JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Doug from Allten:
Has your inbox ever received more venomous, angst-driven, or outwardly hostile responses in the post-Tebow-relevancy era than Friday???
John: What’s funny is I actually got a lot of emails asking if I’d gotten a lot of angry emails. If I hadn’t gotten them, I don’t know that I would have noticed much more angst and anger in the in-box than usual. There are people upset and confused that Gabbert is starting a preseason game over Henne. These people seem to think Henne dramatically outplayed Gabbert in the preseason opener, and that that means it’s time to close the book on Gabbert. The Jaguars aren’t ready to do that yet – nor should they be after one preseason game. There are also a lot of e-mailers who believe that starting the second preseason game means Gabbert has been named the starter for the regular season. We’re not quite there yet, but do I understand fans’ feeling how they do. Absolutely.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
This "Moodachay" thing has legs. I was stranded in the Atlanta airport two days ago and I heard "moodachay." I made a friend! I wish he would have paid his tab, slug! He stiffed me for like $30 bucks. You know who you are!
John: I was not in Atlanta two days ago.
Ian from Los Angeles, CA:
I'm sure your inbox was about as fun as the day after a loss, and I don't envy you, but I was pretty positive Gabbert was going to start this week. Not because he's won the job, but because Chad Henne
in his sixth season is very much a known quantity. Blaine on the other hand is still one of the youngest quarterback in the league, has yet to play a full season, and the list goes on. You spent a first-round pick and then some to get this kid. Don't you need to give him as many reps as you can to see exactly what you have in him?
John: Yes. That’s a huge reason Gabbert’s starting. It’s also important to remember that Henne is going to get reps with the first-team offense. Look, there’s this huge theory right now that the whole quarterback competition has been a charade, and that the coaches have planned to give Gabbert the job all along. All of that is based on the decision to start Gabbert over Henne in a PRESEASON game. That’s drawing premature conclusions, and that’s fine to do – but premature conclusions are not always accurate. Do I think coaches and team officials want Gabbert to win the job? Yeah, I think if they had their preference, they would love to see that. And starting him against the Jets to get him more repetitions is about giving him every opportunity to show as much as he can. All of that being said, if Henne clearly shows he deserves to start and will give the Jaguars the best chance to win, I believe the Jaguars will start Henne. So far, we have Henne playing a little better in one quarter and we have Gabbert having had three passes dropped and pressured into an incomplete pass another time. I suspect there will be more of a sample size following Week 2. We shall see.
Kevin from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada:
...you'd have one dollar.
John: So *you* say.
Big Bad Shad from EverBank Arena:
I don't understand why everyone is saying Gus Bradley and David Caldwell lost their credibility and trust. They are in their first year at their respective positions, before a single regular-season game has happened. I feel like at the conclusion of this season is when I will decide whether they have gained credibility and my trust, or whether they never had it at all.
John: It’s great if a fan base trusts a general manager and a coach. It’s far more important that a general manager and a coach do what they believe necessary to win.
Dennis from Port St. Lucie:
You can dance around the fair-competition issue all you want, but everyone expected Henne to start this week. Bradley's stance that they will each take extensive reps with the first team does not validate a fair competition. If Henne plays better, but the Jets put their second stringers in during Henne's reps how can it truly be a fair evaluation? It will be pointed out that this is why Henne played better. I know you don't want to bite the hand that feeds you, but Don't Whoa there Rob, slow down like the fan is somehow out of line with his comment. He is in agreement with most of the fans and media!
John: Rob wasn’t out of line. I don’t often consider fans “out of line,” but as far as everyone “expecting” Henne to start this week, I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. This is about Bradley and the Jaguars’ decision-makers doing what they can to come to the best decision possible. Whether fans “expected” it to be run one way or the other really isn’t pertinent. It’s great that the Jaguars have been pretty transparent in this and a lot of other things this offseason, but Bradley and Co. were hired to do a job and they need to do it how they see fit.
Bill from Jacksonville:
I read where the Jets’ offensive line struggled in the first pre-season game. If so, do you think this is good timing for the Jaguars’ defensive line to continue to improve and gain confidence as they become a force to reckon with?
John: I don’t know how much confidence there is to be gained from playing well against a team that’s struggling. There’s probably more to be gained from playing well against a team that’s doing well. That said, the Jaguars’ pass rush needs to keep playing well and building confidence. That’s a big point of emphasis. The front started well last week. The Jaguars would like nothing more than for that to continue this week.
Randy from Medicine Hat, Alberta:
The preseason is to display emerging young talent, and to ready the veterans – we can all agree this is true. If the established veteran, or known quantity, and the young, less established veteran clearly cannot get the job done at quarterback, why waste time hoping for something that can't happen? I mean, do you really think Scott, Kafka or even a waiver-wire pickup could not complete 5 of 10 for 19 yards, if he had the chance?
John: Not if he had three drops and an incomplete pass as he was being hit by one of the NFL’s top pass rushers, he couldn’t. Wait! What? MAN CRUSH!!!!!!!!
Michael from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
With neither quarterback separating themselves from the other, I wonder if the "winner" of this competition will be based on a short-term display of proficiency by one of them in a quarter of a preseason game. If this turns out to be the case, where there is little separation and a momentary flash of aptitude, then what's to say that they’re going with the correct choice?
John: I don’t know that the decision will be all that difficult. While the quarterbacks have done little on the field to separate themselves statistically, the coaches repeatedly have said there is more to the competition than statistics and in-game performance. While the fans and observers likely will be split on the decision, I doubt there will be much uncertainty among those making the decision.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Could you ask Gus Bradley if he has read the book "Whale Done!" by Ken Blanchard. It is about recognizing and reinforcing positive behavior and redirecting negative behavior. He seems to exhibit many of the traits discussed in this book. If not, it's an easy read and full of excellent management techniques for work and home. Seriously, good stuff.
John: Thank you, Benjamin Blanchard.
Tom from Jacksonville:
Henne has better focus downfield than Gabbert during games. He also has more experience so why don't the coaches just go with him? You don't need to be a coach to see it.
John: Because Gabbert has tremendous upside and the difference is not dramatic. I don’t know that you need to be a coach to see it, and I also don’t know that the coaches won’t choose your option. The time for the decision is coming, but it hasn’t been made yet.
Zach from Section 123:
If you didn't care about it rhyming with O, you could call it the #Moodachay Zone.
John: No, Zach. Please, no.
Chris from Jacksonville:
OK, O-man, here's my conspiracy theory...Caldwell and Bradley both know Gabbert isn't the long term answer, but are going to let him start hoping he tanks the season and we get a top 5 pick in the 2014 draft to pick up a "real" franchise QB....do I sound crazy enough?
John: You’re not alone in that theory. That doesn’t mean it’s correct, but you’re not alone. I do think it’s safe to say that one way or the other the Jaguars want to know if Gabbert is the answer. If he doesn’t win the job, that probably answers the question. If he plays this season and doesn’t play well, that probably does, too. If he wins the job, and plays well, that does, too. That’s a little saner answer, if not as much fun.
Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Don't you hate it when people ask for your opinion, then criticize you because they don't agree with it?
John: No, it’s awesome.