JACKSONVILLE – Game day
Let's get to it... David from St. Augustine:
O-Zone, a lot has been made about Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer's comments about the crowd at EverBank Sunday. What do you think? Motivation?
John: I don't know that it will have much effect on the players in the game Sunday. Players in general don't pay much attention to such comments. Will it influence how the fans behave? Will it influence how loud the crowd gets when Palmer is behind center on Sunday? Well, we'll just see, won't we?
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable:
Now that the Jags have won a game, Brian Sexton stated on the Jags radio show this week he wants Blaine Gabbert to start now because "you know what you have in Henne" and he wants to find out if Gabbert is the guy. Lageman believes Gabbert gives the Jaguars the best chance of winning now. Mark Brunell followed their lead because that's what Mark Brunell does. Surprisingly, Boselli was the only voice of reason. My question is this: Did these people (B.S, Lags, & Marky) not see the games Blaine started earlier this season?
John: I can't speak for what Sexton, Lageman and Brunell saw. I know what I saw and I know what I hear Gus Bradley say. When I saw Henne and Gabbert play this season, I didn't see much difference and I didn't see either quarterback show much more than the other to earn the starting job. I also didn't see either guy get a whole lot of help from the offensive line, and in some situations, from the receivers. I saw each take advantage of the presence Justin Blackmon, and I saw Henne certainly play a touch better for a few games. What I heard Gus Bradley say this week is that Henne will start against St. Louis, and I heard nothing in his voice to make me think that's changing barring injury.
Robert from Moorpack, CA:
What is the role of MLB? What is he saying to the defense and how exactly are you supposed to time a pre snap count??
John:The middle linebacker's role before the snap is to call the defense and get the front in proper position. Typically, he is calling defensive signals during the period before the snap. That's what Paul Posluszny's role usually is for the Jaguars, and that's what Russell Allen will be doing on Sunday. You time a snap count by moving as close as possible to the snap of the ball. Some defenders get off the ball more quickly than others, with some players able to read signals of offensive players that might tip them as to when the ball is being snapped. Most often, players just go on the snap of the ball.
Brad from Palo Alto, CA:
Can the Jaguars win two in a row? No way, right? I mean, when is the last time that happened?
John: Well, it hasn't happened since late in the 2010 season. That was when the Jaguars were fighting the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South title, and took the division lead at 8-5 with back-to-back wins over Tennessee and Oakland. They lost the last three games of that season to finish 8-8. The Jaguars are 8-34 since that two-game stretch. While Gus Bradley and the Jaguars players are in no way emphasizing it this this week, getting a second consecutive victory would have significance. When you're trying to build a winning culture, you need to get used to the feeling of putting strings of victories together. Two victories wouldn't be a long string by any stretch, but it would again give players – and of course, fans – further proof that winning doesn't have to be something unfamiliar around this franchise.
Jason from Virginia Beach, FL:
Do the Jaguars retire numbers, or take them out of circulation for a while? How long before we would see someone wear Brunell's No. 8?
John:They don't officially retire numbers, but numbers such as Nos. 8 (Brunell), 71 (Tony Boselli), 82 (Jimmy Smith), 28 (Fred Taylor) are not used. I don't see any of those numbers being worn by Jaguars players any time soon.
Dakota from Dupree, SD:
All the talk nowadays is how the running back position is not as valuable a position as it once was. I think it should be. Green Bay, better with Lacy. Baltimore offense is struggling with a struggling Ray Rice. Foster's worst season is the Texans' worst season. A good run game always helps a quarterback. Why the decline in running back value?
John: A good run game does help a quarterback. But an offense is crippled without a good quarterback. Also, a good run game doesn't necessarily need an elite running back. With the exception of the absolute elite backs – players such as Adrian Peterson – there often isn't a tremendous difference between good and average running backs so long as the line is blocking effectively. There also is the fact that running backs don't typically play nearly as long at a high level as quarterbacks. A running back typically is not as effective in Year 9 or 10. Peyton Manning is in his 16th season and if the season ended now, he would be winning his fifth Most Valuable Player Award. His third and fourth MVPs came in Year 11 and 12 and he nearly won it last year, too.
James from Columbus, MS:
I'm behind Gus and Dave, but I have to wonder about something specific. Gus committed hard-core to Gabbert before the season. Gabbert had two weak games separated by two missed games by injury. Henne did not play all that much better, and Gabbert won the starting role largely due to his practice looks and his one big preseason performance. So, tell me how Henne won the job back after Gabbert got healthy? Doesn't really sound like Gus's preference against knee-jerk decisions really played out. What specifically changed their minds? Two games is hardly enough for a team that went 0-8, and only two were Gabbert losses.
John: It's a legitimate question, but I don't know if I would define the commitment as hard-core, just as I wouldn't necessarily define many players' starting roles right now on the Jaguars that way. Bradley did commit to Gabbert as the starter, but he has emphasized since the offseason that roster spots and starting jobs will always be decided by competition. Gabbert won the job in the preseason as most expected he would – and he indeed looked better in offseason practices. He did not perform well when given a chance this season, and though Henne has struggled, too, Henne has looked better enough to retain the job.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Although Big Ben (Roethlisberger) and Joe Flacco come from small schools that played less-than-stellar competition in college, they are 6'4 & 6'5 and weigh 250 pounds. Teddy Bridgewater is 6'2, 180. Will that be able to hold up in the NFL? Example: Michael Vick.
John: Those will perhaps be the major concerns when teams consider Bridgewater – first, the competition he played; and second, his size. I don't think Bridgewater and Vick are all that comparable, though, because Vick's durability issues stem as much from his style of play as his size. When you're running constantly and putting yourself in harm's way, over time that's going to lead to durability issues. Steve McNair, for example, was by any measure a tough, large, physical quarterback and he lost effectiveness before otherwise might have been the case – partly because his style of play meant he took many hits.
Patrick from Coffee and Donuts, CA:
I am very pleased with our draft picks. Johnathan Cyprien and Dwayne Gratz make a great impact on defense. Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson are getting better and should be a great duo on offense next season. I see us being a solid .500 team in no time.
John: I am glad you're pleased. The draft class indeed appears to be progressing fine. I don't say "great," because through eight games, you don't say "great" or "lousy" or really anything about a draft class; that's really too early to judge. But so far, the Jaguars are seeing what they want from the players. Cyprien and sixth-round safety Josh Evans have been up and down, but you have seen potential. And what you want to see from the duo is more consistency and a strong finish. Gratz has performed well whenever he has been on the field, and with Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson being fourth-and-fifth-round picks, respectively, you want to see signs that they can have an impact in their specific roles as time goes on. Sanders is starting to show that, and Robinson certainly has a chance. As for the first-round selection, Luke Joeckel, he played just a little more than four games before sustaining a broken ankle. His development will go a long way toward determining the success of the class. He has played only a few snaps at left tackle, but there's no reason to think he won't be a very, very good player for a long time.
Stan from Palatka, FL:
Is this mic on?
John: Let me check.