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You gotta blame somebody

Let's get to it . . . Jason from Honolulu, HI:
Regarding your response to Dustin, I believe you should add that more often than not, the success of a head coach is tied to the success of his quarterback. Without Bradshaw, Staubach, Brady, etc. maybe we never hear of their coaches.
John: True, but that's a little too simplistic. The 49ers depended on Montana, but also had a solid enough structure – and a good enough backup, of course – to maintain at times when he was injured. Landry won before Staubach arrived and also after he left – not Super Bowls, perhaps, but enough to be very, very good. The Joe Gibbs Redskins won Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks. You'll find no one who believes more strongly than I do that quarterbacking matters very much, but coaching does, too – not in terms of specific play-calling as much as providing a structure and organizational standard.
John from Elizabeth City:
Does it matter how much money Khan has? I thought there was a salary cap that meant you could only spend so much anyway?
John: I'll bet it matters to him. Kidding aside, there is indeed a salary cap, but having cash available for signing bonuses and coaching salaries often is an issue for NFL teams. While we're on the subject of money, Wayne Weaver at times was unjustly criticized for not spending for a winner, but I never saw it that way. In the early years, he spent as freely in free agency as any owner, and he signed Jack Del Rio to a contract worth $5 million a year. That's not bargain-basement stuff. The Jaguars also spent big in free agency this off-season, so to say Weaver was unwilling to spend is incorrect. As far as Khan goes, he has has indicated that money won't be an object in signing a coach, and in Khan's case, there is no question that him having resources to allocate to the Jaguars can only be a positive.
Ernest from Rockville, MD:
After watching Mr. Khan's press conference and your interview with him, I'm impressed with his vision on where he wants to take the Jaguars into the future. I was relieved to hear he is not a micromanager and believes in hiring the best people available and stepping in when needed. But a learning curve still exists when it comes to running a NFL franchise. Living in the Washington, D.C. area, the woes of the Redskins under Dan Snyder are well documented. From your interactions with Mr. Khan, do you feel he can avoid the same mistakes Dan Snyder made? There's a fine line between making informed decisions and taking calculated risks as oppose to being reckless.
John: There is indeed a fine line, and early indications are Khan will have the ability to walk it. He seems to have taken the proper approach to this, in that not only has he talked to people who have run franchises, but he also seems willing to listen and take what he hears into account. Khan clearly is in a listen-and-learn phase, and if you spend any time around him, you not only know he's serious about listening, but you get the idea he's willing to take seriously what he hears. There's no way to predict the future, of course, and Khan certainly will have his ownership style – just as any owner does. But he seems to have a have a passion for it and a desire to do things the right way – with class and integrity – and that's a heck of a start.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I love it when I read some fans say: "The fans cannot wait anymore for this or for that..." What are they going to do when their internal clock runs out? Not support the team? Give me a break - You are a fan or you are not. I know this season has been a little crazy and a bit disappointing, but I still cannot wait till Jan 1 to be at the stadium again. Merry Christmas, Mr. O!!!
John: You have been heard.
Rob from Richmond, VA:
There is one name that you should appreciate (as a former Redskins fan) that would stop all debate about the absolute "need" for hiring a "big name." Joe Gibbs, as in Joe Gibbs redux. Cheers!
John: Absolutely. I am not alone in considering Gibbs one of the NFL's greatest coaches ever. Some put him at the top because he won three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks. He also won twice in strike-shortened seasons, showing his ability to maintain focus during chaotic times. He also won with three quarterbacks – Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien – who hardly were Hall of Fame-bound. Yet, when he returned for a second stint there was no dominance, no consistency and not a whole lot of winning by comparison. Circumstances had changed. The lesson? The name matters little. You do the research and hire the right person for the job no matter what the name.
Corey from Orange Park, FL:
I'm going to come out and say that I'd be extremely happy with Tucker as a coach. I like what he does for this team from what I've seen, although it has only been three weeks. That being said, why are coaches being fired so quickly? Sparano made a 1-15 team into an average team in two years. He had one off year, but why fire him for that? Raheem Morris is having one bad year, yet he's going to be fired? I don't understand why many people believe this would be the solution to their teams' problems.
John: You gotta blame somebody. In the internet age, you gotta blame somebody NOW.
Andrea from Ormond Beach, FL:
Three times this weekend I heard Deion Sanders state that the Jaguar players "fell down" on Tucker. I wasn't pleased with the performance but other than a couple of mistakes felt like everyone was still trying. Is Deion's statement accurate?
John: Not in this case. It's an easy assumption to make when a team gets beat 41-14 and is down 41-0 that a team quit. In this case, I didn't see it. Now, if you want to say they got beaten down, absolutely. The Jaguars got beat handily and it wasn't pretty. But in that game as in the San Diego game, I'd say injuries and match-up issues on defense played the major role.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Do you think Khan can have the same success that Kraft had when he purchased the Patriots? They were not a good team and then a new owner took over and the rest is history.
John: I don't see why not. The Patriots under Kraft have a solid structure, Hall of Fame coach and a Hall of Fame quarterback, and Kraft undoubtedly changed the culture of the building. A change in leadership at the right time can change the outlook, so why not here? This roster is young and growing, so a turnaround similar to San Francisco this season wouldn't be far-fetched.
Emily from Boulder, CO:
Gabbert seems to be getting a lot more of the national media's criticism than Christian Ponder, who has been atrocious the past two weeks. In my opinion, Ponder may actually be the best comparison for Gabbert. Ponder has a star running back, an offensive line with some holes, and a bunch of below-average receivers. Ponder was supposed to be the most "pro-ready" of the quarterbacks and yet, he's struggled as much as Gabbert has with a patchwork offensive line and a poor group of receivers. Gabbert was supposed to be a one-year project until he matured and we could get some talent around him. In light of Ponder's struggles, Gabbert doesn't look so bad. Fair comparison?
John: Very fair. It's getting to the point where there's not much to say about Gabbert that I haven't already seen. Needs time. Wait until the off-season. All I can say is I like what I've heard about how he's handling this season and I like some things I see in flashes. How that will translate into performance on the field next season will depend on a lot of things that haven't happened yet.
Keith from Deleon Springs, FL:
The current owner of the Orlando arena football team is a frequent guest on a local radio show. Last week he was asked about his thoughts on Jay Gruden (his former coach) taking the Jags job and he responded by saying that knowing Jay, he would turn it down because of Blaine Gabbert. This is the craziest notion going around, like you I think it is nonsense that any coach would turn down a NFL coaching job because of one player. Having said that if that scares off a coaching candidate, I don't want him -- pretty lame!
Chris from Jacksonville:
We take a beating from national media. We're either moving to L.A., a ratings nightmare for opponents or just a bad market. Will winning make all of this negativity go away?
John: Almost certainly, and if it doesn't, you'll care a lot less.

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