Christmas morning O-Zone. Hope you got what you wanted.
Let’s get to it . . .
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
So, now we celebrate because the team didn't quit? Teams don't quit. The players can't put that on film. It really is nothing to celebrate. I just heard a coach pleading to keep a job he doesn't deserve.
John: You used the word, “celebrate,” Scott – no one around here. The Jaguars are 2-13, and no one is going to tell you that’s a good thing. There had been speculation about the team not playing with heart in recent weeks and on Sunday, they did. That’s not celebrating; it’s just what it is.
Duran from Wiley, SD:
I think Mel Tucker is pulling at his throat for air. Is it possible Tucker has gotten away from his "Basic" defense scheme – “just line up from the man across from you and beat him?” Maybe he was experimenting, or trying to impress the new boss. Whatever reason, I think he needs to revert back. I saw some confusion on the defense that could've been prevented. No way Woodhead should've been that open.
John: I had to laugh at this email. All season, fans have clamored for Tucker to open things up, and be more aggressive – to show some more looks. On Sunday, he did that a bit. Coincidentally or not, the Jaguars played their best game of the season. They held the Patriots 13 points under their season average, allowing two touchdowns to a team that is as dangerous as any team in the NFL. Yes, on one of those touchdowns Danny Woodhead was too open, but the Patriots confuse a lot of people. The Jaguars’ defense has deserved criticism on many days this season, but for the most part, Sunday was not one of those days.
Joe from Jacksonville:
I saw in the locker room interview that Rashean Mathis
probably won't be resigned. Why not?!? He is a hometown hero, out of Englewood HS and should remain a Jaguar until he retires a Jaguar. He isn't getting worse as a player; he is just missing important games from injury.
John: It’s hard to say what the offseason will bring with Mathis. He is a year removed from ACL surgery, and he’s also at an age when difficult decisions must be made, particularly at the cornerback position. There have been times this season that Mathis has played well, and times he has appeared to struggle, presumably because of the knee. He is playing under a one-year deal, and it’s not out of the question that he could play for the team again under another one-year deal. If so, that’s likely in a backup role. Whether that’s something each side is agreeable to is probably a conversation for the offseason. If not, it would indeed be too bad for Mathis not to retire as a Jaguar, but in the modern NFL, even very popular, deserving players often finish their careers with other teams. It’s the nature of the salary cap era.
Matt from State College, PA:
Coincidence that the Jags’ defense suddenly made plays and looked much better with Daryl Smith
returning and Cox healthy?
John: No. Good players matter.
Duran from Rapid City:
Could it be that Rex Ryan didn't start Tebow because of clash of character mixed with a little bit of abuse of power? We all know Tebow's and Rex Ryan's personalities, and to use the word “contrast” wouldn't seem to be strong enough. Which you would assume would lead to animosity on the practice field, and possibly the facility. Do things like that go on in the NFL, or is it just me being crazy?
John: Anything’s possible, but I doubt personality played much of a factor with Tebow in New York. I have no idea how Ryan felt about Tebow personally, or vice-versa, but what people too often forget about the NFL is that coaches have one overriding motivation – to win. If Ryan believed Tebow would help him win, he would have played him. There are reports in recent days that the Jets were surprised at Tebow’s inability to run the offense, and the inability to practice well. Now, whether or not the Jets were correct about those things is anyone’s guess. Perhaps the Jets and many other teams are wrong, and perhaps Tebow is a big-time NFL quarterback. But if the team felt Tebow couldn’t play well, and that he wasn’t practicing well, that’s a legitimate reason for not playing him.
Mitch from Jacksonville:
It does not matter what direction we take next year. Bringing in Tim Tebow would be a disaster. Whether he is the top guy, fullback, or wildcat guy, it will prove to be a short-term love affair and a waste of time.
John: There are those who feel that way . . .
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
You will never convince me any football guy in that building will sign off on Tebow. That means one thing and one thing only: Shad Khan pulled the trigger on an awful move, making us the Jacksonville Jets, trying for headlines rather than fielding a winner. That would make me totally re-examine my loyalties to this franchise – me and many other ticket buyers. I'm an out-of-towner. I buy season tickets and only make the trip down two or three games a year and any pursuit of a player for headlines as opposed to actual football would definitely make me re-think shelling out those bucks for only half the product. What's the point bringing in Tebow? Other than to generate headlines? I'm so mad, just typing this email has got me all flustered. Khan, don't let the MAJORITY of the Jagnation down to cater to Gator fans!
John: . . . and those who feel this way . . .
Brandon from Tampa, FL:
John: . . . and, of course, those who feel this way.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I keep seeing former Jaguar players who were not good enough to stay on the team having success on other teams. If you’re not good enough to be on the Jaguars, you should be out of football. I don't understand how these former players can be contributing elsewhere.
John: Players succeed in different situations for different reasons. Players are sometimes a better fit in one offensive scheme than another, and other times teams don’t give players enough of a chance. But just because the Jaguars are 2-13 doesn’t mean that no player who gets released could ever flourish somewhere else. It doesn’t work that way.
Daniel from Johnston:
At this point in the season are there any locked spots on our roster? I'd say, Anger (P), Monroe (LT), MJD (RB), Blackmon (WR), Shorts (WR), Smith (LB), Lewis (TE), Scobee (K) and who else? That's a lot of questions on a 53-man roster.
John: There are indeed many questions, but there are a few more potential locks than you mention. I’d say Posluszny (LB) is pretty solid, and Lowery (S) and Landry (S) are starting-level safeties. Cox (S) in an interesting situation. He has been hurt too often, but when he is healthy, he is very, very good. That may translate into a situation where you franchise him next season and make a long-term decision afterward.
John from Savannah, GA:
Jacksonville Jaguars - we kick field goals.
John: No question the field goals hurt on Sunday. Against the Patriots, you need to score touchdowns. On the other hand, the Jaguars did go for touchdowns late in the game, so it wasn’t as if they didn’t try. They just couldn’t convert, and that’s often the case with struggling teams.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
How in the world can Gene Smith draft Bryan Anger
when there's some guy named Russell Wilson still on the board? Watching the 49ers vs. Seahawks game and this guy is exactly what the Jaguars need. He can evade the rush and is amazingly accurate. But we got a great punter! Decisions like this is why Gene Smith has got to go! Have I been heard?
Sure, it would be great to have a quarterback playing like Russell Wilson. The Jaguars at the time were invested in Blaine Gabbert
, and they had just signed Chad Henne
to be the backup quarterback, so quarterback did not seem like a huge priority. Also, Russell Wilson lasted until the third round, so it wasn’t as if every team in the NFL had a first-round grade on this guy and the Jaguars missed. But yeah, Wilson now looks like a guy you’d love to have on your roster, and the Jaguars don’t, so point taken.
Roger B from Section 204 and Cherryville, NC:
All of us who are Jag fans (all over the world) THANK YOU for doing a superb job during a trying year. You couldn't have done it much better and all those of us who enjoyed Vicbo are enjoying your daily effort equally. Merry Christmas and let's all hope and wish for an awesome New Year. Blessings to you and yours.
John: Thank you, and no joke, all the same to all of you.