JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … John from Daytona Beach, FL:
I've been a Jaguars fan a relatively short time and didn't follow the NFL closely before that. I'm starting to feel like I don't fit in with my fellow fans. My impression of Jaguars fans is the team could get into the playoffs, win a playoff game – or even the Super Bowl – and they would still complain about Blake Bortles. Is this normal for NFL fans and their teams? Or is this simply a unique characteristic of Jacksonville fans to always be critical of their own team? Seems like it might keep one from enjoying and recognizing a special team and a special season. Bottom line: Do I have to join in on this way of thinking and complaining on Twitter, etc. even when they win in order to be a true Jags fan? (Just wanting to fit in and be legit).
John: This is an understandable sentiment, but fear not: You have come to the right place for an answer. First, remember: fans gonna fan. This is a time-worn adage first uttered by one of the great minds of our generation; loosely translated it means fans are always going to be gloriously unreasonable, hypercritical, illogical and borderline insane in their demands for their team. Rather than try to apply logic to the feelings and opinions of fans, it's best to acknowledge that "fans gonna fan" and sit back and enjoy the ride. While you may see something one way – i.e., that Bortles indeed is improving and actually is playing pretty well right now – a fan immersed in the process of fanning may see him in an entirely different light and remain obsessed over Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick or Kirk Cousins. Or Mike Glennon. Or Tim Tebow. While you may be happy over a victory, a fanning fan may breathlessly – with the sweaty brow and glassy eyes of those not to be trifled with – be steadfastly convinced that a missed coverage or near-sack means the secondary is in shambles, the offensive line is a wreck and that the time-space continuum as we know it is perilously close to collapsing under the weight of the earth's orbit. Or something like that. The solution? There is no solution. It's just how it is. But don't worry: you'll be fine. Just remember that it's all for fun, that there's no place for reason in this wonderful world and that fans gonna fan. Always and forever.
Alan from Mandarin, FL:
The NFL just announced the fines arising from the end of the Seagulls game. Please help a dumb fan understand how the instigator, Seattle Man of the Year Michael Bennett, comes out unscathed. No suspension. No fine. Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette and two Jag assistants are fined over $30,000. Is it that Seattle has a key game coming up? That Seattle is a bigger market? That the Jags are trash-talkers? Or perhaps, this is the truest measure of the respect held for our team and its players by the league?
John: The NFL ruled that Bennett wasn't trying to injure Jaguars center Brandon Linder at the end of the game, and that he was diving to make a play on the ball. No mention to my knowledge was made of Bennett then rolling into Linder's knees needlessly from behind. I can only assume that once the league determined that Bennett wasn't trying to injure Linder, then league officials simply tried as best they could to fine people they saw involved with the incident. That's the best explanation. I can't do better. I'm not that talented. I wish I was.
AJ from the Northside of Jacksonville:
Big O: you recently referred to what I believe was truly the golden age of Jacksonville athletics: the late 80s and 90s. It seemed like nearly every sport was competing at a high level all over the city, but none more than football and basketball, especially basketball (I played so I'm a little biased toward basketball). But my question is: which one did you enjoy covering most with prep sports: high school football or high school basketball?
John: I don't know that the era I covered was the Golden Age of Jacksonville high school sports. There have been a lot of great athletes come through this town. I do know many writers who covered high schools before moving to college or professional sports think of the high school players and teams they covered as "their teams and players." I absolutely feel that way about those I covered. I was fortunate enough to get to know players such as Fred Weary and Sam Cowart at Mandarin, Jeremy Hyatt and Andre Cooper at Fletcher, Patrick Sapp, Derrick Alexander, Brian Dawkins and Germain Kohn at Raines – to name a few. I wrote the story when basketball phenom James Collins of Jackson committed to Florida State, and I always appreciated the relationship I had with players such as Cooper, Collins, Weary and Hyatt – again, to name a few. One of my favorite teams: the Orange Park football team that made the state Class 5A semifinals in 1992; that team was coached by one of the more underrated really good coaches I ever covered, the late Bob Williams. And a late-season game between Orange Park and Middleburg with quarterbacks Jeff McCrone (OP) and Alan Hall (Middleburg) the season before was as good an atmosphere as you can imagine in high school football. I also fondly remember covering football coaches such Corky Rogers at Bolles, Fred Pickard at Parker, Joe Reynolds at Fletcher, Robby Pruitt at University Christian, David Wilson at Middleburg and Freddie Stephens at Raines – once again, just to name a few. I'm leaving a ton out, and I haven't gotten around to covering Bernard Wilkes' Ribault basketball teams and a Raines basketball team that won the Class 3A state title with the aforementioned Sapp, Alexander and Dawkins as key members of the team. I could go on and on – and I already have. Which did I enjoy more? Both, I suppose. I was young and lucky enough to a job I never dreamed I'd get to do. Who was complaining? (Well, I was … just not as much as I do now)
Nathan Since '01 I think from Provo, UT:
John, how 'bout Two Fer Tommy Gun? Or did I not see Tommy Bohanon make the key blocks to spring Leonard Fournette from our own goal line Sunday – as well as setting the edge allowing Fournette to run for a Jaguars walk-off first down? #CaptainKahnsCrewOfCrazedCats
John: You saw correctly.
Bryant from White Plains, FL:
Will Poz end up with a spot in the Pride?
John: I think Paul Posluszny eventually should be in the Pride of the Jaguars. As for whether it will happen or not, that's way above my pay grade. Then again, whether or not Sexton gets to wear gym clothes on the air is above my pay grade, too. So, what I'm saying is I probably won't have a say.
Daniel from Urbandale, IA:
I love watching this team win. To me, the Jaguars' way of winning is more aligned for postseason success than if the offense were blowing up for touchdowns every game. That said, how ready do you think this team is to play in cold weather like Boston and/or Pittsburgh? Still feel Tom Brady could carve this defense with his quick throws.
John: I think this team can win in the cold weather. It plays big-time defense and it runs well enough to have a chance to function offensively in any weather. As for Brady "carving up this defense with his quick throws …" maybe. But remember: a disruptive pass rush and a fast back seven that can cover have a way of matching up well against immobile quarterbacks. That doesn't make the Jaguars the AFC favorites. It does make the Jaguars a team that has a fighting chance against anyone in the AFC, including New England.
Mike from Neptune Beach, FL:
So the NFL determined that Michael Bennett was going for the football. Any chance the Jaguars will determine that the fans drinks and popcorn fell out of their hands in the direction of the Seahawks player and thus be allowed to attend future Jaguars games?
John: I doubt it. I'm not saying you don't make a very valid point when it comes to Bennett – and I'm not saying I didn't admire your cleverness here. But I doubt it.
Robert from Van Nuys, CA:
Just wanted to tell you and the players that I was wearing my Jaguars beanie to school and different dudes came up and said, "Go Jaguars, bro!" No doubt that made me feel some type of way . Let the team know we are getting recognition over here in Southern Cali! Hard work from the office and the players are paying dividends! DUUUVVVALLL. Oh, the question is: "How do you like the recognition getting over here to Cali?"
John: It makes me feel radical. And gnarly. To the max.
O-Zone: California feeling
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … John from Daytona Beach, FL: