Let's get to it . . .
Tim from Newton, PA:
I know he's only played primarily on special teams, but how has Chris Prosinski looked so far this year? In the limited time he's been in the defensive backfield, has he shown much in terms of being a "jar on the shelf" type guy (i.e. could he develop into a starter)?
John: He has. The jar on the shelf was a very good way my predecessor had of describing the process of building a team and having a starter ready to step in when it was time to let a starter go. It takes time to get to that place, and being there is the sign of a healthy franchise. It also could help explain the struggles of Will Rackley and Cecil Shorts to date. Sometimes the jars need to sit on the shelf for a time before you open them up.
Chris from Anderson:
You bashed MSW and DG. However the offense is horrible this year. I understand they are not players of the future but we could have used them this year. As far as your statement, "I also think it's disappointing that people around Garrard would see the Jaguars as treating Garrard unfairly." If you think cutting him after a luncheon is fair then you are not a person of integrity. You have no idea if his back was that bad and they did not tell him. He told Chris Mortensen he was ready to play because he believed he was. The reason his story changed is because he found out he needed back surgery. Stop bashing the man and realize he has had offers but they were not good for him and he is a good QB and you are just a writer with no backbone who just types the company line and still talks about the Colts all the time, who happens to be a division rival. Post that!
John: You're right. He's great. I stink, and have no integrity. But I'll say this: when it comes to player-team relationships, I am of the fundamental belief that except in rare cases, there is very little a team can do to treat a player unfairly in this era of the NFL, particularly a veteran player who has signed a second contract worth enough to set that player up for life. I'm not talking about Garrard specifically here. I'm talking about any veteran player. Players enter into contracts – and indeed, enter the league – knowing the terrain and knowing once they are done, they are done. They are paid incredibly well in exchange for a talent, and every veteran player should be keenly aware it's a business. A harsh, cold business, sometimes. It's why you'll rarely hear players criticize other players for holding out in the off-season for more money, or changing teams for more money. Most personnel people understand this, too, and you don't often see coaches or personnel people hold things done in negotiation against a player after it's over. If the Jaguars followed the standard medical examination practices upon Garrard's release, and if they treated him during his stay here as they would any player – and considering he was their quarterback, I don't know why they wouldn't – then they held up their end of the bargain. The Jaguars have said they handled the timing of Garrard's release poorly. There's a difference between that and knowingly releasing a player because they didn't want to deal with an injury. Thanks for letting me know about the Colts being in the AFC South. I'll make a note.
Charles from Jacksonville:
Here's the way I see it, and I expect the way the coaching staff does. We have to win at least four of the five remaining division games to have a chance at postseason play. Win all five, and I'd think we'd be the favorite. And the more of those we win, the worse the records become of our division competition. Six and oh in the AFC South probably wins it, regardless of the overall record.
John: There's a lot of truth in that, although I still believe you'll have to get to nine or ten. One thing I do know is there's not a lot of talk about division races and playoffs around EverBank Field this week. The conversation is about getting a victory, then another. After that happens, it's a little more reasonable to talk about the postseason.
John from Duval:
Arm chair GM's and internet tough guys fill the O-Zone with hate and arrogant words. Is Gene Smith perfect? No. Did he have the right idea of building this team? Yes, you always get your big guys first so you don't get your star killed later, ala David Carr. Just cause you can draft well in Madden does not mean you can do it for real. There is a reason these people write the O-Zone everyday and are not in a front office somewhere. Right?
John: Hate and arrogance are what the O-Zone is about some days. I got one email full of hate recently that I arrogantly opted to not post because it was too long, but the gist was that some of the great teams of NFL history had not built by emphasizing offensive and defensive linemen in the draft. The reader made some good points, but the reality is in the NFL these days you better be able to protect the quarterback and you better be good on the defensive front. You also better be pretty good at the quarterback position. How you get them is how you get them, but the draft is the best way to get long-term quality. The Jaguars took left tackle, defensive tackle and quarterback to try to build their core. Few in the NFL would argue the approach.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
Rules Question: Let's say a team is going to kick a very long field goal, the kind of kick where you know the ball is going to just squeak over the cross bar. Can the opposing team place a player near the back of the end zone to attempt to jump and swat the ball (from in front of the cross-bar) from going over the cross bar? Kinda like goal-tending in basketball? Also let's say a QB throws a pass, it bounces off the post or cross-bar, is the ball immediately dead? Same with field goals, if it bounces off back into play, can it be caught and returned?
John: Yes, a player can stand at the back of the end zone and swat the ball. As for the second part of the question, if the ball hits the upright, it is immediately dead because it is out of bounds.
Karl from St. Augustine, FL:
Your response to Greg was way off the mark. Of course Gene could address all positions in the first round - if we had just drafted Tim Tebow, we could have had him line up as a quarterback when needed, a left tackle when the injury bug bit there, wide receiver when facing NYJ and Revis, and punter when Podlesh had the gall to show he wanted more money than Gene wanted to pay him. His coaching of the other players would also have helped JDR and staff and we would have just celebrated our second straight Super Bowl victory. What were you thinking with your response?!?
John: I forgot.
Kevin from Salt Lake City, UT:
The point I was trying to make is since the Jaguars defense is a lot better than the Panthers(i.e., 122 pts. allowed vs. 157), but the Panthers' O is fifth in total offense due to Cam, then I think if the Jags had him (to go along w/better D), they'd be at least 4-2.
John: I didn't do a good job answering the question. The point I was making is that although the Panthers are ranked fifth in total offense, they're still not doing the things necessary to win games. Newton has thrown a lot of interceptions. It's just too hard to project what one player would do in another system. Each team is 1-5. I don't know that the Jaguars – considering what is around the quarterback position – would be significantly better with Newton than Gabbert.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
Your response in Thursday's O-zone about Gene Smith doing a good job rebuilding and strengthening the defense made me think of a Simpsons episode where Homer needs to drive the kids to their field trip. Homer: "Well kids, here we are...the zoo!" Bart: "Hey that's great Dad, except you were supposed to drive us to the newspaper." Substitute Homer for Gene Smith, and zoo with defense, newspaper with offense, and you have the Jags. Sure, he's done a great job bolstering a top 10 Defense, but offense is clearly what wins in today's NFL. D'oh.
John: Your response to my response made me think of last April's 2011 NFL Draft, when Smith traded up to the No. 10 overall selection to take Blaine Gabbert, quarterback, University of Missouri.
It's about getting a victory
Let's get to it . . .
Tim from Newton, PA: