Battle Red Day O-Zone. The roof is open in Houston and we're ready for some questions.
Let's get to it . . . Scott from Jacksonville :
What would the line be on the Colts at Alabama in Tuscaloosa? I saw where an NFL analyst said 'Bama will have 16 players on its defense drafted. I believe in the Colts' current state, 'Bama would have four of the five most talented players on the field with the exception being Dwight Freeney. I thought it would be an interesting matchup since the Colts' defense is small and 'Bama is built to pound you into submission. What do you think?
John: I don't know what the line would be. I do know the Colts – or any NFL team, for that matter – would win and that it wouldn't be that close. In fact, it wouldn't be close at all. Alabama wouldn't have four of the five most-talented players on the field against the Colts or any other NFL team. Reggie Wayne, Antoine Bethea, Robert Mathis, Jerraud Powers might have a chance to start for the Crimson Tide, and other NFL teams would have a few players who also could crack the lineup. And as far as pounding into submission, that wouldn't happen, either. NFL players are bigger and stronger than their college counterparts. That's why all but the very best college players typically need time to develop into good NFL players. Could the same Alabama players have a chance to complete with the Colts if they were at their athletic peaks? Perhaps. But not now.
ChrisCharles from Jacksonville:
There's always money in the banana stand.
John: Steve Holt.
Adam from Orange Park, FL:
This again is a big week, with a big division game, as you stated to "go 2-0 in the South." Does a win this week give us any, at all, coverage in the media? Or are we just going to ride under the radar the rest of the season with an easier second-half schedule?
John: If the Jaguars win they will be 3-5. There will still be many teams with better records and higher-profiles. Stop worrying about the national media, or any other media for that matter. The nice thing about the NFL is it's not a popularity contest and no matter how much coverage you get, you have the chance to prove how good you are on the field. Watch your team. Enjoy and appreciate what you see. What the national media says matters not a bit.
G.W. from Hurricane, WV:
You used the word "aberration" twice in Friday's O-Zone. Is that going to be a trend, or was it just an aberration?
John: It was just an example of me deviating from the ordinary, usual or normal type.
Jason from Anderson:
Do you think playing against the top three defenses in consecutive weeks will be beneficial to Gabbert's development this season? I would think it would boost his confidence going into Houston but at the same time I'm wondering if it had the opposite effect on his footwork. It seemed like he was throwing while backpedaling quite a bit on Monday night and that's one of those bad habits I wasn't expecting to see so often.
John: How the past few weeks helps or hurts Gabbert will depend on how he reacts to it and how he improves. Confidence isn't the issue for Gabbert. Nor it talent or desire or drive or work ethic. The key for Gabbert is to get his pocket presence and footwork correct on a consistent basis. Just about every quarterback – and every player -- enters the NFL with areas he needs to improve. Those areas are the areas on which Gabbert must work. They're a major area of focus to Jaguars followers right now because he is a rookie quarterback. With time, they have a chance to improve. That's the task.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
Wouldn't you think that after making the Pro Bowl last year, and with the caliber of our other receivers, defenses are paying a lot more attention to Marcedes? Wouldn't that explain much??
John: It would, and it does. Here's the thing: In the NFL, when teams begin game-planning for you, things get much more difficult. Big-time players adjust. Lewis has said the past few weeks that he has gotten more attention from defenses, and that he relishes the challenge. Now, he has to figure out how to be more effective against more attention.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I think you may be onto something with me needing rest. Full-time job, grad school, and a stressful sports franchise has me worn down in the last two months. I still think the Colts should not get Luck though. Miami has been in the dumps for a long time now, they deserve him more than the Colts.
John: Nap up, then enjoy the game. Whoever gets Luck will get him.
Vignu from Jefferson, WI:
I apparently am in the minority here, but if the Colts drafted Luck I welcome that thought. I welcome it because we would have three young quarterbacks in our division all drafted in the first 10 picks and if they all work out then we'd have a Battle Royale in the division that I think could really build a nice history for the division. Obviously each QB has to become successful and playing at Pro Bowl levels to achieve this kind of rivalry and recent history suggests that not all first round QBs will be future hall of famers but if the Colts get Luck then it really does give us a chance to be a part of something great. Have I been heard?
John: Sure, but I think what we all need to remember is while Luck is an outstanding prospect, there is huge difference between that and an elite-level NFL quarterback. He appears ready-made, but getting him guarantees no franchise anything beyond having a quarterback around whom there is the possibility to build and improve.
Eric from Jacksonville:
As much as I have utmost respect to your predecessor, I think he got it totally wrong with his insistence of his "WR are a dime a dozen" belief. I remember him adamantly objecting using a first-round pick for a big-time WR and quickly proclaimed "long-term wide receiver issues solved" with the drafting of Thomas, Dillard and Underwood. Obviously now, we know how farther this is from the truth. Your thoughts?
John: The thing about the NFL Draft is it's difficult to ever proclaim anything absolutely solved for a long time after a player gets into the league. I believe wide receiver is a very tricky position on draft day. There are players such as Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald that are absolute difference-makers and that are very, very difficult to find outside the Top 10. A.J. Green has the makings of such a player. At the same time, it's a position that has produced some pretty notorious busts early in the first round. There are some similarities there to quarterback. The bottom line is it's a position where you have to be careful and where sticking to a Best Player Available philosophy is critical. If you really believe the guy is big-time, then you take him in the Top 10. But you don't take him in the Top 10 just because you're in the Top 10 and need a receiver. Actually, that's pretty much true of any spot. Either way, I'd be surprised if the Jaguars don't address wide receiver early in the draft, probably in the first round. There seem to be enough receivers available that the BAP has a good chance of being a receiver.
Peter from Goose Creek, SC:
Looking at your pregame report, I saw Blaine's left knee had a brace of some sort on it. Is his leg feeling bad or is it to correct his form?
John: It's a precautionary brace to prevent injury.
Bryan from Rancho Cucamonga, CA:
Bengals, Ravens and Steelers: three Top 10 defenses that Gabbert has faced. In those three games he threw two touchdowns and one interception. I feel like a little kid again. I can't wait to watch what he does against average defenses.
John: You make a good point. Somewhat lost in the focus this week on what Gabbert hasn't been doing is what he has done well. He has not committed turnovers and has not appealed overwhelmed or lost. You can't simply say, "Well, he has played good defenses and now he will play better," because there aren't many bad defenses in the NFL. But it is OK to look forward to how he will play. The belief is he will improve going forward.
John from Jacksonville:
Why does it seem that however unlikely, the offense is just due to have a breakout game, much like the defense had on Monday night?
John: Because it has been a long, long time coming.
Edward from Jacksonville:
You're a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan? Excellent. The next time I see you on the street, we'll have a stop-and-chat.
John: Not if I see you first.