Let's get to it . . .
Steve from Jacksonville:
I wouldn't be surprised if the new hc is a Tom Coughlin clone, if that can be found.
John: Tough to clone Coughlin, but make no mistake: Gene Smith worked with him and admires what Coughlin is about. If he could find a clone, he would. Then again, so would a lot of teams.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
If the Jaguars are really going to get some soul back into the organization then they at least should interview Steve Spurrier and find out what he thinks. I still think he is one of greatest offensive coaches of all-time. The NFL is playing his style of ball now, who would know better than him?
John: I wouldn't worry about that. I covered Spurrier two years at Florida and have a great deal of respect for him. I don't think Florida will ever find a coach who truly defines its program and connects to its fan base as Spurrier did. That said, I don't see Spurrier wanting to return to the NFL and I'm not sure his offense would work there even with today's emphasis on passing.
Scott from Wichita, KS:
Is it a given that Dirk Koetter and the other offensive coaches won't be around anymore once a head coach is hired?
John: Pretty much.
Jeremy from Navarre, FL:
The more picks, the higher your chances of finding long-term starters. Do you agree with acquiring as many picks as you can when it's possible/feasible? It seems as if the opportunity hasn't presented itself but it sure would be nice if Gene could begin acquiring more picks as he moves forward piloting the Jags, much like the Patriots every year (I think they have two first- and two second-round picks this year). That's four potential starters/studs with picks like that and that's not even looking past the second round! Go Jags!
John: Of course you would love to stockpile picks. That's the long-term goal, but before doing that you usually have to get your roster to a point where you can trade veterans for draft choices. The Jaguars are still trying to get their roster to such a spot.
Sam from Jacksonville:
After the head coach is chosen and we begin to look for players, what are the chances of landing Reggie Wayne?
John: It will depend. I think Wayne is a guy the Jaguars should pursue, and I believe they will. They probably won't offer him No. 1 receiver money or a four- or five-year deal, but if he's thinking somewhere in the three-to-four year range for No. 2 receiver money, then it could certainly happen.
Anthony from Jacksonville:
John how come you never answer my questions?
John: Green . . . no blue.
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
With all this talk about head coaches, I'd say the most OVER-rated coach is Bill Belichick. Once Brady retires, he'll be right back to his days with the Browns! AGREE?
John: He's probably somewhere between the Greatest Coach of Our Time, as he has been designated by some, and where you place him. In this era, the truth is you will have a tough time having Belichick's success without a great quarterback. At the same time, the Patriots lost Brady in 2008 and still went 11-5 and they won the Super Bowl in 2001, a season when Brady was still developing into something more than a manage-the-game-not-get-you-beat guy. And don't forget: it wasn't a given in 2001 that it was the right thing to stick with Brady; Belichick made that decision. It looks simple in retrospect, but he deserves at least some credit for that.
Mike from Melbourne, FL:
Talking about Head Coaches, How about Bill Cowher? Think he wants to get back in the game?
John: I don't get the idea that Bill Cowher is a factor here.
Jim from Meridian, FL:
OK. I've been critical of Gabbert, but do agree next season is the season of truth. Let's focus on the red-zone issues. What combination, in your mind, will improve our red zone-performance in 2012?
John: It's pretty simple: Better receivers and experience for Gabbert. Red-zone effectiveness is one of the toughest things for young quarterbacks to master, and when it starts getting better – that's when you know the talented, young quarterback is becoming an experienced, effective player at the position.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I liked Khan's comments about packing the stands. The 12th Man is so important to our guys. Visiting teams need to know that they are coming to Hell when they come to Jax.
John: That's what Khan talks about more than anything when he talks about the need to fill the stands. Yes, they need to be filled for revenue reasons, but he says the simple truth is the fans need to be full for the game-day experience and for there to be that needed energy in the stadium.
Matt from Amarillo, TX:
Another positive you can take away from Blaine Gabbert's rookie campaign is that he never had a game where he threw more than two interceptions. You might say that he was cautious, or not very aggressive, this is one stat many rookie quarterbacks can't boast. Sure, he had some pretty bad games but Newton, Dalton, and Ponder all had games where they threw three interceptions. Even though Gabbert isn't on the level of Newton or Dalton yet, this statistic is definitely a good building block for the future.
John: I agree. When you talk to coaches about Gabbert this season one thing they always mention is he made a high percentage of correct decisions. A lot of the times when he was criticized for holding the ball too long it was a matter of him simply having nowhere to throw. There is a lot of work to be done, but as you say, the decision-making is a strength.
Chris from Ormond Beach, FL:
Not to be impatient, but how long do you expect the decision on the head coaching job to take?
John: I'd expect it to be done in the next two working weeks. That's no guarantee, but that's what I'd expect.
Jamie from Jacksonville:
This may sound like a really dumb question, but if Gabbert pitches the ball or throws the ball behind the line of scrimmage (like a screen) to Mojo, do the yards he gains or loses count as rushing or passing yards?
John: I'd say there's no such thing as a dumb question, but I've asked more than a few. That being said, your question is a good one. If the pass is forward and incomplete, it's an incomplete pass. If it's forward and complete, he gets the passing yards. If it's backward, the player catching it gets rushing yards. If it's backward and incomplete, it's a fumble.
Chase from Jacksonville:
How many people called Peyton Manning a bust during his rookie year?
John: Eight hundred thirty-six.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
I love what you mentioned about playing quarters of your schedule. Your formula gets you to 12 wins, something the Colts did a lot of while you covered them, and in most years gets you a first-round bye. Even two 3-1's and two 2-2's gets you to 10 wins, and in most years 10 wins gets you a playoff berth.
John: That was always Tony Dungy's mantra. The hope was to go 4-0 in each quarter, but going 3-1 translated to going 12-4, and 12-4 usually won the division and almost always got you into the post-season. It's easier said than done, of course, but it is a manageable way of setting goals and keeping the season in perspective.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Admit it - you fell asleep under your desk again, woke up, and were halfway through the column before you realized it was Saturday.
John: Huh? Whazzat?
Let's get to it . . .
Steve from Jacksonville: