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Waffle No. 4

Film Room Friday is upon us.

Let's get to it. Stephen from Jacksonville:
Everyone keeps mentioning turf, and shoes, as a reason for the rash of injuries that we are having, but this seems to happen every year. Last year it was our defensive backs. This year it is our O-line. Does this say anything about our conditioning coaches? Maybe we need to get some new ones?
John: I'll answer this as I did late last year. Although there is always a rush to assign blame to the strength and conditioning coaches when there is a rash of injuries, the true job of the conditioning coach is often misunderstood. Yes, a conditioning staff does all it can each offseason to get players in the best possible shape to prevent injuries, but there is a limit to what a staff can do in that area. Football is a violent game, and a long season takes a toll on the body. A strength and conditioning staff's job is to get players strong and ensure they are in good condition. Injury prevention would be terrific, but it's not realistic. And as for getting new ones, the Jaguars did just that not long ago. This is a new strength and conditioning staff that deals with the same questions and misconceptions as the old one – and as every staff in the NFL, for that matter.
Mike from Brunswick, GA:
I've been around this site for a few years. I have to say the amount of solid work (articles, stats, Q&A, videos of all kinds) you guys are putting out is awesome. I can barely keep up. Keep up the good work. I wasn't sure about the changes that happened well over a year ago at first, but after slowly ramping up I finally fell over in admiration of the Jaguars site and the effort you all put forth for the fans. It has to seriously be cutting into your nap time.
John: You had me at awesome. I'm sorry you fell over. And nothing – I mean nothing – cuts into . . . .
Steve from Hudson, FL:
We were the only overtime game last week and were not even mentioned! Do you think we can fly under the radar all season or will a win over the Texans blow our cover?
John: If you win, you get noticed. If you lose, you get ridiculed without anyone bothering to pay much attention. And this is one case where I can't get on the national media much. Yes, there were parts of the Jaguars' loss on Sunday that showed improvement, but an overtime loss to a team that went 3-13 last season isn't going to change national perception. But to answer your question, yes, a victory over the Texans – that would certainly be a step toward the sort of recognition fans seem to crave.
Kevin from Section 106:
Osh, is it just me or does Lageman sound an awful lot like Del Rio? I was listening to him on the radio and couldn't help but notice the similarities.
John: I'll pass it along to Jeff. I'm sure this will make his day.
Chris from Philadelphia, PA:
O-Man, can you help teach people that it is a WR corps not a WR core? If not, than call the Marines and order them to change their name to the Marine Core. Thanks in advance.
John: It's corps, not core. My work is done here.
Joey from Middleburg, FL:
Is progress better measured against "good" or "not so good" teams? Given this season's first two games (Texas and Minnesota) which do you think will offer a better insight into our progress from last season? And, why?
John: Progress is measured over time, and while that's always true, it's particularly true early in the season. You may think you know, but in the NFL, you really don't know how good or bad a team is until about Week 4 or 5. At that point, you can look back and see that a victory over the Texans means a great deal, or that a loss to the Vikings was really a loss to a team that was better than many thought.
Jonathan from Orange Park, FL:
Hey John, a lot of people were bashing this Gene Smith for not getting Mario Williams. This guy got paid $100 mil and just recorded one tackle for the Bills on their season opener. Who's laughing now???
John: Oh, I don't know . . . if I had $100 million, I'd have a pretty good sense of humor.
Kelly from Greensburg, IN:
Hey O'Man, I thought that Gene Smith was a B.A.P. guy. I have noticed a lot lately when you're asked about what player/position we should draft your responses seemed to be of a need-based scenario. Has something changed in our drafting philosophy, or am I missing something somewhere?
John: The philosophy hasn't changed, but the reality is that despite theories to the contrary, the Jaguars were never what I call an all-or-nothing BAP team. By that I mean, you don't just go into the draft room on draft day and draft BAP as if you're in a vacuum. The reason for that is when it comes time to pick, there are usually multiple players on the board with very similar grades. If it is your time to pick and there is a player with an overwhelmingly high grade compared to the other available players, then you take that best available player. If you have a bunch of players who are graded similarly, then you take the position that would seem to address a need. The Jaguars drafted quarterback and wide receiver the past two seasons. It's safe to say the positions played by those two players were taken into account.
Joe from Union County, GA:
Do you think they will continue to try and feed Blackmon the ball deep? He wasn't a focal point through the middle of the game, but he is our best playmaker and run-after-catch guy. He showed he could win a deep route at OSU (I know that wasn't his calling but he makes plays on one on one verticals).
John: I wouldn't say the Jaguars have tried to feed the ball to Blackmon, and it was indeed striking in the opener that they didn't try to force the ball his way at all. That's smart, because you don't want to overwhelm the rookie. He's good and in time he's going to get the numbers and catches people expect. It's also telling that the Jaguars didn't have to force the ball to Blackmon. He's just one of several capable wide receivers and receiving options, and as a result, he will get a chance to develop at his own pace.
Aaron from Phoenix, AZ:
Just wondering which one of our receivers is drawing the opposing team's best cornerback? Was Justin Blackmon getting the majority of the Viking's No. 1 guy Sunday?
John: To hear Blackmon and Mike Mularkey tell it, the Vikings didn't roll defenses toward or double Blackmon much on Sunday. In time that certainly will happen, but in general, a receiver needs to play well enough to force a defensive coordinator to roll coverages his way. Blackmon was very good in the preseason, but he hasn't yet reached a stage where he's drawing coverages. When he has a game or games that merits it, that will change quickly.
Jim from Jacksonville:
John, regarding your "Try to tackle better" response, what do they do about that in practice? View film, put on the pads, all of the above?
John: All of the above, but unlike my short, pithy answer Thursday, there are things the Jaguars can do to improve tackling. The reason for that is the tackling issues haven't been as much about not wrapping up or getting guys down, but about taking incorrect angles. That's the view of Paul Polsuszny, at least, who said this week the issues were more bad angles than anything else. That can be fixed and my guess the Jaguars will be better in that area this week.
Zach from Omaha, NE:
I was on Twitter the other day and a tweet from @jaguarsinsider mentioned it being 6:30 a.m. In one film room, BG was by himself studying film, and in another film room, Meester was doing the same. The people who scrutinize Gabbert tend to forget the main reason he was drafted No. 10. He is very hard working and he does everything the "right way." After what most people would call a solid performance against the Vikings, Blaine's reaction is learn, study, and get better, simply because he is hungry to be the best. I fully support Blaine and cannot wait to watch the growth during this season along with the next few years. His ceiling is much higher than people realize. ALL IN for both the Jaguars, and Blaine.
John: The weird thing about your email was @jaguarsinsider was outside the film room at 6:30 a.m. Usually at that hour he's in the dining room knee deep into Waffle No. 4.

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