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O-Zone: Cherry picking

Posted Dec 9, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...

Jason from Virginia Beach, VA:
Doesn't the firing of Gary Kubiak by Houston seem a little short-sighted, coming off consecutive AFC South championships? Yes they were disappointing this year, but there was a lot going on and they could solve the quarterback situation in this draft. There's no reason to believe he couldn't lead the team successfully. It's crazy how one bad season can wipe away all the good he has done for that franchise.
John: Of course, it was short-sighted. And yes, professional sports indeed are crazy that way. What we don’t know are the inner workings of the franchise. Judging by various reports there was a disconnect between Kubiak and the Texans’ front office, and you’re hearing that that surfaced on Thursday when Kubiak played Matt Schaub rather than sticking with Case Keenum at quarterback. If the front office and coaching staff can’t work together, that can only work so long.
John from Elmira, NY:
I am a fan of Paul P having followed him at PSU and Buffalo. Poz currently leads the NFL in solo and total tackles, but he doesn't get your attention as much as others whom you find flashy or having much potential that you hope is realized one day. He is very consistent and if my eyes don't deceive me made 13 total tackles in the win over Texas. Doesn't he deserve kudos from you as well as Coach Bradley?
John: Yes, he does.
Robert from Orange Park, FL:
From what I saw on TV, Everbank was rocking! Especially in the first half when we took that 14-0 lead. Late in the fourth quarter not so much, but the game had no real significance and it's still a work week for most people. I'm just questioning what a lot of people are complaining about. Am I wrong?
John: Actually, the stadium was strikingly loud in the second half, particularly at the two-minute warning. Your point about the work week is well-taken, though. For a team that was 3-9 entering the game to have the crowd it did, to have it stay and be as enthusiastic as long as it did is impressive. If the Jaguars were 9-3 and playing a high-profile game, the crowd might have been disappointing, but that wasn’t the circumstance. There was energy there Thursday and there was a darned good crowd. The crowds will get better and more consistent as that is earned.
Reggie from South Jersey:
The Thursday night victory over the Houston Texans was the first time I ever saw the Jaguars play. I was impressed. My question is this: What is the identity of this team? No huddle? Run first? Defense? What defines this team?
John: Good question. Ideally, the Jaguars would like to play up-tempo, no-huddle on offense under coordinator Jedd Fisch. They got away from that early in the season when first downs were scarce and they’re sticking with an approach that is working better and better as the season goes on, but my sense is they’ll move toward up-tempo over time. Defensively, it’s a high-energy, attacking style that will become more that way over time. Think Seattle. That’s Head Coach Gus Bradley’s background, and with some wrinkles thrown in, that’s his ideal.
Ty from Duval:
I feel for ya, Johnny Bag of O'nuts; I would have a hard time with a lot of complaints in the inbox for a team that has won four out of five in the NFL. I was hoping to see some of your venom in the responses; you let me down.
John: I let many people down, particularly those closest to me. As for the gist of your email, there are always going to be people who complain. If the Jaguars win the Super Bowl 42-41, there will be people who complain about the defense, and there will be people disappointed Tebow wasn’t more involved. Besides, the people who are pointing out that the victories haven’t come against elite teams are right. The Jaguars aren’t there yet. Instead, they are where they are – an improving team showing signs of where it’s headed. It’s OK for them to be there, just as it’s OK for some fans to wish they were further along. As far as venom, naw… it’s the holiday season. Besides, I am at my core a kind, giving person whose primary goal is to make others happy. I’m not bragging; it’s just my nature.
Cecil from St. Johns, FL:
I wrote in a while ago complaining about Coach Bradley saying "we competed" after blow outs. I admit that I wrote that out of frustration and after watching the Jags after the bye I'm seeing the competing turn into a competitive team. I humbly #Standcorrected.
John: Why, you … get over here … c’mon.
David from Durban, SA:
I get the feeling that Old Man Mo is wearing teal! What is stopping Mr. Caldwell from negotiating an extension for MJD before the end of the season?
John: First, we don’t know that he hasn’t – or that he won’t. But there’s really not a rush on this. The unrestricted free agency period doesn’t open until March, which is by design. That leaves time for general managers to review the season, meet with coaches and develop a game plan for roster building. David Caldwell almost certainly knows the parameters for the contract Jones-Drew will be offered, and Jones-Drew probably knows enough about the market that they won’t have trouble finding common ground. That’s providing they want the same thing, which it sounds like is the case.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Bradley for Coach of the Year???
John: Probably not. But don’t count him out yet.
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
I was one of the fans worried the Jaguars would end the season historically bad; all indications were pointing towards them taking that distinction. I was worried about what it would do to the fan base and the team's 'culture' going forward. I'm relieved now, and very impressed with Gus Bradley. If his job is to get the most out of his players, he is obviously very good at his job. I know there is still a lot of work to be done in the draft, but it's been great to watch the team grow over the past few weeks, and a big relief.
John: I knew this was an issue to many fans early in the season, but I didn’t worry much about it for a couple of reasons. One reason was that when it came to “culture,” it was clear Bradley knew what he was doing trying to change it. There’s more involved with a team, of course, but that was a huge priority around here this season and that mission is being accomplished. As far as the fan base, that didn’t worry me. I’ve gotten a strong sense the last two years that in addition to a very strong core fan base that will support the Jaguars whatever the circumstance there also is a large, strong number just waiting for the team to show to show progress. As Gus Bradley, Shad Khan and David Caldwell have said often, fan support must be earned; at the same time, once it is earned I have little doubt that the fans will respond. A few games early in the season – or even a whole season had that been the case – wasn’t going to change that.
JT from Columbus, GA:
The coaches have done a smashing job in all but one area: Gabbert. They decided on him after seeing him in practice, then that solid preseason game. They abandoned him after saying "strong, unwavering commitment,” and the team went on to be 0-8. How could they know he wouldn't improve as the team improved? I just feel like they really did BG and his talent a disservice, contrary to how they handled the rest of the team. Go Jags.
John: There always will be a small faction of Jaguars followers who feel this way, and who knows? You could be proven right. When running a football team, decisions get made for a variety of reasons. The Jaguars chose to start Gabbert at the beginning of the season, and by any measure, he struggled mightily – even compared to his first two seasons. At that point, the team decided on starting Chad Henne and almost certainly moving on from Gabbert. The Jaguars have won four of five since the bye and have played better, and given that, it’s hard to argue with the results.
Antony from Columbia, SC:
What are your thoughts of Cyp? What are his strengths so far? What does he need to do better?
John: Cyprien has developed well this season. He has shown good ball instincts and a feel for the game. He also is innately aggressive and has natural leadership ability. He needs to improve with game awareness and field awareness, which are things that come with experience. He’s in a good spot. The areas he needs to improve are things that come with time. All of the things you can’t teach – well, he has them.
Randy from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada:
Taking all of the chocolate-covered maraschino cherries from the candy dish at the company Christmas party.#Shadricksightings
John: Exactly.

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