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The sad truth

Let's get to it . . . Trey from Jacksonville:
I'm not big on scrimmages, but Gabbert is clearly the better option than Henne. Most reasonable thing I have said all week?
John: Absolutely. This is not a knock on Henne, but it has been clear for several months now that Gabbert is the starter for this team. There have been reports and speculation about a quarterback controversy/competition, but that talk has been almost exclusively from people outside the team who have assumed because of Gabbert's rookie year that he is terrible. The front office never believed that, and once the coaching staff got established and began working with Gabbert it has been clear that he is, as you say, the right choice. He has been showing increasing signs of that for months, and the scrimmage Friday was another step. One scrimmage does not mean he will not struggle at times next season, but it did show a guy who clearly is more confident with a better foundation for continuing to develop into an effective NFL quarterback. And yes, it's the most reasonable thing you've said all week. Stay at it.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
When you can punt 55 yards with a hang time of five seconds with guys that run 4.6, that's a huge advantage in the game. That's punting out of your own end zone and covering the kick at the opponents' 45 yard line. It's the hang time that allows the punt to be covered. Bryan Anger is going to the Pro Bowl and all those fans that freaked when the Jags pick him in the 3rd round can go suck egg! Bryan Anger- Very impressive!
John: The Jaguars certainly think so, and a lot of other people are starting to think so, too.
Michael from Section 122:
I kept reading all of the negative articles about Henne winning the starting job over Gabbert. I don't know about you MR.OZONE, but Gabbert looked like he was on a different level then Henne. Our offense moved with Gabbert, he had that atmosphere of leading our offense. Henne stalled and didn't look like he had any control.
John: Let's be fair to Henne. He was a backup running a No. 2 offense. That's not always a great gauge in the preseason. But yes, Gabbert showed what you want to see at this stage.
Michael from Jacksonville:
I hope Jennings' performance on Friday is a wake-up call to MJD that this team is moving on in spite of him, not because of him.
John: One scrimmage doesn't make a player as good as Maurice Jones-Drew expendable, but yes, it does show that the Jaguars won't necessarily be lost on offense without him. The team has felt that way all along. We'll see if that holds true after Friday.
Zoltan from Budapest, Hungary:
I know it's a passing league now, but based on how good Rashad Jennings is so far, how good the Jaguars running game could be if MJD will finally return?
John: Very, and perhaps as importantly, Jennings showed again he can be a real threat in the passing game. The word on Jennings last offseason was that he could be a real factor in the passing offense, and that was an often-overlooked negative when he was lost for the season last fall.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
This is one of those times it's helpful to have first-hand experience playing football under the Florida sun. It's not that grueling. If I could do it every summer for eight years as a kid, along with thousands of other kids all over the state, NFL-caliber athletes can certainly do it with no problem. I'm absolutely positive they get tired of questions about the 'heat.' It's just part of the deal, John. Do people ask you how you deal with all those words every day? I mean, WORDS John. They're grueling.
John: Players don't often complain about the heat. They get that it's part of it, but it is a factor. And words are grueling, especially when you're as overmatched as I am.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Wanted to expound a bit on football being grueling in the Florida heat. In high school in Jacksonville there was a period of time where we had to get in football shape before we could put pads on. It was exhausting but the fun was just beginning. When it's 95 degrees and the humidity is 90 percent, the helmet and pads make you feel like you're in your own mini sauna. We had guys that played other sports vomiting halfway through practice. I still remember 15 years later how my helmet made my sweat hot. Then we went through hitting drills. Then we would mix wind sprints in. To hear anyone say that football isn't as physically demanding as it is mentally, that tells me they haven't experienced some of these things.
John: A lot of people agree. Just don't say it to Tim. He's more man than you, apparently.
Dave from Ada, OK:
Many questions OMan, but I'll pick two. Rashad Jennings looked good, but not great considering he was playing against backup LB's. Agree or disagree? Second, in the battle for a starting position, you have Cecil Shorts vs. Mike Thomas. Who has the edge based solely on your evaluation of the scrimmage? Which one looked more polished?
John: Jennings looked very good considering he played a few series and showed the ability to make defenders miss. The offense certainly benefitted from playing against reserve linebackers, but you couldn't deny that Jennings showed power and quickness. I believe that will translate to the preseason and the regular season. The big unknown around Jennings remains whether he can do it for an entire season, and we won't know that until the season. As for Shorts-Thomas, Thomas is playing third receiver and the team has moved Shorts to the outside with Justin Blackmon not having reported. I think you'll see Shorts continue to work there until Blackmon reports. After that, Shorts could get work inside. Based on the scrimmage, Thomas looked more polished, but Shorts looks like he is coming along very quickly under the coaching of Jerry Sullivan. If he continues to develop at that pace, I think he has a real good chance to be the third receiver.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
What is the outcome a punter is trying to achieve, kick it as deep as possible or kick it so that the ball is not returnable?
John: When it's Anger, the idea is to do both.
Chad from Orlando, FL:
I'm sure the obvious question is do we need MJD after Rashad's performance. I'm sure the obvious answer is still yes. But would MJD have been as productive as Rashad in receiving and is MJD's agent still going to suggest he hold out when there's a younger and capable player that looks to be a very good fit for this offense?
John: Yes, Jones-Drew being here obviously will benefit the offense. That's true no matter how well Jennings played Friday, and will remain true. But let's stop this whole idea that Jones-Drew is holding out because of advice from his agent. His agent works for him, not the other way around. Come down on either side of the issue you'd like, but Jones-Drew is not a guy who lets others make his decisions for him. The choices he has made during this process are his.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
One thing the great predecessor said was, "Mystique Dies Hard." When a team struggles significantly, it may take a few seasons for the nation to realize it. The opposite is true, too. When a team becomes good, it takes the nation a few seasons to realize it. Soon enough, the Jaguars will show the nation that indeed we're better than that nasty 5-11 record. Once the national pundits realize that, they can go eat crow.
John: I agree that it takes time for perception to change, but if the Jaguars are better this season, I think the national media will acknowledge it pretty quickly. As much as they seem to like bashing Jacksonville at times – and I won't deny that's the case – they like a success/turnaround story, too. This team appears to have a chance to be that this season.
Brian from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Last year I was impressed with the play of DuJuan Harris during preseason and his limited playing time at the end of the season. I thought him to be a significant improvement over Karim. I am hearing a lot of buzz about Jalen Parmele, this year but little about Harris. Can you give some insight into the fight for the third running back spot? Is Harris playing poorly or is Parmele playing particularly well?
John: Harris is playing well, but Parmele has played extremely well and did so again in the scrimmage Friday. His play is one reason the Jaguars feel really good about their running back situation. Harris has played well, and seems to have a real chance to return kicks.
Johnny from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Heard your comment on Jaguars this week about pride ... "What little pride I have I spend a lot of time swallowing." Haha great stuff! You ever write any stand up?
John: I write the truth about me best I can. Unfortunately, that's funny in a very sad way.

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