JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-Man, so what do you think about everyone voting for Yan? Did you cast a vote for us?
I thought it was cool when I heard Jaguars fans were voting for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to make the Pro Bowl. As most fans know by now, if the Jaguars' former defensive end is so honored, the Jaguars will receive a fourth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft from the Minnesota Vikings instead of a fifth-round selection; that's under the terms of the Vikings' trade for Ngakoue this past summer. While Ngakoue since has been traded to the Baltimore Ravens, the terms of the trade remain the same – so the Jaguars would still get the fourth-rounder from Minnesota if Ngakoue indeed is voted to the Pro Bowl. Jaguars fans being "awesome," they have organized in an effort to get Ngakoue in the game. To paraphrase a reader's email regarding this groundswell of support, "That's the sort of pettiness I can get behind." And yeah … I like a good petty initiative as much as anyone. I haven't voted for Ngakoue. Not yet. Perhaps I will.
Bill from Jacksonville
It's not Shad Khan's fault they spent money on the wrong people? It's absolutely his fault, John. He's the owner. He's in charge. Everything that happens under his watch is his fault. They spent money on the wrong players because Shad Khan hired the wrong people.
Seen from an overly simplistic perspective … yes: obviously, the owner of an NFL team is ultimately responsible for what happens under his watch just as everything in any business is ultimately the responsibility of its owner. But there's also an element of chance whenever any NFL owner – who by definition is not a football expert – hires someone to run a team. There's an element of chance in just about everything in the NFL. The biggest element of chance is drafting a franchise quarterback. If you hit, a lot of decisions look good. If you don't, they don't.
Pat from Duval
YANN 2021. Pro-Bowl bound!
Jaxson from 'Merica
Now, I know we just got through a pretty rough election. But my fellow Americans, we are not done voting yet. It is our civic duty – nay, our unyielding native responsibility – to elect Yannick Ngakoue Pro Bowl 2021. YNP 2021 promises to give Jacksonville a brighter future with better draft selections, and the satisfaction of confusing Ngakoue beyond his wildest dreams. Satisfaction we all need, and deserve, in these hard times. So, get out there and vote! You have until December 17! And while you're at it, throw our boy James Robinson a vote (and Myles Jack)!
What a country.
Kevin from Bakersfield, CA
As I was watching the pre-NBA draft hype, it suddenly hit me. Neither ESPN nor the leagues that profit from draft events would dare suggest fans to "Calm down, it may take a few years to grade the selections."
Of course not. Pre-draft hype creates an expectation level for rookie performance that is rarely realistic, and few players are as good in their rookie seasons as they become in their second or third seasons. That's unlikely ever to be accepted as conventional wisdom, particularly not in the modern era of quick-trigger Twitter reaction and hot takes.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL
The more I read this column, the more I realize I know nothing. We win the first game, Minshew Mania is exploding. We all love this guy, etc. Now, he hurts his thumb and that's it. Throw him to the curb, not even consider him a backup. Guess I missed the "awesome to trash" performance.
Jeremy from Wise, VA
Jaguars rookie K'Lavon Chaisson looks like he is woefully out of position. Defensive end … no. Outside linebacker … pretty small (but Telvin Smith wasn't big, either). Where do you think his future will be at?
He will either be an undersized, pass-rushing defensive end – and plenty of pass rushers have played at his size. He also would be fine at outside linebacker in terms of size.
Peter from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Cornerback Sidney Jones IV is an unrestricted free agent after this year. It seems that now is the time to try and sign him before he hits the open market. He has incentive to listen because he might get hurt. We have incentive because he is young and we need a corner to pair with CJ Henderson. He was a nice pickup and at some point we need to not have numerous holes to fill in the offseason. One of this regime's problems has been not paying the right people at the right time. Thoughts?
I think the Jaguars should explore seriously the idea of signing Jones. Re-signing players never is a guarantee because of contract demands and perceived worth, but Jones absolutely is a player worth re-signing if the market value fits the worth.
Sam from Winter Park, FL
Rookie Jake Luton almost certainly isn't our quarterback of the future. BUT if a person watches Luton play football and doesn't see what Gardner Minshew II is missing in his game, that person will never be happy with any other quarterback except Minshew.
Daniel from Johnston, IA
I'll say this: At 1-8 it has not been a good season. That said, other than one game, every single one of them have been competitive. There are 1-8 teams and then there are 1-8 teams. I'd rather be this 1-8 team than the other, know what I'm saying? A bevy of draft picks with this team's fight could go a long way...
You're right that a bevy of draft selections this offseason could go far toward making the Jaguars competitive very quickly. A ton of salary-cap space next offseason won't hurt, either. I wouldn't say the Jaguars were competitive this season quite as much as you, but hey … why nitpick?
Mario from Oviedo, FL
You play to win the game! All this talk about tanking just to draft a specific quarterback in next year's draft is getting pretty annoying. It's evident that the common fan lacks something that all coaches and players have: PRIDE.
Fans absolutely have reason to want the Jaguars to lose; the lure of a franchise quarterback is strong and there appear to be franchise quarterbacks available at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft. But are the Jaguars playing with pride in recent weeks? Absolutely. And to expect – or want – anything else from professional players and coaches is folly.
Matt from Fort Worth, TX
Serious question. Head Coach Doug Marrone wants to win now. Meaning this season. His ideal finish is 8-8. At this point, that FEELS like it's not in the best interest of the franchise or the fans, who would ideally end the season 1-15 with a lot of high draft picks in 2021. In a sense, it appears the franchise and the head coach are currently at odds because the franchise is playing for wins in 2021, not necessarily in 2020. While midseason coaching changes rarely make sense, would it make sense to move on now? Still better to wait until the offseason? Let it play it out?
I understand this is a serious question. I know this because I get versions of it every day. But the answer's not going to change no matter how often I receive the question: There's no point in changing coaches in an effort to secure the No. 1 overall selection because no NFL coach is going to try to lose games. And no franchise is going to try to lose. And even if by some slim chance a franchise were trying to lose games, it darned sure never would announce it and say, "We're hiring a coach to lose."
Bill from Dansville, NY
John: I, too, am from upstate New York grew up as a Bills fan – until 1995. I'm still a closet Bills fan. I'd like to point out that Doug Marrone brought the Bills their first winning season in 2014 since the Mike Mularkey 2004 season, TEN YEARS! We don't suck because of Doug, period. I liked him then and was ecstatic when the Jags hired him, and hope we retain him going forward.
Fair. Very fair.
John from Jacksonville
Most Jags fans agree that the team doesn't get national attention, official's calls don't seem to go their way, players don't get recognition they deserve and get little respect. All they have to do is hand the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the year on Sunday and the recognition will come. I'd be elated to see that happen. What percentage of the fan base would disagree?
The Jaguars don't get national attention, recognition or respect because they are 1-8 and have had losing seasons every season except one for the last decade. Beating the Steelers Sunday certainly would make headlines and have the Jaguars being discussed a lot for a day or two. But to get the sort of recognition and "respect" Jaguars crave they must win more than one game. A lot more.