Last day for Dolphins talk.
Let's get to it . . . James from Socorro, NM:
At least the Jaguars are finding creative ways to lose. I don't remember an ineligible-player penalty turning the tide of a game before.
John: That was new to me, too. The bigger problem, though, wasn't that offensive tackle Guy Whimper's penalty nullified a touchdown. Those sorts of plays happen to every team throughout the course of a season. The problem was the Jaguars not only failed to score on that drive, but allowed a 14-play, 89-yard drive for a touchdown by the Dolphins on the ensuing series. And the problem was after that happened, the Jaguars never got back in the game. Bad things happen to teams during games. Good teams overcome them. Too often this season, once things have gone bad for the Jaguars, they keep going bad. We keep saying that, and it keeps being too true.
Steve from Jacksonville:
A good quarterback gives the team hope; all of a sudden, a bad team turns good.
John: I'd say you're close to being right. An elite quarterback gives a team hope, and can turn a bad team good. A good quarterback can be good, but needs help around him.
Jay from Camp Lejeune, NC:
Is it wrong to just not care whether the Jags win or lose the last two games? If anything, I want to lose as badly as possible to underline exactly how BAD things have become around here. Is there something wrong with me?
John: When you're a fan, you feel how you feel. There's no right or wrong. At 2-12, it's not surprising people are angry, or even if they don't care if they win the last two games. There's bitterness in your email, Jay, and you know what? I'm not sure that's not appropriate. Two and 12 is awful. It feels awful. It saps hope and makes even the good things – what few there are this season – seem worse than they might otherwise. Winning is the ultimate in professional sports, and losing is the opposite, and because the Jaguars have done way too much of the latter, you are right to feel however you feel. But know this. This doesn't last forever, and there will be better feelings ahead.
Biff from Greenwillow Lane:
I'd like to know about the people behind the mask. As fans, we see them as entertainers. We praise them when they do well and ostracize them when they don't. But as human beings, mostly in their 20s, what personal toll does this type of losing do to them and who on the team do you see handling it the best?
John: It's tough to measure the personal toll because you can't get inside a person's head, or his heart. Losing does bother these guys, though, because the great majority of these guys have a lot of professional pride. And while they approach it as a job, they also are kids at heart playing a kid's game, so there is passion about the sport. Are there exceptions? Sure, in a locker room of 53 players, there are bound to be exceptions, but most NFL players want very badly to win. As far as who's handling it the best, it's hard to say. Most of these players handle themselves very professionally win or lose.
Kirk from Section 244:
I deleted and re-wrote about five varying comments and questions in the Ask John box before giving up all together and submitting this. Where do you start and who knows what to do from there?
John: You start with evaluation, and you start at the top. That's what Shad Khan undoubtedly will do following the season. Then, you trust that the person who is at the top knows what he's doing and can establish a long-term winning culture, organization and structure. That's the answer. What form that all takes remains to be seen.
Daniel from Egg Harbor Township, NJ:
If you want to keep any of your creditability, I would suggest that you stop defending Gene Smith. This team is horrible, and it is all thanks to his horrible draft picks. Blackmon, Shorts and Monroe are the only three worth keeping. Thanks, Gene. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
John: When it comes to creditability, I always look to you for incite.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
Meditating prior to a Jags game really helps temper the anger, frustration and sense of despair one experiences while watching. A few cold ones and proper breathing techniques during the game don't hurt either. Om . . .
John: I credit the cold ones.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
O-man, I've been saying it all year. It doesn't matter who is quarterbacking this team...with an offensive line that is as bad as this one, the results will be the same. Time to gut it and start over. What do you think??
John: I think the offensive line has struggled this season, and it doesn't seem to be playing as well now as at the beginning of the season. A lot there needs to be evaluated, but I've never believed "gutting" things willy-nilly is the best approach. You don't get rid of resources for the sake of getting rid of them, or out of frustration. Evaluate, then determine if this player or that player is a problem, then look at the entire picture. That process, I imagine, will take place in many areas this off-season.
DaMillion from Bluffton, SC:
No real question, just a statement. This team is so bad and so unlucky that we will probably lose the coin flip to Kansas for the No. 1 overall draft pick.
John: You might be right, but it won't be a coin flip. If the two teams finish tied for the worst record, Kansas City likely will get the No. 1 selection because the Chiefs' strength of schedule is weaker.
Tim from Jacksonville:
I know Guy Whimper wears a number that is normally ineligible, which is why he must check in. However, doesn't where he lines up determine his eligibility? At the NFL level shouldn't players and officials be able to determine eligibility based on his location in the formation? Is this similar to the 12-man rule where you wouldn't have time to figure out who is in and who is not?
John: The NFL requires that a player wearing a number in the 50s, 60s, 70s or 90s report as eligible to eliminate confusion. Yes, it is similar to the 12-man rule in that it allows defenses to more easily determine if a player is eligible to catch a pass and if he should therefore be covered.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Kaepernick, Dalton, Wilson, Cousins were great GM picks. We just don't see that here.
John: Yep. Those quarterbacks were good picks who have developed nicely. That hasn't happened here. Yet. The hope is that it will. We'll see.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
What do you think of selecting Jarvis Jones with our first pick? We clearly need help with the pass rush I see him as a Von Miller-type of player.
John: I think Jarvis Jones is one of several prospects I plan to write about, research and discuss come the Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and the Pro Day season. That's when I focus on the draft. I'm looking forward to it.
Ian from Leeds, UK:
I've heard a lot about how we have clusters of injuries at various position groups this year. For some of these, it's becoming a bit of an annual trend. While I understand some will be sheer bad luck, is the team looking at some of the things that those position coaches are doing (or not doing) which might expose players to greater risk of injury?
John: The team looks at anything like that that becomes a trend, and they even look at things that aren't trends. But while it may seem logical to wonder about what position coaches are doing at practice, that likely isn't the culprit. A lot of teams have runs of injuries at specific positions, and the reason that happens often is that once a player or two get hurt, players at that position practice more and play more reps and then become more susceptible to minor injuries. Those often linger, then become more serious, and soon enough there is a run of injuries. That's not a scientific breakdown, and it doesn't always hold true, but it happens.
Bryan from Alexandria, VA:
In what league is 5-9 still okay? Even with three overtime wins, 5-9 is still not acceptable football.
John: Five and nine isn't acceptable, and that wasn't my point. My point was if the Jaguars had won those three overtime road games, and if some key players had been healthy, you probably wouldn't be looking at a disaster scenario. Just trying to answer questions here, Bryan. Just trying to answer questions.