Here we are,now at the final day for Bears talk. Boy, am I going to miss it.
Let's get to it . . . Jesse from Branford, CT:
I'm usually pretty positive after most losses. I need help with this one. Could you help me?
John: I'll try, although it's difficult. I can spend time talking about the positives, and there will be a time for that. I know from experience there are good things that happen on a football team in any game, even one that goes as wrong as Sunday's game did in the final two quarters. But through five games, the Jaguars are 1-4 and there is a lot of truth to the adage that you are what your record says you are. The Jaguars have lost three home games by one-sided margins, and that means the Jaguars right now aren't very good. We're spending too much time talking about little things and baby steps. The team needs to get past the point where 3-3 in the third quarter is good and where breaking 200 yards offense is an accomplishment. Those are strides, and the season is not lost. But fans are tired of hearing about those things. Big picture? The Jaguars need to start winning and until they do, it's hard to argue they are better than their record.
David from The Island:
So it is true that the preseason has nothing to do with the regular season.
John: So true – and yeah, I know I'm the one who wrote it was OK to be excited.
Jimmy from Jacksonville:
At what point does our general manager take any of the blame for the apparent lack of depth and talent on our roster? We've had four years to build, but we look even weaker than we did when Gene Smith took over!!! Is Kahn committed to GS for this year? Because I and I'm sure many people feel like enough is enough.
John: We'll get today's obligatory Gene Smith email out of the way here. It's a results-oriented business, and the Jaguars aren't getting results right now. The team needs to play better and if it doesn't, people involved will be held responsible. That's reality in professional sports.
Johnny from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I really feel bad for this city. lt deserves better.
John: Yes, it does.
April from Savannah, GA and Section 241:
There was a lot of talk of optimism, confidence and positive change in environment with the new staff and additions to our team. We the fans bought ALL IN and again put our hard-earned money on the table. We feel quite duped. I was outnumbered at least four-to-one in my section Sunday and felt like a visitor wearing teal at Everbank. A season-ticket holder from Day 1, I can never remember it feeling so hopeless. The drive back to Savannah is getting longer with each home game (please don't quip to move closer; I'm in no mood).
John: (No quip. I'm in no mood, either).
Steve from Jacksonville:
I went to the game and baked in the sun specifically to watch the receiver trees you don't get to watch on television, to see if it's the quarterback or the wideouts or both. To my eye, it's the quarterback. There were plenty of opportunities and it seemed like just enough time for him to hit his receivers. Sure, there were drops but it was by far on Gabbert. He's just not that accurate. The pick six intended for Blackmon was all on the quarterback and was not that hard a play to make. There is no excuse.
John: Gabbert didn't play well Sunday. No one's arguing that. And while the pick six wasn't all on Gabbert – it was a miscommunication between Blackmon and Gabbert – this isn't the day for arguing such minutiae. We're past the quarter pole of his second season, and Gabbert has to improve. An area of concern Mularkey has discussed more and more in recent weeks is Gabbert not being patient enough to let receivers' routes develop. Mularkey twice in the last two weeks has talked about pressure Gabbert has felt in the past influencing his internal clock. That means Gabbert is feeling the rush too early and not allowing receivers a chance to get open. That more and more is sounding like a major issue, and something that needs to get fixed sooner rather than later if the offense is going to be effective.
Nathan from Richmond, VA:
John, as a fan I just want a little flash, that's all. I'm not mad, I'm not 'daring you' to put this in your next column, I'm not threatening to move on, nothing like that. I just want a little something to make me feel good. Maybe a sack that ends a drive, maybe two 'three-and-outs' in a row. How about scoring drives back to back? I know that the team is working hard at doing just that, and that it won't make a lot of difference, but it would be nice to have something to smile about on a Sunday evening.
John: You have every right to expect that, and more.
Scott from Jacksonville:
I feel so sorry for you today John! I bet this might be the worst inbox you have ever had. I'm a devout fan and need some psychiatric help. I'm hoping you can help me.
John: Actually, I was hoping you could help me.
Jason from New Richmond, WI:
This franchise has been losing for far too long... I'm sure your e-mails are just seething as they should be, but I believe in our receiving corps. I like what I saw Sunday from Shorts, Blackmon and even Elliot. What do you think about the future of the receiving corps?
John: There were flashes of things to like. Shorts has had a few big plays this season, and if things were going better around him, we'd be writing feel-good stories on him this week. The problem is what we saw from the receiving corps is like so much else we've seen so far this season –a few glimpses with not nearly enough consistency. It's time to turn flashes into consistency.
Butch from Section 406:
O Man! I'll bring ya a Quart of brew from Intuition if ya get stressed. Just say the word.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Dear Mr. Khan: There is no secret to success in the NFL. All you have to do is what's popular to the fans. It's that easy. There will be times when that decision does not work but mostly it does work out. That's all there is to it. Even if the experts say different make the popular pick regardless. I am not a big fan of letting people go but you have to put your foot down and let everyone know that you're in charge and this poor performance will not be tolerated ever, while you are owner. It will make you very popular and will let every player on the team know that the gig is up.
John: Yes. By all means. The whole key is doing what's popular with fans. The Packers' fans just LOOVED releasing Favre to make room for Rogers.
Steve from Orlando, FL:
Is the scheme a major reason for the lack of sacks? Playing off in the bend but don't break not allowing for the rush to get home??? This team is harder to watch by the week...
John: It's a bit of the reason in the sense that the Jaguars aren't going to run an inordinate number of blitzes. The thought there is they could increase the blitzes, but by doing so, it would increase the big plays. This team's approach is that the four down linemen must pressure the passer.
Greg from Jacksonville:
Is it just me or do we fail to capitalize every time we get momentum? Whether it's after the Derek Cox pick, or the long catch from Cecil Shorts, we just don't know how to hammer down the nail.
John: It's not just you. When Mike Mularkey talks about making plays, that's part of what he's talking about. You get a chance to make a play, or take advantage of momentum, you have to do it.
Scott from Jacksonville:
"...Often, big losses make problems look bigger than they actually are." Love your work, but I feel like I've read that a lot lately.
John: Yes, you have. Too much.
Michael from Jacksonville:
John, I keep hearing this "Jags looked good mantra" for the first 40 minutes of play. In what dimension is three points in 40 minutes "good play"?
John: You know what? You're right. I got a lot of emails complaining that I had pointed out the score being tied 40 minutes into the game as a positive, and looking back at the coverage the last couple of days, I probably mentioned it too much. Three points in 40 minutes isn't good enough, and it's not enough to be tied in the third quarter.