JACKSONVILLE – Back on this side of the pond.
Let's get to it . . .
Anthony from Denver:
O-Zone, we've seen Gabbert lose three games and get riddled with injury after another, and Henne not be able to convert third downs. Is it possible that we could see any field time for RickyStanzi, Matt Scott, or even Denard Robinson at quarterback just to see how they do? I will stand next to my team and support them, but it would be a lot easier to show the love if they could win a few! GO JAGS!
John: You won't see Denard Robinson at quarterback. The team moved him to backup running back this weekend. He had a couple of his better carries of the year, so they'll probably continue in that vein. He's not an NFL quarterback and won't play that role in Jacksonville. As for Scott and Stanzi, I don't see it being that time yet. I expect the Jaguars' staff will do something pretty close to a complete evaluation over the bye, so perhaps we'll see something dramatic, but I'd say Henne will probably get the start coming out of the bye. As far as later on in the season? Maybe. But not yet.
Lynn from Los Angeles, CA:
Subtracting an integer is the same as adding its opposite.
John: A day without sunshine is like night.
Max from Jacksonville:
Sunday Night Football provided another example of a successful team built through the draft. The sportscasters marveled at the fact that the Packers have only three players on the roster whoever played for another team. Fifty of their 53 players have only played for Green Bay! Must be a nice luxury to have such a strong core that you can draft the players you want and let them succeed or fail without the pressure of moving on too quickly.
John: I got several emails commenting on this same topic, and many seem to grasp that that's what the Jaguars currently want to do. It's not easy to do this. It takes – and here's the word people hate – patience, and it also takes time. You also must draft well, hit on most of your early picks and you must draft Pro Bowl, elite playmaking players. The Packers never slipped to the point the Jaguars find themselves now, so they didn't face the same mountain the Jaguars currently face, but they are a model franchise. Following that model is the best way to long-term sustainability, but it doesn't always yield short-term results.
Jim from St. Augustine:
Tough schedule, time zones etc. … How many excuses do you have when you forget to take out the trash? Can you share any that work? We see through the Jaguars' excuses.
John: Probably the most awesome part of my job is answering people's questions and trying to discuss many, many aspects of what's going on in the team and having people interpret that as "excuses." Over the last few weeks, it has been clear on the field and I have written often in the O-Zone that the Jaguars aren't good right now. A 0-8 record makes that clear, as has the play on the field. The offensive line is not controlling the line of scrimmage in the run game enough, the quarterbacks haven't played well enough, and there have been too many dropped passes and missed opportunities. That's on offense. Defensively, the team hasn't stopped the run effectively at all and has been unable to get off the field on third downs. That has caused a couple of miserably one-sided results. So, we know that the Jaguars aren't one of the NFL's best teams, but there are reasons they didn't play as well the last two weeks as they did the previous two, and there are reasons that they might have a chance to have a better record the second half of the season than they did the first. I was pointing out those reasons, so if you want to see that as an excuse and pat yourself on the back for seeing through this wall of excuses that in fact doesn't exist, have at it.
Clif from Maryland:
Honestly, what do we have to look forward to? This team doesn't have talent and worst of all they don't play hard.
John: Look forward to the future, and while I won't argue there is more talent needed, I can't agree with the second part. For the most part, this team plays pretty hard.
Emily from Boulder, CO:
It seems like Henne allows the offense to function to a point where other players can gain experience and be evaluated, while Gabbert does not. Sunday highlighted that there are many, many issues on this team other than the quarterback.
John: Well, yes. You don't get to 0-8 if it's all the quarterback. What Sunday highlighted more than anything was the difference between the Jaguars being a Super Bowl contender and what they are now. A couple of games in the first half of this season – Indianapolis and San Diego, in particular – also highlighted what happens when the Jaguars don't play well. The Jaguars – yes, this version of the Jaguars – can play better than they did Sunday. They also will play teams that aren't nearly as good as the 49ers. It will take those circumstances meeting for the team to have a better chance to win than they did through most of the first half of the season.
Scott from Wichita, KS:
I know this is probably not a popular sentiment but here goes: stay the course, Gus, stay the course! Easy for me to say since I'm not there now (from Orange Park), but hang in there, coach!
John: It's not really that hard for Bradley or David Caldwell to say, either. They have complete support of ownership. The course will be stayed.
David from Maplewood, NJ:
There is really no other way to put it: this team is bad, on an epic scale, a historical scale. The discussion is now, is this the worst NFL team ever. Forget 0-16, how about will the Jags even lose one game by less than 10 points?
John: The discussion is what you choose to discuss. I imagine there will be those who discuss that, and it stands to reason that if the Jaguars don't win soon, then you will see that as a topic on some national shows. And that's fine. It's an easy topic, and people will discuss it. Remember, though, it's really not a topic that concerns the Jaguars all that much. What I mean is this team is concerned about evaluating young players, continuing to plan for the future, continuing to try to improve and continuing toestablish a foundation and a culture on which this team can build. And record or not, the feeling around the building is that is being built. Any discussion about anything other than that – and certainly any discussion about the topics you mention – would be counterproductive. So, while those discussions may take place outside EverBank, they won't be heard much here.
Scott from Jacksonville and Section 137:
I still do not understand why we drafted a left tackle in the first round only to let a talented young left tackle go when we have so many needs on this team. Can you offer an honest and rational reason for that move? Also, was the last four years of drafting totally worthless so we have to wait four more to even be competitive?
John: Luke Joeckel was the best player available at the time he was drafted, and he was available at a premium position. That's what you need to take when you're selecting No. 2 overall. Had there been a cornerback, defensive end or perhaps even a quarterback who the Jaguars thought was on a par with Joeckel perhaps they would have taken him. There was not. You need to hit on Top 5 selections. You do not need busts. As far as the last four years of drafting, I wouldn't call it totally worthless, but when you're 0-8 and moving in a direction and completely overhauling a roster it stands to reason that most of the players who were drafted previously probably don't figure into the plan.
Cecil from St. Johns, FL:
All off season I couldn't wait for football to start back up. I eagerly awaited Sunday afternoons watching my beloved Jags play some great football. I knew they wouldn't win every game, but I believed they would put up a fight. I was so excited, John. Now, I just can't wait for the season to be over so I don't have to watch this embarrassing display every week. I'm just so disappointed and frustrated.
John: It's disappointing and frustrating. It's not completely surprising, but no doubt it's difficult. Losing stinks, even if it's losing within a long-term plan.
Jim from Orange Park:
Seems to me the defense is severely limited by our offense, if that makes any sense.
John: When you're 0-8, everything limits everything else. The defense struggles so the offense presses and so on and so on and so on . . .