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Many, many questions

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Oh, yeah, LookAhead Wednesday.

Let's get to it . . .

Mike from Section 238:
Maybe the one big difference for Chad Henne Sunday was the consistent willingness to hold on for one more second while longer routes came open. That’s something most people already knew Blaine Gabbert needed to work on. Henne has a history of throwing for a lot of yards in one game and a lot of interceptions a game or two later. Let's wait to see how things develop.
John: We probably won’t address every Henne-Gabbert-quarterback issue this week, just as we can’t answer every Henne-Gabbert-quarterback email. People are just coming at it from too many angles – understandably so, because of the importance of the issue to the franchise long-term. But your question touches on a critical point, and Mike Mularkey indeed said Monday that Henne holding onto the ball for a touch longer may have contributed to his success. As for how Henne will play moving forward, the answer is we just don’t know. We do know this: he played well Sunday, and that has earned him a chance to start. Just as the team was willing to let Gabbert play through rough times, it would seem Henne has earned that chance, too – at least for a bit. As you said, “Let’s wait to see how things develop.” That appears to be what we’ll all need to do.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
Why did it have to get to the 4th-and-10 point? Is Henne going make it (6) games? What happen to Palmer, the guy winning in preseason? Are they going to make amends with Garrard? 1-4 is when you make a change not 1-8 when it's hopeless. Don't coaches review game tapes? I might force myself to go to a game now.
John: It would seem Buddy has achieved FULL CONSISTENCY.
Trey from Jacksonville:
I saw the 1-8 Jaguars a play away from defeating the 8-1 Texans. The ‘W’ would have been nice, but the team and fans should be proud of that effort. No doubt about passion.
John: I’m struck by how many emails I’ve received this week commending the Jaguars for their passion Sunday. This is in sharp contrast to emails following losses this season when the theme was the Jaguars lacked fire or heart. The reality is the players actually entered the game Sunday with no more or less passion than they had the first nine games. When you lose, you often appear listless – and it’s natural at the end of a game you’re losing to not be quite as enthusiastic after making a tackle five yards downfield as you would be after making a tackle for a loss in a close game. The reality is the Jaguars and every other NFL team always want to win. How the game goes is going to dictate how passionate they appear after kickoff.
Jayson from St. Augustine, FL:
While I was happy to see the good effort on Sunday, the outcome was the same. It's tough to read that Mularkey was very proud of them for losing the ninth game of season and rewarded them with a day off. What happens if they win? Do they get a whole week off as reward? Is it wrong for me to think that more work and progress is still needed after a game like Sunday?
John: Mularkey wasn’t proud of them for the loss; he was proud of the effort. And in truth, Mondays in the NFL aren’t big preparation or work days, anyway. Usually, it’s about the players coming in, getting treatment and having a meeting to review the previous game. There may be some brief on-field work to make corrections and get loose, but the real preparation for the next game doesn’t start until Wednesday.
Hogfish from Mayport, FL and Section 441:
As a writer, can you tell me: What's the difference between unexplainably and inexplicably? I don't know that I've seen the word unexplainably used before.
John: I was curious about this, too. I used unexplainably Tuesday because I was having trouble spelling inexplicably and I was spelling it so poorly that Microsoft word couldn’t find it for me, either. When I used unexplainably, it didn’t come up red, and if it’s good enough for Microsoft, it’s good enough for me. Further research revealed that while there are some obscure dictionaries that include unexplainably, they’re rare. So, I suppose it’s possible that Microsoft was wr . . wr . . . nah.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
You know what I think?
John: Yes. Yes, I do.
Mike from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The problem is Henne DID answer the question Sunday. He didn't show us he is the long-term answer; he showed us that Gabbert's lack of development is definitely part of the problem. The receivers looked good because the ball was on target. The line looked better because the ball came out quicker. The running game was better because passes were being completed. A repeat of this will still not anoint Henne, but, will definitely indict Gabbert.
John: I wouldn’t use the word “indict,” but your point is well-taken – and a good one. The offense for a little more than a season and a half has struggled with Gabbert, showing flashes, but never the productivity it showed Sunday. Gabbert has looked good in flashes, and has shown potential. He also clearly has the physical tools to be a big-time NFL quarterback. What hasn’t happened with him at quarterback is consistency or productivity on offense and what also hasn’t happened are nearly enough big plays, yards and touchdowns. No one around the Jaguars ever in the last season and a half has said that the way Gabbert was playing was great. What many have said is there was a belief that he would develop given time. That can still happen, but Mike Mularkey made it clear Monday that for right now, Henne deserves a chance to start over Gabbert – and that injury is not a reason. What that means for the future is something perhaps only the future can tell.
George from Savannah, GA:
Kaepernick is just another example in the long list of QB's that we could have drafted in the 2nd round that have far outperformed expectations. I am not impressed with our player selection.
John: The Jaguars are 1-9. It’s not surprising you would be unimpressed.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
The defense is worse this year because we are missing Session, Smith, Mathis, and Lowery. When healthy, Session is a big factor on the defense. It is not so much who is on the field during the game; rather; who is not on the field during the game. Sure do miss those players this year.
John: Those absences don’t help. Remember, this was not a dominant defense every game last season. There were times early that the unit struggled, and there absolutely were games late in the season – after injuries decimated the corner position – that the unit really, really struggled. In reality what the defense was most of last year was a unit that when it played well could keep a functioning offense in a game more games than not. That means it’s not an elite, overpowering defense that can easily overcome injuries.
Lloyd from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, does Gabbert have more potential as an NFL quarterback or anyone in next year’s draft?
John: That is a question that will be asked by many who are around the Jaguars in coming weeks and months, and one that people within the franchise almost certainly will ask, too. I don’t know, because I haven’t seen every quarterback in next year’s draft. I don’t know what the future holds for Gabbert, but considering that Gabbert has yet to clearly prove himself the quarterback of the future yet, to say that questions such as yours shouldn’t be asked is to ignore the obvious.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I know there's a lot of argument for and against changing the starting QB. I don't think Henne is the answer, but for the sake of evaluation, the team has to make a change now. People say you have to let Gabbert finish the season so he can be properly evaluated, but what about everyone else? How can you properly evaluate the rest of the team with a mediocre quarterback in the game? Henne isn't the long term answer, but he showed us what the offense is capable of, and to evaluate the offense going into the offseason, I think you have to let him play.
John: That’s certainly one of the arguments for making this move. One obvious argument is whether or not you think Gabbert could have had the same game as Henne had he not been injured; the reality is Gabbert hasn’t had that sort of game. The offense showed life, so why not see if it can show life again? But even aside from that argument, if you believe Henne is capable of being a bit more productive, then, yes, there’s a point to be made for playing him so that you can see what the offense can do. That does raise the obvious question of whether or not you’ve seen enough of Gabbert to know how you feel for the long-term, which is one of many, many questions that will be asked and perhaps answered in the coming months.

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