JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Jason from Roberts, WI:
I disagree with your assessment that guards should be drafted later. Look at what a strong interior offensive line is doing for Tennessee. They drafted Chance Warmack as a Top 15 pick and signed Andy Levitre to a big contract. Now, Chris Johnson has running lanes and quarterback Jake Locker has had time to throw. Their team is vastly improved and ours would be, too, if we upgraded over Will Rackley
and Uche Nwaneri
John: First, while Rackley is struggling early, don’t assume Nwaneri is playing poorly. Analytics and watching the film actually show he is not. Second, disagree all you want, but the point I’m making isn’t that you can never, ever, ever draft a guard early. It’s more that history shows that you don’t have to drafts guards in the early rounds to have a quality offensive line – and that there are other more likely scenarios early in the draft as the team builds its roster. I believe the Jaguars will address the interior of the offensive line if it continues to play as it has early this season. It just doesn’t have to be done in the first round of the draft.
Dude from Jacksonville:
So you're the man behind the curtain who thinks he's the Wizard of Oz?
John: Pretty much, yes.
Daniel from Santa Rosa, CA:
You keep mentioning the benefit of getting Marcedes Lewis
back. Do you think it's more of a benefit to have him as a key blocker or as a solid receiver? Both?
John: He will help as a blocker, without question. He is strong on the edge, and there’s no way he won’t help. He should help in the passing game, too. Even if he catches few passes the defense must account for him, which will help other players, too.
Eric from New City, NY:
What are your thoughts on the Jags acquiring Josh Freeman in a trade? Is this something Caldwell would consider?
Ronnie from Jacksonville Beach and Section 123:
Interesting to see Bradley and Fisch asking Gabbert to play looser. Two part question: 1) Didn't Mularkey do the exact same thing last season? 2) What's that definition of insanity again?
John: Actually, the emphasis from the coaching staff with Gabbert last season was to protect the football. There was a lot of talk in the offseason before the 2012 regular season about the need to not make mistakes, to not throw interceptions, to check down and it being OK take the safe play. No one can say for certain how much influence that had on how Gabbert played, because it’s impossible to truly read anyone’s mind, but he certainly appeared to lean on short routes and safer passes rather to throw the ball downfield at times. This is not to say that the emphasis caused Gabbert and the offense to play as they did, but that was certainly the offseason emphasis.
Chris from Charleston, SC:
I don't get all the "fire Caldwell" emails you get. Why is it so hard for people to understand you can't fix over a decade of bad drafting in one offseason? I'm happy to see the team admit we're rebuilding and it's going to take some time. Yes, this season is going to be rough, but rain or shine, I'm Duval 'til I Die!! Go Jags!
John: I very, very rarely call emailers silly or ridiculous. Those who email demanding Caldwell or Bradley be fired after three games truly test the limits of that philosophy.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Am I the only one that reads the O-Zone to see what questions are being asked? I have to admit John, your answers are not always what I want to hear. I like reading the questions. No offense (pun intended)
John: You think I love your questions, Jason?
Joe from Jacksonville:
In a dark alley, dressed as a clown, waiting for passerby. #Shadricksightings
John: Yes. Yes.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
Interesting response to Princefigs on your choice for a Pro Bowl defensive end. Most of the rants have been directed toward the offensive line or quarterback. A wrecking ball, pass-rushing run stuffer, would make a huge difference in getting the defense off the field. And get the offense, as inept as it may be right now, back out in the game. Good call – no one focused on that one, but really would make a huge difference.
John: The Jaguars have needs in many areas. Defensive end is just one, and I made that choice because I still believe it’s the most difficult area to improve outside of quarterback. If the Jaguars got better on the interior of the line, or anywhere on the defense, there wouldn’t be many complaints, either.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
He slinks into the crowd stealthily, arriving in a frenzy of movement. His matte-black pleather jacket glistens brightly in the dark of midnight. The sound is deafening as he whispers, "Moodachay". The crowd is whipped into a fury of stunned silence. #Shadricksighting #StandUnited
John: You make a good point.
Roger from Augusta, GA:
Gabbert has potential...Henne has potential...the offensive line has potential...The Jags will not go 0-16. Fine, keep on believing that...while you wonder in the back of your head..."Would Tebow help us? Is there a chance he could help win games?" You'll never know. Caldwell is too stubborn.
John: All I have in the back of my head is a big knot. This happened in San Jose last week, on my way back from eating Thai food. #Shadricksighting
Amar from Clifton:
One thing I really enjoy about watching this defense is on third-and-long downs, the defense applies pressure. It's not consistent, but to my untrained eye it seems deliberate. On the opposite end, do you see Jedd (Fisch) taking more shots down the field when it’s second- and third-down and short? I know there aren't many instances of this happening and it would sacrifice opportunities to keep the offense on the field. I believe it is critical to success in the NFL today, do you agree?
John: Good eye on both counts. The defense is getting decent pressure on third-and-long situations, and deliberate is probably the best word. The team doesn’t have the elite-level pass rusher who is going to consistently get multiple-sack games, but as a whole, the line seems to be a bit better at bothering the quarterback than in the past. That’s not saying the pass rush is good yet, but the effort is there. And yes, I think Fisch will take more shots once the offense gets into better down-and-distance situations. That’s a huge issue and huge focus this week.
Keith from Summerville, SC:
I enjoy watching Jaguars All-Access but something has bothered me for a long time. The special guests on the show, all of whom are very rich, all receive a Buler Swiss watch as a gift. Why would you give someone who already has everything something more? Why not give the watch to a lucky fan?
John: Or an unlucky senior writer.
Pradeep from Bangalore, India:
I watched last two games against the Raiders and Seahawks. One thing I saw is our pocket collapses too fast, putting too much pressure on the quarterbacks. Hence our quarterbacks are unable to make plays. I am not saying our quarterbacks are elite, but they were not given opportunities by the pocket to play up to their potential. Do you agree?
John: It’s hard to disagree. The Jaguars have allowed seven, five and three sacks this season, and there was too much pressure from the interior, particularly early. It’s not only hard to play quarterback in that scenario, but it causes receivers to break out of their routes far too early. Football is a team game, and one area struggling makes all areas look worse.
Donny from Heathrow, FL:
While running back Justin Forsett
missed training camp and all of the preseason the coaches talked him up and implied he would be the complementary running back to Maurice Jones-Drew
. Jordan Todman
had a very good preseason but it still wasn't a given that he'd even make the team. Now Todman is clearly the second running back in the game. What's the skinny O-man?
John: Actually, Todman has played only 16 more plays than Forsett – 52-36 – but Todman has been in on significantly more running plays, running eight times while Forsett has played on only two running plays. The skinny is that right now Todman is more in the backup running back role, with Forsett almost exclusively on passing downs. Bradley talked about this Wednesday, and said the team is trying to figure a way to get Forsett more involved. Forsett was brought in as the backup, but the team likes Todman’s speed as well. Not everyone can play at once, and it sounds like for now Todman has played well enough to merit him continuing to play.
Christina from Section 123 and St. Augustine:
I like you. I didn't at first, but as time has passed your incredible sarcastic sense of humor has shown itself more and more and I like it. Keep up with the mailbag videos. They rock! #StandUnited
John: Amazing. I got almost precisely the opposite email right after I received this one. It began with, “I don’t like you – why were you born?” and got worse from there. I replied as I usually do when this person emails me, asking how the dog is doing and if we got any mail today.