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The long-term good

Let's get to it . . . Robert from Van Nuys, CA:
Looking into the draft, the Jaguars need to fill other holes than quarterback. I say we look at Kirk Cousins and Matt Flynn. They have shown flashes when given the start. I would hate to see our pick go to that Matt Barkley guy or Geno Smith, who have looked terrible as of late. Whatayathink, playah?
John: I think within your question is the dilemma facing teams seeking a quarterback this offseason. Barkley and Smith, while high-profile players, haven't shown themselves to be sure-fire franchise players on the level of Andrew Luck and RGIII. That's not unusual; Luck and RGIII are rare and it may be decades before two players of that level enter the draft in the same year. That theoretically leaves a team seeking immediate quarterbacking help in the coming offseason looking to other NFL rosters. Flynn showed flashes, but many wonder if he's truly a franchise guy. Cousins? Well, he has flashed in his first two games, but I doubt Washington trades him this offseason. RGIII is a high-risk injury guy, and is likely to miss games. A player such as Cousins who can win when RGIII is out isn't something the Redskins likely want to give away just yet. Where does that leave a team seeking a quarterback? Well, it leaves them without an obvious solution, for a start.
Scott from Section 139 and Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Are any of the quarterbacks selected in the first round last year playing well this year? It seems they are all struggling. My point is just because a quarterback has a first-round grade doesn't mean they will translate into a first-round pick in terms of production. A GM should not necessarily pick one there even if his team needs a quarterback.
John: A second quarterback question, a second dilemma. Your email brings up a problem that faces any general manager whose team is not set at the quarterback position. If you don't have a quarterback, you're always looking for one. If you desperately need one, do you take one that you don't love and just hope, or do you ride it out with a player already on your roster and wait until you find a guy you love? Owners, fans and media covering the team don't always like to wait, even when waiting is prudent. Such short-term clamoring is what leads many franchises into a cycle of mistakes and mediocrity. Finding the right guy, and making sure the situation and timing is right for that guy, is the most difficult task many franchises face.
Taylor from Fort Collins, CO:
After seeing the success the "Hard-Nosed" Harbaughs have had in the league, we need a better coach. I like Mularkey but you just can't be a soft head coach in this league. I want a coach that doesn't mind getting in players faces when they mess up, not baby them.
John: There are different ways to "get in players' faces," and it doesn't have to be yelling on the sidelines. That said, a coach must have some way to motivate, and while it doesn't have to be outlandish antics, it better be effective. Tony Dungy never yelled at players, but players often would talk of a look Dungy could give them when he was disappointed. Players said this look was worse than being yelled at, and if you got it, you were darned sure motivated.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Rex Ryan should have at least let Tebow start a game. Many people have this cavalier attitude that Tebow is a bust. I am sure many of those people will be looking for new GM and coaching jobs. After Ryan gets canned that will be two coaches that Tebow got fired. He is like a rock that they beat themselves against. The legend continues.
John: That's one view. The other view is many of those same people who believe Tebow is a bust will be in the playoffs and the Super Bowl, but that's why this is an ongoing, emotional debate. As for the idea that Rex Ryan "should have at least let Tebow start a game," I hear this a lot. That argument fails to take into account the fact that teams game plan and build offenses throughout entire offseasons, then enter seasons with the approach they believe is the best. The idea that a team should just let a player start "just to see what happens" is fine for the media and for fans of that player, but it doesn't always fit what the team wants to do. The Jets rightly or wrongly believed Mark Sanchez gave them the best chance to win this season. They didn't, but to say they should have abandoned what they believed in in Week 6 "just to give Tebow a chance" is unrealistic.
John from Jacksonville:
If Tebow Tebows, will the Tebow let Tebow Tebow through another Tebow? Or will Tebow just Tebow to a Tebow? I can never Tebow.
John: You make some good Tebows, but if Tebow really is Tebow, then you can't just Tebow. You've got to figure out somewhat to Tebow. Then and only then can you truly Tebow.
Shane from Jacksonville:
I think Tebow could be a very good running back. Why is this never discussed? If he is willing to play special teams why would he not be interested in playing running back? Regardless of the Wildcat, I think he could be a Jerome Bettis- or Peyton Hillis-type running back. At least as good as Hillis at his best, I think. No organization wants him as their quarterback, period. Running back may be his best option for any significant playing time.
John: To my knowledge, Tebow wants to be a quarterback. As far as his career as a running back, I'm not sure he has the speed to be a running back on the level you mention if he's running as a back out of normal formations. Tebow's effectiveness as a running back comes out of spread formations in which he's running from the quarterback position, and there's a difference.
Benjamin from Wilmington, DE:
O-Man, give us your insight on how Uche Nwaneri has played this season. In every game I've watched this season he seems to be struggling immensely.
John: He has struggled at times, and hasn't played as well as he did last year. That pretty much sums up the offensive line this season.
Raymo from Jacksonville:
Why not bring Tim to town? There is no good reason. This team isn't going to win next year even with Tom Brady. Put Tebow in there to sell some tickets while we rebuild the rest of the team... AGAIN...
John: OK, this is the final Tebow question of the day. First off, a quarterback of Brady's caliber would make a difference. The Jaguars may not make the Super Bowl with such a player, but he can mean the difference in five or six victories, even on a team that has struggled the way the Jaguars have this season. But about your main point: "Why not bring Tim to town?" There are many reasons. First, if you get to the regular season, and he's not your starter, he has the potential to be a distraction on a level few players in sports history have matched. This is not his fault, but it's reality. And if you believe he shouldn't start, then you face the sort of criticism and constant hysteria the Jets faced all season. Second, it's not necessarily a great idea just to "put him in there to sell some tickets while we rebuild" if that's the only reason you're doing it. Tebow runs a very specific offense and has not shown the ability to run a conventional offense, so if you bring him in with the idea of playing him, you're going to need to run his offense and quite possibly build accordingly. You're also going to need to play him at quarterback, and that would mean not being able to develop another quarterback. Above all, you don't bring him in with the idea of, "We're not going to win, anyway." All of those things make great talk-radio and message-board arguments, but do you really want people running your team who say, "Well, we're no good anyway . . . so let's play Tebow?" No, if you bring him in you either bring him in with the idea of giving him a realistic chance to be the long-term guy or in a clearly-defined role that both sides clearly agree upon. Doing it another way's not fair to him.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
Do you think Shad Khan would have the guts to keep a guy he likes and trusts, even if 95 percent of the ignorant masses thought he should fire said hypothetical person(s)?
John: Yes. Whatever moves Khan makes will be for what he believes is the long-term good of the franchise. If he wanted to please the fans, he could have fired said hypothetical person(s) already.

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