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You must overcome adversity

Posted Dec 3, 2012

Sigh. And away we go.

Let’s get to it . . .

James from Orange Park, FL:
This season will not end. This year has been absolutely no fun, including the two wins we acquired. I can't remember the last time I truly thought the Jaguars had a slam-dunk expectation of victory. We have stunk for a while now and we are all tired of it. My question: when will the losing end? This team can no longer play the "young team" card. Right now, it just stinks.
John: When will it end? I wish I knew. Good teams aren’t 2-10, so we can’t argue that the Jaguars are good. There were some real concerning things Sunday. Mainly, that as good as the Jaguars looked and as well as they played the last two weeks, all of the things that had caused them to struggle all season came rushing back. Struggling special teams play. A poor third-down conversion rate. Lack of pass rush. Untimely mistakes. Failure to make plays. As for your last point, there really haven’t been a whole lot of “cards” played this year. This hasn’t been a team of excuses, but it is a struggling team right now that lost whatever momentum it had Sunday.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
While we were able to stay one step ahead of the Chiefs in everyone's all-important power rankings for a while, the Jags will now be recognized by every site, blog, and journalist for what they truly are; the undisputed worst team in football. If I lived in London and they were competing in the only NFL game I could see all year, I wouldn't pay to watch this team. What is Roger Goodell even thinking letting the Jags represent the shield overseas any time soon? I thought the league and Mr. Khan wanted to grow popularity over there...? Englanders aren't that desperate for laughs.
John: My power rankings aren’t out yet.
Alex from San Diego, CA:
If MJD and Daryl Smith are healthy we win that game, no problem. A little rain means stopping the run and running the ball, and the Jags certainly did not do that Sunday.
John: I don’t know if I can say, “No problem,” but I will say losing those players hurt. Shoot, you’re talking about maybe your two best, most-veteran players – the sort of players who lead by performance. Smith’s absence has been felt all season by the defense, and while that’s not the only reason for the unit’s slide, it absolutely has hurt the run defense. He’s that good. As for the run offense, Rashad Jennings has not looked nearly as good in the regular season as he did in the preseason and that – along with the offensive line not run-blocking as well as it did last season – has hurt that area.
Jack from Oviedo, FL:
I know there appeared to be a lot of excitement from the Titans victory, but as I watched the Bills game – it was all the same. We need to get the No. 2 pick in the draft. We need to trade MJD for a low first or high second round pick. Then we need to go after Alex Smith in San Francisco for our QB. There are many other folks who need to be removed but our team would be much stronger. Thoughts.
John: I think the draft pick will take care of itself, but I in no way think the Jaguars should intentionally lose games to get a higher pick. As far as Smith, I just don’t know that he’s the answer. And as far as Jones-Drew, well, the answer there remains the same as it has been all season, as it was all off-season. You might get a draft pick that high for him, but the chances are just very, very slim.
Adam from Louisville, KY:
With the NFL being hypersensitive to anything resembling a concussion and making the player sit out multiple plays if not games, don't you think there is a distinct advantage to the defense to deliver a hard hit, make the player disoriented and thus make ‘X’ player leave the game? It seems much easier to do that than to hope some random injury sidelines a player.
John: Yes, it does benefit the team. At the same time, the threat of fines and suspensions is such that I doubt you’ll see players systematically trying to give opponents concussions. If anything, I think the rules and the NFL’s focus on the matter will have the opposite effect. Eventually.
Fred from Jacksonville:
The way to stop the vicious head-to-head hits, like one that took out Shorts, is simple. Fines alone won’t work. The league should also not allow the offending player to play for the time Shorts is out. Even if it's two, three or four games that would end, immediately end, the intentional, vicious hits.
John: It probably would, but that’s going to be a tough concept to implement. Fines and suspensions are one thing, but I have a tough time imagining the players union agreeing to your system. There are too many unknowns in it, and too much dependent on unknowns about the injured player. That said, the league is going to keep looking for ways to reduce concussions, so would I be shocked to see something like that concept implemented? Actually, no.
Bruce from Freehold, NJ:
Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny.
John: I don’t know if it’s on the edge of town or not, but there’s definitely darkness right now.
James from Orange Park, FL:
How is it that Jag fan has to wait and be patient for us to build a contender and Indy can do it in a year?
John: (Andrew) Luck.
Bill from Jacksonville:
No question today John, just two comments. Players drafted in the Top 10 are supposed to be All Pros, not "solid" players. This is a worse team/roster today, than it was the day Gene Smith took over as GM. That being said, go Jags!
John: You’re right. You’d like your Top 10 selections to perform better than Eugene Monroe, Tyson Alualu, Blaine Gabbert and even Justin Blackmon as a whole have performed. As for the team, the Jaguars are 2-10, there’s not a lot to be gained for arguing about the talent or the roster.
Joseph from Jacksonville, FL:
Khan will need to assess more than the roster: What Houston has become and how we will be dealing with Luck for the next decade. So with that being said, regardless of who coaches, general manages this team next year, Jags need to go after ALEX SMITH. That seems like a NO-brainer. Drew Brees went from San Diego to New Orleans and found lots of success. Let him be our Brees. Henne proved that with experience, we can be much better than how the season started. With Alex Smith you have experience and HIGH talent.
John: I don’t know that Smith is a no-brainer. He struggled until last season, and although he has flourished under Jim Harbaugh, Harbaugh also has decided to move in a different direction. I’m not saying Alex Smith wouldn’t be an upgrade. He might be or he might not, but just because it worked for New Orleans with Brees doesn’t mean it’s a copy-cat doing the same with Smith. As far as your first point, I don’t worry much about Luck and/or the Texans. Yes, they’re in the division, but every division has good players. Build your roster, get good and beat the good teams. You eventually have to beat all the teams to win the Super Bowl, anyway. Build your team to be good at what it does and stop worrying about who’s playing for your rivals.
Craig from Auburn, IN:
What do you believe is lacking in this team to be a playoff-caliber team? I see a team that makes a lot of mistakes, including really badly-timed penalties; that is horrible on special teams; and a real question at the quarterback position. This team is really just bad overall.
John: You’re off to a good start. Penalties have hurt, and the lack of a pass rush is hurting. Four sacks didn’t help Sunday and the Jaguars continue to struggle to run. What was most concerning on Sunday was that the most-baffling problem that has faced the Jaguars seemed to return – that’s the inability to handle adversity. With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, the Jaguars led. They hadn’t played great, but they led 10-7, had gotten going offensively and were doing an adequate job defensively. On the kickoff after Chad Henne’s touchdown, the special teams allows a long return, then compounds that with a penalty. Three plays later, a touchdown. On the next series, a sack/fumble. And a field goal. Following Henne’s touchdown, the Bills scored 27 points in less than 20 minutes. Too often this season, the Jaguars have let one play cause a landslide. A lot of people blamed Blaine Gabbert for that, but Gabbert wasn’t in Buffalo Sunday, so he’s off the hook. Whoever’s at fault, that’s the thing that has hurt the Jaguars the most. Bad things happen in the NFL. Good teams overcome those things.

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