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The joke's on me

Let's get to it . . . Ashley from Jacksonville:
I find it funny that you just commented on the Sims-Walker release, stating that it essentially proved that the Jags actually knew what they were doing. If they knew he wasn't going to make an impact, then why did we just pick him back up? It's kind of embarrassing. He made no impact on the Rams who are hurting at the WR position, so now we sign him again? I don't get it . . . any insight?
John: It's certainly a commentary on the struggles of the receiving corps this season. The area has been unproductive and something obviously needed to be done. This is something. Re-signing him wasn't something I expected and wasn't something that fit what this team usually does. The Jaguars didn't re-sign him this off-season and he hadn't done much with the Rams that made most people think that was an incorrect move. I'm still not sure the Pride of the Jaguars' budget will have to be reworked, but I've been wrong before. Here's hoping the move works out.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
WOW after comments today about MSW and 12 hours later he is back. Maybe Gene was wrong to let him go since we now know we had not replaced him. Then you find out David MAY have had a serious injury. Wanna hear how this gets spinned... that is why you get paid the bug bucks.
John: I don't see a huge need to spin. The Jaguars didn't believe Sims-Walker would be part of their future, and as it turned out, the receiving corps is struggling enough that they want him back. No question that's not a good commentary on the Jaguars' receiving corps. I have nothing against Sims-Walker and hope he does well, but if you look at it objectively, I don't think anyone's expecting him to come in and save the season. They're hoping for someone who can catch the ball and maybe make some plays. Maybe he can. As for Garrard, I certainly don't see a need to spin. He underwent the standard examinations and was cleared to be released. Garrard and his agent made no issue of it at the time and Garrard told Chris Mortensen on October 9 he was ready to play. Now, the story has changed. I don't know why.
Cecil from Jacksonville:
I know that the "We get no respect" thing gets old. You have said before that many fans of different teams feel that way, but Sunday's game against the Steelers really showed that we as fans and as a city don't really get much respect. When CBS put up a stat sheet with the title "Lack"sonville on it, I was mad. I have not seen the same treatment to Miami, St. Louis, Carolina, Indy, Denver or Minnesota. I don't remember seeing anything like that for Detroit last year. Am I reading too much into it or does this prove the lack of respect the media has for our Jags?
John: I didn't see that, and I can see how fans would be upset. Was it fair? Was it classy? Was it necessary? No, no and no. But when you're losing, things like this happen. It's always easy for the media to take shots when a team is struggling. Win, and it's a lot harder for people to poke fun.
Joel from Atlanta, GA:
I enjoyed watching the turnaround by the defense in the second half of the game on Sunday. I just can't help thinking how much closer things could have been had the secondary not dropped three easy interceptions in the first half. I guess that's the difference between a good defense and a great one, the ability to take advantage of opportunities.
John: It's one of them.
Justin from New York City:
I know it's far off, and I love how Gabbert is progressing because I see a big future for him, but let me pose a rules question. In the event the Jaguars are in a position to draft Luck, and they believe he is the "once in a decade QB," would they be able to trade Gabbert during the draft, or are you only able to trade picks during the draft?
John: You can trade players during the draft. You couldn't in this past April's draft because of the lockout. But as you indicated, that's not a scenario that is getting a lot of thought around here.
Ron from Palm Coast, FL:
Watching the Steelers-Jags game every score the Steelers made Rashean Mathis was there. He will not wrap them up. Does he have arms? I think he's scared to hit. As a Gator Fan this is hard to say, I think he should go. The last few years, he has been getting worse. I know I'm not the only one seeing this. I know we are No. 8 in defense but not where Rashean is covering.
John: Mathis went to Bethune-Cookman. And while he has again become the target of fans, he's not playing poorly overall.
George from Harrisburg, PA:
Coach Del Rio has been heavily criticized for kicking that field goal down by seven with just a little over four minutes to play. I didn't have a problem with it. I had a problem with the third down play selection, but I thought it was a good decision to get some points and hopefully the defense holds. Your take.
John: I've never been huge on second-guessing play-calling. As Marv Levy often said, if the play you call doesn't work, the one you didn't call was always right. I would have rather seen Maurice Jones-Drew in the game on 3rd-and-5. I don't think I'm alone there.
Kelvin from Salt Lake City, UT:
If Newton was the Jags quarterback, would they be [at least] 4-2 right now?
John: The Panthers are 1-5 and the Jaguars are, too.
Dave from Barto, PA:
The praising of Smith is great. Garrard was released before we blew more money on him and Sims-Walker was released by the Rams, so thank goodness we let him go. But we are still 1-5, with the worst passing game in the league and not one WR that can be considered a weapon for Gabbert. That's awesome he can get rid of people when they need to go, but it has been way too many years to not have a solid WR on this team. I think a big reason I feel this way is that when I follow your live blogs on game day, you always point out how many times WR's drop passes they should've caught. Most of those are moments where the game turns into our opponents favor because of that failed possession.
John: Being a good general manager capable of building a winning organization doesn't make you a perfect general manager. I've yet to meet one or hear of one. Smith would be the first to tell you that not every pick works out. In Indianapolis, the Colts worked for years trying to fill the defensive tackle position and for the most part, struggled to do so. And whatever you say about Colts President Bill Polian, few people who know the NFL would say he doesn't know how to build a team or find talent. That's a story that can be repeated at pretty much any NFL team. The Patriots are having trouble building a defense. The Eagles' offensive line is struggling. Almost every team has weak parts. This is not Madden.
Glenn from Orange Park, FL:
I am pleased thus far with Blaine Gabbert. Given the talent around him, he has done a good job as a rookie. People compare him to Cam Newton often, and for obvious reasons, but Newton has an elite WR to throw to and a better offensive line protecting him. Plus, Blaine is FAR less careless with his throws. I was at the Panthers game and Newton threw at least seven passes into heavy coverage that we nearly intercepted. I just don't see Blaine making a lot of those careless throws. He seems to be superior when it comes seeing plays develop down field.
John: You've touched on perhaps the most important thing to watch for with a rookie quarterback. There are a lot of factors going on making it difficult for Gabbert – a struggling wide receiver corps among them – but what you want to see is the ability to make good decisions and to see the field. We're seeing that from Gabbert. A lot of the inaccuracy he is experiencing is coming from miscommunication with receivers, and that's something that can get fixed, too. The big picture for this season is the development of Gabbert and signs that he is someone to build around. So far, we continue to see those signs.
Matt from Jacksonville:
What do you think of Al Irby comparing the handling of Garrard's medical situation to that of the Colts and Peyton Manning?
John: I think agents spin stories and situations in favor of their clients. I also think it's disappointing that people around Garrard would see the Jaguars as treating Garrard unfairly. I'll say this from my experience as a reporter: Just because agents – or most other people for that matter – say something doesn't mean they're correct.
Eric from Chattanooga, TN:
Nothing says you need help in the WR ranks than to sign Sims-Walker after he was cut by an 0-for-5 team. You got to be kidding me. Are we sure it is not April Fools?!?
John: Apparently the joke was on me.

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