Last day for Packers talk – and I'll sort of miss it.
Let's get to it . . .
Fred from Waycross, GA:
I like this quarterback. For a young kid, he acts very mature and never points a finger. If his mechanics are right for an NFL quarterback, then I can't see how we can fail with him at the helm. I've said it before: this team reminds me of the '89 Cowboys rebuilding. Your thoughts, sir?
John: I don't know that the Jaguars have the raw talent the Cowboys of that era were able to assemble. That team, after all, produced three Super Bowl titles and is considered one of the more talented teams in recent memory. I agree on Gabbert. He has shown progress in recent weeks, and if he has had a strength since his arrival in Jacksonville, it has been his ability to handle difficult situations in a mature fashion. The next step is consistency.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
The only reason Gabbert played that hard is because his job would be on the line if he didn't. The defense played better. Those OT losses make it worse. Will the Jaguars call Palmer back? Is there a chance of getting Garrard back? They're the only quarterbacks that consistently can win.
John: And sometimes, they hang themselves.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
The difference with the defense between last year and this year is that Daryl Smith and Clint Session are out. I think that linebacker would be a priority in the offseason. Do you think this could be our missing piece of the puzzle?
John: There's no question linebacker is an issue this season. The defensive line has gotten healthy in recent weeks and has improved accordingly. If you had Smith attacking and making tackles for loss, you'd have a very similar unit to the one that put together some very good stretches last season. Linebacker almost certainly will be addressed in the offseason. Considering the health issue of Session, the Jaguars will need to determine if they can depend on him in the future, and Smith is a free agent. It stands to reason at least one linebacker position would be addressed in the offseason.
Dan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Is it just me thinking that our offense performs better without MJD? Think about it. We have all been wondering why the offense has not looked anywhere near as good as it did in the pre-season. Well, on Sunday, it started looking more productive and producing more big plays. What is the common theme I see from the preseason and yesterday's game? No MJD. Thoughts?
John: This theme continues to gain momentum, but while evidence supports it, I'm not ready to say the offense is better without Jones-Drew. He's too good and too valuable to say that. Now, did Jones-Drew's absence Sunday prompt the Jaguars to throw more? Perhaps, but the Jaguars were throwing early against Oakland, and while Jones-Drew left that game after the second play, the game plan was established before the game. Whatever the reason, if the Jaguars' offense is indeed growing more effective passing, that's going to benefit the entire offense when Jones-Drew returns.
Bill from Jacksonville:
So I guess Clay Matthews game against Eugene Monroe, showed Jags fans the difference between an elite left tackle and a good left tackle. Is that the way you saw it Sunday?
John: I saw a game in which Monroe could have played better against a very good pass rusher.
Benji from Yreka, CA:
On the blocked punt, you could tell Green Bay was going to bring the house. The cornerback who blocked the punt shifted all the way inside, leaving his gunner completely uncovered. Would Bryan Anger have the freedom to call an audible in that situation and throw the quick pass to the wide open man? I know the field position says you don't do it, but when you are 1-5 . . . just curious.
John: Mike Mularkey addressed this Monday and field position really wasn't the issue. Anger doesn't have the freedom in that situation to throw the ball to the gunner, no matter how open. Mularkey said the reason is he has seen too many bad things happen in the situation. Mularkey, incidentally, didn't rule out the possibility of having Anger have that freedom in the future. On that play, when the corner essentially walked in close to the line for a free, easy shot at the block, you either have to block the guy, kick away from him or throw to the open man. As Anger gains experience, it would be beneficial to allow him to make the throw.
Jody from Fort Pierce, FL:
I know everyone is going to talk about the usual players, but how about Brewster? Do you expect him to remain a starter? I thought he played very well. Perhaps he will take over when Meester is done?
John: Mike Mularkey said Monday he plans to stick with Brewster as the starter there. The Jaguars have liked Brewster from the time he arrived as a rookie free agent last spring, and the line seemed to play better this week with him in the lineup. You would think he would have a chance to move to the center position at some point, but that's the future. The positive is that he can play. If that's the case, you can find a position.
Phil from Woodmere, NY:
When Robinson gets healthy, will he play the slot? If he gets his starting job as the No. 1 receiver back, I will lose a lot of respect for the head coach. Also, if he plays the slot, where he's a known force, our offense may take a giant leap.
John: I doubt the Jaguars will tip their hand about how the receivers will line up when Robinson returns. If I had to guess, I'd say Shorts starts opposite Blackmon at first, with Blackmon moving to the lot in passing situations. That would give Robinson the opportunity to play his way back into football shape. After that, it will probably play out based on who's playing better. Remember, the Jaguars use a lot of formations, so who starts and who plays the slot doesn't dictate who lines up where on every play.
Fred from Jacksonville:
At the end of the game Blackmon just looked tired – gassed in football jingo. It's probably just the result of playing hard, working to make things work. We all know when you are that tired, things don't work – your arms, your legs...even your mind, certainly not good enough to play at the NFL level. The endurance will come and someday soon he'll run others into the ground late in the game.
John: That may have had something to do with it, but Mike Mularkey addressed this Monday and said he didn't see things the same way Dan Diedorf and many fans did. He addressed the play on which many believe Blackmon didn't give maximum effort, and Mularkey's view was that Blackmon didn't have a chance to make a play on the ball. There also is a chance that there are endurance issues for a rookie, as well as some routes not being run correctly. Those things happen for a rookie. You'd like for them to come in and play perfectly, but often they don't, and Blackmon hasn't. But Mularkey has been pretty honest in his assessment of players, including Blackmon, and hasn't been reluctant to express displeasure publicly. If he honestly thought Blackmon hadn't given enough effort, Mularkey I believe would say it.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
The biggest thing that stuck out to me was how bad Spurlock was as a kick returner. Bringing one out early when he should have taken the knee, a fumble, and then the near muff on the sideline that would have given Green Bay great field position. For someone who was brought in specifically to be our return man, he's not really living up to his part of the deal. Do you expect the Jags to stick with him if he continues in his woeful ways?
John: Mike Mularkey wasn't happy at all discussing Spurlock Monday, in particular focusing on the decisions made Sunday. It's hard to say how that will impact Spurlock' roster position going forward, but when you're in the NFL, you don't want a rash of bad decisions as your body of work.
Denver from Jacksonville:
John, am I the only person who wants to hear what Mr. Khan thinks about his team's performance thus far and how he plans to handle it? He has mentioned before that he wants to let the "football people" make football decisions, but I just really feel that the fans need to hear something from him. He was very vocal in the off-season and now not so much?
John: I don't get the idea that Khan feels compelled to weigh in with a State of the Team address during the season. This is fairly typical of most NFL owners. There's a time to discuss the direction of the franchise, and when that time comes, Khan's history indicates he'll be candid and forthcoming.