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Part of the gig

Let's get to it . . . Ken from Knoxville, TN:
In response to Bo, from yesterday's comment, "Is it just me or are people missing that Blaine has been playing against a murderer's row of defenses and coordinators?" Bo, this is the NFL where people get paid for their exceptional ability to play defense and coach. It will be like this often, if not every week. Get real. Blaine is shaping up to be a monster bust. He doesn't step into his throws, is inaccurate, and is skittish. He runs way too often from phantom pressure. He's a dud. Ryan Leaf. Tim Couch. Akili Smith. Blaine Gabbert. His name fits right in there, it's got a certain ring to it. Vic was dead on when he said last year that he liked Christian Ponder. If we were going to move up in the draft and get a remaining QB at Pick 10, it should have been Ponder, not Gabbert. Gabbert is a boom or bust pick. A reach. We just invested in five more years of mediocrity (at best). John, I doubt you'll post this, because you're scared it's true.
John: I doubt you'll post this – blah, blah, blah. First off, Ken, what scares me are men with thin mustaches in capes. That's well-established. Whether or not Gabbert or any other individual Jaguars player is good doesn't scare me. I'd be "worried" if I thought the front office was doing things willy-nilly in a way that led to a depleted roster, but since that's not the case, I feel good about the direction of the franchise. I'm not going to get into a blow-by-blow argument over Gabbert's skill set. While it's too early to tell if he is going to develop into an elite, franchise quarterback, it's just as true that it's too early to call him a disappointment. I just don't believe he's a dud and believe that there are things beyond his control holding his production back. A quarterback must have teammates doing the correct things, particularly a rookie quarterback. A monster bust? After six starts? With this receivers corps and the things that are going wrong offensively? Slow down. Take a breath.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
"I hope he can handle this criticism." I'm not concerned about that. I'm concerned that he's getting creamed so much this season that he'll end up gun shy and hesitant and to be blunt, afraid. Are you worried about such things?
John: No. While Gabbert is taking some sacks, he's not taking harder hits or getting hit much more often than a lot of young quarterbacks. And I don't worry about him being afraid. I know that's the trendy thing right now to say about Gabbert, but I don't think it's the problem many believe.
Adam from New York, NY:
John, I usually agree with you but I have to disagree with you on the offensive line. A lot of blame has been put on Blaine's footwork, urgency and the hands of the receivers. That is certainly understandable because neither has been great. However, in my opinion, pass protection has been the biggest problem. Watch the highlights from last week. Within seconds of snapping the ball, Blaine is quickly surrounded by a sea of Texans jerseys. Again, it's clear that Blaine and receivers need to get on the same page, but I think it starts with the big guys giving our young QB more time. What's amazing to me is how amazing they run block and how terrible they pass block.
John: You have the right to be wrong. The offensive line hasn't been the league's best, but there are bigger problems.
Kyle from Jacksonville:
For as bad as "NFL insiders" want to rank the Jaguars pass blocking, five teams have given up more sacks. And that has been behind a banged up and young offensive line. An equally important stat (total QB hits) the Jaguars actually place very high. So while they are giving up a few sacks, they are not making nearly as many mistakes as other teams.
John: Kyle, meet Adam; Adam, Kyle.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
How does Atlanta feel after giving away their entire draft for one player? Do you think they will turn it around or is this just more evidence to support drafting BAP?
John: My guess is the latter. In the NFL, teams are rarely "one player away." That's not to say one player added to a really good team can't make a difference. But few teams are so good that they can't benefit from the annual influx of talent that is the draft. As I've often said, if the Falcons win the Super Bowl, then it has to be called a good move, but young, drafted players who develop in your program are the way to build a franchise in the NFL. You need to have a good reason to give away a lot of those players.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
Can we face the real reason we are losing? It's plain and simple. Our receivers can't catch the ball. They simply can't catch. The defenders can't catch the interceptions; the receivers can't catch them unless you hand it to them. You can talk about the O-line, the D-line, the quarterback or anything else. If our receivers would just catch the ball we would be winning.
John: You're more right than I'd like.
Jordan from Vienna, VA:
Which rookie from this year's draft class (or even an undrafted rookie) have you been the most impressed with this year and why? And if it's Gabbert, who other than him? (Because he has gotten enough said about him).
John: The rookie class obviously hasn't had huge impact yet, but I'll take time here to mention Will Rackley. He caught a lot of criticism early in the season, and people as usual were quickly writing him off a small-school player who can't play in the NFL. Reality, as it often is, is different. Rackley indeed struggled early, but he has played significantly better in the last two games and is starting to get some continuity going with the equally unfairly criticized Eugene Monroe on that side of the line.
Jamie from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Steve Wyche from said it best when he commented on the Jaguars wide receiver group, that we don't have playmakers that can be aggressive with the ball in traffic. I personally think that if that problem were addressed that Gabbert would be looking a lot better! Not the answer to all problems but it would make a huge difference . . . your thoughts?
John: Steve does a good job and in this case, he's right on.
Krist from Palm Beach, FL:
I remember during the telecast of the Jaguars-Texans game, the announcer talking about how Dirk Koetter like to sit up in the box while he makes the call to the QB coach, then the QB coach relays the message to Blaine. Why are the Jaguars playing telephone? Shouldn't Gabbert be getting tips straight from the OC?
John: Many offensive coordinators sit in the booth. Others stand on the sideline. Where they sit concerns me far less than what they call.
Joe from Houston, TX:
Since Tyson Alualu has supposedly been playing hurt, why would they not be currently resting him?
John: You're right. They've put him on the injury report and had him wear a brace to fool everyone. As for why they wouldn't rest him, they've rested him when it has been needed. This week, he practiced and he'll have four days off this weekend.
Glenn from Orange Park, FL:
How can you say the line has not played badly? Football Outsiders has them 31st of 32 teams in pass blocking!
John: Well, if Football Outsiders says it, it must be right. All Hail Football Outsiders!!!!
Steve from Atlanta, GA:
In response to Bryan from Jax's question on players practicing during the bye on their own....ask him if he goes in to his job during his vacations just because there may be some work that he could do. Bet his job doesn't involve his body getting destroyed on a daily basis either. John, in your opinion why do we hold players to such weird standards??
John: Because fans see players not doing a job, but playing a sport about which fans feel passionately. Fans want desperately to win every day and believe that were they playing, they would approach it as something they love and as a hobby. Players approach it as a job, and while it's one they love, it's still a job and must be approached realistically – as would be the case with any job. As for people holding players to weird standards . . . well, for an NFL player, that's just part of the gig.
Steve from Woodbine, GA:
I have been watching MJD on the sidelines the past few games and he looks quite disgruntled!! Even when we were losing and falling out of the playoffs at the end of last two seasons, he did not look like that. Is he getting ready to ask for a trade? Can't say that I blame him, I am sure he knows now just how Barry Sanders felt all those years with Detroit. He is way too good of a player to be stuck on a cellar dweller.
John: I talked to Jones-Drew Tuesday. He swears he's never been more gruntled.

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