Let's get to it . . . Justin from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
It is really tough to be a Jaguar fan right now based solely on what my eyes are seeing on the field every week. And I'm a glass half-full kind of person. How bad did it get in Indy before the tide finally turned? How much more will we have to endure before we hit the low point? Like my kids yell in the car, are we there yet?
John: The Colts were 3-13 in back-to-back seasons before going 13-3 in 1999, Peyton Manning's second season. They also had struggled for most of their seasons in Indianapolis before that, with only a couple of exceptions. Things often aren't as bad as they seem. Sometimes, it's a matter of putting a couple of pieces in the right spot and a losing record can turn into contending faster than you'd expect. I believe the Jaguars are closer than 3-9 indicates. Time will tell.
Roger from Cherryville, NC:
First and foremost, you are doing a great job and a great service to a lot of people from all over the world. We appreciate you and your work. Even though the negative pours in, our best days are coming and they wouldn't be properly appreciated without some contrast. Second, will you please help those who don't realize that BG isn't going to look very good if he's often/always having to throw to targets who haven't/can't do their part of the transaction? Wonder how BG would look throwing to Wayne/Clark/Garcon and friends?
John: You make a great first point, but while Gabbert certainly would look better – as would his statistics – if the receivers were playing better, he also must improve. Some of the things we saw Monday in the second half were difficult to watch. As he said after the game, looking good for a quarter and bad for a half isn't good enough, and considering he was very good in the second quarter Monday, I'd expect consistency to be a big focus going forward. I've said all along you have to be patient with Gabbert. I've said you must give him an off-season with a plan put in place in which he can excel. If we continue to see this after that, there's a problem.
Ed from Jacksonville:
You have yet to answer one of my questions. With all the attention Marshawn Lynch received eating Skittles during the game, do you think the NFL will add them to the list of banned substances?
John: I still haven't answered one of your questions.
Ivan from Jacksonville:
I know everyone wants to bash Gabbert, but what part of the field have you said that rookies tend to struggle in? He had two good series end in touchdowns from inside the red zone instead of field goals like most of the season. Isn't that progress?
John: Absolutely. And then it stopped. And then it wasn't pretty. That's what frustrates fans, and that's what should frustrate fans. What we need to see is progression followed by progression, and that doesn't always happen quickly.
John from Jax Beaches:
I'm getting married on Saturday and this is the first game I have missed in three years. I tried to explain to my future wife that we could attend the game and leave for the honeymoon after but she looked at me and said are you $##$ kidding me? Did I make the right choice by not going to the Tampa game?
John: The "right" choice is no longer an issue in your life; only the self-preserving choice. Welcome to our world, John.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
I'm not worried about Gabbert making progress. What worries me most is the way the fans came off to a national media all fired up about a future owner's facial hair. I can sympathize with you on the questions you have to answer. You don't see Cowboy fans with Jerry Jones facelift masks or Art Rooney Stoggie faces, makes you wonder no one came up with a "Blaine Mane Wig" Just sayin!
John: This is sports, Bo, have some fun.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
How's that BAP drafting philosophy working now? Clearly, if you pick BAP, at some point you're going to overdraft a certain position and underdraft another. Our wide receiver corps is awful, and if we continue this BAP drafting, we may never get a receiver. The shame is wasting picks on small-school guys like Shorts that will never be NFL ready.
John: Enjoy your short-sighted smugness while you can. Yes, the wide receiver corps has struggled, but the Jaguars did draft a wide receiver – Cecil Shorts – and did so in the fourth round. Now, to say a small-school guy such as Shorts will never be NFL-ready is silly enough that I honestly wonder if your entire email is sarcastic. As I've written many times in recent weeks, I do believe there is a point to be made that small-school often guys need a year to reach their stride in the NFL, but Pierre Garcon went to Mount Union. After essentially sitting out and playing special teams for a year, he has contributed quite well.
Melanie from Jacksonville:
Do you think Gene Smith realizes the NFL has changed? It is no longer a run-the-ball, stop-the-run league. Packers, Patriots, Saints etc. – all pass to win. Gene has failed to change with the times and continues to draft point holders instead of dynamic offensive play makers. Your thoughts?
John: Smith has not failed to change with the times. He is well aware that teams must pass to win. He drafted Blaine Gabbert in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Gabbert plays quarterback. He does not hold the point. Now, you could say he's not dynamic yet and you may be right, but to say Smith doesn't realize the need for a playmaker at the position is just, plain wrong.
John from Duval County, FL:
If Gene really believes in the BAP philosophy, and we end up with a top four pick, is there a legitimate chance we would draft a quarterback (maybe RGIII)?
John: That is a question that will get more and more steam the longer Gabbert appears to struggle. There is a school of thought that if you're truly drafting BAP, then you would take a quarterback if he's that high on your board. We obviously will discuss this endlessly in the coming months, but I will say this as an opening salvo. I believe Smith to be as egoless as any football person I have been around. If he truly looks at Gabbert after the season and believes he won't improve significantly, and if he believes a quarterback is the best available player when drafting, I believe there's a strong chance he would take the quarterback. It would open him up for criticism, but I believe he cares more about the long-term success of the team than being criticized. Now, we're a long, long way from that, but that's an early thought.
Roger from Jacksonville:
I think it's time you stop treating Gene Smith like a genius. You're quick to ridicule Shack for his mediocre drafting, but Gene's atypical picks haven't exactly been successes either. I agree that Eugene Monroe has finally improved, but the fact of the matter is that he has NOT dominated like a No. 8 overall pick should. The fact that we're still talking about seeing progress in him in his third season is ridiculous. Tyson Alualu (a player I am a fan of) is good, but again not worthy of a No. 10 pick. A player of his production could be picked up in the second round. And that leaves Gabbert...the QB Gene thought was the best prospect in the draft...Please.
John: I don't know that I've ever called Smith a genius. If I have, it hasn't been often. Genius is not a term I typically like to use involving football, but perhaps I remember incorrectly. That's always possible. As for Harris, again, I don't recall ridiculing him. I don't know him, and though I certainly would say Monroe and Alualu were superior first-rounders to many of the Jaguars' selections from that era, I have no real interest in criticizing Harris. As for criticizing Smith for drafting Gabbert, have at it. He's not performing well right now. Forget that it was generally acknowledged that he would need time, and assume that he is a finished product. All I've said all season is that it's necessary to wait and there are circumstances beyond his control, and that's what I'll keep saying.
John from Jacksonville:
I don't understand the confusion on why the defense didn't play well Monday night. It's not the same defense as earlier in the season. It's not going to automatically remain a Top 5 defense just because it has the Jaguars name on it. When you replace a good number of your starters on a very good defense, you are going to have some level of regression and it can't be avoided. It's not an excuse, it's a fact.
John: I don't find it confusing at all.
Branden from Staten Island, NY:
All I want for Christmas is three offensive touchdowns. Can I have them please, Santa Ozone?
John: What . . . in just one game?
Have some fun
Let's get to it . . . Justin from Jacksonville Beach, FL: