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Head against the wall

Game-day O-Zone. Long day until kickoff.

Let's get to it . . . Lance from Jacksonville:
If a team went to London, or if they got an expansion team, would you think they would have to play home games there or would you think it would be like what the Jets, Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys do, and simply carry the name of the city and play actual home games at another location? I just can't imagine the serious air miles that team would be putting up to play away games.
John: They almost certainly would play home games in London. The problem with the entire concept is exactly the one you mention – the overwhelming difficulty of travel to and from the game. Teams traveling across three time zones in the United States already face a big disadvantage. Teams traveling overseas –particularly a team located there – could face regular obstacles too big to overcome.
Stirling from Sydney, Australia:
You're probably sick of hearing this, but I firmly believe that the Jaguars would be 3-3 if they'd kept Garrard, and would be on track for a decent 8-8 season. I also believe that next season the Jaguars would be destined for a middle-of-the-road no-frills 8-8 or 7-9 season, before slowly fading into obscurity, turning to Gabbert far too late. However, I believe that turning to Gabbert now might lead us to a 6-10 or 7-9 season this year, but a 9-7 or 10-6 the year after and then the year after that... who knows? Call me crazy, but I think we have a lot to look forward to in the next few years.
John: I agree about the next few years. I don't agree about the record. I get that a lot of people believe as you do, and it may be true, but the mistakes that cost the Jaguars against Carolina and Cincinnati weren't necessarily on Gabbert. And while you can say that Garrard may have made plays in those games, Gabbert also has done a nice job limiting interceptions that Garrard may have thrown. It's obviously debatable, but Garrard was not the most consistent quarterback and many of the problems that have plagued the Jaguars' offense this year likely would have been the same no matter the quarterback.
Porter from Orangeburg, SC:
I hate to sound critical, but out of all the rookie quarterbacks, Gabbert doesn't look better than any of them. Did we pick the right quarterback?
John: Gabbert has started four NFL games. Way too early to pass judgment.
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
Looks like the Colts are tanking the season in order to draft Manning's replacement! Agree?
John: While I believe more each week that the Colts might indeed have a chance at the No. 1 selection in the draft, I don't believe they're tanking the season. Players don't lose intentionally with the idea of acquiring a rookie – however talented – the following year.
Jeremy from Navarre, FL:
The people who write in criticizing Gabbert must be blind. The kid is no Hall of Famer but he is not playing badly by any means. Garrard was efficient and if WR's and TE's would catch the ball then Gabbert would look efficient as well. Sure the kid misses some throws, but so did Garrard. Did everyone forget that Garrard threw down-field balls high pretty much all of his career? Gabbert has already made throws that Garrard could never make. Until the kid's play warrants negative criticism, leave him alone! He already sees the field better than Garrard ever did. When it comes to the QB, the Jags made the right moves and fans need to move on!
John: Yeah. What you said.
Damien from Jacksonville:
As a lifelong Jets fan and an adopted Jags fan and season-ticket holder since moving to Jacksonville 11 years ago I wanted to say that some people around here don't get it. Teams tend to go in cycles, meaning that teams have runs of success and then down periods. Don't you agree? Growing up in Northwest Pa, I saw the Browns (of all teams) dominate for years and the Steelers fans complain about Chuck Noll of all people. I saw the Bills go to four straight Super Bowls only to struggle for the next 15 years. As a Jets fan...well, you know. Please people, stop complaining about the Jags. Their "down" years have been entertaining and they have tended to be competitive even when they were not supposed to be good. As someone who once hoped Browning Nagle would help his team win 5-6 games I say enjoy the NFL week to week and sooner than later your team will compete, especially when they build the roster the right way like GM Gene.
John: What you wrote is exactly correct and is the overriding truth of the NFL. As a long-time Redskins fan until the mid-1990s, I grew up with a team that sniffed the playoffs a few times, then followed them through a phenomenally successful era with Joe Gibbs as coach. Since then, they have had two decades mostly marked by frustration and overspending. I have made the point several times that one thing you have to give the Jaguars credit for is that their down years have been very competitive – perhaps more than they should have been. The key now is the quarterback. If Gabbert works out, the Jaguars are probably entering a memorable era.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
After seeing how Jason Pierre-Paul has played this year would you go back and draft him over Tyson Alualu? Earlier this year you said you wouldn't. Has your mind changed?
John: No. Alualu has been playing with a bothersome knee since he was a rookie. And while he has not been as dominant as he might have been otherwise, he is key to the interior of the line and the interior of the line has been key to a very good defense this season. Besides, I don't spend a lot of time second-guessing any team's draft. You can pick apart any draft and make it look bad doing that – and for what?
Bill from Westfield, MA:
How does it feel to come in everyday and beat your head against the wall until you fall over in disgust?
John: Why do you ask?
Lawrence from Jacksonville:
So sending you an e-mail that disagrees with one of your stated premises constitutes "hate?" I characterized your premise as perpetuating a myth, but it doesn't mean I "HATE" you. Nor did anyone characterize you as "arrogant" for not posting it due to length. As to reality, was the necessity of quarterback protection any less of a necessity for any team built after the 1978 rules changes?
John: I arrogantly hate to ask this, but can you repeat – or rephrase – the question?
Chris from Tallahassee, FL:
If Christian Ponder turns out to be a better QB than Gabbert, you can expect some fury from the FSU contingent of Jags base. And it will be justified.
John: I never have understood the desire of NFL fans to have a player from their college team on their professional team. What does it matter?
John from Jacksonville:
This may sound goofy and I know the theme around the team is to just win a game, but it's amazing that we are almost in complete control of our destiny in winning the division while we sit at 1-5. The obvious key is to win the remaining matchups against the Titans and Texans and we'll be back in the race with the tiebreaker edge. Sounds sweet at 1-5, eh? Now, back to reality and beat the Ravens (tough but definitely can be beaten).
John: Any team in the NFL can be beaten. I just don't know that I'm on board yet with the controlling-the-destiny train. Win a couple of games and we can reevaluate at the bye week.
Johnny from Jacksonville:
"The Jaguars were so desperate to ignite their passing game that they re-signed wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker, who was released by the also-inept St. Louis Rams this week." The Baltimore Sun. Let's make them eat crow on getting MSW back.
John: The Jaguars re-signed a player from a struggling team. What else did people think would get said about that move? It may work out or it may not, but there was no way to avoid criticism.
Robert from Chicago, IL:
Hate to bring up that other guy, but he often referenced a football quote, "Help is not on the way!" Appreciating that simple phrase is indeed key to understanding the Jaguars right now, and actually pretty good words to live by in my experience. Don't you think? (I had to make it a question.)
John: Never a problem bringing up my predecessor. That quote is key to understanding the Jaguars or any team during the season. A team must deal with a season with the players on the roster. It's just how it is.
Nick from New York, NY:
I love the feistiness of the O-Zone this last month or so. You're really starting to shine. Don't bow down to the fans.
John: Shut up.

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