Jacksonville – Let's get to it . . . **
Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL:
The argument that the Jaguars' wins have come against lesser competition is valid. But, if the Jaguars could play the first half of the schedule again, do you think they would go 0-8?
John:I do not. I could see the Jaguars having a much better chance to win three of those games. Even as well as the Jaguars have played since the bye, it would be difficult for them to beat the Chiefs, 49ers, Broncos or Seahawks. Those teams are very efficient and the Jaguars probably still would need those teams to make uncharacteristic mistakes to have a chance. The Jaguars could play the Raiders, Rams and Chargers much tougher; they actually played better against the Chargers than some realized although they had trouble finishing plays and make a lot of costly mistakes. The Colts are a more interesting situation. They were playing well when they beat the Jaguars and aren't playing so well now. The Jaguars could find out a little about how they match up against Indianapolis now, though. They play the Colts in the regular-season finale, although there's a chance the Colts might not play their entire front-line roster in that game.
Mutton Man from Fort Lauderdale, FL:
Shad Khan really seems cool! When he first got the team I was in crisis, thinking he was all about making money and moving the team. I rest a lot easier now because I honestly think he has big plans for the Jags in J-ville. It seems his plan is starting to unfold and I hope he keeps the Jags where they belong. Is he as cool in person as he appears, and do you think he would ever move us to another city??
John:Although Khan has made little secret of his dislike for me personally, I have been around him enough to discern he indeed is every bit as cool he as he appears. He has worked hard throughout his life to be successful and has become wildly so without forgetting to have fun and enjoy life. He also treats people of all levels of success with respect and listens phenomenally well. I don't know that that's everyone's definition of a "cool" person, but it's a big part of mine. And no, judging by his actions to date, I don't think he plans to move the Jaguars.
Daniel from Gainesville, FL:
I am going to try to give you a challenging stat to look up. Out of all the non-quarterback touchdown passes, which player was fastest to reach that milestone in terms of NFL experience and where does Ace Sanders rank on that list being a rookie.
John:Wow. That would be a challenging stat to look up.
Jay from Montreal, Quebec:
There has been a lot of chatter about whether Maurice Jones-Drew returns next year. What about Marcedes Lewis? Will he be sticking around?
John:I believe Jones-Drew will be back, because I believe he wants to come back and I believe the market will make sense for him to do that. By that, I mean I believe the Jaguars will want him back with an incentive-based deal and that considering his experience and the position he plays, that will be a good deal from his perspective. Although the Jaguars like Lewis and he clearly likes the direction of the organization, I think there is a lesser chance of him being here next season. Some team will probably offer more than the Jaguars are willing to pay, and it will probably be too much for Lewis to stay. That's a guess, and I hope Lewis stays. We'll see.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
I noticed that when answering Ryan from Orlando's question regarding Blackmon and Joeckel you sidestepped any response about Blackmon. Does that signal that he is not rehabbing or is no longer in the team's future plans?
John:No, there were no hints in my response. I don't know how the details of what Blackmon is doing during his suspension, but I believe the Jaguars want him back. Considering his track record, the team likely will draft and acquire talent with the idea that he may not be on the roster, but the Jaguars definitely want him to be a part of the future.
Reggie from Oakland, CA:
WHY.. just WHY..?
John:Goodness, I wish I knew.
John from Savannah, GA:
It's nice to see the Jaguars trending upward at the end of the season for once while a lot of other franchises around us trend downward and self-destruct. I know it's not very nice of me to laugh at other people's misfortunes, but after a few tough years, it just feels good.
John:Don't fret. Your instincts are correct. The misfortunes of others are always funny – much funnier, often, than one's own.
Kevin from Quincy, FL:
Every year around this time, we have a holiday luncheon at work. Do the Jags do anything similar for the players and their families? Or even administrative staff?
John:There is indeed a Jaguars holiday party every year. It is a well-attended, joyous occasion – or so I am told the day after.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
What's the point of keeping Matt Scott? It's guaranteed we are taking a quarterback in the first two rounds in May, so why's he here? Also, why was Stanzi never given a chance to play? He's never gotten a shot and had a pretty good record at Iowa. Now, I AM NOT SAYING WE SHOULD PLAY, EITHER. In fact, I think Henne should've played at the start of the season. But I'm a little confused on the future on quarterback depth of the roster.
John:You keep Matt Scott because you think maybe he has potential to develop. He may develop into a backup or a starter or he may not develop at all, but the practice-squad is the place for him to do that. Stanzi never got a chance because he was the third-team quarterback and for a time he was the second-team quarterback. He would have played had enough players gotten hurt to move him up the depth chart to the starting lineup. That did not happen.
Jake from Somerville, NJ:
There was talk in camp about Branch possible being cut. He has made progress this year and is showing glimpses of what he can do. Do you think with his continued progress that 2014 could be his breakout year with double-digit sacks?
John:Branch indeed has shown significant progress. When the season began, you wondered if Branch would ever make a serious contribution. Now, he has shown he is able to make a significant contribution as part of a rotation. I don't know that he yet has the power or spin move to consistently beat chipping or double teams, so he may need good players around him to be most effective. But can he get double-digits sacks if he's part of an effective group? Yeah, that may be possible.
Greg from Neptune Beach, FL:
It looks like Kirk Cousins will be on display for the last few games. If the Jags slip down in the draft to where the first three or so quarterbacks are off the board, can you see a scenario where they go defensive end in Round 1 and try to trade for Cousins.
John:Sure, if they like Cousins – and if the Redskins indeed want to trade Cousins. RGIII is obviously a talented player but he just as obviously hasn't shown this year that he is a guarantee to be a long-term elite quarterback. If the Redskins trade Cousins, they also need to find a quarterback in the event Griffin gets hurt, which given his style of play obviously can happen. The biggest part is whether the Jaguars like Cousins. If they liked him enough coming out of college and believe he can be a franchise guy, then sure, make the trade. If not, then don't.
Cameron from Orlando, FL:
If Henne goes down, do we go with Gabbert the remainder of the year, or activate Scott and start him? Secondly, although I know it is a long shot, if we make the playoffs and perform well, do we stick with Henne and address other needs – or do we still draft someone high. I know it's a long shot, but something that has been intriguing to me.
John:If Henne were to get hurt, Gabbert would start and I believe he would start the final two games. A lot can change once a player begins playing, but that would be the most likely scenario. As for your playoff scenario, it's such a long shot that it's really, really hypothetical. Still, I think the Jaguars draft a quarterback early or pursue one via free agency or trade in the offseason – more likely through the draft and yeah, pretty much however the season plays out.
Mick from New Castle, IN:
With everything the Jags have faced during this season in addition to my underwhelming expectations for a complete rebuilding year...Why do I feel like it has already been a "good" season?
John:** Because it has been.