Let's get to it . . .
Michael from Jackson, MS:
What do you think about the ''Leftwich-Roethlisberger'' principle, which states: A team shouldn't draft a first-round quarterback if said team drafted a quarterback in the first round in the last three years?"
John: I believe in the principle that says if you believe you have your quarterback, you go with that quarterback. If you don’t believe you have your quarterback, you keep looking for him until you find him. There are all sorts of variables in this equation, and there is certainly merit to the belief that if you believe there’s a quarterback available who’s a franchise guy you take him whatever the circumstance. Those players are that rare and that valuable. But generally, you keep trying to find your franchise quarterback until you find him.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, winning five games isn't "turning things around." Winning five games is not an accomplishment. Are you trying to sell winning five games this far into a rebuild as "things being turned around?” Please tell me you aren't trying to do that.
John: Bill, I don’t worry nearly as much about “selling” things as many people seem to believe. The Jaguars have lost eight of the first nine games this season. If they won four of the last seven games, that would be an improvement. If they played well doing it, that would certainly give people a different feel for the team and the season than there is right now. Would it be good enough? Of course not. Winning five games is not good enough. And I don’t know that I ever said it would mean things have turned around in a big-picture sense. But if the Jaguars won four of their final seven games, within the context of where they are now, it would be better than how the season started. It also would have to be included in whatever evaluation is going to take place. Shad Khan plans to evaluate, and that means including the entire season, not just nine games.
John from Jacksonville:
First, I sent you a note earlier this season to tell the video guys to stop doing the "oblivious cam" at the games on the big screen. People pay a lot of money for attending a game and an attempt to embarrass them is not a good message from the organization. I don't sit in the seat and watch the big screen the whole time and shouldn't be ridiculed as "oblivious" for that (to my knowledge, I haven't been the target of that yet). Second, the Jags fans always seem to be waiting ‘X’ more years for new GM, new coach, new owner, new QB, new Senior Writer, new anything, to become a consistently successful franchise. My concern is that an overhaul in the upcoming offseason by our new owner (announcing a new GM and/or new coach and/or new QB) will come with it another plea for the fans to be patient another ‘X’ years. When does it end?
John: First, relax a little, John. Cams at games are all in good fun. As far as your second concern, I don’t know how the offseason will play out, but the quest for winning will “end” when the Jaguars start winning, and the franchise isn’t going to stop working toward that. (By the way, let me know your seat number. I’ll be sure to tell the video guys *NOT* to shoot you during oblivious cam.)
Trevor from Orange Park, FL:
Can we have a day without all the whining? It’s pretty sad that so many find the need to lash out and blame someone for their football team not winning. It’s only a game. We obviously have the most immature fan base. Perhaps it's because the Jags are so great to their fans and give them content such as "The O-Zone . . ."
John: I almost stopped reading and succumbed to a dreamlike state of drooling bliss after “without all the whining." I made it to great content such as the O-Zone or something like that and decided that this is only the best email EVER!!!!!!
Alex from Jacksonville:
Why do you think the Jaguars struggle tackling on first contact? My theory is in college there is such a limited time to practice on a weekly basis coaches can't teach and refine those defensive fundamentals and that carries over into the NFL. The new CBA limits practice times and NFL coaches inherit players that still have poor technique and habits. Maybe I'm overanalyzing but when my Jags are 1-8, I'm trying to figure out what got us here. Thoughts?
John: You’re pretty right on. Overall, I couldn’t say tackling is as good now in the NFL as it was thirty years ago, and I’ve always thought a couple of factors contribute to that. One, there is far less contact in practice either in training camp or the regular season because of the need to keep players healthy. Two, players tend to go for the "SportsCenter" hit rather than wrapping and tackling. But neither of those issues address why the Jaguars have struggled in that area this season. But it has been an issue. It has been an issue in training camp, and is yet another area the Jaguars have been too inconsistent too often.
Pete from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
OK, let the national media bash away, but to say the franchise is a lemon? That would indicate that there is something inherently wrong with it – and that it's unfixable. Not true. Yes, it will take time. I won't say that Rome wasn't built in a day, but you get the picture.
John: There is no reason the Jaguars can’t be a competitive team. There is no reason they can’t win Super Bowls. The NFL works in markets of different sizes and with many different approaches from franchises. Right now, things are bad and it has become vogue in national circles to bash the city, the franchise, the fans, whoever. The Jaguars will win, and when that happens, the perception will change.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
I am going to repeat this question that you posted and answered in a "cute, humorous fashion." What would you do this off season if you were Shad? As a fan from the beginning who has seen, felt and experienced every team of every year, I would suggest that Shahid Khan literally blow the whole thing up and re-build. Making a few big changes would be a patch/band aid job, and obviously what we have on hand is not fixable with a few big changes. BLOW THE WHOLE THING AND START FROM SCRATCH!
John: I answered in cute, humorous fashion because I’ve answered this question in various ways multiple times. My answer is that with seven games remaining, we don’t know what Khan will do. And with seven games remaining, I don’t know yet what I would do if I were him. That’s why he’s waiting and that’s why waiting is exactly the right thing. If the Jaguars don’t win again this season, I imagine some pretty earthshaking decisions could get made. If they win seven games, I imagine the other extreme could be true. If it’s somewhere in between, decisions will be different. I wish I could predict the future, but I for one am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out. That’s what’s enjoyable about covering and following the NFL.
Kyle from Orange Park, FL:
I can't stand it when fans equate Jones-Drew's holdout with being selfish and not being a team player. To me, that's naive. He held out to maximize his earnings in a career that likely won't last too much longer. He didn't do it to stick it to the team or to try and be bigger than the team. It's almost as if some fans took it personally because MJD held out. Yes, it's a team game but to possibly leave millions in unearned income is just stupid. MJD took a chance to see if he could get more money and it didn't work out. That doesn't mean he's selfish.
John: In professional football, players have every right to hold out for more money. Teams have every right to not give them more money. Jones-Drew wasn’t selfish nor was he sticking it to the team, and as far as I’ve seen, he hasn’t behaved differently this season than last. He’s hurt, and though he wants to play, he can’t because he’s injured. It’s a pretty common story in the NFL.
Tyler from Oradell, NJ:
I just don't get it. It actually hurts my head, John. Why do people believe that a man who held out hoping to gain more money, playing a position that receives a ton of punishment within a violent game, put himself in position to make less money by milking an injury? MJD's a smart guy. He knows missing games at his age is not a trend a running back wants to set if he's looking to cash in down the road on that one last big contract. Just sayin'.
John: Just agreein’.