Game day. Fred Taylor Day. Good day.
Let's get to it . . .
Renee from Jacksonville:
When it is time, will Fred Taylor be elected to the Hall of Fame?
John: This is maybe the one Fred Taylor question we didn't address on jaguars.com this week. It's a tricky one. All you have to do is watch his highlights and look at his numbers to know he should be in the Hall of Fame. He is 16th on the all-time rushing list, and the players ahead of him are either in or headed that way. Even more in his favor is the eye test. Watch any of the highlights you've been seeing this week and if you know football, you know you're seeing something unique. What will make it difficult is perception and having played in a small market. I sort of think he eventually will get in, but that it will take a while and lot of lobbying from knowledgeable people. Whether he gets in or not, he's in the Pride of the Jaguars and for this weekend, I feel safe in saying that's enough for Taylor.
Adam from Section 148:
We haven't talked about this in a while now, John. But just to be clear; I still want more money.
John: God knows, so do I.
Fred from Portland, OR:
Might sacks be a factor in this game? I'm noticing the Bengals have an AFC-leading 11 sacks while the Jaguars have an NFL-worst two sacks.
John: Sacks are almost always a factor. The Jaguars have to protect the passer better than the Bengals' first three opponents, and they have to rush the passer better than they have in Weeks 1-3. The Jaguars' offensive line should be healthy against the Bengals and their defensive line is getting healthy. Those factors should help.
Joel from Jacksonville:
Some of the things I remember about Fred Taylor. That run over Mike Doss, the Colts safety, yelling as Fred ran over him "IN YOUR FACE DOSS, IN YOUR FACE!" The cut where he tore his groin muscle. I was thinking other people pull muscles and don't fumble, never realizing the extent of the injury and not realizing until much later how HARD he worked to try to come back that year. We cheered in 2007 and 2008 because he was our last tie to the greatness of the past and we felt we were on our back and he would be the force, the hero. And one of the sadder days in my life, the day he had been released. It was wrong. He should have played his last game as a jaguar. I love you Fred and you need to be in that ring.
John: We're done with all-Fred Taylor all the time. That was Saturday, but this needed to be heard.
Nicholas from AK:
Do you think a better clock manager (Fisher, Parcells, Belichick) would have opted for a pass on the first play of the JAGS last possession last week? With 2:01 on the clock, a run only chews up five seconds, but a pass –even if incomplete – is about the same amount of time with the higher chance of getting more yards.
John: I think there will come a time the Jaguars throw in that situation, and philosophically I absolutely agree with you. I like to throw there. On the other hand, Maurice Jones-Drew ran for more than 170 yards in that game and was the team's most consistent offensive option. Over the long haul, throwing more often than not is the right move there, but if Jones-Drew had run for five yards, three, then two, no one would be gnashing teeth over this. And I haven't seen enough of Mularkey to say he's a bad clock manager. I thought he and the staff did a nice job managing the clock against Minnesota, for example, choosing to punt and play defense at a time when a lot of coaches might have gone for a high-risk first down. That move would have opened him up to criticism had it not worked, but sometimes working the clock the right way means doing things a bit out of the conventional wisdom.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
I think there is another angle that is part of the Bryan Anger discussion. If you are drafting a punter in the third round you are drafting for Need, not the Best Available Player. Don't tell me Gene had him on his board in the third as the Best Available Player out there at that point of the draft. Rick really promoted the BAP from a very fundamentalist view point. I have always seen it personally as weighted heavily towards BAP in the earlier rounds and moving more towards Need in the later. Your thoughts?
John: My thought is you're right about BAP earlier and need later to a degree. I've gone over and over my thought on BAP – that it's not something done in a vacuum, and that when players are close with nearly identical grades, then need comes into play. My thought is also that what too people miss about the Bryan Anger discussion is the Jaguars have a very good player, and there is no regret taking him. All the discussion in the world isn't going to change that, so discuss all you want. It's not changing anything.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
Is it just me or is Derek Cox one of the best CBs in football? He looks dominant when he plays.
John: It's not just you. When healthy, Derek Cox is one of the better young cornerbacks in the NFL. That gets overlooked because he missed 10 games last season, but Cox has developed each year and appears to be entering his prime.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
Are the Jags going to use the new black alternative jerseys this season?
John: The black jerseys will no longer be "alternate" after Sunday. They will be the regular jerseys and they will begin being used October 7 against Chicago.
Donald from Jacksonville:
I just have to throw this out there: I am not a fan of Mike Mayock at all. Every time he opens his mouth, he is pointing out the "extreme obvious," or he is talking with so much football jargon that he forgets to take a breath between sentences, or – and this is my favorite— he kisses so much butt I am surprised his lips aren't brown by now. Thanks for letting me vent, John. What do you think of Mayock? Any stories?
John: I don't know Mayock personally. I do enjoy listening to him more than I do most announcers. I think he's pretty insightful and I usually learn something, but to each his own. No media person is loved by everyone. You may have to sit down for this, but there are those who don't care for the O-Zone.
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
Yes, we have a powerful rushing game (Top 3 in the NFL), but Mularkey has to let Gabbert develop, and by that I mean Gabbert has to pass more, go deep two-three times per game and learn from there. We all agree Gabbert has the tools, so Mularkey has to turn him loose. So far Gabbert is being use too conservatively and that delays his development. Your thoughts.
John: In time, Manuel, in time. The line has been beat up and that has influenced the play-calling a bit. If we get a month into the Jaguars having a healthy line and we're still focused on this area, that will be different. Sometimes, circumstance dictates approach and so far, the circumstances around the offense have been pretty tricky.
Andrew from Section 410 and Tallahassee, FL:
I know Freddy T and MOJO have different running styles but do you think if Fred had stopped the "jukin" and just went straight ahead he would have gained a lot more yards?
John: No. Taylor's ability to make defenders miss is what made him special.
Chase from Jacksonville:
A day late, but my favorite moment involving Fred was when I was serving at a local restaurant in my younger days. I got to serve him and a few other Jags at the time. At the end of the night Fred picked up the entire tab and he tipped me fifty bucks! Stuff like that goes a long way when not only is it one of your favorite NFL players of all time, but you are also a broke kid struggling to make it.
John: I thought Saturday's all-Taylor all-the-time-Ozone-would end the Taylor talk, but you know what? My column, and I like that story.
Brian from San Diego, CA:
Hey John, I am a day behind but could you thank Erik for his service, let him know 10 a.m. starts in California never quite feel right for an east coaster but you learn to deal with it, and that anything from Stone Brewing Company goes perfectly with Jags football?
Artis from Norfolk, VA:
Football will first and foremost, always be a running game.- Vince Lombardi
John: You're livin' in the past, maaan – many people.