JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Paul from St. Johns, FL:
I thought it was precisely Chad Henne's ability to get those young wide receivers into the right spots that was supposed to be the big plus from having him out there over Blake Bortles. I'm not seein' it, John.
John: That's understandable. It's difficult to see. I didn't see it Sunday from the press box, either. But the coaches were fine for the most part with Henne's decision-making Sunday, and they were fine with the timeouts he took. Sometimes with a young team a timeout is the right decision, and from the coaches' view, this was one of those times. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Wednesday some of the problems were caused by players getting to the huddle too slowly. He also said one timeout came after a call got to Henne too slowly, and another came after a play with motion was called in a situation that made it impossible to get a play off. I don't know that Henne was blameless in all of that, but coaches believe he played efficiently and with command of the offense. If they didn't feel this way, he wouldn't be starting.
Mike from Julington Creek:
Are the Jags going to ride and die with Henne again or do you think that if the offense is stagnant (again) that Bortles gets in there after the half?
John: This is turning into one of those weeks/topics during which people are asking the question a lot of different ways and not hearing the answer. The theme of a lot of questions is that Henne struggled and that there needs to be a change. This is the perception of observers. The perception of coaches is Henne played fine – and that although there were things the offense could have done better, the second-half stagnation was not a "Henne Issue." Given that, there's no reason to think there is going to come a trigger point Sunday in which the coaches say, "Well … let's try Bortles." Never say never, but I don't see it.
James from Austin, TX:
Although it is just Week 2, do you think Cecil Shorts III is going to be re-signed? With two second-round picks in Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns who is looking to be solid starter, and Ace Sanders, all being on rookie contracts, it makes me believe that the Jaguars can save money on not re-signing Cecil and instead investing it on a different area, thoughts?
John: The Jaguars aren't yet at a point where they need to move money around. There is plenty of cap room to re-sign Shorts and invest in other areas. The question is whether they think Shorts can stay healthy and continue to develop into a receiver who can help the team. That makes this a tough question to answer right now. Also, you named off four receivers who have combined for less than 70 NFL receptions. I think Lee, Robinson and Hurns are going to be good players, too, but you can't be sure of that after one game.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
If the Jags defense was not "gassed" in the second half, then the 34 points allowed were mostly due to a lack of talent and/or coaching compared to their opponent.
John: If your point is the Jaguars aren't as good as the Eagles yet, I sort of assumed that going in to Sunday's game, and I sort of still assumed that at halftime. I wasn't particularly surprised how the second half played out, particularly when the Eagles struck quickly in the second half. The Darren Sproles touchdown changed the dynamic of the game, and put the Eagles into a situation in which they didn't have to change their game plan. That's often a recipe for a second-half turnaround. As for the Jaguars, they were in the first game of Year Two of their build. I expected them to be improved in Week 1 and they were. I also expected a lot of inconsistency, and some troubles on the offensive line as well as rookie mistakes from a young wide receiver corps. As far as being gassed in the second half, maybe we have different definitions. I consider "gassed" defenses ones that get run all over and that don't pursue quickly or aggressively. I didn't see that. I saw a team give up two long plays and a sack/fumble/touchdown and give 13 points beside that. That doesn't excuse the mental errors, but it doesn't add up to "gassed."
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
The O-Line pass blocked OK this past week, maybe even well enough to protect a rookie quarterback's psyche. The rookie receivers did about as well if not better than you could expect, too. Once Cecil Shorts III is on the field, along with Marcedes Lewis, isn't that all the "stuff" you really need? One game is one game, but if the O-Line pass blocks fine again, play the kid.
John: When they believe the kid is ready and better in enough areas than the starter – and when enough other things are ready – they will. Not before.
Jim from St. George Island, FL:
O: I had an epiphany today. The point about the O-line and receiver group needing to improve before putting Bortles in is less about somehow keeping him from being killed .. or breaking his spirit … as it is that Henne has a better grasp of the offense and can help them (line/receivers) do the right thing. Whilst Bortles is by all reports a quick study, Henne, by virtue of experience will be better at getting everyone on the same page. Makes better sense to me. You?
John: Well, yeah …
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevablez:
Now that he's a free agent is there any chance the Jags pick up Ray Rice to bolster their lackluster running game down the stretch?
John: Rice is suspended by the NFL indefinitely. Even if he wasn't, no … the answer is no.
Chad from Jacksonville:
Does John Cyprien have a concussion?
Dude from the USA:
Should I add Hurns and drop Shorts in my fantasy league? By the way, how did Allen Hurns go undrafted again?
John: I have no idea what you should do in your fantasy league. Allen Hurns went undrafted because he wasn't a burner, didn't have dazzling measurables and didn't seem to have any one particularly overriding skill – deep speed, size, etc. – that would ensure NFL success. He's consistent, smart and makes plays. Evidently, it was difficult to see.
Tom from Jacksonville and Section 106:
If a receiver catches the ball in the end zone, and he gets two feet down before going out, but his feet only step on another fallen player... is it a touchdown? What if a player jumps and catches the ball midfield, but a linebacker catches him midair and carries him 20 yards off the field before he can get both feet down...Is it a reception?
John: No. A player must get both feet down in bounds for it to be a catch. The so-called force-out rule, in which a referee could rule that a player would have come down in bounds had he not been "forced out" by a defender, was removed several years ago. The reason for its removal is the NFL tries when possible to remove judgment from the equation in officiating.
Kamal from San Francisco, CA:
At Washington this week...any meaningful childhood memories you care to share?
John: I blocked most of them out.
Gary from Suffolk, VA:
I am wondering what your thoughts are on Freddy T. and the Hall of Fame: 15th all-time in rushing, 11 of the 14 ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame and the other three probably will be soon as well (Tomlinson, James and Bettis). Freddy T. has better stats than many of the folks in there. What say you, O?
John: I often have said Fred Taylor should be in the Hall of Fame. I think it will take a while for him to get in. It will take some lobbying from some people on the committee. I don't know if it will happen. I just hope it does.
Roger from Jacksonville:
This notion that the Eagles overlooked Hurns in the first half, thereby giving him the opportunity to catch two touchdown passes, is nonsense. The Eagles had video of every preseason game, and saw what Hurns could do. When a guy outruns an NFL corner and catches a pass, you know he's a threat. When a wideout catches a ball in traffic you know he's a threat. Hurns did both of those in the preseason. If the Eagles didn't know that, they'd be stupid, and the Eagles are not stupid. Hurns beat the best they had; we shouldn't marginalize his accomplishment by suggesting that he surprised the Eagles with his talent.
John: It's not about whether or not the Eagles overlooked Hurns. I don't know whether they did or didn't. But there is a process young receivers go through – and most young players – when they first began to produce in the NFL. Teams study them and look for tendencies, then take away what they do well. How he responds at that point is usually what determines if the player is destined to be a big-time player. People around the Jaguars think Hurns will continue to be productive, and I see no reason to think otherwise, but that's his challenge.
O-Zone: The next challenge
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Paul from St. Johns, FL: