Last day talking about the Ravens. OK, deep breath.
Let's get to it . . .
James from Orange Park, FL:
I desperately want to go overboard and shout at the world, but my inner logic is telling me that this is only preseason and not a true predictor for the regular season! What do I do, John?!
John: What do you do? Take a deep breath and relax. As is often the case, this looked worse than it was. The Jaguars trailed 13-3 at halftime, and while the team doesn't want to use fatigue as an excuse, what I saw in Baltimore looked like a tired team that was still in training camp mode. This jibes a little with something Rashean Mathis said after the game about the Jaguars not game-planning really extensively for the game. Yes, the team installed more of a game plan than it did in the first two weeks of the preseason, but I didn't get the idea this was offense or defense designed to focus on the opponents' weaknesses as would be the case in the regular season. Now, does that mean the Jaguars would have won in the regular season? No. Does it mean they looked good? No. But often the difference in games – even in blowouts – is converting a few third downs, getting a sack at the key time and getting off the field. The Jaguars didn't do that Thursday against a good team, but I don't see disaster looming.
Ryan from Boynton Beach, FL:
I am guessing this inbox is ugly, but I think this loss could be a blessing in disguise. We played very well in the first two games and now we have a setback with a lot of things to work on in the two weeks before the first REAL game. Hopefully, this play will light a fire under them and we will light it up against the Vikings in two weeks. GO JAGS!
John: Mike Mularkey's certainly counting on that to be the case.
Mike from Jacksonville:
This week was a stark reminder that while the Jags are ascending, there is still much work to be done. What a great feeling last week. I can't wait until that feeling can be sustained over the course of the season. Heck, I bet we get some of those good times this season that will hold us over while waiting for greatness.
John: What we are dealing with is a big reason I say winning and losing matters little in the preseason. When the Jaguars were 2-0 there was a lot to like about this team, but not because of the late comebacks. There was a lot to like because the first-team offense was showing signs of improving, Blaine Gabbert was looking better and Justin Blackmon was showing signs of being really, really good. I still see those signs, and that makes me believe there's something here to build on. My opinion on the Jaguars didn't change much on Thursday. They're still a team that will need to play very, very well against the better teams in the NFL and they won't have much margin for error in those games. They're a team that will have play fast on defense, and they didn't play fast Thursday. They're a team that needs to be in manageable situations on third down. That also didn't happen Thursday. I also have said from the beginning that I think this team will get better on offense as the season goes on, and as a lot of new parts continue to come together. I believed there would be growing pains and stops and starts early. That's the nature of putting things together in the NFL. The first two weeks of the preseason were starts. This was a stop. We'll see what's next.
William from Savannah, GA:
MJD has to be a man with a lot of pride. How does he "save face" and come back to the team at this point? What role does/can the organization play in helping MJD save face without renegotiating the contract?
John: Well, his security code works, I imagine. Seriously, the Jaguars want Jones-Drew in camp. They will welcome him when he returns. I don't know how much more they can help him than that.
Dave from Ada, OK:
I have faith in Gabbert, but to my untrained eye he seemed to be getting the ball out too quickly. He seemed desperate to make a play, which is good, but he had a few throws that were off target. Either the receiver was held up in press coverage and Gabbert missed it, the receiver was not stepping up and making his play, the receiver was not running his route correctly, the receiver was being interfered with and Gabbert was looking to get a call, Gabbert was making the wrong reads, or Gabbert was just making some bad throws. Regardless of what happened, it didn't look good, especially on third down. What's your take?
John: You covered a lot of possibilities, but Mularkey did say he'd like to see Gabbert wait a bit longer for the play to develop, especially in the red zone. That strikes me as a pretty normal part of the growth process, and people need to be prepared for that. Gabbert has taken strides. He is showing the fundamentals and the pocket awareness he didn't always show last season. He and Blackmon are developing a rapport. All that's good. But to think there weren't going to be days when he struggled is naïve. He's a young player who's going to have struggles. Thursday was a bit of a struggle, but it certainly wasn't atrocious.
Tim from Jacksonville:
There weren't a lot of players to get excited about Thursday night but Terrance Knighton was worth watching. Do you think he proved enough to slide back into the starting role with Mosley now reverting back to the first guy in the rotation?
John: It certainly seems Knighton is getting closer to the level he and the team wants. My guess is he'll be back in the starting lineup early in the season, but there's not a huge concern there. Whoever starts at that position – Mosley or Knighton – the team is in very good shape there.
Biff from Jacksonville:
I'm going to respectfully disagree on the Robinson reply. This guy is getting $14 million guaranteed to, presumably, be the No. 1 wide receiver that will give the team a deep threat. In looking at what Torrey Smith did on Thursday it is clear Laurent is not that guy. While we can appreciate a learning curve coming to a new team that he has shown little if any progress in becoming relevant in the passing game is reason to teeter on the edge of panic. With no speed threat the quick route passing game is negated as it has been for years. I think what I need to hear is that Gabbert isn't seeing him open. Might that be the case because if not I'm in panic mode.
John: I don't think it's because Gabbert isn't seeing him, but I also don't think Robinson's start is reason for panic. I don't know that Robinson is a burner in the sense of Torrey Smith, and I also don't know that he is going to be the No. 1 receiver. Blackmon seems destined to be the go-to guy. He may not have pure deep speed, but he's that good. I still believe Robinson's presence can make the offense better. It's too early in the process to be in panic mode.
Josh from Jacksonville Beach and Section 106:
Angry inbox? I am happy the Jags were beaten the way they were. It brings us back to the reality of the NFL. These guys they play against are good! I am anxious to see how they respond to this adversity.
John: Mularkey wasn't happy, but I liked how he responded after the loss. He spoke very confidently that this team would respond strongly to this loss. He has put this team through a very physical camp and I believe he realizes this. Not that he wanted to see a loss quite that one-sided, but coaches generally don't worry about scores nearly as much as fans and media do. They break down the tape of the game, see what went wrong and get things fixed. The Jaguars have15 days until the regular-season opener. I believe you'll see a much fresher team in the opener, and I think that will make a difference, particularly defensively.
Kait from Jacksonville:
I would hate to see your inbox now. We looked like the old Jags, and I can't say I'm not seriously concerned.
John: I'm not seriously concerned, just as I wasn't euphoric after the first two games. There were tools in place before, and it was going to be a process. That hasn't changed.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
O, Alright brutha, I made the Ozone the very first two times I tried, and I do thank you for responding. But I've sent you a pretty valid question the last two days, and I haven't gotten an answer. You're killing my percentage, and the scary part is, I think you don't have an answer, so, maybe you think it's best not to let the question get out there.
John: Brutha, your question was about the issues facing a team traveling overseas, and if I haven't written about the difficulty that presents, I've talked about on the radio on more than one occasion. Overseas travel takes a toll. Teams must plan for it before and after, and players must be aware of diet, hydration, rest, etc. I believe without a bye week following an overseas trip it would be very difficult for a team to succeed. It also would be tricky to do it multiple times in a season. A good, well-prepared team can make it work once a year.