Just a fact

Let's get to it . . . Marcus from Jacksonville/NYC:
Hey, O-Man. Do you think we'll see John Chick play in Green Bay? Sure would be nice to harass Rodgers a bit...
John: Chick is an intriguing storyline this week. I expect we may know something about his status Friday afternoon after practice, and it's possible he could be activated over the weekend. Mike Mularkey spoke highly of Chick early this week and it sounds as if Mularkey would like to activate him from the Physically Unable to Perform list. It will depend on Chick's progress, so we'll see. Because he hasn't played since December, I don't know how realistic it is to think Chick will have a huge impact on the pass rush in his first game back, but in the long run, he could help the pass rush fairly significantly.
Josh from Dayton, OH:
Way to sound upbeat on the Smith to IR article. He can come back! – for the last three weeks of the season. Our season is looking up. Up at 31 other teams.
John: Josh, I wrote a story on the Jaguars placing Daryl Smith on injured reserve, a story that contained the fact that the Jaguars could bring Smith back at a certain point in the season. The story was neither upbeat nor pessimistic. It was a story. That is all.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
Gabbert has a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder and he is still going to play? Why? Why not allow an injury to heal before retaking the field? Some of us do not question his toughness. Clay Matthews is going to eat him alive and another hit on this shoulder and he will be gone. Don't we think the Packer's D realizes this weakness and will be gunning specifically for it?
John: Gabbert's not playing to prove his toughness. He's playing because he can play. There's really no indication that he's one hit on his shoulder away from being gone. It's a pain tolerance issue, and now that the Jaguars know the extent of the injury, the plan is for him to play.
Sean from Section 119:
Why bring Daryl Smith back for two games at the end of the year if we have no shot at the playoffs? Why not let that groin heal until next August?
John: There's no guarantee Smith will come back this season. Putting him on the designated to return list gives him the option of returning. If he's not healthy enough to return, he won't come back.
Nate from York, PA:
Hey O-man, you think you can take Cam Newton in an ugly sweater contest?
John: Perhaps not, but my Hawaiian shirt can give him a run for his money.
Josh from Jacksonville:
Gabbert is playing injured against one of the best quarterbacks in the league in a historic stadium. I can see a great storyline and a career-changing boost of confidence for the young quarterback if he can win this one. Can't wait for Sunday.
John: I'm not one for predicting breakout games. They typically happen when you least expect them, but you're right – few are expecting much from the Jaguars or Gabbert against Green Bay. I will say this: there were positive signs from Gabbert Sunday against Oakland, and it struck you that the Jaguars had confidence they could move with Gabbert throwing deeper more often than he had before. With Charles Woodson out and the Jaguars needing to score to try to keep pace with a really good offense, maybe, just maybe . . .
Kyle from Orange Park, FL:
Were "Dustin" and "Ken" really the same person? I think you broke that email into two questions to give us a laugh because there's no way more than one person can that ignorant. Thanks for all you do.
John: Never say never.
Jack from Jacksonville:
If Gabbert is well enough to play this week why didn't he finish the game against the Raiders? I don't buy Mularkey's argument that the Jags are good enough to coast to victory after building up a two-touchdown lead.
John: I never heard Mularkey say that. I heard Mularkey say Gabbert tried to play and was in pain, and that because they didn't know the exact nature of the injury – and considering the Jaguars had a two-touchdown lead – they thought the best chance to win was to play the veteran backup.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Have you ever been to a Florida/Georgia game at the stadium? I'm looking forward to getting the same energy back in our Jaguars/NFL crowd. I know things are not looking good right now but the day will come and I will be there.
John: My first Florida-Georgia game was 1981, a year after Lindsay Scott. I also attended several as a fan before covering a few for the Florida Times-Union in the early 1990s. The energy is indeed incredible, and while the Jaguars' crowds haven't been as energetic lately, that will change. Winning brings energy.
Drew from Jacksonville:
I have to agree with Dustin. This team is much closer to being 0-6 than 3-3 and I'm not complaining about the touchdown. I'm complaining about the throw and the fact that you say Gabbert stood in the pocket to make it. Watch the tape. He was falling backwards rather than stepping into the throw to hit Shorts in stride. It's great we scored, but when I've seen Gabbert step into his throws he never misses, but why do I see him falling backwards when most of the times he does it, he doesn't need to?
John: All I really have to say is . . . this.
Dane from Young Harris, GA:
Consider the following quote by Gabbert. When asked how he would respond if his injured shoulder took a hit, his response was, "Get up and take another one." Sure, saying and doing it are two different things. But considering the amount of punishment this guy has taken this year, and keeps standing up to take more, I'd say any questions about his toughness should be put to rest.
John: I'd say so, too.
Devin from Glenn Dale, MD:
I know this is a new era of Jaguars football with new ownership and new coaching, so I remain patient and try to see things from a larger picture than this season. However, I'd hope that moving forward this team is less reluctant to trade up in the draft. Smith claims he doesn't like to do it but he traded up for Blackmon, up for Gabbert and was a part of a staff that made the disastrous trades in '07 for Harvey and Groves. Depth has harmed this team for far too long. It seems like every season one or two UDFA's make this roster. Regardless of how serviceable they may be that should never be the case if you are drafting well and often trading back. Trading up is for young teams missing a definite single piece or an older team that can attract any free agent it wants. I'm optimistic for the new era but the draft strategy has to change for this team to improve, right?
John: I agree that ideally you keep your draft picks and therefore have more young, draftable players on the roster. It's hard to fault the Jaguars for targeting a potential franchise quarterback and making a bold move to get him. You only get so many chances at elite quarterbacks, and however he turns out, Gabbert at the time was considered a potential franchise guy. I can't agree on your point about undrafted guys making the roster. Ideally, you'll have one or two on the roster and upwards of seven-to-nine rookies. That's about the number of a team that's doing a good job keeping the roster young.
Scott from Kings Bay, GA:
I guess we'll find out eventually here, but I was wondering what sort of style receiver you think Blackmon will be once he hits his stride. I've heard some say he'll be more like Jerry Rice; i.e. he won't be a burner, but will find yards after the catch. To me he seems like possibly Chris Carter. Any comparisons that make sense to you?
John: I've always used the Reggie Wayne comparison, though Cris Carter makes some sense. Blackmon will have to be a guy who squeezes every ounce of ability from himself through hard work and doing things right, because he's not a burner and not physically dominating. That's OK. Reggie Wayne was neither, and through work and dedication he made himself into a perennial Pro Bowl selection. One thing I have said for a while now is that that means Blackmon could take time to develop, something few wanted to hear following the draft but something that remains true. Wayne, for example, did not develop into an elite receiver until his fourth season. You obviously hope that Blackmon doesn't take that long, but it often takes time for a receiver to become a go-to-guy.
Steve from Jacksonville:
When responding to Dustin from Jacksonville yesterday you said, "The Jaguars are 1-5 and have lost two overtime games. That means they are two plays from 3-3. That's how close this league is." I would like to point out that if you apply that logic across the board, then it also means that the Jaguars were only one play away from being 0-6! I like an optimistic attitude when there is reason to be so; however, I'm finding very little to suggest any reason for optimism with the Jaguars this season....
John: I have said often that the Jaguars are a play from 0-6. Saying they are a play away from 3-3 isn't optimism, and saying they are a play away from 0-6 isn't pessimism. It's simply a fact.

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