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The necessary ingredient

Let's get to it . . . Bob from Walterboro, SC:
I was surprised to hear Mr. Khan's recent "stay-the-course" comment. Before the season he made it clear he expected the team to compete for a division title and make the playoffs. I realize he doesn't want to throw GS under the bus and that is admirable. But, what the fans need to hear is the consistent message that everyone in the organization will be evaluated if those goals aren't met. A sense of urgency is not the same as panic. I admire Gene Smith for not drafting people based on what the experts say. but this is his team and staff from top to bottom and right now the train is off the tracks. Stay the course? Not a message that will sit well with the fans and it shouldn't.
John: We're talking semantics here to an extent, and that's to be expected. Stay the course, being an admittedly overused phrase by NFL coaches, essentially means sticking to a plan and believing in what you are doing on a daily basis. In the NFL, particularly once a season begins, there is no other approach that makes sense. You cannot tear down an offensive or defensive scheme midseason, and it's not really all that wise to change scheme year-to-year. You also can not draft new players midseason or redo free agency. As a result, the way a team can improve is to do the things it already does better. This drives fans crazy because they want to see new things – new players, new schemes, even gimmicky stuff. It's fine to want that, but to change direction midseason is to create a messy chaos. Insert the joke here that at 1-4 you already have something close to "messy chaos," if you will, but the gist of this answer remains true. When Khan says he is staying the course, he is simply doing what he knows must be done in business – sticking to a plan of action even through tough times. That's not to say he's not reevaluating and reassessing along the way. Khan knows as well as anyone you don't just make rash changes, and in time, he also knows fans will get the proper message.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Coach Mularkey continues to state we are one or two plays away each and every game from success. I doubt you will hear much optimism over the next two weeks; however share with your readers that on the play that Gabbert fumbled in the first half while we were driving for a score the Bears defensive end was clearly offsides and the drive should have continued. If we score 7 on that play the whole game changes.....that is an example of what Mularkey is talking about. What say you, O-Man?
John: I say that's an example of what Mularkey's talking about. I'd also say the problem with being one or two plays away is you're counting on one or two plays. In order to be a good team, you have to get to the point where you're close to making eight or 10 plays really make four or five of them. The Jaguars know this. That's where they want to be. They're not there yet.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
In the midst of the Jaguars having their worst season from inception, the owner tell Sports Illustrated he's already looking for two home games in Europe and he wants us "All In?" I know you won't print this, but it is getting ridiculous.
John: I'll print it and there are those who share your view, certainly, but I think most fans would agree the franchise needs outside-the-box thinking. Khan wants an international franchise with roots in Jacksonville, the idea being both entities can grow together. There always is resistance to change, but Khan's way of thinking has brought him a lot of success, and he believes this is a way of giving the Jaguars a more high-profile identity while keeping the roots in Jacksonville.
Matt from Rockville, MD:
I'm probably not the only person writing something similar to this, but to Don from Ponte Vedra Beach: "What is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right." Albert Einstein you ain't.
John: I don't want to turn this into bash-Don day. He's a loyal reader and entitled to his opinion. My only point in readdressing this is to say that it's not that the Jaguars and other teams don't consider the fans' opinions important. The Jaguars absolutely value their fans. The problem with listening to them is it's impossible. For every fan who wanted them to draft this or that quarterback, there were others who didn't. For every fan who wants Blaine Gabbert benched there's another who doesn't. You can't run a team or any other organization by a popularity vote on each decision. It just doesn't work.
Jay from Birmingham, AL:
Hey John, I've come to a conclusion that I totally disagree with someone in that locker room not stepping up and being the speaker for the team. I mean one the veterans like Rashean, Maurice, or somebody needs to have that Ray Lewis type speech to these Players. It's worked for Ray. That's how you get to the heart of these players, when it's coming from your own teammate don't you think?
John: Maurice Jones-Drew made a speech along those lines at halftime of the Houston game. The Jaguars played well for a few minutes, then the Texans regained momentum and took control of the game. A speech makes a nice headline, but it doesn't produce consistent winning.
Brian from Santa Rosa, FL:
Is there a maximum amount of years that a player can be signed to a contract?
John: No.
Jeff from San Diego, CA:
O-man, I'm starting to notice a trend with Gabbert: if one of his receivers drops a pass or he overthrows a player for a first down, things tend to just spiral downward after that. Gabbert plays well in spots, but it seems like at the first sign of trouble he starts doubting himself. I have no doubt Gabbert has the physical gifts to be a good quarterback in this league, but more and more I question his mentality to lead a football team. What say you O-man?
John: Your point has merit and Gabbert talked a little bit about that this week, making the point that you have to be able to put mistakes behind you and move onto the next series. An interception return for a touchdown shouldn't signal the end of the offense for the day, and that's what happened on Sunday. It sounds as if it will be a point of emphasis, and it should be.
Sean from Atlanta, GA:
This franchise is at an all time low. This is the worst record we've ever had, the ugliest uniforms we've ever had, the worst quarterback we've ever had, and mojo has the worst haircut he's ever had.
John: You ought to see public relations intern Garrett "Go Get 'Em" Petty's new haircut.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Big John, Curious how in virtually the same breath can you cite teams essentially being their record, yet claim the Jags are somehow better than a Colts team that has won twice as many games, with fewer opportunities? I've been a fan since day one and will remain a fan, but for the sake of all that is good and honest reporting, just call it what it is. The Jags are the worst team in football, and would be underdogs against any team in the league right now.
John: I didn't say the Jaguars were better than the Colts. I said evidence suggests they can beat them. I believe that happened.
Wayne from Middleburg, FL:
What is the team allowed to do during a bye week? With the new CBA can we hold mini camps? Do we practice in pads at two-minute drill speed? I hope every player comes back with something to improve his and the team's play. I agree with the coach that we are one technique and small improvements in speed to get more wins.
John: Teams can practice during the bye week, but under the CBA, they must have at least four consecutive days off with two of them being the weekend. The rule does not apply to senior writers.
Rod from Jacksonville:
What are the odds of Khan taking this team away from Jacksonville if the team continues in its lackluster performance? How many more year(s) would you estimate?
John: One has nothing to do with the other. A franchise needs to provide a quality game-day experience, a ticket that its market can afford and it needs to win on the field. If the franchise does that, the community must come to the games and support. That's the implied fan/team contract. The Jaguars' tickets are affordable and I'd argue they provide a very good fan experience. Winning's the necessary ingredient. They haven't won yet. Period.

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