JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Roger from Jacksonville:
Mark Brunell was top-tier. No doubt. The Jags were fun to watch during his era. Every game, you felt we had a chance to win. Not the case lately.
John: No, it hasn't been the case lately. The goal is to get back to that being the case. Don't forget that Brunell was surrounded by a phenomenal amount of talent, the level of which probably was taken for granted at the time. Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith rank among the great receiving duos of the past 20 years, running back Fred Taylor was a Hall-of-Fame-caliber talent, and Leon Searcy and Tony Boselli were as good of a tackle combination as there has been in the last two decades. That's one reason it's difficult to put Brunell in the absolutely top-tier. There clearly was enough talent on those teams to get to Super Bowls. But I say that emphasizing that I consider very, very few quarterbacks absolute top-tier elite. Brunell was really, really, really good and the Jaguars contended throughout much of his career. If the Jaguars could guarantee quarterbacking such as Brunell gave them for the next five years, they'd almost certainly be happy with it.
Cheesed from Boise, ID:
John, what's your cure for boredom? Or is there one?
John: I read emails.
Terrance from Jacksonville:
What makes Aaron Rodgers more elite than, say, an Eli Manning, or Joe Flacco? His regular-season MVP award? He won a Super Bowl on one of the more stacked teams in recent history and still hasn't consistently won during the regular season, as have the aforementioned quarterbacks. Mentioning him in a category with Peyton and Tom confused me a little.
John: I'm sorry you're confused. The Packers were not a stacked team when they won the Super Bowl. In fact, they were a team significantly hurt by injuries. The Packers have won a Super Bowl with Rodgers, he has been NFL Most Valuable Player and he is 52-26 as a starter. There's also another gauge you can use to determine if Rogers is elite. You can watch him play.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 122:
Your responses are always either informative or really funny. Ever considered doing standup at the comedy club? I bet being a comedian is not so different than being a sports journalist.
John: It's really similar. Some people like you, most people don't, and you wind up making a fool of yourself pretty regularly. But in the end, maybe you make a few people laugh with some off-hand remark – and boy, isn't that a noble cause?
Ed from Salem, NC:
Why is it so many of these "so-called" fans are complaining about the quarterback competition? Coach and general manager have been straight up so far, so why doubt them? Sometimes it's better as a fan to shut your yap and watch instead of whining because you don't see things happening . . .
John: You said it, Ed. Not me.
Sam from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada:
When it comes to the interior front of the defensive line, who do you think will be starting in Week 1? With the additions of Kyle Love from waivers and the signing of Sen'Derrick Marks and Roy Miller, which one would be left out?
John: With Love literally just having joined the team, and with Miller only returning from tendinitis late last week, it's really difficult to project starters. For now, let's go with Miller and Marks, but a lot of the Jaguars' defense will be based on situations with a lot of rotation. And really, I don't know that in the Jaguars' situation defensively it's right to think of the third defensive tackle as being "left out." They're going to rotate the defensive tackles – and indeed, the entire defensive line – enough that who starts and who plays backup won't be a mammoth issue.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
Please John, the nation already thinks Jacksonville is a city full of backward, uneducated, stubbornly narrowed minded morons.
John: Yeah, and that's just based on reading my editorials.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Who do you like to win the NBA Finals?
John: I like the Heat. LeBron James is too good late in games. I'm available to offer other obvious observations for a large fee.
Jarret from Crosby, ND:
You've given us your Jaguars Mt. Rushmore. How about an NFL Mt. Rushmore? Mine would definitely have Vince Lombardi and Johnny Unitas, and I'm leaning heavily towards Jim Brown in the Thomas Jefferson slot. I'm having trouble filling the last one. What say you?
John: I don't know who goes in what slot, but I wouldn't put coaches in it. I'd put in Unitas there, too, and I'd probably put Brown in, too. I'd also put in Jerry Rice, and just for the sake of argument, let's put a defensive player there, too. I'd go with Reggie White.
JP from Jacksonville:
Anybody ask about me lately?
John: Huh? What?
Carl from Jacksonville:
Was Gator from Section My Couch serious? They really need to invent a sarcasm font. I don't know if I should be laughing my butt off or shaking my head!
John: That's part of the mystery, isn't it?
John from Tampa:
When I played baseball, I gave 100 percent whoever I played for or against. But I gave 110 percent when I liked and respected the coach I was playing for. I say all of this because Gus Bradley seems like a guy that I would not only respect, but would also enjoy being around. I know there are guys like MJD who will undoubtedly give 100 percent any time they're on the field, but in general how important do you think it really is for a coach to be "popular" with their team? Do you think a well-liked coach is more likely to get quality play out of his players (i.e., the change of coaching and subsequent change of quality play from the 49ers)?
John: A coach being popular is unnecessary; a coach being able to motivate his players is absolutely necessary. I've come to believe the most important thing – infinitely more important than a coach being "popular" – is the level of respect players have for the coach. That can manifest in many ways. When Tom Coughlin coached the Jaguars, few players liked him. Yet, most players who played for him will tell you now they respected him and many look back on their time playing for him as the best time of their careers. This was a man who largely motivated with a hard-line approach. When Tony Dungy coached the Colts, players on and off the record spoke of him in loving, admiring, almost-fatherly fashion. He absolutely was well-liked, though I would hesitate to call him "popular." Dungy motivated in a different fashion than Coughlin, with players talking often of a certain look of disappointment he could give that made them feel worse than had it come from their own fathers. Whereas Coughlin sometimes motivated by intimidation, Dungy motivated with the look. In whatever way, they created an atmosphere of respect and they could motivate. And that was infinitely more important than whether they were popular.
Keath from Tampa, FL:
John, while I can appreciate the fact you were here early with the franchise, and the fact that you took over the coveted Senior Writer position from Vic Ketchman, I do think you assume too much sometimes. Meaning that fans here are sick and tired of the status quo and the fact the management and ownership said, "Just trust us," which we did. Now, you grow tired of the quarterback questions, but ever since Brunell left we have been in a state of flux. The readers were simply saying, well, "If we can't beat him, maybe we can join him." I know Peyton made the best choice for him in Denver, but to simply dismiss fans' wants for a HOF (arguably the best of all-time) quarterback, well, why is that so bad? We didn't even pick up the phone. That is what is the most disappointing for us. You may be the Senior Writer, but that doesn't make you all-knowing, with 20/20 both foresight and hindsight and perfect perspective, and that definitely doesn't mean that you speak for all the fans. Got it? Good. On to better times now...
John: I'm trying to remember when I dismissed the fans' wants. I'm pretty much on record far more than once writing that fans are allowed to want what they want. They are supposed to get frustrated and mad. They are supposed to be sick and tired of losing. That's their role. My role is to answer questions as best I can. That's what this is, Keath: Readers ask me questions, I answer them and I mix in some consistently ineffective humor. And believe me, if you read my inbox every day – which I do – you would quickly realize that no way could I possibly operate under the illusion that I speak for all the fans, although today I do feel fortunate to have received an email from someone who does.
O-Zone: Fan spokesman
JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Roger from Jacksonville: