Let's get to it . . .
Bob from Manassas, VA:
To what extent do you believe that the lack of Greg Jones has adversely affected the running game? I believe that this is critical; not having a fullback of his caliber has hurt the Jags tremendously. Many other injuries have hurt the team, but this one seems to be overlooked and I don't see why.
John: The absence of Greg Jones without question has hurt the offense. It's an absence overlooked because the fullback position isn't one that's discussed much in the NFL anymore, and in general, the position has been deemphasized. It's rarely drafted early, if at all, and some teams don't even have the position anymore – and if they do, it's a combination of fullback and tight end. Also, even when teams have them, the passing game has become so much the focal point of the NFL that most people when breaking down offenses don't consider the fullback. Finally, the Jaguars were struggling even before Jones got hurt this season, so it's difficult to say his absence is a primary reason the team is 1-9. But has his absence hurt the running game? Yes, without question. It's hard to imagine the team reeling off seven consecutive sub-100-yard-rushing games with Jones healthy.
Taylor from Baltimore, MD:
The Jaguars drafted Blaine Gabbert in the Top 10, knowing he was coming out of a spread offense, knowing he was young and inexperienced, and I'm hoping they had also watched extensive tape on him during his tenure at Missouri. I am no scout, but I saw four or five of those games and saw the potential, but very little production and maybe one accurate downfield throw. Obviously the Jaguars were projecting his upside, but my question is, "Isn't that swinging for the home run?" It seems a safer, base-hit philosophy would suggest targeting a quarterback more similar to Dalton, and I'm wondering why Gene preached us this method of drafting and then veered from it when selecting our most critical player.
John: First, the Jaguars used the No. 10 overall selection in the draft to obtain Gabbert. Not only did they watch tape of every game, they dissected every play from every angle – as they do on every player they consider drafting. As for the whole base-hit versus home-run philosophy, this has gotten pretty much discussed to death over the last few years and while it's a nice analogy, the reality is any draft – like most things in life – doesn't adhere to one simply-described philosophy. The "base hit" philosophy is about making sure you get production from first-round picks and making sure you don't have busts, because first-round busts set you back. At the same time, you only get so many chances to get a franchise quarterback, and in 2011, the Jaguars had their chance at what they believed was such a player and they took it. If you're going to get one, at some point you usually have to spend something pretty significant to get it, and in that case, the Jaguars certainly did.
Scott from Wichita, KS:
Is it ironic that we're replacing a quarterback that's taking too long to develop with a QB that took four years to develop? Assuming he has, that is.
John: Chad Henne certainly has replaced Blaine Gabbert for now, and apparently he has a chance to do so on a permanent basis. It is a little ironic, but at this point, the Jaguars are looking for something to improve the offense and increase the chance at winning. The offense looked better Sunday, and that's why Henne was named the starter even before Gabbert went on injured reserve. Has Chad Henne indeed developed? That's probably the most important part of your question, and it's an answer that could come in the final six games.
Richard from Starke, FL and Section 203:
Who is the second quarterback going to be for the rest of the season?
John: As of now, it's Jordan Palmer.
Dan from Rochester, NY:
Did the same thing happen to Jim Schwartz Thursday as what happened to Mike Mularkey against the Colts? If so, the league REALLY needs to change that rule in the offseason.
John: It was sort of the same. Mularkey couldn't challenge the Andrew Luck touchdown because it already had been reviewed, so there was no sense in throwing the challenge flag. Had he thrown it, he would have been called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Schwartz threw the flag prematurely, and because he did, drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. As a result, the officials were unable to reverse the result of the play and Houston was awarded a touchdown it shouldn't have gotten. Peter King reported on Thursday night that the rule will be changed in the offseason. I wonder if the league won't figure out a way to speed up that process. As Tony Dungy said Thursday, it's a bad rule. Everyone knows it's a bad rule, and the last thing the league needs is for that to happen in a playoff game. The fundamental reason for the league having replay is to get obvious calls right. There never should be anything in the system that overrides that – even a rule to prevent coaches from showing up officials.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Wow! Until yesterday, I thought the Tuck Rule was the stupidest rule in the book. But to let an obvious blown call stand simply because a coach throws a challenge flag? That's just plain asinine. Penalize the team 15 yards if you must, but review the play and GET THE CALL RIGHT! That's the whole purpose of instant replay! Sorry, just needed to vent. Carry on!
John: At least with the tuck rule the object was to get the call right. The problem with the tuck rule is it's trying to legislate a very specific detail and when you do that, sometimes plays occur that seem counterintuitive to logic. What's interesting about Thursday's call involving Schwartz is that clearly an incident occurred that the rulesmakers didn't anticipate, and that in retrospect seems obviously illogical and counter to the spirit of the game. That's pretty rare and as I said, I'll be surprised if the league doesn't address it before the playoffs.
Scott again from Atlantic Beach, FL:
You yourself have talked about the landslide losses at home, the fact that Gabbert still has at the most only shown glimpses here and there, has absolutely shown no consistency, except to consistently lead the worst offense in the league. Henne has four years of game tape. Del Rio, who you guys only reference snidely, got more out of this team with less of a receiving corps and a less experienced Gabbert. Why should it take a whole season after this pathetic eleven weeks to see that Mularkey is terrible? If the rest of the season goes as the rest of the season has gone, would it then be okay to say Mularkey should go?
John: Technically, Del Rio won two games with Gabbert, so the difference is minimal – and while Del Rio had good years with the Jaguars, I'm not sure he would say he got much out of the team last year. I'm not going to get into a snippy argument here, but while Gabbert indeed has shown only glimpses, with a Top 10 quarterback with ability, you need to give him time to develop and that's a lot of what the first 10 games were about. As for your final point, Shad Khan has said publicly he's evaluating the situation. If the rest of the season plays out as the first 10 games, then there will be a lot of decisions to make at many, many positions, and I'm not sure there are guarantees anywhere.
Clint from Sydney, Australia:
Although I thought the receivers played harder for Henne, especially Blackmon, he deserves a chance. My question is, 'Tyson Alualu played his best game I have seen him play; do you think he is finally healthy and can we expect better if the play calling gets a little more aggressive?'
John: Alualu has played better in recent weeks, and said two weeks ago he felt as good and healthy as he has since coming into the league. Because he is an elite-level talent with first-round ability, that would seem to give him a good chance of playing at a high level whatever the playcalling.
Darrick from Jacksonville:
What would happen if a team went 6-10, with the six wins being all the Divisional games?
John: That team would feel very good about how it matches up with its division, but unless it finished with a better record than all of its division opponents, it still wouldn't go to the playoffs.
Rick from Tampa, FL:
Gabbert is done as a Jag. Book it.
John: We shall see. Some believe as you do, and Mike Mularkey said this week Chad Henne will have a chance to win the starting job in the next six weeks. That would seem to indicate a chance for there to be a permanent change at the position. Then again, this time a week ago, Blaine Gabbert was the starter, a lot of fans wanted Chad Henne cut and Jordan Palmer was throwing passes to Terrell Owens in California, so things can change at the quarterback position pretty fast.
The position changes fast
Let's get to it . . .