London, England – Pond been crossed.
Let's get to it … Mike from Section 122:
How are you going spin Mr. Khan's latest statements how he loves London, and the little statement about playing more than one game a year in London? At least when Green Bay did that years ago by going to Milwaukee fans could get to the game. I still think when the fans stop buying tickets because of the lack of wins and only four or five home games, he will then try to move the team to his "favorite city," London.
John: There's really no spin necessary, just a review of the facts and the reality. Shad Khan indeed wants the Jaguars to have a strong London presence – as further evidenced by Thursday's extension of the London agreement to 2020. At the same time, he has shown his commitment to Jacksonville pretty much non-stop since purchasing the Jaguars in 2012 – to a staggering degree, actually, for someone who had no ties to the area when he purchased the team. Consider the money and resources he has invested/plans to invest … if he wanted to move to London or anywhere, there are cheaper ways. Khan has put in an inordinate amount of time, thought and energy to trying to strengthen not only the Jaguars in Jacksonville but strengthening the city and the area itself – none of which he had any obligation to do. He has no plans to move the team to London and has made clear for some time now that a London presence is crucial to the franchise's viability in Jacksonville. It has been clear for some time that this is a two-pronged approach with the London game, and Khan has made that clear, too. I can't control what you think about the situation. What I can tell you is your theory is incorrect.
Brett from Green Bay, WI:
So, after almost a season and a half, what do you think of Blake Bortles?
John: Blake Bortles through a season and a half is further ahead than I thought he would be this time last year, and he is probably about where you want him through 19 starts. He's still making some key mistakes as evidenced by two key interceptions last week, but he also is moving the offense and seems to be far more in control of what he's doing than he was this time last season. He's developing and showing signs of being very, very good. Considering the team knew he needed developing when he was drafted – and considering the youth and inexperience around him – what we've seen from Bortles is about as good as could be imagined.
Sean from Baltimore:
Is it just me or do opposing receivers get free releases a lot so far this year? I know now in the NFL if you cough on them they get a flag, but are we making it hard at all at the snap? Or am I being an armchair coach here? #DTWD
John: You're not being an armchair quarterback. There certainly have been times this season the Jaguars' defensive backs have given more cushion than would seem necessary. That doesn't seem to have been the case in recent weeks, but it was an issue early.
Terrance from Laurel, MD:
I'm not a fan of firing regimes because it sets a team back three to four years. Reality hurts and we are going through the reality of building from scratch. Blake Bortles has shown signs of being a franchise quarterback. Our receiving corps continues to take strides to becoming something teams game plan against. We have a young running back, a defensive end who is on the mend and several key pieces that need development. Still, if Gus finishes with two to three wins, are we on the brink of starting over yet again?
John: I'm on record multiple times as I don't believe either Gus Bradley or Dave Caldwell are in any danger of not being here next year. That's because so far you can see results and progress on the field, and in the form of a growing young core. Now, if the last 10 weeks are somehow disastrous to the tune of something unforeseen -- blowout losses, chaotic messes or dissension – maybe that changes. I doubt that will happen.
Bill from Hammock, FL:
I am starting to recover from the latest loss and found hope in a recent NFL.com article. The basis was the degree of rebuild Shad Khan had to undertake. The offense was to be addressed through the draft. We now have the basis for a rapidly improving, very young group including the all-important quarterback position. Sure, Blake Bortles makes occasional silly mistakes. He is into the first part of his second season, but what a future … Next up is the defense and next year we basically have two Top 5 picks coming in, including the return of Dante Fowler Jr. I get the feeling we are close. Agree?
John: Hope is a good thing, Bill. Maybe the best thing. I'm glad you found hope on the NFL.com, and while the article you cite is said basically what I've written often here … whatever. How close are the Jaguars to contention? A whole lot closer than they were two years ago. Time will tell where that leads.
John from Jacksonville and Section 113:
When a player wants to return to his former team and the other team is serious about keeping him, it's very tough to lure the player away because the team will figure out a way to get close enough to make it work." I'd like to add: especially when that team is a favored Super Bowl participant/winner.
John: Good add.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Do you truly believe that when Dave was hired by Shad that his pitch was, "Give me five years and we will be close to 8-8?
John: No. Of course not, and no one ever said as much. Dave Caldwell also didn't make a "pitch" to Shad Khan. When Caldwell was hired in 2013, he wasn't begging for work. He's an honest person and his honest assessment was that the Jaguars would be a very long rebuild, but that by Year Four or Year Five the building plan would produce a talented core capable of being competitive on a postseason level for the long term. Shad Khan understood that plan and has been intimately aware, involved and supportive of the process throughout. I have no reason to believe that plan has changed, nor do I have any reason to believe Shad Khan has lost faith in the plan.
David from the Island:
Time to let go of the whole national media praise thing; it's not gonna happen. Even when and if the Jags eventually improve. The Bengals have been good for many years and are one of the best teams in the NFL right now. What do you hear about them nationally? One great big collective snooze fest. Both the Jags and Bengals have the same small-market problem. Website clicks drive media attention and the Jags just don't measure up. Sorry. The Giants could go 1-15 and national media would gladly cover them before a very good Jags team. Just the way it is. Agreed?
Cory from Madison, WI:
So, Davon House had a bad fourth quarter against one of the league's best wide receivers (with no safety help, mind you) and he gets benched. But there aren't consequences for Andre Branch being blocked 10 yards back from the quarterback, Zane Beadles playing below average, or the kicker missing two game-winning field goals (and an extra point this past week). How does that work? Oh, and Clemons' below average play gets him veteran days off. Good to see there's some consistency there. Explain please.
John: I was a bit confused by the House benching, too, but the Jaguars believe he has the potential to be very, very good and the belief is he will respond to the benching. He played well through three quarters Sunday, but made some very fundamental mistakes in the fourth quarter. Would I have benched him? No, but then again, I doubt I'd be a very good NFL head coach. As far as the other players you mentioned, here goes … Branch doesn't start, so you can't bench him; Beadles has struggled but the belief for now is he remains better than the alternative; the Jaguars believe in Jason Myers and it's tough to bench a kicker. They also don't want to get into a rotate-the-kicker-every-other-week scenario that often comes from midseason changes at the position. Finally, when it comes to Clemons, there's a misconception that the veterans days off he has each week are some sort of reward. It's not about that. It's about trying to have a veteran player who's still the best all-around option at a struggling position as fresh as possible and available for as long as possible.
Stephen from Parsippany, NJ:
Would you consider this season to be another "rebuilding year"?
John: Well, at 1-5, I certainly hope this isn't a peak.
Richard from Starke, FL:
The video of you walking with your suitcase in front of different city-scapes has a certain Falco-Der Kommissar feel to it.
John: The more you live the faster you will die.