JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Royce from Jacksonville:
Mr. O, with the Jags having to make a decision on Julius Thomas next week, what is your feel that he will be on the team after not having the success that he had in Denver? My opinion is Blake could not make the throws that Thomas was getting at Denver and the Jags should look at that closely.
John: The Jaguars actually don't need to make a decision regarding Thomas' future this week. As for whether they will retain him moving forward, that remains to be seen. He thrived in Denver in large part because he runs quick, timing routes very well – and because Peyton Manning was as good as any quarterback at making those throws. Those throws haven't yet proven to be Blake Bortles' strengths, and there's no doubt that has limited Thomas' productivity. What should the Jaguars to with Thomas in the coming weeks? The thought here is that they should consider keep him on the roster and figure a way to better utilize him. He is a talented player, and talent isn't that easy to find. Will it happen? I'd call it a coin flip. We'll see.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
So, on a local sports radio show here, they were talking about one running back you could have from the past to pick for your team. They said either Emmitt Smith or Marshall Faulk. I said either Jim Brown or Walter Payton. Now, I'm only 25 and have only read or seen highlights from their careers, but my thing was could you imagine either of those guys in a modern-era training facility and what they could do? Who would be your pick?
John: I'd select Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders or Walter Payton. I'd select Brown because he was Jim Brown, Simpson because he was as dynamic and dangerous a runner as I've ever seen, Faulk because in his prime he was the best double-threat receiver runner in NFL history, Sanders because he had the ability to make something from nothing and Payton because he was as versatile a player as has ever played the position. And you know what? I'd have Fred Taylor pretty high on my list, because he and LaDainian Tomlinson are the only backs I've seen to compare to Simpson in terms of consistent, long-term big-play ability.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 218:
They may do "their very best" to ensure the right players get in, but they screwed up last weekend – and I'm not talking about Tony Boselli. There is absolutely no scenario where a kicker deserved to go in and T.O. didn't. They don't like him because he was difficult to deal with, so they snubbed him. Going to multiple teams and putting up the numbers he did just proves how great he is. It's ridiculous.
John: The soundness of your theory that Owens is being snubbed by Hall voters because he was difficult to deal with depends on the identity of "they." While Owens had a dicey relationship with media, my experience is that the vast majority of reporters don't hold grudges against players for being difficult with the media. Remember, too, there are 48 Hall-of-Fame selectors, and the vast majority of those never dealt with Owens consistently enough to hold a grudge. Now, if by "they" you mean NFL types – former coaches, general managers, players, etc. … yeah, being difficult to deal with on that front throughout his career and not being a good locker-room guy or a good teammate indeed could have a lot to do with his being snubbed.
Jim from Pahrump, NV:
John: I too am disappointed in Boselli not being selected, and also agree with the assessment of Jason Taylor in ahead of many people. My question revolves around Don Coryell. Frankly, I thought he was already in. I know he won zero Super Bowls, but goodness did he ever have a huge impact on the game. Is lack of Super Bowls worthy of keeping someone like Coryell from the "Hall?"
John: Many eventual Hall-of-Fame inductees get passed over for a long time before being selected. Coryell's exclusion for many years did likely stem from him never having coached a team to the Super Bowl. With the passing of time, and with his passing principles becoming part of the very fabric of the NFL, Coryell has become more and more acknowledged as a coach with an extraordinary impact on the game. He's Hall-of-Fame worthy. But so are most of the finalists every year.
Stuart from Chinley, United Kingdom:
John, what are your thoughts on the overtime rules? I watched the game Sunday and thought how it ruined what was essentially a fantastic game. I don't understand at all why both teams don't get a shot at scoring. The team that wins the toss has a greater chance of winning in my eyes. Games like this should not have an element of chance attached to them.
John: I like the overtime rule, and I actually didn't mind the old overtime rule. I get why people say both teams should have a chance to score. But the Falcons had a chance to stop the Patriots, force a field goal and get the ball back. Defense counts in the NFL and defenses are allowed to make a play to stop the opponent. I think most NFL coaches would tell you that if you can't keep a team from scoring a touchdown on the first drive of overtime then you can't begrudge the opponent the victory.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
Hear me out for a second. The Cowboys received three first-round picks and two of each second- and third-round picks for Herschel Walker. Not to mention the players and late-round picks they received as well. I believe that Tom Brady is the greatest of all-time. I also believe he has two-to-three years left of elite production at best. So, if the Patriots believe that Jimmy G is a franchise quarterback and a team offers them that amount of draft picks for Brady, you don't think that is worth considering? The Patriots having that kind of draft equity to invest in the next decade of players scares me. They made a living off of getting rid of guys a year early instead of year too late. Why is it so crazy to do it now when Brady could hit an age wall very soon and you'd get nothing?
John: Don't let the notion of the Patriots trading Tom Brady scare you. It won't happen. Keeping Brady gives the Patriots a real chance to win the Super Bowl for the next two or three years. Those chances diminish with Garoppolo. When you have a real chance to win a championship you don't diminish it.
Craig from Auburn, IN:
You don't blame the approach? You are all right with throwing the ball late in the game, with a slim lead and the momentum clearly with the Patriots, not once but three times? You also left out the holding call on the following play and the incomplete pass on the next play. Clearly I am not a coach, and obviously you aren't either. How much time could two more run plays have taken off the clock? Plus an 11-point lead at that stage would have given the Falcons some breathing room and forced the Pats into a real sense of urgency.
John: Yes, I'm all right with throwing there, because what the Falcons were trying to do was put the ball in the hands of their best player and the NFL's Most Valuable Player – Matt Ryan – with the season on the line. The Patriots indeed had the momentum and the game felt as if it was getting away. A pass for a first down there – and an ensuing touchdown – probably ends the game. A field goal? Perhaps, but it's no guarantee – even with an 11-point lead. I get that I'm "obviously" not a coach, and I probably would have run in that situation, but the NFL is a passing league and the way the Falcons had been passing the ball this season it's not as if a pass is a low-percentage play. It didn't work. Ryan should have gotten rid of the ball but didn't. Not every loss in the NFL is always about coaching. Sometimes it's up to players to make plays.
David from Orlando, FL:
On defense, it seems that some guys are always in the pile, while others are standing around it. For example, Telvin Smith loves to hit and is always in the pile. On the other hand, there are some guys that always seem to be standing by the piling rather than being in it. We have a small sample size, but so far, Myles Jack appears to be one of those players standing by the pile. Everybody is talking about "how can we get Myles Jack more playing time?" Well, other than having a really cool name, what has he done to deserve it? Thoughts?
John: Jack did more than stand around the pile. He hasn't done as much yet for the Jaguars as he will, but that's hardly unusual for an NFL rookie, particularly one that plays a limited number of snaps. Jack has talent, and he made plays with that talent as a rookie. My guess is he'll make a lot more next season.
O-Zone: More to come
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Royce from Jacksonville: