Let's get to it . . .
Howard from Homestead, FL:
A lack of patience cost us a Super Bowl championship-caliber coach in Tom Coughlin.
John: Yes, it sometimes works out that way. Shortly before the sale of the team to Shad Khan became finalized in January, former Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver said that was his biggest regret as owner – that he hadn't worked out a way to retain Coughlin. The problem at the time was Weaver didn't believe he could get Coughlin to stay as head coach and relinquish his general manager duties. As a result, an elite head coach left and history will show that the Jaguars were weaker for it. In a sense, it speaks to the decisions Khan now faces with the team struggling at 2-11. It also speaks to why Khan has spoken about trying to figure the best process and ensuring the right people are in place to execute that process rather than judging things based on record and how things have looked in the short-term past. Many fans want General Manager Gene Smith gone, and assume that will be the case. Khan must determine whether that's the best thing for the franchise. The reality is – as was the case with Coughlin – people within the league respect Smith to the point that he would be hired immediately – though likely not immediately as a general manager – were he no longer with the Jaguars, and it's very likely Smith could have huge success going forward. Such are the decisions that define franchises.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Believe it or not, a group of us planned at the beginning of the season to go see the Jaguars clinch a playoff spot in Miami. Well, we are still going. Any suggestions?
John: Yes. Enjoy yourself. You have a chance to enjoy a weekend on the road with friends – or at least, I presume these people are your friends. Friendships are special and should be savored.
Biff from Jacksonville:
I almost feel like the fan base needed this season. For years we've been sold "rebuilding" and were teased with the appearance of almost being there. But now we know and there is no chaos of thought. And knowledge is power. And order calms. I'm at least at peace with the situation.
John: I live constantly with chaos of thought.
Jack from Jacksonville:
A local columnist said the Jaguars were a reflection of Gene Smith. Hard-working, good character guys who just can't get the job done. Do you agree with his assessment?
John: That's an easy, clever analogy, and from the performance on the field, it's a logical conclusion to draw. It's vogue to blame Gene Smith for 2-11, and because he is the general manager, responsibility does fall at his feet. At the same time, many things conspired to get the Jaguars here. A ton of injuries, a few players who didn't work out and – most critically – a Top-10 quarterback with potential who has yet to develop into an elite player. Combine that with three overtime losses and a potential .500 season became 2-11.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
The NFL has sought to achieve parity in the league over the last two decades. In the meantime, the game has evolved such that the quarterback position requires near elite play for a team to be consistently competitive, which was the goal in parity. This seems to be a disconnect. Opportunity for parity is one thing, but achieving the reality of it seems less likely in today's game.
John: The NFL has sought to achieve parity since Pete Rozelle became commissioner in 1960. Teams with great quarterbacks such as John Unitas and Bart Starr dominated the 1960s and teams with quarterbacks such as Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw dominated the 1970s. Joe Montana, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and so on and so on – all dominated their eras. But yes, the league now seems to rise and fall on the play of a team's quarterback a bit more than ever. The bright side? If you get one, you're in good shape.
Tyler from Woodbine, GA:
I thought Henne played the best he could given the circumstances Sunday; the receivers were nowhere close to being open. However, after seeing how Kirk Cousins came in for Robert Griffin and led the Redskins to a victory, why not try bringing him in next year? I know it may cost a lot, but I don't see a quarterback in this draft who could be a future star. I see a lot of potential in Cousins. Bring in Cousins, and let him compete with Henne and Gabbert next year and let the best man win, and cut ties with one of them.
John: This is not to say Kirk Cousins won't someday be a huge NFL star, but Sunday was one game. If your scouting department determined that he can do what he did on a long-term basis, then you make the trade, but NFL history is littered with guys who played well for a game or two before going elsewhere and falling well short of expectations. Again, Cousins may well be the next Brett Favre, who played a season with the Falcons before being traded to Green Bay. But you can't forget about names such as Scott Mitchell, Matt Cassell and yes, even Rob Johnson, either.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Would you agree another concern is the no-name players and undrafted free agents we have been forced to use have not been stepping up? Other than probably Cameron Bradfield, we haven't had much success with new players stepping it up. Would you agree?
John: Overall, the free agents/unknown guys have played OK, not great. Bradfield played well early, and has not played as consistently in recent weeks. For the most part, Mike Brewster – an undrafted rookie – played OK at left guard until his season ended with a broken hand. Kevin Elliott had his troubles this past Sunday, and while linebacker Julian Stanford and Russell Allen have played well at times this season, that position overall has not been a strength. They've probably done as well as could be expected, though overall there certainly has been inconsistency.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
I listened to Mad Dog Radio on Sunday morning before the game. I'm not sure who the guy was doing the show, but during one of his rants, he accused MJD of faking his injury. The only reason he gave is that MJD accused Jay Cutler of faking, so Mo must be faking. To say someone is faking because of a previous statement they made about someone else is sorta like 2nd grade, isn't it? What did you say about my momma?!
John: Let's see here . . . Maurice Jones-Drew builds his reputation for seven years on being one of the toughest backs in the NFL, and he plays much of his career with a chip on his shoulder trying to prove his doubters wrong, and then he wins a rushing title for a 5-11 team, and then – after doing all of that – he fakes an injury during a time of his career when being injured can only hurt his bargaining power . . . it absolutely adds up.
Jamie from Jacksonville:
If a play is being reviewed and the referee sees an infraction occur in another part of the field can they call a penalty on the secondary incident? For example, let's say Coach Mularkey challenges a play the call a receiver was in bounds when making a catch. Behind the receiver his teammate was blocked in the back but a penalty was not called. Can the referee call a penalty for blocking in the back off of the replay?
John: In a replay situation, the entire play is reviewable. However, that applies only to reviewable incidents. In your case, a block in the back is not reviewable. But if, for example, a touchdown was being reviewed to see if a wide receiver was in bounds and the official noticed that he had stepped out of bounds during the route, that could be reviewed.
Tom from Mandarin, FL:
You are starting to give the impression that you to think the Gabbert experiment is a failure. Two years is enough time to see what a player has and Gabbert just doesn't seem to have it. With that in mind and no real franchise player in this year's draft class wouldn't it make sense to trade away the No. 1 or No. 2 pick for several mid-round selections; beef up some of the weaknesses and seek a QB in the free agent market.
John: First, I don't want to give the impression that I don't think Gabbert can be a big-time quarterback. That's still possible. What remains to be seen is if the Jaguars can invest more time in starting him to allow him to develop, and time is what he needs. That's a dilemma going forward and only time will tell the answer. As far as trading the No. 1 or 2 selection, you have to find someone wanting to trade up. That's one issue. You also want to be sure you get an impact player. I agree in theory that this team needs multiple good players at multiple spots. Therefore trading down should be explored, but it's not always possible nor is it the end-all objective.