JACKSONVILLE – Thanksgiving O-Zone.
Let's get to it...
Michael from Middleburg, FL:
Wow. Remember when gas was almost $4 a gallon? Then everyone said, 'Wow... it's only $3.65 now.' (Compared to it being less than $2.75) My, how beating a down-and-out team by the skin of your teeth can seem like such an awesome victory!!
John: Wow. Remember when Michael didn't get the point? No one's saying two victories in three weeks following an eight-game losing streak are acceptable as an end-game, Michael. The point is that within the framework of this season the Jaguars have improved and you're starting to see the foundation for what is to come. That may not be "awesome," but it's pretty important within the context of things we discussed here in the O-Zone.
Eric from Boston, MA:
Mr. Andre Branch is showing more and more glimpses each week on his improvement to plant and bend the corner. This to me, is very exciting.
John: I imagine he's pretty jacked up about it, too.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
How's Luke Joeckel coming along? I'm really curious as to when he's coming back, and how he's progressing. And how he'll fit back in, considering how the two other tackles have performed in his absence.
John:Luke Joeckel is coming along well. There has been nothing to indicate he won't be ready to participate in the offseason program. He will fit in where he was when he sustained his broken ankle in Week Five – as the Jaguars' starting left tackle.
Snook from Keller, TX:
I have noticed a big change in the inbox lately. Winning sure does make everything better.
John: What you have noticed is a big change in the emails I choose to answer. But I have noticed a change, and you're right, it does.
Alan from Mount Morris:
The Jaguars currently have 11 picks for the upcoming draft. Do you know of a rule that might limit the number of compensatory selections we receive based on the number of regular selections we already have?
John: There is no such rule.
Keith from Miami, FL:
Do you see the NFL doing anything in the immediate future to end tie games? I know ties in this league are pretty rare, but they're still kind of dumb. Do you think it's possible they go the hockey or soccer route and maybe have a field-goal challenge if the game is still tied after OT? I think that would be pretty fun and exciting.
John: The NFL did something following the 1974 season to end tie games; the league implemented the sudden-death overtime system. It has been remarkably effective at eliminating ties. The league limited overtimes to one quarter during the regular season with the idea of reducing injuries. As for going the route of hockey or soccer, I don't see it. A field-goal challenge would cheapen the result and wouldn't be in the spirit of how the rest of the game was played. Besides, there aren't that many ties that eliminating them is a huge issue.
Mike from Jagsonville:
How much of Gus's hand is in the defensive success?
John: Sixty-two percent.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
You gotta love Roy Miller and Sen'Derrick Marks. You can tell by their words and their emotion (even before we got that first win) that they really buy in to what's going on here. I hope they keep growing and competing and remain fixtures here in Jacksonville?
John: They have bought in – no question. And there's no question that they're exactly the sorts of veterans the Jaguars were trying to sign in free agency last offseason. Marks signed a one-year deal and Miller signed a two-year deal. I imagine the team will try to re-sign Marks. They won't have to deal with Miller's contract for a while yet.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Wiping his mouth with the tablecloth at Thanksgiving dinner. #shadricksightings
John: Yes. Obviously.
Andrew from Toledo, OH:
I was wondering your take on the Jaguars' defensive line. I like Alualu and hope he stays with the team. What about Roy Miller, Marks, Deaderick? For the Jags, is defensive tackle a need?
John: Every position on the roster is a need because the Jaguars can improve at every position. Alualu has played well against the run, and Miller and Marks have been solid free-agent signings. Deaderick probably hasn't played at the level of Miller and Marks, but along with the rest of the defensive line, he has improved in recent weeks.
Justin from Section133:
Does Branch have to do that ridiculous dance every time he makes a play?
SWO from Fleming Island, FL:
After seeing Ryan Davis' hands on that last-second interception, then hearing him say he was a wide receiver in high school, has anyone thought of putting him at tight end? Belichick is famous for putting players in different positions on the field. Just saying . . .
John: Ryan Davis has been on the active roster two games. Let's let him get used to playing in the NFL as a defensive end first.
Fred from Jacksonville:
There is a strategy in the business world for dealing with opponents larger and smaller called Japanese Marketing. Safe to say to defeat a larger, stronger opponent the strategy does NOT include antagonizing the opponent. Safe to say since we play the Texans in 10 days you should have left them at No. 31 in your power rankings. You may not think the rankings are important, but right now they are being used somewhere in the Texans locker room.
John: Thanks for the help, Fred. And stay in your lane.
Corey from Orange Park, FL: First question: Let's say you're on the 40 and you take the delay-of-game penalty to the 45. Is there anything stopping a team from taking two penalties making it easier on the punter? Second question: my friend and I had discussed drafting philosophy and he said he would take a quarterback in the first- and fourth-round if a talent drops there. I said this isn't a good idea all considering the needs and it shows you don't believe in your first round quarterback. Who would be right in this scenario!?
John: First, you can take two penalties. Second, your friend's draft strategy isn't a bad one. The Redskins took the same strategy with Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, taking Griffin No. 2 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft and Cousins in the fourth round two days later. This made a lot of sense considering how often Griffin runs and the accompanying injury risk. In the Jaguars' case, there are an awful lot of holes to be filled, but there's also nothing wrong with having two young quarterbacks as the team builds.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
I agree with Redmond. Branch hasn't really done anything worthy of praise, and he can thank Babich for the scheme sack he received credit for last week. I hope he develops into the player he was drafted to be, but at this point, I would rather see Egboh and Selvie on the roster.
John: If you get into the game of not crediting players for sacks for one reason or the other an awful lot of sacks are going to get taken away from a lot of layers. I'm not going to turn this week into a big Andre Branch debate. He struggled at the start of the season, and is getting better. The coaches like his progress. Let's see where that takes him.
Clayton from Jacksonville:
So many people are writing MJD off not being re-signed – understandably from a business decision. What say you? Fork up the dough to a very good (not just running back) but football player, veteran leader, and someone a rookie QB/young team could rely on?
John: There's indeed a perception among some that Jones-Drew will be too expensive to re-sign during the offseason. I doubt that will be the case. He's entering his ninth season and there probably aren't many teams waiting to break the bank for a nine-year veteran running back. I can see Jones-Drew re-signing with the Jaguars for a contract that makes sense for both sides. I'm not guaranteeing it, but it's a lot more possible than some seem to believe.
Jonathan from Orange Park, FL:
Here we go with this scenario, Johnny O! 12/29/13, last game of the year with the 6-9 Jags facing the 7-8 Colts at Lucas Field for the Division title. How's that for a turn around? I'll take that any time of the day!
Zain from Orlando, FL:
Who wins the one-on-one battle: Haden or Shorts.
John: That's why they play the games.
John from Jacksonville:
Yes we did win without Tebow but how are we doing in ticket sales? The product really isn't selling and the Jaguars are at the top of the London in 2017 headlines
Andrew from Panama City Beach, FL:
You know...I like winning. It makes me happy!
John: Someone told me once there people who felt that way.
Cliff from Jax:
"People like winning, it makes them happy." You know, with the change of just one letter, you can use that as the stock response after losses, too.
John: Not so, Clif.
Fred from Naples, FL:
I would just like to take this time to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Don't screw up the turkey.
John: I am allowed nowhere near the turkey. I'm not given that sort of responsibility.
Mike from St. Mary's, GA:
Happy turkey day O-man!
John: And to everyone here as well.