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The aftermath

Let's get to it . . . Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Quick question, sorta off topic: Any rumblings of Shad having plans to shoot for a new smaller stadium in the future? Everyone knows that EverBank is way too big to accommodate the Gator Bowl game, but why not push to get a stadium that's the right fit for the market and is all shiny and new? Any thoughts?
John: Let's let him figure out where everyone's office is first. Seriously, Shahid Khan is just over a month into this unofficially and not yet officially in it. That comes Wednesday. I'm sure he will have thoughts on the size of the stadium soon enough, but there are more pressing concerns.
Tony from Ogden, UT:
I was very nervous when we hired Joe Cullen a couple years back. Now I'd say of all the coaches on the staff, I hope he stays. If we lose Mel, what are the odds we keep Joe?
John: Posting odds on the staff is difficult. There are a lot of unknowns at this point and a lot of decisions to be made. Cullen has done a very good job with a defensive line group that lacks a front-line, elite-level pass rusher. It's unknown who will stay or go, but the Jaguars could do far worse on the defensive line than Cullen, obviously. If interim coach Mel Tucker stays in some capacity, I'd be surprised if Cullen doesn't, too.
Tatupu from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Why didn't Tucker open it up a little more for Gabbert? I know MJD wanted the record, but even after he got that it was far more run than pass. In the last game of the season with nothing to lose why not try having a more attacking offense to see what Gabbert and these receivers can do? Maybe a more attack-style head coach would be better going forward?
John: The run was working and the Jaguars wanted to win. Also, there was the incentive of getting Jones-Drew to 1,600 yards. There's a significance for a running back to averaging 100 yards per game.
John from San Antonio, TX:
Seriously, how is MJD not the Pro Bowl starter?
John: The argument for Ray Rice of Baltimore is that he had more yards than Jones-Drew as a receiver. It's not a good argument and it's a wrong argument, but it's an argument.
Mike from Kissimmee, FL:
So, here's a question that no one dares to ask. At what point do you attempt to start looking for another starter as running back? Do not get me wrong. I love MJD, but he's going to be 27 next year and we all know that running backs last the least in the NFL. Even though MJD does not look like he is slowing down at all, when do the Jaguars put some thought into that?
John: They've got time on that front. As Blaine Gabbert develops, the running back position will change, too. It will remain important, but you won't – nor should you – have the singular focus on the running back that you do here right now.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Obviously, Smith's draft picks have been disastrous. We have a defensive tackle who's only managed about six sacks so far, along with an offensive tackle, a rookie QB, a guard, receiver, safety and many others who have failed to register a significant number of sacks. Hopefully, this year we can draft a defensive lineman who will get some sacks, get open often and catch the darn ball like he's supposed to! Now excuse me, I have to go pump a few miles of gasoline into my car, so I can make the 30-gallon drive to the stadium.
John: The season has been hard on us all.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
In the few carries he's gotten, DuJuan Harris has looked good. Very good. What's the buzz on him?
John: He has looked good. Very good. The buzz is that he's a guy who figures into the plans moving forward.
Andy from Appleton, WI:
Is it just me or has DuJuan Harris really broken out as a good complement back to Jones-Drew the past few weeks?
John: It's not just you. It's a little him, too.
Sean from Jacksonville:
Gabbert will be our future QB. That TD pass to West was textbook. Consistency is the key. And great job on O-Zoning everyday! Thanks.
John: You're right. Gabbert did what he has done often this season. He had a very good play or two mixed in with what was otherwise a statistically rough-looking game. That's his rookie season and nothing can be done to change it now. People within the Jaguars making the decisions believe he's the guy moving forward and they believe that with work – and he will work – he will develop into a big-time, franchise quarterback. Many outside the organization feel differently. Time will tell, but Gabbert's charge now is to rest, recharge and come back in the off-season ready to develop.
Dylan from Jacksonville:
Gene better re-sign Mincey, Scobee, and Lowery!!
John: Those would seem to be three off-season priorities. Mincey has developed into a solid, reliable player and while the Jaguars need another pass rusher, he's not a guy you want to lose. Scobee almost certainly will be a priority and he has been too reliable not to re-sign if the price is right. Lowery proved his worth all season and it would be hard to imagine the Jaguars not re-signing him.
Michael from Kentwood, MI:
Now that MJD has a rushing title under his belt, if he puts up career numbers closely matching Taylor would he likely go into the HOF sooner than Taylor?
John: It would help. Jones-Drew has a ways to go to get to the Hall of Fame level – it takes his level of production over a long career to do that. Let's just leave it at this for now: Jones-Drew had a monster year and he has been phenomenally productive three consecutive seasons. Bask in the knowledge that he is a rushing champion and is playing at a high level. Let's let the Hall of Fame talk play itself out for a year or two.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
We won! We won! What did we win? Tell 'em, Johnny. First of all we won a good FEELING; next we won a decade or so of playing a divsional rival with an elite quarterback; and finally we won the right to drop out of contention getting the best wide receiver in the draft (something, by the way, that Gabbert desperately needed). I feel good (nah-nah-nah-nah)...the way that I should. Would somebody please pass me the company Kool-Aid?
John: You should invest in the stock market. If I had your vision, I sure would.
Corey from Orange Park, FL:
Tell me I'm wrong here, because I'm sure many fans will say I am but here it goes. In this offseason, we need to resign our core players, let players heal, let Gabbert mature and make giant steps which I completely believe he'll do, sign 1 or 2 capable free agent wide receivers, and draft as we always will, and we'll be in the playoffs next year, even if the Colts get luck? How far off am I? How much do you like Monday's after a win?
John: A lot, and not just because of emails like this.
Bryan from Nashville, TN:
I'm happy we won, but I'm not happy about getting the seventh pick. Do you think we will still get a wide receiver in the first round, or wait until the second round? It seems like the top prospects at each position will already be taken by the time we pick. What are your thoughts?
John: The draft is nearly four months away. Anyone who knows anything about the draft will tell you a lot can change and that the top prospects now may not be the top prospects then. The guy you think you want now may slip and a guy you know little about may rise. I do know this: the fortunes of the Jaguars next season will not be solely determined by three or four spots in the draft.
Ben from Jacksonville:
Great tribute to the Weavers at halftime yesterday. All the former Jaguar players during the tribute where applauded but Gene Smith during the tribute was booed. Why do you think the fans are upset with Gene but the media including yourself thinks he is doing a good job?
John: Fans judge a general manager by victories and losses and as the losses have mounted this season, sentiment has formed against Smith. That's fine. He gets that, and he understands that. Smith told me once this season that while you must build and get the roster stronger, it's tough for fans to see long-term growth when the short-term is difficult. I judge a general manager on his ability to lead an organization and make wise decisions more than I judge him on a blow-by-blow draft-by-draft grade. I know from talking to Smith that he is a solid general manager who is right to lead the franchise, and others who talk to him get that impression, too. Fans see the short-term record and disagree. It's the way it is.

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