Let's get to it . . . **
Brett from Ocoee, FL:
We just lost to a Lions team that four years ago was 0-16. They hired Jim Schwartz the following season and went 2-14, then 6-10, and last season, 10-6. I'm not going to predict the same success for the Jaguars, but my point is that it takes time when a team makes changes the way this team did at the end of last season. More changes would require even more time.
John:I chose this email to lead with today for a couple of reasons. One, glass-half-full perspective like this really gets the readers' juices flowing. But two, and more importantly, there is some truth in what you're saying. Sometimes, a coaching change produces immediate results – as was the case with Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco last season. Other times, it takes longer. I think Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said it best on Jaguars All-Access Monday. The season will play out, and at that point, it will be time to evaluate and make decisions based on that evaluation. Until then, we'll ride the daily rollercoaster of anger, blame and blind swinging that is my inbox. But Khan's approach is one that responsible owners with an eye on the long-term usually take.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Maybe the Jags should dress in the visitors' locker room this week until they start playing like the home team?
John:Good one, Jack.
Scott from Kings Bay, GA:
It's a young team, and emotionally, they're probably more affected playing at home, because they want to win and perform that much more. Whereas on the road, there are no expectations or fans to please; they can just play ball. Sometimes we forget that it's an emotional game.
John:I'm not sure I completely buy that that's the reason for the Jaguars being 0-4 with the ugly home losses they've sustained. Then again, I'm not sure there's not something to it, too.
Ruben from Jacksonville:
I like Tyson Alualu very much. However, I can't help but be a little bitter every time I see a Giants game. How did we pass on Jason Pierre-Paul at defensive end and go defensive tackle with such a high pick? He'd make a world of difference on this defense and a pass rusher like that would make the entire defense look better. Please help make sense of this for me because every time I see a Giants game, I say, "That guy should have been a Jaguar."
John:You and about every other fan, it seems. Look, it's easy to say in retrospect that the Jaguars should have taken Pierre-Paul. And there were certainly fans who wanted him at the time. At the time, though, he was perceived by many in the NFL as a high-risk prospect in that he had played one year of Division I football. He had athletic ability, but no extensive college resume. That's a formula for failure more often than not. Also at the time, the Jaguars were building the defensive line and believed they needed to establish strength on the interior before obtaining a difference-making pass rusher. In and of itself, taking a defensive tackle over defensive end is not ridiculous. You need to solidify the interior before you get a chance to rush off the edge. Finally, the Jaguars weren't the only team that passed on Pierre-Paul, nor were they the only team that coveted Alualu. The history of the draft is littered with such decisions, and the reputations of general managers are often made and broken on such selections. A lot of it, to be fair, is luck, but that's the cruel reality of the NFL.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
You said, "No one expected this," referring to the poor state of the team. I disagree. As much as we like to whine about the national media, they seem to have hit the nail on the head when it came to the Jags this season. Obviously, the team successfully got the fans to believe that they would be improved, which was absolutely false. Maybe it's time we stop trusting what the team says and start listening to the national sports media.
John:Yes, in this case, the national media has been right so far. They also expected the Eagles to be in the Super Bowl and the Colts to be one of the NFL's worst teams, so take that for what it's worth. I can't control who you trust, but know this: the people around the Jaguars did not expect to be 1-7 right now and a lot of people who saw this team in the offseason didn't, either. I said during the offseason I expected the Jaguars to struggle early and be better late, and if the Jaguars had won their two overtime games, they'd be about where I expected them to be. Now, did I expect a margin of 92 points in four home losses? Uh, no.
Todd from NYC:
Looking back do you wish you would have done it differently?
John:Yes, I still think investing in betamax and laserdiscs was a fine idea.
Ryan from Woodbridge, VA:
This is what happens when the owner is looking overseas for growth and not at home. Let's fix the problems at home first then expand.
John:One has nothing to do with the other. Khan is trying to build the Jaguars brand internationally and locally, and also is trying to enhance the fan experience at home games. If you've been to a Jaguars home game this season, it's hard to argue that the team hasn't done well in the latter. Building the brand is a more long-term proposition, but doing that has nothing to do with the product on the field. The product on the field should be better than it is. If it's not better by the end of the season, it seems obvious Khan will take steps to fix it. Be unhappy with the results this season. The team and Khan certainly are, but let's not blame London for being 1-7.
Ned from Section 218:
Last year, a horrible Jaguars team somehow managed to win a few games and essentially ruined their chances for very high draft pick and helped the Colts land Luck. This year, we are 1-7. Am I being a bad fan if I want progress? I want us to play well, but I don't want us to win a few games that will land us the fifth pick and ruin our chances with potentially elite players? This season is ruined. We are horrible. We haven't even been competitive in any of our home games. Is it OK to wish we land a top two pick at least? We have to get excited about SOMETHING, you know?
John:It's OK as a fan to want anything. I just wouldn't expect the players, coaches or the team to want the same thing. I said it last year and I'll say it now – with the exception of quarterback, and Luck seems to be a rare exception, one player isn't going to turn your team around immediately. It also remains to be seen if the Colts are indeed turned around. The Redskins landed an elite quarterback in RGIII and the Panthers last season landed Cam Newton and each team is struggling. You play to win in the NFL and you strive to build deep, talented rosters by many avenues. Considering the Jaguars are 1-7, I understand if you insert the inevitable joke about the Jaguars' roster here __ if you wish, but in the NFL there just usually isn't enough benefit to losing to make it a worthwhile goal.
Jim from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The real underlying problem everyone has is we haven't been good since 1999. Pretty much every year, before the season started, the Jaguars' management/reporters/etc. tell us 'We are going to have a good team this year.' Hasn't happened yet. This is becoming a pattern. We change coaches, owners, players and we are still bad. What a lot of people are thinking is 'In 12 more years, will be still be bad?' This needs to be fixed.
John:Yes, it does. What I can tell you is this: Shad Khan just bought the Jaguars less than a year ago. The culture of much within the building has changed. The team is struggling right now. I don't see Khan as a man who is going to tolerate losing for long, and being an engineer, I believe he will work to ensure a correct system is in place to be successful. He said Monday that what's going on will be evaluated/addressed at the end of the season. If things look better then, that will influence Khan's decision. If they don't, that will influence it, too. However things look, Khan will do what it takes to get it fixed.
Tom from Melbourne, FL:
I just realized it's not the marketing team, sales staff, coaching staff, players or even the owner that has to bear the brunt of the scorn from fans directly; it's you. All mentioned above work through some other medium to interact with fans. Your Ozone is unique; you take it directly from the fans as you represent the organization. Tough place to sit right now. I wonder, then, does this kind of take some sort of toll on you personally? It can't be easy opening your inbox and see disheartened fans attacking your co-workers, your integrity or your job performance. Anyway, don't kick the dog and don't let this stuff destroy your liver. It's just football. Maybe buy the wife some flowers, too. Chin up, O-man.
John:** My dog died. As for the wife, I like flowers, too. Let her buy me some for a change.