Dragging a bit this morning, but we'll get through it. Disappointed inbox, as expected. Ah well.
Let's get to it . . . Paul from Jacksonville:
When Chad Henne is not at his best, he looks remarkably like Blaine Gabbert.
John: Henne took a lot of heat from readers Sunday commenting in my in-game blog, and he took a lot of grief from O-Zone e-mailers. That's OK. Part of the job for an NFL quarterback is just that – absorbing grief. In fairness to Henne, though, I didn't see a whole lot of wide receivers running open Sunday, and I didn't see a guy with a lot of time to find those receivers. The Jaguars had Justin Blackmon, Toney Clemons, Quan Cosby, Jordan Shipley and Kevin Elliott at wide receiver Sunday. Let that sink in a minute. Justin Blackmon, Toney Clemons, Quan Cosby, Jordan Shipley and Kevin Elliott. Blackmon has started 12 games for the Jaguars. Before Sunday, none of the others had started one game for the Jaguars. Henne's time with these guys was minimal and the receivers again dropped too many passes. I've never said Henne was a savior and I don't know if there is a savior on the roster. But considering his circumstances Sunday, I don't think Henne played all that poorly.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
We have another Garrard. We have a mediocre quarterback that can keep us in games but cannot win them with only his arm. I'd be all right with that if it weren't for the fact that our defense is complete garbage. How does a team run the ball almost every play on a drive and get 5-plus yards every carry? At what point as a coach do you say, "Hey, they seem to be running the ball a lot, maybe we should do something about that?"
John: I think the coaches probably realized it. Stopping it was another story. The run defense was bad Sunday, at least during the third quarter. That was enough to turn the game's momentum. That has happened too often this season.
David from Loserville, FL:
How are the seats so full this year? Khan has these people brainwashed. This team is at least two years away from a winning season. They look awfully terrible. No. 1 on "What we learned" should read. "Kevin Elliot is no Cecil Shorts." He played horribly.
John: I'm not here to defend Kevin Elliott. He didn't play well. But I am at a loss about the venom of some e-mailers on this topic. He was an undrafted free agent who has physical ability, but who needs time to develop. It was his first NFL start. He was playing because other players are injured. You know how he played? He played how a rookie free agent who plays before he's ready typically plays – with a few flashes, and a lot of mistakes.
Biff from Jacksonville:
At this point of the season there should be zero negative or venting emails. Unless someone has just phased in from another timeline you know how bad this team is playing. With that said, let's take some time to praise the effort of Montell Owens. He looked like someone who wanted to keep his job.
John: Owens indeed played well. The team played well when he was in the game and struggled in the third quarter when he was cramping and not playing. A lot of other guys tried hard – I've never bought the idea that players don't try, although there are times when effort is very misplaced – but yes, Owens played like a guy who wanted to take advantage of his opportunity.
Josh from Dayton, OH:
While I don't think Henne is the biggest issue with the Jags offense, I don't think he's any better than Gabbert and, therefore, not the answer. We either need a new face next year or a big step forward from Gabbert.
John: I think right now Henne is better than Gabbert, or at least he has performed better when he has played this season. That doesn't necessarily mean that he is the better option going forward or that either is the best option going forward. At 2-11, there are a lot of questions. A lot.
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Where is the rush defense? I get that Sanchez isn't scaring anyone, but 42 rushing attempts means your defense isn't cutting it.
Jarred from Las Vegas, NV:
We are 2-11. I'm sorry, but I am thinking about the draft. I think if we traded down from our first pick, draft Te'o or a pass rusher and use one of the extra picks to trade for Kirk Cousins to compete with Gabbert – that would be a win. Thinking about that gets me more excited than watching the Jags play this year. It is time to start building.
John: No reason to apologize. You have every right to think about the draft. I have plenty of time beginning in January and February, so I'll start then. The team also will think about the final three games, but as a fan? At 2-11? Think about the draft all you want. Absolutely.
Nicholas from Anchorage, AK:
I don't even know who the JAGS are anymore. I don't recognize over half the names on our team except for our punter. At least when Miami had the "No Name Defense" they were good and the fans were happy.
John: They were also 17-0 and one of the great teams in NFL history. The Jaguars are beat-up and staggering, but yeah, I won't argue with you. There were a whole lot of guys playing Sunday who I hadn't heard of a couple of weeks back, either.
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
Just a recommendation: don't make any more excuses. This team stinks and it all begins with getting a new general manager. We are rebuilding. Make it public. We are about to start a three-to-five-year rebuilding process once we hire the new general manager. No Jags fan will be happy about this. Good luck.
John: Thanks for the recommendation. No excuses. Not sure when there were any made. Explanations, perhaps – answering questions, perhaps, but not excuses. And a rebuilding process doesn't have to take three-to-five years, but that's a topic for another day. Good luck to you as well.
Jerrell from Columbia, SC:
The Jaguars look like a team that have the U-Hauls backed in at the facility and are ready for the offseason.
John: I included this email because it sort of shows my point about people analyzing effort and intensity. This was sent around 2:51 Sunday, when indeed the Jaguars had the look from the outside of a team ready for the offseason. An hour or so later, they were rallying in the fourth quarter. Now, just because they rallied and nearly forced overtime doesn't salvage the season. Not even close. And it doesn't make Sunday OK, either. The Jaguars are not good, and that has to improve. But just because you're not good and just because you can't stop the run too doesn't mean you quit. It just means you can't stop the run. There's a difference.
Miguel from Section 145 and Jacksonville:
I think when fans talk about "saving" players and holding them out of late season games they forget that football players actually enjoy playing football and want to play as much as they can.
John: I think there's no question you're right. It's easy for fans and media to talk about these sorts of topics and take out the human element. On paper, it makes sense to hold out players such as Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts and Daryl Smith and save them for next season. In reality, these players have a limited number of games in a career and every one missed is one they don't get to play.
Nick from Orlando, FL:
Howdy O-man, I took a break from studying for finals to watch the game. Obviously the talent differential in the NFL between the best team and the worst team is very small. That being said, how big of a factor do you think momentum is in the NFL? Not just during games but throughout the entire season. Winning creates momentum from week to week and winning creates confidence (swagger). Every team is talented; confidence is what I believe separates elite teams from the rest of the NFL. I may be over thinking the subject but that's my theory. Thoughts?
John: First, get back to work. Second, the talent difference in the NFL is very small, particularly at the beginning of the season. It's why so much depends on the quarterback. If you have one who can make plays at the end of games and keep your team competitive and organized during the game, then you have a higher-percentage chance in most games. Injuries can change the equation by taking a very real toll as seasons continue, but take injuries out of the equation, and the margin in most cases is small except for quarterback. As for momentum? That's big, and it does make a difference. But you know what makes the biggest difference. Hint: it's a position and it starts with "Q . . . "
James from Orange Park, FL:
It's pretty awful being the second worst team in the league.
John: It ain't a lot of fun.