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Throwing the readers a bone

Let's get to it . . . Brett from Ridgeland, MS:
I'm curious as to your opinion on this. Who are the most important two players on this team and why, in your opinion?
John: There are many ways to answer your question. In terms of building a franchise for the long term and needing to be long-term franchise players, I'd say Blaine Gabbert and Eugene Monroe. You have to have the quarterback and the anchor for the offensive line. In terms of winning for right now – i.e., guys who need to play well for the Jaguars to have a chance – I would say Maurice Jones-Drew and Gabbert. I'd also put Tyson Alualu, Terrance Knighton in the Top Five.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
If somehow next year the Jags are in a position where they can draft Luck (either he falls to them or they wind up with that high of a pick), if you're the GM, how do you not pick Luck? Even if it's just to make sure you don't play against him for the next 10-15 years?
John: As with any pick, it depends on the grade on the player. There's a school of thought that if the player is indeed the best available player and is far and away the best value at the position, then you take him. In the case of a quarterback such as Luck with a player such as Gabbert already on the roster, you could either allow Luck to compete for the position and if he won the job, trade Gabbert – or vice versa. Or you could immediately trade Luck for picks and therefore get the value. It's a dilemma, but if you're sticking to the purist's view of Best Available Player, that's certainly how you would do it.
Jody from Fort Pierce, FL:
Why is Poz not getting the recommendation he deserves? Does a linebacker have to be an arrogant jerk like Cushing?
John: I'd recommend Poz for any team wanting an elite 4-3 middle linebacker. Cushing's getting publicity because he was the Rookie of the Year in 2009 and because he already is a known entity. It also doesn't hurt that Cushing's team is 6-3. Posluszny plays for a 2-6 team in a small market. It ain't easy to get publicity in that situation.
Jim from Meridian, IN:
Any thoughts on the recent survey suggesting most NFL players would not want to play for Tom Coughlin? Cry-babies? I admire and respect Coach Coughlin, and I know many Jaguar fans feel the same way.
John: Funny thing about Coughlin: His teams play hard and they win a lot. They also seem to play to their potential much of the time and they're usually pretty prepared. Here's the thing about Coughlin: Players say they don't want to play for him and they sometimes complain about it when they actually are playing for him. When they're done, they talk about how well-prepared they were and how they would play for him again.
Howard from Homestead, FL:
With all of this talk about lying down so the Colts don't get Luck, I've got another idea. Why don't we kick the Colts' tails twice this year and then kick Andrew Luck's tail for the next dozen years? I like that better.
John: Absolutely. As I've said, teams with good quarterbacks aren't unbeatable. Tom Brady hasn't won a Super Bowl since 2004. Manning won one Super Bowl. Would you rather have an elite quarterback than not? Yes. Does it give your team a chance to win? Yes. Does it guarantee your team can't beat that team? Absolutely not.
Tim from Jacksonville:
The resting of starters question had me thinking of North Dallas Forty when Matuszak is yelling at the coach in the locker room after the game. I think any fan hardcore or otherwise would want his team to win and get value for his ticket. After all the threat of injury is the same in Game 16 as it is in Game 1. If I buy tickets to see Metallica, I don't want to show up and see a cover band playing the song. Both tickets are purchased for entertainment with price reflecting the quality of the show. I remember Goodell telling someone that they were looking at this and I think they should.
John: The threat of injury is the same, true. There also is the matter of being rested and fresh for the playoffs, and using the final weeks of the season to get players who are nursing minor injuries ready for the post-season. By the end of the season, any starter is playing with some level of injury. If a team can use the final game of the season as a bye to rest such players it has earned that right. A team's goal is to win the Super Bowl. If the best way to do that is resting players and ensuring maximum health for the post-season, it has earned the right to do that. The Commissioner can look into it, but as far as being able to do anything about it, it's pretty unrealistic. You can't force a team to play injured players – or any player, for that matter, longer than it desires.
Mike from Savannah, GA:
I, like many other fans (and fellow season- ticket holders) are not pleased with the way this season is going, but I've seen a lot to be optimistic that we are on the right track. What is burning me up is this inferiority complex with the Colts. It used to be that with Payton Manning and now it's with someone they may or may not draft, etc, etc, etc.
John: It is tiresome. As I've written, get better. Get good enough to win enough to get to the playoffs, then get good enough to win there. If you get good enough you worry less about what people say about you or who's playing for other teams.
Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
Let's say the Colts end up with Luck and are able to trade Manning to another team. Do you think the new team changes its offensive terminology and the way it operates to tailor to Manning or does Manning have to learn a new system?
John: The system and terminology almost certainly be tailored to whatever Manning does best, but there's little question there would be an adjustment period. Part of what made Manning as good as he has been in recent seasons was he has been in the same offensive system since Day One. While he gets too much credit for being the offensive coordinator – he wasn't and he didn't install game plans – he was phenomenally good at getting to the right play in the right situation in a remarkably short period of time. How he adjusts to new personnel without such an institutional knowledge of the offensive philosophy would be a fascinating process.
Adam from Gilbert:
Just wanted to say that even though you disagree with my opinion you still understand it's an opinion and do not belittle me for having one different from your own. I had believed the art of polite debate has been lost in this country, but I am overjoyed that at least in this place that so many come to for insight and acceptance, their opinions will not be shut out just because they are different. You are an example that other "writers" and news media should follow.
John: I, too, love me some me.
Thomas from Fort Myers, FL:
Sorry to not ask about DG, WRs or firing Gene, but I was wondering: When a player goes on IR, how involved is he with team activities? I saw today that Rashad Jennings was going to a Taylor Swift concert and it made me wonder if IR means they're just free to do whatever they want the rest of the year, while rehabbing of course. Not to say that's what Rashad is doing - just giving the reason for the question.
John: Players on injured reserve do things a variety of different ways. Some remain around the facility while others rehab off-site. There are no real rules or norms. Usually, it depends on the player's preference and what the player and team decide is best for the particular player and type of injury. Jennings has been around the facility a lot, but others may be around rarely if at all.
Chris from South Orange, NJ:
Excellent article on Colts/Jags debate. I was in the camp of rooting for the Colts not to have the top draft pick, but you are right. It takes more than one player no matter how great Luck is. Peyton has only won one Super Bowl and even Brady's great team lost to the Giants in the SB. The focus, indeed should be on making your team as competitive as possible. Turns out you sometimes do make a quality point here and there.
John: Every once in a while I like to throw the readers a bone.

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