Sturdy boat

Last day to rehash Vikings. Call it the 40ish-hour rule. Even today, Vikings talk will be limited – to an extent, anyway. Time to move on.

Let's get to it . . .

Matt from St. Mary's, GA:
With the first couple of snaps, I was worried about what Jared Allen was going to do to us in this game. As it turns out, Eugene Monroe had one hell of a game. Whether that continues remains to be seen, but it looks like he really could be coming into his own. Thoughts?
John: I think you're right. Jeff Lageman will be breaking down Monroe's performance on Jaguars All-Access Tuesday, and Lageman tells me Monroe was left to block Allen solo 22 times. On those plays, Allen got two pressures. It was a remarkable effort, and should indeed allow Monroe to be much more recognized as a premier left tackle.
Steve from Indianapolis, IN:
This coaching staff is no different than the previous one during a game, coaching not to lose instead of trying to win. The Jags tried to sit on a 9-0 lead at the end of the first half and gave the Vikings enough time to score a touchdown before halftime, then blew the end of the game by playing their normal prevent-a-victory defense. Heads need to roll; the scheme was the problem, not the players.
John: A Week 1 Heads Need to Roll Email . . . I wish this was a record. The sad thing is, it's probably not.
Ryan from Toronto, Ontario:
After seeing the new OT rules in effect, I do NOT like them. How is it fair to give the team with the first possession three downs to get a first down, then give the kicking team four downs if they allow a field goal? Gives the kicking team a quasi-advantage to me. I don't think they ever should have changed the rule.
John: I honestly haven't taken much time to digest the overtime rules since Sunday, but at first glance that day I didn't love the new format, either. I never had a problem with the old sudden-death style, though. I always believed that the defense had just as much chance to stop the offense and get field position as the offense had the chance to score. Now that you mention it, it does feel a little funky having the kicking team have four downs to drive the length of the field when down by three. We'll see if that argument against gains any traction moving forward.
Randy from Freakville:
Why do NFL game announcers and analysts call good players and especially quarterbacks by their first name and all other players by their last name. Are they best friends with these players all of the sudden? Ben, Peyton, Tom, Tim (Timmy) and the newest one is Eli, since he has 2 Super Bowl rings now. This has 'irked' me for years!!! It makes me throw up in my mouth a lil. O-man please make them stop!!!
John: I'll make a few calls.
Tim from Jacksonville:
In your What We Learned article you mentioned special teams needs improvements. You say that a couple of kicks were key mistakes. I believe they were difference-makers but would like to know how a blocked PAT and what was an intentional squib to avoid Percy Harvin were mistakes?
John: I don't think getting an extra point blocked was something for which they game planned, and Mike Mularkey said Monday he wanted Josh Scobee to kick for a touchback. Scobee mishit the ball. Scobee is a real asset to this team, obviously, but the last kick certainly qualifies as a mistake.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Is Mularkey punishing MJD for holding out by not getting him the ball in goal-line situations? The Jags are the most boring team in the league thanks to his no celebration policy.
John: I'm really not trying to be snide, but did you think about this question before you sent it?
Rim from Tucson, AZ:
Frustrating loss after a great drive by Gabbert and the offense to take the lead. On a scale of 1 to 10 how angry was the inbox Monday?
John: If 10 is angriest, about a four. There was a lot of anger, but a striking amount of optimism. The anger was about what it usually is, meaning a lot of it was completely over the edge and irrational. Fans are passionate and they care. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Lance from Jacksonville:
Come on John, I know you can play some offensive tackle. The team needs you! Blaine needs you!
John: If I played tackle, it really would be offensive.
Jody from Fort Pierce, FL:
Why do people insist on calling this team or that the best or worst one game into a season? Don't we have to wait until the end result before we declare a winner and a loser? Maybe I'm just the only one that missed the big sale on crystal balls.
John: Your point is valid. The NFL changes significantly year to year, and it's very difficult to get a read on who's good or not even a month into the season. Why do people insist on it? Because we live in a quick-trigger age of judgments and because people are passionate. Fans hate losing, and when they do, it leads to statements that a month or even a week later seem sort of silly. And the funny thing about the annual crystal ball sale – it always seems to include a lot of faulty models.
Robert from Jacksonville:
Let me say up front, I do not want to second-guess game plan or play calls. I would like to know what the coach, team, quarterback or anybody saw on the last play of the game. It seems like a run or a quick slant would be the high percentage (low-risk, low reward) play call. I can accept that maybe the offense saw something, but for learning purposes, what was it?
John: Mularkey was asked about this Sunday, and said he needed to see the tape. He was asked Monday and said that on the play, the Vikings did a good job disguising the defense. Because they did, when Gabbert dropped to pass, he saw Laurent Robinson begin to break open in a similar manner to a play that worked earlier. Whereas that had been single coverage, the play in overtime was in fact double coverage, so that when the play finished there were two defenders and the pass fell incomplete. Mularkey said the better throw would have been to the other side. That, in a sense, is the sort of play coaches talk about when they talk of quarterbacks growing. With time, Gabbert will read that and make the right throw. It hurts because it ended the game, but it's a normal mistake for young quarterbacks to make.
James from West Liberty, KY:
I want to move on from this past game, but one thing I think is getting lost is the play of Cecil Shorts. It's too early to tag him the new "Go to Guy," but you can't ignore his performance and his ridiculous clutch catch that should have won the game. Shorts has earned more playing time but what other receiver do you take snaps away from? Mike Thomas? Thanks for all humor and excellent work on the site and on air.
John: You're right about Shorts, and isn't it funny how people seemed so desperate to write him off last season? Sort of like they did Gabbert? But I don't know that you necessarily need to take playing time away from anyone. Shorts is going to play in packages in which the Jaguars feel he is strong, and I'd expect Mike Thomas to do the same. Mularkey's offense is known for moving players around to confuse the defense rather than having a static, readable lineup throughout long stretches of the game. Having receivers playing various roles is a part of that.
Scott from Grenada:
Jared Allen's stats, via the Vikings website: there's nothing there, Monroe did a great job, wouldn't you say?
John: Yes.
Garrett from Drewval, FL:
The red-zone play-calling in the first quarter puzzled me. MJD was supposed to be the third-down back. I rarely see him get stuffed on the goal line. On third down, Jennings stays in the game and we hand it off to him. If we were gonna run it, why not with MJD then? Isn't he our best guy for that situation? I hope Murlarkey didn't give Jennings the ball just for the sake of it. Anyway O-man I just was wondering what your thoughts on the play calls there. I thought MJD should have got the ball.
John: I think no one questioned the play calling when Gabbert threw a touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis. I also think it's difficult to accurately gauge play calling on one game. The sample size is just too small. A play is great if it works and lousy if it doesn't. By saying that, I don't mean to gloss over the fact that the Jaguars need to be efficient in the red zone. No question they do. But let's let a few games play out before we call this a crisis issue.
James from Augusta, GA:
So we play the Texans this week. "I think we need a bigger boat."
John: I think the boat may be sturdier than you think.

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