Let's get to it . . .
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Over the past few weeks you have "answered" some questions about the future by saying we'll have to wait and see the team’s philosophy going forward. Is that your subtle way of telling us you think there is going to be major turnover in the front office and coaching staff? Realistically, if there isn't a lot of turnover, the basic philosophy will stay the same, so you're either showing your hand or your dodging questions. Which is it?
John: It’s not dodging. It’s not subtle. It’s just not knowing, so it’s a way of answering questions of people who want to know for certain what will happen before it happens. The Jaguars are 2-13, and Owner Shad Khan said at midseason he will evaluate throughout the rest of the season. It doesn’t take a dots-connecting genius to realize with that sort of record changes are possible; I’ve said as much more than once. As of now, nothing has happened and as of now, Khan has indicated nothing either way. It’s not my job to assume anything either way. It is my job to provide perspective, and when asked about the future, the most accurate perspective is it’s difficult to project decisions until you know the philosophy of the team going forward. There’s a week left in the season. We’ll know soon enough.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
How did the Colts go from two wins last year to 10 wins this year.... and can we do that next year?
John: Andrew Luck . . . and I have no idea.
Tommy from Wilmington, NC:
Which rookie would you think has the most potential to break out – a la Cecil Shorts? I would like to exclude Blackmon as he has already proven that he belongs as a long-term guy.
If you had to guess right now, you would say either Andre Branch
or Mike Harris
. Branch probably fits Shorts’ profile more than Harris, because Branch did very little this year and some have considered him a disappointment. I expected more from him as the season continued, and he never really seemed to develop in the season. That was too bad for this year, but in no way means he can’t develop. As is the case with wide receiver, defensive end is a position at which players often struggle as a rookie before learning the specific techniques needed to be successful in the NFL. Harris already has the signs of developing into a good NFL cornerback. How good remains to be seen. The key to the draft class may end up being Branch. Blackmon appears on his way to being good, Bryan Anger
obviously is good and Harris appears to have a chance. Add Branch to that, and you’ve got a very solid group.
Ruben from Jacksonville:
Is Babin under contract with us next year or are we pretty much going to lose him? I like the energy he brings, and I'd like to see this defense with all our starters plus the new additions I'm sure we'll add in the offseason.
John: Babin, because he was acquired off waivers, is playing under the contract he signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has three years remaining on that contract, though he can void out after the 2013 season if he so desires. Bottom line: if the Jaguars want Babin next season, he is under contract to play here.
Tim from St. Petersburg, FL:
What do you think the NFL is going to do with the inconsistency of the personal foul calls? Brady lowers his head into the tackle – 15 yards. One of our receivers gets mauled by two defenders and drops the ball – no call. Last week Prozinski gets 15 on the same type of hit. I know the NFL is erring on the side of caution, but 15 yards in a game is huge. All season games have been affected by personal foul calls that, when reviewed, are bogus. How about calling it as it should be and fining later for blatant fouls?
John: That’s the ideal. Right now, officials seem to be quick to call the defenseless-receiver penalty, which is understandable considering the emphasis the league has placed on that situation. The penalty on Mincey against Brady indeed was unfair, but under the letter of the rule, it was the correct call. I know Mike Mularkey isn’t thrilled with some of the non-calls on Jaguars quarterbacks this season, and you would hope in the future the team would get more of those. It hasn’t happened a lot this season.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
I am in agreement with the thoughts on Blackmon. It has been well-documented how tough it is for rookie wide receivers to break 1,000 yards, so coming into the season 60-plus catches for 800-plus yards was a reasonable goal. He is on track to get those numbers. Blackmon has shown he can make clutch plays, be very difficult to cover in certain patterns, and seems to be improving by the week.
John: Blackmon in the last half of the season has shown precisely what you hoped he would show. He has improved, gotten more consistent and is showing an ability to get open consistently. Few draft analysts projected him coming out of college on the level of, say, A.J. Green or Calvin Johnson, so he wasn’t going to look like that in his rookie season. Blackmon still needs to get a lot better, and receiver is a position where you can improve with work, study and attention to detail. To have shown he can be this productive as a rookie shows he has a chance to be much more productive in the future. I wasn’t sure that was the case early on for Blackmon. Now, it appears it is and that’s an important sign for the Jaguars.
Lee from Stuart, FL:
I believe there is a Tebow conspiracy in the NFL. Now hear me out. The NFL wanted Tebow in Jacksonville to begin with because they knew he would sell tickets. The Jaguars couldn't draft him initially, because expectations would have been way too high even for Tebow. So he gets drafted in Denver and has a little success and then goes to the Jets where he is a total flop. Next, Tebow goes to Jacksonville where the expectations won't be nearly as high as they were when he came out in the draft. The NFL gets him in Jax where he will sell a lot of tickets and help stabilize the franchise until they become winners on the field.
John: I heard you out and it was an interesting read, but I’m moving on now. I’m pretty sure Denver didn’t use a first-round selection on Tebow to participate in a conspiracy to help the Jaguars, and I’m pretty sure there was no three-year master plan to get Tebow here. But if that’s what you’re going with, have at it. No harm, no foul.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Really? We know what this is, okay. We know they aren't playing well. Has it gotten so bad that people can't enjoy the game? Has it really become a spectacle to criticize instead of an enjoyable pastime?
John: Well, yes.
Jesse from Anywhere, USA:
O-man, all I want for Christmas is a Tebow-free O-Zone. Please give me that. I'm so sick of talking about bringing in a person to play quarterback who couldn't make an accurate throw to save his life. How did my man Daryl Smith
play in his first game all year? He looked good for his first time playing in almost a full year.
John: Sorry about your Christmas, but Daryl Smith played well. He was sore coming out of the game after playing 63 plays, but that was to be expected. He helped the defense, and played well considering it was his first game in more than a year. He wasn’t the whole reason the Jaguars’ defense played perhaps its best game of the season, but did his presence help? Sure, it did. Good players help their teams and Smith is very, very good.
Daniel from Section 146:
Please stop placating your readers. There are NO Jaguars fans who want Tebow as our quarterback. And we bought more tickets this year than in a long time. Tebow fans will not by tickets to see him play special teams.
John: I can’t say there are NO Jaguars fans who want Tebow as the quarterback. My inbox suggests otherwise. I can say there isn’t the fervor among the fan base to have him here as many national analysts seem to assume. Fans will buy tickets to see the Jaguars compete, and to see them win. If Tebow eventually ends up here and does that, so much the better.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
If the Jaguars and Chiefs end up with the same record after next week, who gets the number one overall pick in the draft?
John: The way it looks now, the Chiefs would get the No. 1 selection in that scenario. Their strength of schedule is weaker than the Jaguars, and that’s the tiebreaker.
Jerrell from Columbia, SC:
MM is the best coach when it comes to really being proud after loss. Has he forgot this team has achieved an new low for the franchise. So give me a brake already with this love feast in every lost that is close.
John: Deal. We’ll put the breaks on the love feasts.