Let's get to it . . . Derrick from Jacksonville:
Two questions. One, do you think Shad Khan was taking advice from Bill Polian, given David Caldwell did work under him in the past? Second, with Chip Kelly pulling out, is the coaching market getting thinner – and don't you think it's only logical to keep the current coaching staff?
John: Two answers. One, I think it's probable Khan and many others would talk with Polian during a search for general managers. He is not employed by an NFL team, and he is as knowledgeable about NFL front offices as anyone. If I were making the hire and had access to Polian, I'd discuss it with him – and anyone else with that sort of experience. Second, just because familiar names return to college jobs doesn't make the market thinner. Quality candidates come just as often from unknown sources as from lists of "hot names." As for the current staff, that's up to the general manager. If he thinks this staff is right, keep it. If not, a quality staff can still be put together.
Tyler from Neptune Beach, FL:
O-Man, do you think we will try to re-sign Daryl Smith? He is probably one of the most underrated defenders in the league. When he's in our defense seems to be ten times better.
John: That will be an intriguing question for the new general manager. The Jaguars indeed played better defensively this season during the two games Smith played, and they played better last year when he played and started all 16 games. Smith without question will help any defense, but he is entering his 10th NFL season and factors of age and salary will be weighed into any decision.
Cliff from Las Vegas, NV:
If the Jags do hire David Caldwell, Mike Mularkey has to feel pretty good considering they worked together only a year ago right?
John: He does if they got along.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
If I'm the next general manager of the Jaguars, I keep Coach Mularkey. Why? Because if two-to-three years later if we're still not successful, I can blame him and say "Well, I didn't pick him," hire a new coach and give myself a few more years for success to develop. Am I right or am I wrong?
John: It's possible new general manager could think that way, but you hope not. What you want is a general manager who believes something will be built that will show results on a steady basis. I don't know whether the new general manager will retain Mularkey or not, but my guess is if he retains him it will be because he believes Mularkey can win. Any other reason is counterproductive.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
I know this isn't particularly relevant to the Jaguars anymore, but some of us liked Gene Smith as a general manager, including myself. Is there any news as to where he may land? I would assume teams are interested in him given his experience, maybe not for a general manager, but a lesser player personnel role.
John: I'm not sure where Smith will work, or how soon we will hear something. I also don't know what capacity it will be when it happens. I'm sure he will work in the NFL again. That may not immediately be a role high in a front office, but I think he'll be in a relatively prominent support position relatively soon.
Scott from Jacksonville:
I see that two people the Jaguars cut (DuJuan Harris and Zach Miller) both had pretty good games this weekend. That's kind of frustrating when you cut players and they perform elsewhere.
John: It is, but it'd be even more frustrating if the Zach Miller who had a good game for the Seahawks Sunday was the one released by the Jaguars. It's not.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
It appears Pete Carroll has made the transition to the NFL successfully. Spurrier did not. Any wisdom on what it takes for a successful head coach to make it in the NFL? If an NCAA coach like Saban decided to make that switch, what would be his main concerns?
John: Sometimes, it's circumstance. Sometimes, it's experience. Carroll actually had two previous stints in the NFL with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, and neither was overly successful. The Seahawks have drafted very well since he got there, and it also is an organization that does pretty much everything in a first-class way, so those factors help. The biggest thing an NFL head coach must realize is that the job often is less Xs and Os and more managing situations, motivating people, setting a weekly tone and making big-picture decisions. Here's the reality: while the head coach and general manager get much of the credit or the blame for success or failure – and deservedly so – it's more often than not many, many factors that go into whether a situation works. As for your final question – if Saban decided to make the switch – I'd say his main concern would be the same as anyone's: finding a quarterback. Make that decision correctly and so many other things get a lot easier.
Nicholas from Anchorage, AK:
So I guess the era of a running quarterback is over now. After the injury to RGIII, and the lack of effectiveness, what head coach, general manager, or owner can justify a running quarterback?
John: The answer is the same as it always has been. A running quarterback in the NFL almost certainly must be able to pass or be able to develop into an effective passer if the selection is to be justified. It's simply too unrealistic to expect a quarterback to run effectively for a long period of time in the NFL to make it a core element of a long-term successful franchise. Griffin would appear to be capable of developing into an effective passer from the pocket, and if he's going to be a franchise-defining player for the long term, that probably needs to happen.
Dave from Orange Park, FL:
If the Jags make a coaching change, what do you see happening with the quarterback situation? Three head coaches, three offensive coordinators, three different systems in three years can't be good for Blaine Gabbert. I see him becoming the next Jason Campbell.
John: If I had the answer to your question, I'd probably . . . well, I'd probably be in meetings well above my pay-grade – and meetings that haven't taken place yet. The Jaguars' quarterback situation is as uncertain as it can be in the NFL. How does the general manager feel about Gabbert and Chad Henne and any other quarterbacks available? How does the coach feel? How do they feel about future quarterback classes? Those questions will be among the first asked when the general manager gets hired, and it may be a situation that remains fluid until after the draft. As for Gabbert, no, turnover like that you describe doesn't help.
Lee from Jacksonville:
A lot of people who are in favor of bringing Tim Tebow to Jacksonville seem to keep pointing to the playoff game he won in Pittsburgh. Jacksonville won a playoff game in Pittsburgh and it led to big-money deals paid to David Garrard and Jack Del Rio. That didn't work out so well, did it?
John: Making long-term decisions on small sample sizes is always a risk. That's just another part of what makes the Tebow situation so intriguing.
John from Jacksonville:
Let's pretend the new general manager and owner decide to bring Tebow in and completely restructure the offensive personnel and play structure to support his style (which is more unique than most quarterbacks)? Then, Tebow gets injured and can't play a few games, most of the season, or all of the season. What then? Wouldn't it be more difficult to recover from this scenario? Granted, the Jaguars don't have much success in recovering from any QB scenario but wouldn't this pose more risk?
John: It would be more difficult unless you could find another quarterback geared to play that style. That seems unlikely given Tebow's style, so yes, that would be difficult.
Scott from Section 139:
Since it seems that a pocket passer who can move in the pocket is more durable than a running quarterback, doesn't it make more sense to draft a passer who can move in the pocket than a quarterback who can run?
John: Conventional wisdom says you're absolutely correct. If you want long-term success and a guy around whom you can build for many years, history suggests a quarterback who can buy time in the pocket and protect himself from injury is the percentage bet. There are teams that have tried the other way, and built around players such as Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick, etc. Teams undoubtedly will continue to do so. Maybe it will work in some capacity with RGIII and the Redskins. Who knows? Maybe a team such as the Jaguars or someone else will try it with Tim Tebow and maybe a formula will be found that works. So far, it hasn't happened, but as much of a push as there seems to be toward the spread – and as many running, spread-based quarterbacks as seem to be developing – it seems probable that people will keep trying to find a way for it to work.
Bart from Springfield, IL:
Is this going thru? NEWAY, If I read "Tim Tebow and the Jaguars" rumors one more time, I'm gonna eat my shorts o-man.
John: Hope you like salt with those shorts. I don't know that the rumors will stop any time soon.
Hope you like salt
Let's get to it . . . Derrick from Jacksonville: