Let's get to it . . .
Jimmy from Jacksonville:
I took an early look at the potential 2012 NFL free agent wide receivers and wow! Names like Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Lloyd leaped off the page. I'm not suggesting that Gene Smith should sign one those guys, not at all. However, all of a sudden, either drafting or signing a very capable WR for Gabbert to throw to doesn't seem so far off. Thoughts?
John: They do jump off the page. The problem: the good ones likely will jump right back to their teams, and those that don't (such as Wayne, perhaps) likely would be past their prime – if not in their first year with the Jaguars then very, very soon. There's also the problem of learning a new offense, and fitting with a new quarterback. Just as you're not saying Gene Smith should sign one of those guys, I'm not saying the Jaguars shouldn't. It's just not as easy to find a wide receiver in free agency as it might seem on the surface.
Sean from Albuquerque, NM:
With the Bengals, Steelers and Ravens being 1, 2 and 3 in overall defense, what are your realistic expectations for the offense and the team as a whole during that stretch?
John: I don't think it will be easy. In the NFL, it's not supposed to be.
Dexter from Jacksonville:
It is safe to say Aaron Kampman is done, isn't it?
John: No. It's safe to say he's coming back from a knee injury and that the odds may be against him returning to his previous level. It's also safe to say he's a guy who is capable of overcoming odds being against him.
Kashan from Virginia Beach, VA :
How is Rashad Jennings knee coming along? Any chance we see him play this season?
John: He is on injured reserve and therefore out for the season. Because he sustained an injury in training camp, he will have more than a year before the 2012 regular season, so there seems a good chance he can return and be productive by then.
Matt from St. Augustine, FL:
What is your opinion of the AFC South now after the first quarter? The Titans appear to be a much better team than we played in Week One and the Texans have looked quite good.
John: I'd say you're pretty accurate. It appears the Texans will be very difficult to catch, and so far they look as if they're built for the long-term perhaps more than Tennessee. I also think the Colts are going to win more games over the last three quarters of the season than people think. They have played well the last two weeks and there's a lot of pride in that locker room.
Kamen from Bethel, CT:
I agree that the Jaguars are one good draft away, but only IF Gabbert develops into what we hope. So far, he has played like a rookie with promise. He makes mistakes but has made some key throws and shown flashes of greatness. If those flashes become the norm, then yes, I think one more draft by Gene Smith will make us serious contenders.
John: That's how Gabbert is supposed to have played, and yes, the Jaguars' hopes in the coming season absolutely are a matter of IF he develops. That's the whole thing.
Ed from Jacksonville:
I have been reading all the negative comments about the Jaguars. The ones that really got me were the ones stating that Jack Del Rio had lost his mind when he said they would win the division. As a math major here is how I see it. We have 12 games left in a 13-week period. To win the division we have to win only five of those games. The Titans once, the Colts twice, and the Texans twice. Am I right? To me this is what JDR means. If he puts all his effort into those five games it is only a hill not a mountain. Do you agree?
John: I not only don't agree, I'm also a little woozy. I don't think your math professors explained that in the NFL, it's not just a matter of beating division opponents, you must finish ahead of them in the standings, too. The Jaguars obviously can still do this, but they have to win more than five more games to do it.
Jack from Jacksonville:
It appears that the Jaguars are likely to get stronger as the season goes by. The defense will have more time to gel, Kampman will be coming back, and Gabbert will be more developed. This team should be competitive if Gabbert develops in time. I just hope people can be patient and enjoy the ride. Also, Gene Smith has been getting grief from local talking heads. I don't think that he is a problem at all, if anything, GM Gene is one of the biggest strengths of the organization, besides you of course.
John: I agree that the Jaguars will improve as the season goes on. The immediate issue is figuring out a way to squeeze out enough victories to remain in contention until that improvement comes. As for Smith, I agree he is one of the biggest strengths. It takes a big-picture vision and the ability to ignore short-term noise to build a consistent winner in the NFL. That's not easy and it doesn't happen quickly. It'd be nice if it did, but it just doesn't.
John from Winterville, NC:
I have a question about how stats, mainly tackles, are recorded in the NFL. I have seen on this site numbers for tackles that Poz and D. Smith have had in a single game or for the season thus far. They never seem to match up to the numbers on the NFL website. Thoughts?
John: The NFL compiles defensive statistics based on the statistics on game day. Teams compile defensive statistics after reviewing game tape. The numbers rarely match up because often press box statisticians don't see or credit tackles and assists in the same manner as coaches reviewing tape.
Gabe from Jacksonville:
You mentioned that the Jaguars could address their need for a tackle in the later rounds. Ric used to say that you got to get big guys early and there are certainly statistics that show that the best tackles come from the first or possibly second round. So who's right?
John: I probably wasn't very clear in my answer. I absolutely believe you have to get big guys early – particularly offensive tackles and defensive linemen – if they're going to be elite players. That's what makes Terrance Knighton such a nice find for the organization. Finding a Pro Bowl-level tackle outside the first round isn't easy. But I don't believe the Jaguars need a starting defensive tackle. They need quality depth and that's a little easier to find in the later rounds.
Jeff from San Diego:
Maybe you can help clarify something for me. I just don't get people saying they're going to give away their season tickets because the Jags aren't playing well. This is your team, our team. How is this not like any other lifelong commitment? Do you always love your wife everyday of every week? Probably not, but you don't abandon her immediately after having a bad fight. I don't mean to be trivial, but if the Jaguars are your team, then they're YOUR TEAM! No matter how bad they may be. How can someone just all of a sudden decide that they no longer want to support them? Talk to Cubs fans about whether or not they are going to give up on their team, but please let's stop with this nonsense and these absolutely outlandish claims by so-called "fans." I will always be a Jaguars fan, and I know there are others out there who agree with me. And this hasn't been said enough in the O-Zone, but...GO JAGUARS!!
John: You have been heard.
Tariq from Jacksonville:
Having seen both players play during the prime of their careers, would you take Andre Johnson or Jimmy Smith? And why?
John: Johnson. I'm a big believer that Smith is and was underrated by many NFL observers, and I think Johnson-Smith is closer than many might believe. But when Johnson's healthy, I believe he's as good as any wide receiver playing and there's nothing a receiver is called on to do that he doesn't do well. Come to think of it, that was true of Smith, too, so this one's really, really close.
Travis from Jacksonville:
You never print my very insightful perspective, but I will still throw you a bone. Jags beat Cincy, go on the road and win versus the Steelers and the town catches fire for a Monday night showdown. And your inbox becomes a place of peace, love and harmony, and people attribute it all to you, and shower you with free beer . . .
John: I saw right through your blatant attempt to get a question posted by buttering me up. Yet, it's hard to not post something that emphasizes me getting showered with free beer.