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Heck of a Stromboli

It's Film Room Friday. Yess!!!

Let's get to it . . . Shawn from Honolulu, HI:
In response to Evan from Ponte Vedra, most teams in the NFL would rank 31st in run defense after starting the season against All Day and A. Foster. We played two of the best running backs in the league; not just a one-season wonder, but consistently top backs every year.
John: Yes, they are top backs, but good defenses expect to stop the run no matter who they're playing. The Jaguars' defense against Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster wasn't good enough. It's a major point of emphasis this week. Run fits must be improved. Tackling must be improved. Angles to the ball must be improved. Staying in your gaps and filling the proper areas must be improved. If you don't stop the run, it's hard to pressure the passer, so this area has got to get better.
Chuck from Summerville:
I read your column every day and usually start reading the comments at the end. But rarely do I go past the first four or five. It's usually the same two or three people who are always being negative. I watch the JAGS because I Love football and Love my JAGS. Not so I can be depressed every day. I'm going to keep reading your column but I am finished looking at the comments.
John: I'm depressed every day, but it has nothing to do with the Jaguars or the comments.
Shawn from Jacksonville and all over EverBank:
In reference to team depth, look back to the preseason when teams played their ones, twos and threes. Compare the success teams had, factor in your twos playing in place of the ones and it shows how missing so many starters is a major factor in talent and success on the field.
John: There is truth in what you say, no question. I'm always leery of using preseason fourth-quarter performance as an absolute gauge of depth, but it is at least a small measure and the Jaguars' reserves for the most part played well. Injuries don't always hurt performance dramatically, but injuries in certain spots do. Daryl Smith is a big deal for the Jaguars' defense, and so is Derek Cox. Losing them hurt.
Steve from Homosassa, FL:
I know it is late in the week and people are still dwelling on the reason why the Jags got blown away by a really good team. This question is not meant to be a slight but it does happen – so did anyone consider that the Jaguars just got out coached? It does happen. It seems as I watched the game that the Texans were very well coached and well prepared.
John: The Texans certainly were well-coached and well-prepared, but I'd say this about that: they better be well-coached and prepared. They are an experienced, veteran team and Gary Kubiak is deep into his tenure as the head coach. Matt Schaub has been there. Andre Johnson has been there. They are a team that has been doing the same thing offensively for many, many years and the same thing defensively for a second year under Wade Phillips. When the Texans play offense, they have years of institutional knowledge about what works best for their players in a given situation. That can make them look very well-coached and well-prepared. The Jaguars were in their second regular-season game with this coaching staff and a group of players still getting familiar with the offense. I would expect the Texans overall to look more comfortable in their scheme. The gap on that front should close progressively, but I don't think it was unusual that there be a gap in Week 2.
John from Jacksonville:
I'm starting to think you don't love me. It's been two weeks since you posted a question of mine. And here I am, your biggest fan and all...all left out in the cold. sobs
John: I'm sorry . . . did you say something?
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
Mularkey said Gabbert needs to be more patient and trust the protection? Are you kidding me? Watch a few NFL games this weekend. Gabbert will have one of (if not THE) smallest pocket and least amount of time before being pounded by a rushing lineman. Let Mularkey take a few snaps behind center and see how he likes being rocked at two seconds after the snap. It's like telling a bull fighter he needs to be more patient and that he needs to wait just a little longer until he moves. Are you kidding me? C'Mon man!
John: You certainly have a point. I think this is one of those answers where what a coach meant is lost a little in context. I didn't at all get the idea that Mularkey was ripping Gabbert, or that he was ignoring the fact that the offensive line struggled at times. Mularkey is very upfront with the media and works to try to answer questions honestly. On this one, he was trying to get into the details of what happened offensively Sunday. He talked a lot this week about a lot of things. Route-running. Protections. Mental errors. Penalties. Among the things he mentioned was that there were a few plays where Gabbert might have felt the rush a bit better or trusted the protection to hold. It wasn't said in the vein that Gabbert was being well-protected on all plays. It was a matter of Mularkey discussing this specific area of an overall offense that struggled on Sunday.
John from Jacksonville:
Wins are like that light Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones flash in people's eyes in Men In Black. They make us forget. I think we could all use some flashes of light and move on.
John: This is the first MIB reference in the O-Zone. It fits.
Joe from Jacksonville:
You are told Alualu is playing well? I have watched every single play from Alualu this year, pleading, with tears in my eyes, that he would show at least something, and so far, he's been terrible. I find it funny someone had to tell you Alualu was playing well.
John: Laugh all you want, and I know from experience not to make this a daily argument. I wouldn't say he's playing at a Pro Bowl level, because he's not, but he wasn't terrible against the Texans, and he wasn't the primary reason the run defense struggled.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I'm a believer that first-round picks are always a gamble, no matter what. Do you think Indianapolis is somewhat regretting they did not pick RGIII instead?
John: No. Griffin III has looked good, but Luck has done nothing to make you think he's not going to be very, very good. My guess is the Colts are pretty happy.
Draa from St. Augustine, FL:
I can understand Blackmon not getting many touches on Sunday but what about MJD? He only touched the ball 15 times against the Texans with just 12 rushes. I realize we were playing catch-up most of the day but only 15 times? Really? Our best player and one of the top players in the NFL touched the ball less than four times a quarter? Don't you think he should have been more involved in that game? Will he be more involved against the Colts this weekend? Just wanted your take, and once again, thanks for everything you do.
John: The Jaguars ran 38 plays. Jones-Drew touched the ball 15 times. The offense had many, many, many problems, but Jones-Drew's involvement wasn't one of them.
Mike from Fruit Cove, FL:
This may sound ridiculous, but hear me out. Alualu at RT. He loves hand battles and he's got quick feet. He's gotta be a better option than the turnstile we have at the position right now.
John: I'm sure most of you see this coming, but you had me at "ridiculous."
Tery from Jacksonville:
It takes receivers time to develop in the NFL, unless you're A.J. Green! Joking aside Green only had one game with more than 6 catches, only 7 receiving touchdowns, and only 4 100 yard games over 17 games. I agree Blackmon will be very good, it's just too early to see it, he hasn't played enough games!
John: Correct, and to further your point, Green had an exceptionally good year for a rookie. Most draft observers would have told you Green was a significantly more NFL-ready receiver and projected to be better than Blackmon. That may not necessarily turn out to be the case, but given the history of receivers, it's not a surprise that there's an early learning curve.
April from Pooler, GA and Section 243:
For a couple traveling to Indy this weekend, what are a couple of your favorite local restaurants there? Looking for that 'Pimanti Brothers of Pittsburgh' for the Indy area? Don't let us down, pal!
John: The most well-known is St. Elmos, where the Shrimp Cocktail is legendary. That was a bit pricey for writer money. My idea of a gourmet meal was the Sbarro's in the mall on the East side of town. They make one heck of a Stromboli.

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