JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Gus from Valrico, FL:
I guess you can make a case that Chad Henne
will start the season at quarterback just to give the offensive line time to get in sync to protect our $100 million franchise player, but clearly the jury is in on who is the No. 1 receiver. What do you think?
I think you asked a few questions, so I’ll try to address each one. Yes, the offensive line developing more continuity is one part of the quarterback equation, but I wouldn’t say that’s even close to the major reason Henne is starting. The Jaguars don’t believe Blake Bortles
is ready to start yet. Period. And he’s not making $100 million. At least not yet. As far as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, I’m going to assume you mean free-agent rookie Allen Hurns
because of his preseason production. But while Hurns has been impressive, I’d still say Cecil Shorts III
when healthy is the No. 1 receiver on this team. I’d put Marqise Lee
and Hurns as the next three because Allen Robinson
hasn’t been healthy, but at some point this season I’d expect Shorts, Lee and Robinson to be the top three receivers with Hurns a very good fourth.
Tim from Jacksonville:
O-man, I believe Bortles will be starting in the first half of the season, probably because of injury. I say this because I feel the staff now knows Blake is much further along than they believed he would be at this point. Would the staff use a minor injury to Henne to start Bortles and thus save face by looking like they had to make the change sooner than planned?
John: “Save face” from what? Seriously. Here’s what people are missing. When Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and others around the organization discuss when to start Bortles, they’re not discussing it within the context of what fans, media or other onlookers are saying. There’s no pride to be gained or lost on the part of the coaches by starting or not starting Bortles at a particular time, and they’re not going to be embarrassed if they put Bortles in sooner rather than later. It’s not a relevant point to the discussion. If Bortles comes in and plays well, do people really think coaches would be embarrassed by that? The Jaguars are trying to do what’s best for the organization in the short- and long-term. When the staff believes Bortles is ready to be the starter, he’ll be the starter. If an injury forces him to be in earlier, then he will be in earlier. That’s the deal.
David from Jacksonville:
The powers that be say Bortles will not start, but no one has said he will not play. (wink, wink)
John: I’m sorry about that thing in your eye, but Bradley did say Sunday the team is not planning to play Bortles early in the regular season. He will get repetitions with the first team during that period, but you won’t see the staff looking for opportunity to get him looks in games.
Tyrone from Triburon, CA:
We're all safe out here after the earthquake and want to know who the Jaguars selected with the pick they traded for Gabbert. Thank you, and Good Day.
Good to hear you’re safe. The Jaguars selected center Luke Bowanko
with the selection obtained from San Francisco in the trade for Blaine Gabbert. That was a sixth-round selection, the 205th overall.
Ken from Jacksonville:
Good Lord with the Bortles questions. I think the center spot will be interesting to watch unfold and even more so with the receiver group. Is Cecil safe?
John: Safe from what?
Chris from Rocha, NY:
I know they are professionals. I know they eat breakfast for lunch. But they are also human beings, and I can't remember too many times that a quarterback was in the way of the "rookie wunderkind" that it worked out well. I remember Warner in New York (well, actually Warner in every situation). How is Henne holding up? I can't imagine the pressure; it has to get to you at some point trying to hold off a fan favorite.
John: I get concerned over many, many things. Chad Henne holding up to pressure in this situation isn’t among them. He’ll be fine.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
Am I off base thinking that Cecil Shorts III is trending toward the way of other past young promising receivers who fell off after one productive season … i.e., Mike Walker, Mike Thomas? What does Cecil have to do to have a different fortune than the two aforementioned?
John: Stay healthy.
Tom from Suzhou, China:
You mentioned on Sunday the idea of credibility in the locker room for starting Chad over Blake. Do you foresee any possible issues in that respect? For example, if I'm Cecil Shorts III and I'm playing for a new contract, I want the guy who is going to get me the ball most often and would be at least a tiny bit annoyed if someone else was picked instead.
John: I don’t know that I mentioned that, but there has been so much mentioned that maybe I did. Locker-room credibility won’t be an issue. These guys like playing for both of these quarterbacks.
Paul from St. Augustine, FL:
I'm liking the way Toby Gerhart
is running so far. He doesn't dance around in the backfield but hits a seam hard and gets the tough yards and sometimes more. This could be fun to watch if the run blocking improves. Great addition by Caldwell.
John: It does appear Toby Gerhart is a good addition. It also appears he might be precisely what the Jaguars expected. That’s not always the case with veteran free agents, though it has happened strikingly often in the case of free agents added by this team the last two offseasons. Gerhart indeed runs hard, and he seems to get the most out of a large percentage of his carries. That’s a good sign, particularly considering the offensive line is still searching for its final starting combination and is still in the process of developing chemistry and continuity.
Darren from Section 408:
Funny how some fans can't even enjoy a good quarterback problem.
John: Fans are going to want what they want, and I learned a while back not to worry or be surprised over fan outrage. Yes, it’s true that the Jaguars currently seem to have what many would consider a good quarterback problem. They have a player at the position who appears to have a chance to be very good and the debate is over when to play him. That’s much, much better than not knowing the future at the position and not having a whole lot of confidence in how that future will play out. But, yeah, fans are going to be bothered by it. They’re usually going to be bothered by something.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
True or false: Blake Bortles is already a better QB than Chad Henne has ever been.
John: True and false. True, Blake Bortles has better physical tools and throws the ball downfield better. He also almost certainly has more arm strength, more zip and a brighter future. Henne for right now knows the offense better and is better at getting the Jaguars into the right running and passing plays. Those strengths of Henne’s are why the Jaguars re-signed him in March and why they want him starting the season as the starting quarterback.
Camron from Orlando, FL:
I think Bortles is ready. I want him to start. Then again, I'm just a fan while Gus and Jedd are paid professionals running an NFL team. Yeah, I'm going to go with their judgment here.
John: I’m not sure what choice you had in the matter, but sure … good to hear.
Cole from Orlando, FL:
The Jaguars’ front office seems unsurprisingly consistent in the idea that Chad Henne will start this season, and so do you, O-man. My question is, do you think declaring an open quarterback competition after drafting Blake Bortles would have been better for Chad Henne? Henne just hasn't seemed to play with much purpose, considering he's not really fighting for a job. Could pressure from a promising rookie QB have given him an extra push this offseason?
John: You say Henne hasn’t played with much purpose. Honestly, that’s sort of a silly statement. I can’t think of anything that any fan would have seen, heard or read that would give much validity to that stance. I think Henne has played and prepared with plenty of purpose and professionalism, and while I’m not into starting an argument, I’d challenge anyone to find proof to the contrary.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I've got to jump in. Tommy from Jacksonville and Section 122 is mistaken. We've never been told that there was a quarterback competition going on. From Day 1 of the NFL Draft we have been told that he would sit until he is ready. Just trying to avoid any revisionist history.
John: Oh, yeah … there’s that.