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Sometimes, I cry

Lookahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it . . . Olly from Oxford, England:
On the subject of silver linings, last year we were talking about strong performances from the defense, whereas this year we're excited about the performances of the young quarterback and left tackle. Given how much harder those positions are to fix, do you think this might be a really significant moment for the future?
John: This might violate the spirit of Look Ahead Wednesday just a bit, but this subject looks forward more than back. All indications are Blaine Gabbert and Eugene Monroe are showing the signs of being solid, developing players with no real ceiling in sight. If that's the case, you indeed have solidified two positions that are very difficult to fill. I know people are weary of talking about the future, and I know people want to win now, but to say that's not a significant happening is to miss the big picture.
Steve from Jacksonville:
John, I simply can't stand it when people load toilet paper rolls with the end piece coming from underneath. EVERYONE knows that toilet paper should be loaded over the top. Can you please tell them to stop it! Thanks.
John: I'll make some calls.
Nicholas from Anchorage, AK:
In the NFL, if you get down to the one-yard line you have to go for the touchdown every time. If you are successful, you get six points. If you fail, you force the opponent to go the MAXIMUM distance possible just to score a field goal. If you don't think your defense can stop the team from going MAX distance to score, how can you have confidence in your defense when the opponent starts at its own 20-yard line after the successful field goal?
John: There are no "Always" situations in the NFL, though for the most part I agree that the percentages say to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the one for several of the reasons you cite. My guess is Mike Mularkey will go for a touchdown on 4th-and-goal more often than not.
Brad from Orlando, FL:
What do you make of the low opening-day attendance at both Minnesota (56,607) and Tampa Bay (51,533)?
John: What I make of it is unless you're talking about a historic, traditional market such as Chicago, Denver, Green Bay and the like, you better win to fill your stadium. That has become more and more true, and it's why the NFL is taking its initiative of improving the game-day experience very seriously.
Justin from Jacksonville:
I saw three things from Blaine this weekend that impressed me. He wasn't afraid to confront his O-line after sacks. He spread the ball around to lots of different receivers. And he wasn't afraid to make the gutsy throws to try and win the game (Shorts on that great TD or to Robinson in OT).
John: Good eye, Justin.
Austin from Cowford, FL:
Someone seriously asked you why football players get hurt? Please tell me you have a staff that takes the silly questions off your hands on Monday.
John: I usually have Garrett "Go Get 'Em" Petty (Garrett's on the right), our public relations intern, take silly questions. This Monday, he was in the middle of training for a triathlon, the "why do football players get hurt" question made it through. I trust Garrett will be back on the front line soon.
Erich from Jacksonville:
Is it safe to say the Jaguars will draft o-line early next April?
John: It depends what you mean by early. You typically draft left tackle early in the first round and the Jaguars don't need to draft a left tackle. Eugene Monroe is fine there, as expected, and looking like he's entering the prime of his career. You might see them go offensive line in the second or third round, but I think corner is the most likely position in the first round. And with that, we close draft talk. It's way too early for that.
Carter from Orange Park, FL:
I was concerned about the pass defense during the game. After the game I realized the pass defense is not what lost the game, but the lack of tackling. The misses when our players had not just their hands but their arms around the Viking player is amazing. What will the Jaguars do to correct this?
John: Try to tackle better.
Joe from Tallahassee, FL:
On a one-to-10 scale, how concerned are you with our depleted O-line? Please give some insight into your level of concern as well.
John: I'd say fivish, and the reason is I'd be a lot more concerned if the injuries to Eben Britton and Cameron Bradfield were season-ending. They aren't. Now, does Guy Whimper have to play better and is it important for Mike Brewster to keep playing well? Absolutely, but it's possible to navigate tough stretches of injuries as long as they aren't long-term.
Jared from Jacksonville:
The game plan video was AMAZING! I can't help but think, though, that with all the camera access in that room that upcoming opponents may be trying to decipher that video as well. Wouldn't Coach Mularkey be concerned about that?
John: While at least one emailer Tuesday may disagree with this assessment, Mularkey's a smart guy. I think he can figure out how to give or not give away in the video.
Brett from Afghanistan:
I read on this site that the Jaguars signed an offensive lineman and a tight end. Shouldn't they have signed a defensive back or defensive end due to their performance and the injuries on defense? I think the offense is just fine for now.
John: The Jaguars signed an offensive lineman because they're facing a situation in which they need numbers to try to get through the game Sunday if there are injuries. They signed a tight end because they feel he is a better fit for what they want to do than the tight end they released. Their situation on defense isn't different this week than last week. George Selvie and Austen Lane are still likely out, with Derek Cox questionable and Daryl Smith even more so. There wasn't a roster move to make that was going to upgrade the players who are expected to play on defense Sunday.
Ryan from Atlantic Beach, FL or Section 144:
In the preseason we were given the excuse that it's just preseason. Now the regular season has started and while Laurent Robinson had what many are calling a productive day on the stat line, he also continues to drop passes. Some of them in clutch situations. I wasn't sold on Robinson when we picked him up as a free agent and he has yet to show he was worth it. It looks like the Cowboys knew they had a better third receiver in Ogletree and we got a 2011 Marcedes Lewis lite with hands of butter in Robinson.
John: The Jaguars needed to upgrade the talent of their receiving corps this offseason. Robinson was an upgrade in talent. He hasn't yet been perfect, but the Jaguars are a better passing offense with him on the team than they were last year. That was the purpose of the signing.
Miles from York, England:
Gil Brandt, Bucky Brooks, Charley Casserly, Heath Evans, Daniel Jeremiah, Michael Lombardi, Willie McGinest, Shaun O'Hara, Gregg Rosenthal, Darren Sharper, Kurt Warner, Brian Webber, Steve Wyche. That's the list of power pollsters, has there ever been a collection of more incompetent writers?
John: Bucky Brooks does a nice job, as does Gregg Rosenthal, for the most part. I always have respected Steve Wyche, and consider him not only a friend but a very good reporter/analyst regardless of his affiliation. That's all I have to say about that.
Cole from Middleburg, FL:
To the "offseason splash" fans who were so quick to freak out about us not going after Mario Manningham or Pierre Garcon over the offseason: truth is, we already had one of those two on the roster, and his name is Cecil Shorts. Think I'm off-base? Check their rookie stats. Then check his. He may very well break out this season.
John: Just as it was too early to write off Shorts last season, it's too early to say for certain he's breaking out this season. But your point is dead on, and not just in the sense that Sunday may have been a breakout game. Perhaps the most serious mistake fans, observers and prognosticators make each NFL offseason is forgetting that players who struggle as rookies often improve dramatically in their second season. Although raw talent does matter in the NFL, players do improve, particularly early in their careers. Very often it is better to count on a drafted player to improve than to sign a veteran free agent and try to plug him into your system. Teams that understand this and trust their own players to develop typically fare far better in the long-term than teams that play fantasy football in free agency.
Todd from New York City, NY:
I forgot how sad football season makes me. Every single year.
John: I get sad at the end of Beaches. Sometimes, I cry.

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