JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bryan from Jacksonville:
You seem to ignore/devalue the importance that fans are spending hard-earned money they have earned in 2014 and not 2015. There is talk about local revenue routinely, but where is the team revenue for the fans? The scoreboards are cool, but they mean nothing without points on them that lead to a win.
John: Nope. I never ignored the fans' hard-earned money, nor did I devalue it. What I did say was you can't make football decisions based on fan opinion. This statement often brings about a chorus of, "But, but, BUT!..... " and I understand the frustration. But the people running an organization must have a long-term vision based on what they see every day and where the team is going, and to throw every decision over to the results of an online poll isn't realistic. Your question also implies that the Jaguars or myself somehow think it's OK to lose in 2014. That's not the case. The Jaguars are doing everything they can to score points and win games now, but they're doing it with an eye on the long-term. Remember: it's the fans and observers who believe the Jaguars would be faring better and scoring more points with Blake Bortles. The coaches believe they have a better chance right now to win – and to score points – with Chad Henne. That may not sit well with fans, but that's the coaches' belief.
Robert from Orlando, FL:
Expect to have any nostalgia for your childhood team this weekend?
John: Nope. Not a bit.
Mike from West Des Moines, IA:
If Roger Goodell for some reason was no longer NFL Commissioner, do you think that the league continues to move in the direction it has been moving since he became commissioner? I am referring to the rules making defending the passing game more difficult. I understand that higher-scoring games yield more viewers/fans, and more fans yield more revenue; however I feel like the rules have tilted the game a little too far towards having a quarterback and 10 wide receivers line up against 11 defensive backs. Thoughts?
John: Yes, I think the league will continue to go that way regardless of who the commissioner is. That's particularly true of the rules regarding player safety, hitting defenseless receivers, concussions, etc. The NFL is not in the short term at least going to encourage less scoring and more violent, dangerous collisions.
Alan from Maine:
Most fans are too impatient. If the Jags were to play Blake Bortles from Day 1, there would be a great chance he would fail like Blaine Gabbert did. Having Chad Henne as the starter for at least this season if not for next season, too, is the right way to go. If Henne continues to play well and leads us to a playoff appearance or two, the Jags could trade him to a team in need of a quarterback and give Bortles the reigns in 2016 and hopefully he develops into an elite quarterback and leads us to the promised land and out of obscurity. I think I'm the only fan who sees this quarterback situation this way.
John: Goodness gracious … if you're not the only fan who feels that way, you're close. And I can't imagine there's anyone around the Jaguars thinking Bortles waits to start until 2016. My guess is he starts sometime this season, perhaps even before the bye. But barring injury, no way does he not start next season.
Ray from Jacksonville:
John: If this is the level of frenzy over the issue of Bortles starting, one can only attempt to imagine what it would have been if a certain SEC Network commentator had been good enough to make the roster. Whew!
John: I never lost sleep over that. No way was Brent Musburger starting for this football team.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Will the return of Pasztor to the offensive line make the gelling process longer?
John: You wouldn't think so, but it should make the right tackle position better. He could have a chance to return against Indianapolis September 21, with Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley saying Friday it could come down to Pasztor being able to play with a club on his hand.
Bill from Jacksonville:
I want to see Blake Bortles starting as much as the next guy, if not more. However, something I think is lost on some fans is once the team goes to Blake, short of an injury there's no going back. Once you tell Chad it's Blake's team, it's essentially over for him as the starting quarterback in this town. That's a decision the coaching staff has to be absolutely sure of once they make it. Go Jags!
John: There is an element to that. As the saying goes, your starting quarterback is your starting quarterback until he's not – and as an addition to that, when he's not, he probably ain't going to be again.
A Voice of Reason from the Peanut Gallery:
Fans will be fans. But let's not forget Gus and Dave are doing the exact thing they told everyone they were going to do. Since Draft Day, they said Bortles would be sitting. Everyone applauded their vision. Bortles outplayed expectations. That's great, but the plan and vision doesn't change. Stay the course people, our organization is looking up for the first time in a long time. Trust the process.
John: Fans gonna fan.
Chris from Mandarin:
Go back to your interview with Jedd Fisch when he references other quarterbacks being thrown to the wolves. He said that's not what they want to do with Bortles. I'm paraphrasing. That article is the reason fans have been using the words "thrown to the wolves" in case you have forgotten. I believe the article was something to the effect of "The Coaching Staff Believes in Henne."
John: That's understandable, and Fisch did say that. I don't think by thrown to the wolves he necessarily just meant getting hit and sacked so much he became shell-shocked. I think the Jaguars want to avoid playing Bortles until he is ready so that he continues to have time to develop and improve and prepare, and I think they also would like players around him to have a better overall grasp of assignments, route-running and the ins and outs of professional football before playing him.
Cory from Madison, WI:
Winning should now be the primary goal. The coaching staff decided that when they made Henne the starter, saying he gave us the best chance. Otherwise Bortles would be playing. The clock starts now on this regime. The evaluation process is full go.
John: Got it.
Andrew from Toledo, OH:
I thought Henne played a good game last week. I think he was let down by the running game and the center position. The right side of the line was not good; very inexperienced guys at wide receiver. It was a tough game. Passes were dropped. Do you think people are giving Henne too much of the blame?
John: Well, of course, they are. Did we expect something different?
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Why are the Jaguars consistently one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL? Why can't anyone seem to fix the offensive line in Jacksonville? We have had two drafts and two years of free agency under Dave and Gus and we are still arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. Why can other teams fix their offensive line woes, but we seem lost as a goose in high weeds about what to do? I am tired of seeing our team sabotaged every year by piss-poor line play. Spin away, Dr. Oehser, if you can or if you will.
John: I don't know that I'll spin, but I'll try to answer your question. In this case, I'd say the answer may lie with time. I said all offseason I thought it would take at least the first month of the season to start showing continuity and significant improvement. Will there be improvement after that? We'll see, but you're right that it needs to get better.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Was Allen Hurns one of those guys Caldwell went after immediately after the draft closed – i.e., he KNEW about him even if others didn't; sign of a good general manager to me – or was Hurns one of the tryout guys?
John: Hurns was signed as a rookie free agent immediately after the draft.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
One thing our team has struggled with for over a decade is putting teams away. I can't remember the last time I saw a game where we really took a team out of the game by the fourth quarter. It is something we must get better at as a team; it is an attitude and approach that makes the best teams ... well, the best. Seattle is a good example, in the Super Bowl they NEVER let up on Denver, even when they had a good lead. #NeverStopDominating
John: Great teams put teams away because they're great. The Jaguars haven't been great in a while, and they haven't been that good in recent seasons. It's not as much attitude and approach as not being there yet.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
In this week's game the jags will .........?
John: ……… play the Washington Redskins. Next question. (drops mic)
O-Zone: Absolutely right
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bryan from Jacksonville: