Let's get to it . . .
Bill from Jacksonville:
Chuck Noll, Joe Gibbs, Tony Dungy, Bill Belichick and . . . Mike Mularkey? Stop it, John. Just stop.
John: I'm not sure I ever "compared" Mularkey to those coaches, but I'll stand by the point. Those coaches went through very rough times early in their tenures, stayed the course and had success because of it. They shut out pressure to make drastic changes knowing that to veer from what you believe in is the quickest way to chaos. Whether or not Mularkey goes on to have the careers those coaches had remains to be seen. Either way, the best way to handle tough times is not to change course or philosophy midstream.
Daniel from Section 423:
I did not see MJD on the sidelines last Thursday. Is it common practice for injured players to be on the sidelines? Some people around me took it as a sign of MJD not being all in, but I would like to not rush to conclusions. Your thoughts?
John: My thoughts are that Maurice Jones-Drew was at the game Thursday – on the sidelines.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
Part of my day job entails analyzing charts and trends. In general, when things get rediculous (positive or negative), they tend to get even more rediculous. We haven't seen the bottom yet. That said, it won't be difficult to notice who the toughest most determined players are and that's what I'm looking forward to for the rest of the season.
John: Oh, I think this is pretty close to bottom. A whole lot has conspired to get the Jaguars to 1-8 – and no one around the organization thought they would be here. And you're right that we'll find out a lot about the players on this team going forward. To think anything else would just be plain loodicrus.
Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
This is more for your readers than for you. If you haven't checked out the O-Zone Mailbag videos recently, do so; they have gotten much better. I gave up on them after watching the first few, John, but I have to say, you came back strong.
John: Appreciated. It's amazing how much acting like a fool impresses some people.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I have a pretty strong feeling that this team merely needs a dominant double-digit sacks pass rushing defensive end. The combination of Mincey, Branch, Lane, Chick, and Selvie gets some pressure and has shown the ability to be able to stop the run. A Jared Allen or Jason Pierre-Paul type of player on this team would have a ripple effect.
John: No question. Another emailer this week suggested a move to the 3-4, but it really doesn't matter much what scheme you use so long as someone can provide consistent pressure. The first thing the Jaguars must do is get more leads and force more down-and-distance passing situations, but the next thing is to get someone who can consistently sack the quarterback. They've got guys who get very, very close, but actually getting there creates a lot of havoc that helps all areas of the defense.
Chris from Parks Summitt, PA:
To Adam from Long Island, "To be fair, I don't think Dan Marino, Joe Montana, or Tom Brady ever threw for 3000 yards in a game either."
John: I owe an explanation here, and Adam an apology. He wrote in making a point about Blaine Gabbert and mentioned him only having one 300-yard game. I in turn accidentally changed it to 3,000. It caught the attention my astute readers, and many understandably piled on Adam. It's on me, not him, which is surprising because I rarely make an eror.
Phil from Woodmere, NY:
Firing Gene Smith and/or Mike Mularkey after this season may have another unintended (negative) consequence. Isn't it possible other potential coaches and general managers would come to view Jacksonville as not only a team lacking talent, but also a team with an impatient owner who will fire them after one bad season? If I were a prominent candidate, I'd reject the Jacksonville job for that reason alone.
John: I have no idea what's going to happen after the season. This is a results-based business, and at 1-8, it's reasonable to assume that Shad Khan must evaluate many things. But Khan is being patient. He's letting the season play out and not making a midseason move based on fans being angry. He's using this, his first season as an NFL owner, to evaluate and get a feel for the direction the franchise needs to go. I have no idea if there will be candidates for anything Jaguars-related in the offseason, but most people around the NFL I think would see Khan waiting and evaluating this season and see that as pretty reasonable. Certainly, if you speak with Khan you don't get the idea that he is anything but a thoughtful, passionate person – and you certainly don't come away thinking of him as impatient or possessing an unreasonably quick trigger finger.
Sean from Section 119:
I'm sure you've gotten a couple Mike Vick emails by now. He'll probably be available at the end of the year. And without any realistic free agent quarterbacks available and without a strong QB draft class, he may be a good option for us. He would immediately put fans in the seats, and allow us to sit Gabbert for another year or two without getting rid of him. Then shore up the O-line in the draft? I smell excitement and playoffs. Tell me I'm crazy.
John: I'm not sure what that smell is, and actually, this is the first Mike Vick email. I'm not sure he's the answer to anything. I don't know that he would put fans in the seats, and as far as this whole idea that Gabbert needs to be allowed to sit, I really don't get it. Gabbert needs to play until you know if he is the guy or not. Sitting him does no good. So, while you're not crazy, I don't know that there needs to be a mad offseason rush for Vick.
Ray from Jacksonville:
In the Saints-Falcons game, Matt Ryan was under pressure and threw a rainbow to Julio Jones. He was not "open" but jumped over the DB and caught the ball. Why not try that twice a game with Blackmon? The Jaguars have a big, strong guy who made plays in college. Let's see if he can do it in the NFL. What do they have to lose?
John: They have targeted Blackmon just about every way imaginable, including the way you suggest. I'm sure they'll keep trying.
Craig from Jacksonville and Section 214:
What was Jimmy Johnson's record his first year with the Cowboys?
John: One and 15.
Colin from Orlando, FL:
Do you know what's great about football? The Jaguars are terrible, but I still spend time every day reading articles on jaguars.com, watching YouTube clips of the glory days and distracting myself from everyday life. My favorite team doesn't have to be good for me to follow and love them, and that's what sports are all about after all.
John: It sounds like you have a very cool job.
Joe from Orange Park, FL:
On average, the Jaguars score 14.1 points a game, while our opponent scores 27.3. Not good.
John: That is not a "winning" formula.
Steve from Jacksonville:
We currently are having the architect of this roster evaluating it for next year. If you are going to make a change at GM, then do it now. This way, the new guy can properly evaluate this roster and begin working on the rebuild.
John: This seems to be a difficult concept for people to grasp. If there is a change at the position, there is more than enough time between early January and the beginning of free agency to evaluate a roster. Teams change general managers in the weeks following a season every year and every year those general managers dig into film, evaluate and make decisions. It's a hectic time, but it's doable. Despite the mad rush and hue and cry surrounding this topic, Khan has made it clear he is not going to be outlandish and go for a show in this matter.
Greg from Jacksonville:
Do you feel MJD is milking his injury in order to save some mileage on his body 23 games from now until he can get a max deal from another team?
John: Absolutely not. Look, I didn't see much point in Jones-Drew's holdout this off-season, though I firmly believe that players have every right to hold out if they choose. I also believe a team is much better off if the focal point of the franchise is a quarterback rather than a running back. All of that said, Jones-Drew never has done anything for the Jaguars except produce while giving maximum effort. He is a professional in every sense and given his history here, it's pretty insulting to what he has been and meant to the franchise to suggest he would "milk" an injury. For him to do that would be a pretty dramatic break in character.