connection as important as it seems or is that interview speak?
John: Winning makes everything taste better, and it makes interviews sound a whole lot better, too.
Ric from Jacksonville:
Is ANYONE still criticizing the Anger pick? Words they ate, huh?
John: Well, sure they are still criticizing it, and people probably always will. The Jaguars used a third-round selection on Anger, and because that's unconventional, it always will be criticized. Anger had two flip-the-field punts Sunday, and in a one-possession game, a strong argument can be made that those two plays may have helped the Jaguars win. The bottom line is the Jaguars have a very good player in Anger who likely will contribute for a long time. At this point, with the '12 draft far in the rear view, that's what matters.
Keisha from Annandale, VA:
O, who was the player wearing No. 16 Sunday? He was lined up as a punt returner. He wasn't listed in the program.
John: That was Jordan Shipley. He signed last week after the program went to press.
Kenney from Jacksonville:
Laurent Robinson is reminding me of when the Jags signed Jerry Porter a few years ago: big payday for minimum return. I know he's been hurt so we'll give him time. The real question is, if Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon are truly coming along to be a good tandem, will that leave Robinson as a high-priced slot receiver?
John: Robinson has been hurt enough that it's hard to judge his production this season. Now that he is on injured reserve after a fourth concussion incident, it's going to be even more difficult. I'd say the problem you bring up is a good one to have, because if Shorts and Blackmon turn out as good as they looked the last two weeks, Robinson indeed would be a high-priced slot receiver – and the Jaguars would have two very good receivers on the outside.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Why should fans slow down on the thought of locking up Cecil Shorts for the long term? I mean, wunderkind GM Gene Smith saw fit to extend Mike Thomas and pay him like a Pro Bowl receiver. What's the issue, John?
John: In retrospect, extending Thomas wasn't the best move, and I think that's been pretty well proven – and discussed here. Shorts appears well on his way to being a player worth extending. There's plenty of time for that, and it could happen, but it doesn't necessarily have to be now.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
I was reminded of two things on Sunday: 1) winning feels good; 2) I am too old to act the fool. I danced my jig, albeit not stripped to my scivvies in the stadium, but shirtless on the way to the car.
John: Apparently, you're not too old after all.
Keith from Summerville, SC:
If the Jaguars score a questionable touchdown could Mularkey throw the challenge flag to pull the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty thereby stopping the review of the touchdown?
John: No, the rule is the team can't benefit from a challenge if a coach throws the challenge in that situation, but reports are the point is going to be moot soon enough. It appears the NFL is indeed going to get the rule changed before the postseason.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
Lack of pass rush – plain and simple. No way to win consistently until they find it. It cost them late in the games that they lost and should have won.
John: No doubt. Though Mike Mularkey said the pressure Sunday was actually better than the one-sack total might indicate, this pass rush is supposed to be better. The Jaguars expected it to be better. They're not getting the rush from anyone up front they expected, with the possible exception of Austen Lane and John Chick. One note here: There has been a lot of criticism here in recent weeks of defensive end Andre Branch. He seems to be a classic case of a rookie struggling to adjust to the NFL. That's not uncommon at the end position. Just as wide receiver Justin Blackmon developed at his pace and is now contributing, that's possibly the case with Branch. At this rate, it may not happen this season, but that's still not incredibly uncommon with ends. He needs to develop in the off-season, though. The Jaguars need to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Michael from Jacksonville:
You were a year early, but boy, were you right on Cecil Shorts.
John: How about that?
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
The coach's call to go for it on 4th-and-3 from about midfield with about 30 seconds left in the first half made no sense. Punt the ball. Yes we won, but this bad decision could have been the difference between a W and an L.
John: I agreed, and thought going for it there was curious. That's my "by-the-book" view. Mike Mularkey at the time was in the mode of wanting to do something to get a struggling team a victory, and my guess is as time moves on you won't see the same decision in that situation.
Robert from Winningville, CA:
This team makes us happy.
John: It does right now.