Let's get to it . . .
John from Jacksonville:
Comparing the offensive line from the Bengals and Bears games, it seemed the line performed significantly better against the Bears, which is very encouraging. Did you see the same thing? I've heard they performed a little better, but I recall it being substantial. Of course, this question is separate from panic and collapse that started late in the third quarter of the Bears game.
John: The line did show progress against the Bears. That's as it should be, because the line spent the first three games of the season playing through injuries and the Bears game was the second consecutive game playing with its starting five. In the first half, there was decent time for Gabbert to throw, and that didn't change until the Bears took a double-digit lead that enabled them to know the Jaguars needed to pass. The line should continue to improve its pass-blocking now as long it stays healthy. That should give Gabbert more time to get better in his progressions.
John from Lake Asbury, FL:
My game plan for Sunday consists of getting up early and firing up the smoker, then having friends over for Jaguars and pulled pork. My beer of choice for crying into will once again be Blue Point Toasted Lager. If you have another Monday like you've had recently, what will you be packing in your cooler to dull the pain of your inbox?
John: You can't get it without a prescription. A cooler is optional as well.
Alex from Austin, TX:
If Gabbert plays poorly against a weak Raiders pass defense, do you see Henne being the starter next week? Or are we basically riding the season out with Gabbert no matter what?
John: I don't get the impression this is a week-to-week, start-Gabbert-or-not issue, nor do I think it should be. This team needs to find out if Gabbert is the quarterback of the future. Normally, to bench a young quarterback is often to signal the end of his time as the team's future, and we're not there.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I know our receiving corps gets a lot of the blame for our passing game, but I found an interesting stat that may say otherwise: 46 percent of Gabbert's passing yards are coming after the catch...almost exactly the same as Aaron Rodgers, and more than Tom Brady, Peyton & Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and many others. Our receivers aren't great, but they're right in the middle of the pack in terms of gaining yards after the catch. They do need to get open more consistently, but no one can say that our passing woes are because the receivers can't make a play with the ball in their hands.
John: A lot of the receivers' yards after the catch came from Cecil Shorts' touchdown against the Colts, but your point is taken – that the receivers have ability after the catch. The receivers also need to eliminate drops, which have hurt this season. Look, when you're 32nd in the NFL in passing, there's a lot of blame to go around, and that's certainly the case here.
Samuel from Écija, Spain:
I have to agree with Taylor. There has definitely been a change in your tone since the Chicago game. I know you're supposed to be objective and impartial -- to a degree -- but it has been noticeable. There was more of a 'wait and see' or 'give 'em a chance' air to your writing before, whereas it seems to have changed to a more demanding and downtrodden tone. Not that you've been broken by the fans' spur-of-the-moment bilge or another big loss, but if you can't beat them, join them?
John: Not trying to be downtrodden, and it has nothing to do with the fans. Before Chicago, we were waiting and seeing. Against Chicago, we saw. I still believe there's a chance to see something better as we move forward – that happens often in the NFL – but my job is to be as reasonable and honest as possible in the O-Zone. Reasonably and honestly, there's time to get this turned around. But reasonably and honestly, it hasn't been good enough yet. To say otherwise would be silly.
Winston from Orlando, FL:
John, do you believe in past lives?
John: Yes, I believe peopled lived in the past.
Jarrett from Crosby, ND:
The toughest pill to swallow for me is that the national media was right all along. While we listened to you, Jeff, and Tony, the media had it right. And not just about the Jaguars being the worst in the league, but also that they would have the worst defensive line in the league. It's like a punch in the gut after thinking our defensive line was developing into our strength.
John: The line hasn't been a strength. No arguing that. It also hasn't been very deep. Now, the group appears to be getting a little deeper. It needs to play better after the bye. It's capable of doing so.
Malosi from Santa Clarita, CA:
I have a proposal to help the Jags acclimate to the Western time zone. Let's see what you think. Everyone goes on a bender Friday night, recover Saturday, wake up Sunday refreshed and so thankful you're not still hungover that you have a fresh perspective and BAM – Jags win 100-0.
John: I don't see that being the players and coaches' plan. Now, as for public relations intern Garrett "Go Get 'Em" Petty . . .
Benjamin from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
You said that Gabbert needs to be patient and trust his line more while the coaching staff is encouraging him to run more. Am I mistaken or are those philosophies contradictory?
John: At first glance that would seem to be the case, but not really. Gabbert indeed needs to be more patient, but when saying that, the coaches mean in his reads and progression. A lot of that has to with giving receivers a second or two more in their routes before moving to the next step in the progression. That has less to do with protection breaking down than with waiting that extra heartbeat or two before throwing the check down. Aside from all of that, there will be times when protection and/or coverage and/or opportunity dictates that it's time to run. In those instances, Mularkey has said he would like to see Gabbert run more and more decisively. There are yards in Gabbert's legs, and the Jaguars would like to get those yards out of them.
William from Savannah, GA:
O-Man, O-man, O-man: Dodgeball or Wedding Crashers?
John: You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think we only use 10 percent of our hearts.
Wyatt from Jacksonville:
Totally agree with Boselli and Oehser. I don't care how well Anger is punting unless he literally has magical powers that make his punts uncatchable and he can always somehow make the other team muff it and turn it over. I especially don't want to hear about Anger when Russell Wilson was taken by the Seahawks after him and he just got done kicking Tom Brady's butt.
John: This is in reference to a discussion Tony Boselli, Jeff Lageman and I had on Jaguars This Week Wednesday. Lageman was discussing Bryan Anger, and Boselli and I – Boselli more vehemently than I, quite naturally – said that fans didn't want to hear about the punter when a team was 1-4. This is no knock on Anger, who indeed is having a remarkable year and who seems destined to be a very good punter for a long time. But that has nothing to do with Russell Wilson. While he is performing well, I wouldn't make a strong case that he kicked Tom Brady's butt by himself; the Seahawks have perhaps the NFL's best defense. And even if the Jaguars hadn't taken Anger, they wouldn't have selected Wilson. I get that the anger over "Anger" runs deeper than that, but on JTW this week, the issue really wasn't where Anger was selected as much as fans not wanting to talk punting when a team is 1-4.
Martin from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I keep hearing our fans attacking Gene Smith. They aren't even letting Gabbert, Branch and Blackmon finish their third season to get a proper evaluation. I keep seeing the blame on Gene Smith and never the blame on Shack Harris. In Shack's era, he was 1-6 on his first- round picks. Yet, these people expected a 19-game quarterback, five-game wide receiver and defensive end to turn things around within four years?
John: I'm not going to keep getting into the Smith-Harris conversation. The time for that is over. People want progress. So far this season, it's hard to see on the field. That's what the next 11 games are about. While it's fair to want to see more from the 2009 and 2010 draft classes, I absolutely agree with your assessment on Gabbert and Blackmon. When the Jaguars start the game Sunday, they will be starting with a second-year quarterback, rookie wide receiver and second-year wide receiver. The Bengals are the only other team with such a lineup, and while I can hear the clarion calls saying that the Bengals are pretty good – and they are – the Jaguars' trio has started a total of 24 games. That's not a lot.
Jefferson from Phoenix, AZ:
Did someone really ask why the Jaguars were NOT at the bottom of the jaguars.com Power Rankings? "..." John, there are no words in this language or any other to express our gratitude to you for putting up with us.
John: I can think of some words. Most of them start with $.
Words starting with $
Let's get to it . . .
John from Jacksonville: