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Time for hysteria

Let's get to it . . . David from Waxahachie, TX:
Just curious, do you think athletes are overpaid?
John: Absolutely not. You'll never hear me criticize athletes for making too much money. Professional athletes are the best in the world at what they do, and people who are the best at what they do often make more money than others believe they should. This country is based on capitalism and people make what the market bears. Also, in many cases athletes put their physical safety at risk and have much shorter careers than most other professionals. They have to make as much money as quickly as they can.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Baseball? I know you can scarf down a hot dog or two, but to be that un-American? How 'bout soccer or hockey? Or the stupidest game ever invented: basketball? God, that goofy Boselli must be rubbing off on you. Do you sit next to him for JTW? I know Lageman isn't rubbing off on you with a quote like that! Geez, I don't know what's wierder...you actually writing that or you actually believing it.
John: Or you spelling weirder with the "i" first?
Todd from Section 143 and St. Augustine, FL:
If Gabbert plays horribly and Henne wins the starting job at some point during the season, what do you think the chances are that Gene Smith gets the axe?
John: I don't believe Smith is as tied to Gabbert's success as many others believe. What I mean is this: if Henne would happen to win the job and the Jaguars make the playoffs, or if they show significant improvement, that would show that the roster Smith built is a very good one – not to mention that the coaching hire with which he assisted was a good one. Would Smith still get fired then? Should he? Smith is tied to Gabbert in the sense that Gabbert would seem to be the best chance the Jaguars have for a franchise quarterback and having a franchise quarterback is the easiest way to have a consistent winner. Smith's future is tied to the Jaguars winning, whether Gabbert is great or not. And by the way, Smith signed Henne, too. If Henne is better than Gabbert and leads the Jaguars to the post-season, Smith shouldn't get credit for that?
Brian from Jacksonville and Section 230:
Quantum is a funny word. It's one of those words that can represent two completely different ideas (the least amount or a large quantity of something). What's one of your favorite words?
John: Underwear. It always makes me laugh.
Jones from Jacksonville:
Have you ever heard of a player going to the owner, and requesting to have his pay garnished, or restructure his contract for performing poorly?
John: I actually have heard of it. The exact details of the situation escape me, but I've heard of it. I performed pretty poorly on that answer, but I'm not going to Shad Khan's office Monday with any cash in hand.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
I think most of the criticism leveled at Gabbert is because he has not had that one game where it really just clicked. Stafford had a couple of them in his rookie season, Matt Ryan had a couple, even Joe Flacco had one or two his rookie season. I mean something around 300 yards, multiple touchdowns and an offense that was continually moving even if only for one game. Your thoughts?
John: That is indeed a reason he has been criticized. One theory I have for why that never happened was the Jaguars approached much of the season offensively with the idea of running Maurice Jones-Drew as much as possible and trying to stay in the game with a defense that was playing well. That made sense, because those were team strengths. As a result, often when Gabbert was trying to throw the Jaguars already were behind and they were in obvious passing situations. Also, when your receivers are struggling and when the offensive game plan isn't geared to the pass, it's tough to be very dynamic in the passing game. That's not the entire reason Gabbert struggled, and obviously you would have liked to have seen a memorable game or two, but I thought those factors contributed to the situation.
Lawrence from Omaha, NE:
I know the Gabbert excuses are getting old. But just because he is enough of a man not to make them for himself doesn't mean they don't exist. I can't stand hearing people compare Newton and Dalton to Gabbert. Newton and Dalton also missed OTA's last year, but they entered training camp the clear cut #1 QB, with all of the starter's reps and practice time. Gabbert had the most strides to make out of the three quarterbacks, and was not expected to start at all in his rookie season, so he didn't get the kind of attention and practice time with the ones he deserved. That's on the coaching staff, who considerably leaned towards Garrard and McCown, even as they started to grow doubts as to whether or not Garrard was going to be the man... Is my argument accurate? Because I sure don't hear it as much as I think I should.
John: I actually sort of miss the Bryan Anger questions.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
We can talk about how the NFL is a business, but as far as I and many fans are concerned Maurice Jones-Drew is the face of this franchise. The Jacksonville Jaguars without MJD is a franchise without any stars at all. Is the media spotlight really that important? Actually, maybe it is. If we want to talk about the NFL as a business, Tim Tebow has absolutely nothing on the effect of Jaguars ticket sales in comparison to what losing Maurice Jones-Drew would have considering all he's done for this franchise and how much of a class act he has been while other superstar running backs, eh hem Ray Rice, whine about carries or contract issue. I'll tell you his market value, it's more than what any other RB's market value is in the league because he led the league, and more importantly, he is the best. No contest, negotiations are necessary, but they better take place, because I'll be a Jaguars fan for life, but management is going to see a lot of hatred if they don't straighten that up nice and clean.
John: What is there to straighten up? Jones-Drew is under contract for two more years. He never has threatened to hold out, and he's not holding out now. He's not at voluntary workout sessions, but there is nothing to indicate he won't be at mandatory events such as mini-camp in mid-June and training camp. There's nothing to indicate he won't play next season. Anything said to the contrary is getting incredibly far ahead of ourselves, though judging by the tone of your email, I guess people are discussing the possibility. I agree with you that Jones-Drew is the face of the franchise. That's beyond a doubt. He's also without question the best player on the team. But neither of those things means that you automatically tear up his contract and give him whatever he wants.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Do you think that the success of the Jags defense last year had anything to do with opposing offenses playing conservative ball? Realistically, teams knew that if they could put up 20 points, they were in pretty good shape.
John: That certainly didn't hurt the Jaguars statistically, but I've said often that I based my opinion that the Jaguars' defense improved more on the eye test than the statistics. When the defense was healthy, the Jaguars were dramatically improved and were often able to get other teams off the field when it mattered. I don't know that they were necessarily the No. 6 defense in the league in that respect, but I know the defense played well enough to give the team a chance to win had the offense played respectably. That's what I want a defense to do in this era.
Dave from Jacksonville and Section 410:
A phenomenon occurs every year around this time. Everyone looks normal, acts fairly normal at work, but lose all perception of reality when it comes to football. There must be an evil force "sucking" all football common sense out of the fans and nobody knows it's happening. We must do something before the bloggers run rampant with insignificant rants about Tebow, Anger, MJD not being at... OH NO!
John: Offseason talk is fun. It's entertaining. It's emotional. And when it takes place on Internet message boards and comment sections, it sometimes tends to escalate into something that reads like hysteria. The off-season, in fact, is the time for hysteria. This offseason, whenever I get hysterical emails I take a deep breath and think back to the many emails I received this time last year saying that because of the greedy NFL owners and players robbing the fans of their offseason they would never, ever watch the NFL again. The offseason is the offseason. Hysteria and lack of reason often reign because there are no games to distract us. Eventually, the season rolls around and hysteria and lack of reason reign for precisely the opposite reason.

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