JACKSONVILLE – Look-Ahead Wednesday.
Let's get to it …
Robert from Middleburg, FL
Throughout the history of the Jaguars franchise, what would be the one single position in which we have consistently had the best talent? For me, the answer is running back – and I don't think it's really close. James Stewart, Natrone Means, Freddy T, Greg Jones MJD and now J Rob. For a franchise that hasn't had a whole lot of talent across the board, I think we've actually been darn good at running back for most of our history. What would your answer be?
I don't know that I can quite put Stewart, Jones and Means in the category of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew – or even James Robinson. I liked and covered all three players of the first group, but Taylor and Jones-Drew in particular are a different level. But that's nitpicky. For the most part … you're absolutely right that the Jaguars have been very good at running back throughout much of their 27-year history. Taylor is the team's Gold Standard at the spot, with Jones-Drew very good for a bit shorter period. Robinson isn't on the level of that duo yet, but he's really good. And he's closer to that conversation than I originally expected possible.
Jess from Glen Carbon, IL
Zone, I thought the Jags had a chance to win against the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos but they didn't play well in either game. I didn't think they would win against the Arizona Cardinals or Tennessee Titans, but they played very well against the Cardinals. I think the Jaguars are the better team and can (probably should) beat the Miami Dolphins Sunday for their first win of the season and break the losing streak. How do you see it?
I see a Jaguars team that hasn't yet scored more than 21 points in a game this season in a league in which 22 of 32 teams average that. I also see a team that struggles mightily to stop opponents, particularly in the second half. They also have forced one turnover and have a minus-10 giveaway-takeaway margin in a league in which that statistic often determines outcomes. The Jaguars do good things in spots and stretches, but most NFL teams do good things in spots and stretches. When they show they can score in the mid-20s and when the defense shows it can consistently rush the passer and force a turnover per game, I'll feel good about their chances.
Brian from Saint Augustine, FL
Most of those were needs this past offseason, where we had a ton of draft picks and the most cap space in the league. With the exception of quarterback, what areas were actually upgraded on this team? It seems we just swapped low- and mid-tiered guys for other low- and mid-tiered guys.
The defensive line is better against the run. Cornerback Shaq Griffin is playing better at cornerback than anyone did for a long stretch last season.
Pradeep from Bangalore, India
Hi, John. How long we need to hear motivational speech from players and coaches without seeing any production from them? It really sucks when cornerback Shaquill Griffin says we should have made those plays and actually he does not make those plays.
It indeed is frustrating for fans to hear players and coaches talk about making plays when they don't make them. It's not that they don't want to make them. Or that they're not trying. It must be assumed that they're not playing well enough – or not good enough – to make the plays. That assumption changes when the players make the plays. As for how long we will hear it … until the players make them. This not being a satisfying answer does make it an incorrect one.
Matty from Saint Augustine, FL
For all the naysayers, our team has a pretty favorable next stretch of games. Minus the Buffalo Bills. It seems most teams that were chosen to have winning records. Isn't looking the same as predicted. If we can finally get our game together and finish what we start. There are at least 4-5 games that are very winnable in the final stretch. I have faith and won't trash our team, as we all should have known this would be a tough year to make gains and more about learning and finding our groove. We got this DDUUVVAALLLLLLLLLL.
Bless you, Matty.
Jason from North Pole, AK
I am as excited about Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence as anybody, but I am noticing a trend of him holding the ball too long. I am feeling like it has more to do with nobody getting open than anything. Agree or is he just missing guys?
There's rarely one clear answer on a question such as this. All quarterbacks miss receivers on occasion, and Lawrence as a rookie certainly misses some. But from this amateur's view from the press box, and from what I see rewatching the games, it seems that Jaguars receivers usually aren't open when Lawrence holds the ball an exceedingly long time.
Andy Boy from Halifax
I wouldn't say I am tickled pink at 0-5 but I am still optimistic for Trevor's progress, and wouldn't you say that is what will determine this franchise's future more than anything? It makes the losing at least more fun to watch!
Good eye, Andy Boy.
Charles from Savannah, GA
Well, it didn't take long for another scandal to take attention away from Urban Meyer. I'm referring to Jon Gruden. What really bothers me is this lynch-mob mentality by the media to destroy these men and their character. The media is hypocritical. Everyone has skeletons from their past, including the media.
A few thoughts here. One is you're right that there often is a lynch-mob mentality with public figures. Another is you're right that many people who automatically want people who erred fired or "canceled" or worse are hypocritical. Another is that everyone has skeletons, including media. But it's difficult to blame media or any other circumstance for this one. Former Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden's emails in this case were particularly damning, particularly considering the current climate – and it would have been difficult for him to remain as a head coach or in a public position. And although there is unquestionably a lynch mob mentality in our society, it's probably time to stop assigning that mentality to The Media. In the age of social media and instant opinion/gratification, this isn't a Media Thing. It's way, way, way beyond that.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
My gut feeling is that every week I'm going to write you the same thing. Jags really, REALLY need more talent on defense.
Adrian from Camberley
So, how do you feel about the rules preventing you from openly criticizing the quality of the officiating in any given game?
I know of no such rule, though there are rules that prevent players and coaches from doing so. I sometimes disagree with calls; when I do, I say so. I just don't spend much time discussing missed calls. All teams have calls go against them. Good teams overcome it.
Mark from Sobieski, WI
I might be wrong, but it looked like when Lawrence was out of the pocket and looking for receivers, the receiver stopped trying to get open and just stood there. To me it looked like they ran the route and decided that was all they were allowed to do.
This is an area where the Jaguars must improve.
Jeff from Seattle (originally J-Town)
The team was not going to be good this year and anyone who thought otherwise is unrealistic. That said, how much of the Jaguars struggles can be pinned on Jaguars Owner Shad Khan? I feel like the Jaguars are wandering into that land of front-office mismanagement that dooms a franchise for decades. It has been 10 years. I assume he cares, but it seems like he can't seem to get this figured out. Am I wrong for looking to the top as the source of the disfunction?
Khan cares. The results don't show it because the NFL is about winning and losing – and the Jaguars very clearly haven't won enough. As for how much of what happens with the Jaguars can be "pinned" on Khan … he's the owner. He's responsible. He's the source. But to interpret the losing with not caring, that's not right. He cares. One of the real shames of the Jaguars' losing streak – and their overall lack of success – is that it leads people to think otherwise.
Bob from Jacksonville
John, with so many talented players the Jaguars have, shouldn't the offensive coordinator be questioned about his play calling in certain circumstances?
The Jaguars have capable players on offense. Outside of a young Lawrence and running back James Robinson, I don't know that the Jaguars are unbelievably talented compared to other NFL offenses. As for the offensive coordinator being questioned about play-calling in certain circumstances … nary a game goes by in the NFL when that doesn't happen.