Let's get to it . . .
Gavin from Jacksonville:
Sidney Rice is productive? He's projecting to catch 45 balls for 678 yards and three touchdowns. While on paper that's not bad, you have to factor in the monster deal they gave him. No way are those numbers worth 41 million over five years.
John: You don't have to sell me. The biggest problem I have had with the many, many fans who are writing in to beat their chests and say, "I told you we should have signed a wide receiver," is the notion that somehow the Jaguars were asleep at the wheel and didn't realize the need to upgrade the position. No one would have told you this was an elite receiving corps. But the reality is you can't build every roster spot overnight, and there wasn't an upgrade available in free agency. Is the receiving position a strength? No. Was there some magical solution that would have made it stronger? I'd answer that with a stronger, "No."
Mason from Fleming Island, FL:
Okay, I hate to be the guy to ask, although I'm sure I'm not the first or only, but what are the odds we make a move to get Brandon Lloyd? I agree completely you can't get a good receiver in the middle of the season in free agency. I understand completely. However, Brandon Lloyd led the league in receiving yards last year. I would definitely be willing to give up a second or third round pick for him if I were Gene. He can open up our offense and will have the best hands on the team day one. I think it is a move we should make. What's your opinion?
John: Nothing wrong with being the first guy to ask. It's obviously going to raise the ire of the fan base, but I'd be surprised if the Jaguars make a move. If it's a late-round draft pick, then maybe. I'd be surprised if the Broncos let him go for less than a second-rounder -- but if, as is being reported, he's available for less than that, it may make some sense. If it doesn't happen, let the ire rain down upon me.
Ken from Jacksonville:
"The 2008 draft class featured five players from Division I schools. None are on the roster. You find football players where you find football players." John, that's something the Jaguars should be very embarrassed by. That is not a ringing endorsement of this team's ability to draft wisely.
John: I can only assume you're new to the site. Obviously, the 2008 draft class was embarrassing. It's well-documented that the 2008 draft helped set the franchise back several years. The draft caused the team to reassess and the results of it have been the basis for a change of philosophy moving forward. That's the point of what I wrote. The front-office staff underwent a major, fairly well-publicized change at the top following that draft. Of course it's not a ringing endorsement.
Phil from Fort Collins, CO:
The small-school argument is getting tired but I believe the frustration is we knew we needed to upgrade the position in order to improve. We drafted a guy in the fourth round from Mount Union, let Sims-Walker go and realized Underwood wasn't going to progress and let him go. We are 30 million under the cap and continued to say "we are happy with what we have." Houston makes a move to secure the position by bringing in Mason to fill in while AJ is out. That may or may not work but at least they are trying to improve. Jack Del Rio has to win now, he doesn't have the luxury of time to wait for Shorts to have an impact. It just seems like they could have worked out a trade for an experienced vet receiver that could bring some stability to the position. I know that isn't always the solution but you don't know if you don't try.
John: Phil, you're a regular contributor and I hear ya, but . . . yawn.
Jason from Jacksonville:
"Better days ahead." I'm pretty sure that the team tried to sell us on that concept last year before the team crumbled in December for the third year in a row. This season the team is crumbling in September and October. I'll believe "better days" are ahead when the team isn't sitting at 1-4 and looking dreadful. I think you're journalistic integrity has been slightly diminished with that line to Brendan. It comes off as touting the corporate line and disregarding what plain view tells us. "Better days" are not ahead until changes take place first--drastic changes.
John: I believe better days are ahead. That has nothing to do with "selling" anything. I believe the Jaguars are closer to improving than people think – very soon. I may be wrong, but the statement had nothing to do with "integrity."
Caleb from Jacksonville:
While I know the Steelers are always a top-tier team, it seems this year they have some cracks. I think our D is really going to shine against this injury riddled O-Line. Your thoughts on how Mel Tucker was able to turn it around with the exception of the newly acquired talent?
John: You obviously can't except the talent. The addition of Paul Posluzny and the safeties – not to mention the play of Alualu and Knighton in the middle – is key to the improvement. The Jaguars no longer have glaring liabilities in the back seven. I also think Tucker and the staff deserve credit for realizing that defense isn't always about exotic schemes and showing the world how smart you are. Tucker talked a lot this off-season about keeping things simple and allowing the defense to play with speed and confidence. That worried a lot of people who feared the defense wouldn't be complex enough. It is often the case that a defense that plays fast, smart and is fundamentally sound is better than one that tries to fool you. So far, that approach has worked for the Jaguars.
Paul from Panama City, FL:
To help with Ausguste question, there is actually a grey area. The runner does not have to be touched to be down if in the judgment of the official he has giving up on trying to gain more yards. It was kinda explained on the NY Giants play when WR Cruz after lying on the ground got up without being touched and left the ball on the ground. Officials ruled him down and that there was no fumble. Sorry explanation was so long. Thanks for all your work.
John: I left the "giving-up-on-the-play" clause out of my answer Thursday not because I wasn't aware of the rule, because I didn't think that was what was being asked. I thought it was more of what was the difference between college and professional rule. Many readers correctly noted the "surrender" rule. Appreciated.
Ben from Glen Cove, FL:
Do you ever get tired of hearing players say things like: "We have to follow the gameplan," "We just need to make a play," "All we need is a win," "It's not his fault, it's mine," and "That one falls on me?" These people/players are making millions of dollars to do just these things. I'm tired of the talk every week. I hear what they're saying but I'm not seeing them being done. What's your take?
John: My take is I'm tired of hearing it, too. The media is tired of hearing it. Fans are tired of hearing it. Players are tired of saying it. Losing makes players and coaches say a lot of things that people get tired of hearing and saying.
Lee from Duval County, FL:
What's the deal with Rashad Jennings? I understand he tweeted that he's almost ready to play, yet the Jaguars have placed him on IR which makes him ineligible for the rest of the season. How could they let this happen?
John: Players always think they're ready. Sometimes they are. Usually, it takes longer than they'd like.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
What made Al Davis so important to the NFL, besides being the owner of the Raiders?
John: If he had done nothing else, that would have been enough. The Raiders from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s were an iconic franchise that transcended normal popularity in the NFL. He also won by doing things "his way" – i.e., not following conventional wisdom. While he drew the ire of the league office with multiple court cases against the NFL, he also was a respected voice in league circles. While the NFL has many influential people, any organization can become stale if all owners/officials think the same way and follow the same patterns. Davis for many years provided an alternative, strong voice. Although in his later years he often was criticized publicly, his football knowledge and ideas were never questioned.
James from Knoxville, TN:
Vicbow always talked about all the great food to eat in Pittsburgh. What are you looking forward to eating?
John: Lunch. Then dinner. And maybe a snack.
Looking forward to lunch
Let's get to it . . .
Gavin from Jacksonville: