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Holiday affection

Gobble, gobble.

Let's get to it . . . John from St. Augustine, FL:
Blaine Gabbert to IR??? What are we to take from this? Did we really need the roster spot that badly? What happens if Henne goes down in two weeks? Help me understand this move – it seems a little hasty.
John: John, the world is not always cover-ups, conspiracies and ulterior motives. Sometimes, NFL players go on injured reserve because they are . . . shhh . . . injured. This is the case with Gabbert. There is nothing to "take from this." He is hurt. It would have been an extended period before he was able to play – perhaps deep into December, perhaps longer. A meeting with orthopedic specialist James Andrew confirmed this. Gabbert will undergo surgery on his non-throwing shoulder Monday, with the hope that he can be fully healthy when the offseason program begins next spring. The hope is he doesn't need surgery on his forearm. But it wasn't about roster spots or haste, simply a move made for a player who is injured.
Jake from St. Augustine, FL:
Dear John, YOU DA MAN!!...That is all.
John: Check's in the mail.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Why can't a 27-year-old Henne be a long-term solution? Maybe he is just now "getting it?" How old was Garrard before he took over as starter? No reason Henne can't be the Jags version of Jake Delhomme, and be just good enough to take us places as long as we put more weapons around him. We'll find out Sunday, perhaps.
John: We're going to get every chance – and Sunday will be the start. Mike Mularkey said Wednesday Henne will have a chance to earn a starting position on a permanent basis if he plays well. He deserves that chance. NFL quarterbacks get limited opportunities at such chances, and it makes the next six games critical ones for the Jaguars' 15th starting quarterback.
Brad from Orange Park, FL:
Think we've witnessed the beginning of the end for Gabbert in Jacksonville? I feel for the kid. I think his biggest opposition in developing more quickly in the league was our organization's handling of him. I personally don't think we've seen the best of what No. 11 is capable of yet, and I think when we do, it won't be in a teal trimmed jersey.
John: It's difficult to say what the future holds for Gabbert. I don't know that Gabbert has multiple Pro Bowls in front of him, but he do believe he has a chance to be a functioning NFL quarterback if he in an offense with experienced receivers and a solid offensive line. Will that be the case in Jacksonville? Time will tell.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
Am I the only one in Jacksonville who had a light bulb switched on when Kaepernick performed the other night? Jones-Drew wants a new contract, is from the West Coast. Kaepernick seems to have much better potential faster than any of the potential quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. Less risk. Jags need to take a serious look into trading for him. Is that irrational for me to think this far?
John: I think if the Jaguars called Jim Harbaugh with that one he'd smash that little light bulb of yours pretty fast.
Stephanie from Section 140:
I don't understand Coach Mularkey's decision to start Chad. In your article from 11/9, Mike Mularkey was quoted as saying, "There's no better practice than what's going on with him (Gabbert) every Sunday or Thursday night. You cannot simulate what takes place on every play, the speed of that. I don't care how you practice. You can't simulate the things that go on during games. This is what he needs." How can this possibly help Blaine at all, there is no turning back now. The Blaine experiment is over.
John: This question was decided for the short-term when Gabbert was placed on IR, but in the long-term it's just hard to say for certain how situations such as this will play out. I've learned in covering football at a high level for 20 years that you "never say never" when it comes to the quarterback position. I vividly recall covering the University of Florida in 1993, when Steve Spurrier benched Terry Dean for Danny Wuerffel. You figured that was the end for Dean, but by season's end, Dean was starting and he started the following year as the starter, too. That anecdote in no way is to imply that there was a plan to reinsert Gabbert this season. Rather, I offer the example as a way of showing that while you may draw conclusions based on instinct, history and what may seem like common sense, sports is about human beings and competition, and you never know for certain what will happen.
Jeff from Section 106:
Doesn't IR for Gabbert mean he's out for the season? Hhmmmmmmmm...
John: Way to bring it, Jeff.
Brett from Ocoee, FL:
If Shorts gains an average of 60 yards receiving a game the rest of the season, he will be the first Jaguars receiver to go over 1,000 yards receiving in a season since Jimmy Smith in 2005. Since earning the starting job, Shorts has averaged 87.4 receiving yards per game. Blackmon would have to average 86 yards a game to join him. I think Shorts has a really good shot at 1,000 yards receiving and in a tumultuous season, that is not insignificant.
John: No, it's not. Shorts has shown signs this season of being able to make big plays on a reliable basis. As you said, that's something the franchise has lacked at the receiver position far too long. Blackmon had a huge game Sunday, and if that's the start of something big for him, then the Jaguars appear to have two young, productive players at a position where last season they had none. That's significant.
Jon from America Fork, UT:
I like that Mike Mularkey is a straight shooter with the media. He had an easy out for the QB situation with Gabbert being hurt but he didn't take it. I like that in a coach.
John: He absolutely could have couched his decision Monday by saying that Gabbert was hurt, and that partly because of that, Henne would get the start. Had I been a betting man, I would have bet that Mularkey's message on Monday would have included that angle. But you're right on – he did not, and that's to his credit. Mularkey clearly believed Henne deserved a chance to start because of performance, and he believed it was OK to make that clear. Not every coach would have done the same.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Is it to early to start talking about next years draft propects
John: Yes, but it's not too early for this.
Dave from PCB:
I saw a stat on Sunday pregame shows that showed the Jags No. 1 in the NFL for dropped passes. I didn't see too many drops Sunday. Combine that with decent o-line play, a bit of a running game and some defensive turnovers and we saw a solid performance.
John: Indeed we did, and as well as the Jaguars played, Mularkey on Monday said there were still five drops. That speaks to his point all season that the plays have been there to be made and that the season/record could be far different had they been made. Often in the NFL, a mistake or two here or there can turn games. The Jaguars have made a lot of mistakes and a whole lot of games have turned against them.
Kenny from San Diego:
John, do you buy this stuff that Henne was the benefactor of better play from the rest of the offense? 9 whole games without that for Gabbert, and the one almost full game for Henne, against one of the top D's in the league, the rest of the offense just coincidentally plays SO MUCH better?
John: That's what will make Sunday's game, and the next few, so fascinating. People want to view the NFL as a science experiment, and draw conclusions based on what they see. As any high school chemistry student – with the exception of me, who very nearly failed chemistry – can tell you, football is not played in a vacuum. Was the offense better because the receivers played better? Sure. Did the receivers play better for Henne than they would have for Gabbert? Perhaps and perhaps not. Would the Jaguars have had the same results with Gabbert? Will Henne perform moving forward as he did early in the game, or will he struggle as he did late? These are unanswerable questions, and as was the case when trying to judge Gabbert, all you can do is take the information you have and try to draw the best conclusions. There rarely is black and white in the NFL. There are just too many factors.
Drew from Jacksonville:
"Mondays in the NFL aren't big preparation or work days"? I don't think the great NFL players would say that.
John: I think they would.
Jesse from Oceanside, CA:
Why don't the Jaguars show love to the only Jacksonville fan on the West Coast who never has been there but has faithfully routed for them since 1993 when they announced their franchise?
John: Sometimes showing affection is difficult. Perhaps this will help.

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