JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Steve from Jacksonville:
In regards to comments about the Jaguars being the next Astros, I am on board. The Jags had some good years supported by high-priced free agents and unfortunately poor drafts. The Astros did the same, but now with a good plan in place they have developed a solid minor-league system without breaking the bank. While it is rough taking the losses, there is satisfaction knowing much better is yet to come. I love picking up the extra picks for a player we likely would not have re-signed anyway.
John: We’re not going to spend days and days on this Astros-Jaguars thread. It’s fine if people want to compare franchises, but the Jaguars aren’t copying the Astros and really, they’re not copying any other franchise. General Manager David Caldwell didn’t arrive in Jacksonville with one blueprint and didn’t say, “I am going to do this in a certain way and not consider any other way.” He arrived in Jacksonville, and along with Owner Shad Khan, decided that was what needed was a sweeping cultural change. Part of that was letting some familiar players go, and as it has turned out, part of it has been a rougher start than a lot of fans expected. The Jaguars are skewing young. Very young. They are building from pretty close to the ground floor. They are also doing so without a quarterback who can make plays by himself and that combination has contributed to the rough start. But people act as if Caldwell doesn’t know what he’s doing because of the rough start. While this start was in no way something the Jaguars wanted, it is not a surprise. There was a chance with this approach that things would look bleaker before they improved. They tore pretty close to the bare bones to have as clean of a foundation as possible. That has meant short-term pain, but if the Jaguars pick the right players, the result has a very real chance to be a very strong outlook in the long term.
Mike from Tallahassee, FL:
Does Nike cut you a check every time you refer to our helmets as "cool?” That in itself would be pretty cool.
John: Cool? That would be plain awesome.
The Kid from Castle Harbor II:
Is it beyond reproach that Clowney and Bridgewater could both be playing so that they do NOT end up in Jacksonville? Rookie pay being the same what would their motivation be to play in Jacksonville?
John: I have no idea what motivates Clowney and Bridgewater, and honestly, you would be stunned at your core if you knew how little it interests me. That said, I can’t imagine that would be the case, because a subpar final season in college could hurt draft status significantly. But I doubt that’s going on. Clowney and Bridgewater are young men playing a team game on a national stage. All is not going to go smoothly all the time.
Joe from Jacksonville:
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
There are four teams with no wins and four teams with one win. After the Colts ended up with the No. 1 pick in the draft to get another franchise quarterback and with the NFL seemingly being a copycat league, do you see a pattern developing like I do?
John: No. Your implication seems to be that there are seven or eight teams trying to lose to play for the No. 1 overall selection with the idea of getting . . . who? Bridgewater? Some other player? The Giants and Steelers are struggling. They have Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Are they playing for a quarterback? There are teams that are struggling in a big way. It happens. It doesn’t mean those teams are trying to lose for college players.
Tim from Jacksonville:
They know what they had with Chad and the only real reason to start Blaine this year is to evaluate him. With the offensive line being arguably the biggest weakness from last season, and only changing one player (Joeckel), how could anyone expect to get an accurate assessment of any quarterback?
John: Your premise isn’t correct. Part of the reason to start Gabbert was to evaluate him, sure, but the bigger reason was that through training camp and preseason, he won the starting job. He also has the most upside of any quarterback on the roster and if he can live up to that upside, there’s potential for a very good quarterback. So far, he hasn’t lived up to that upside, but while your final statement addresses an issue that gets brought up a lot – that Gabbert can’t be evaluated because of the offensive line – I wouldn’t agree. The Jaguars’ offensive line didn’t play badly last week and Gabbert struggled. There will be ample time to evaluate Gabbert as the season continues. I don’t think there will be uncertainty on this matter by season’s end.
Grant from Jacksonville:
Part of the issue against the run is teams have won by double digits. With leads, they run more. Let someone fall behind and see how many yards they run for. On the same note, when playing with a lead sacks are harder to come by. Eating clock and not turning it over doesn't lead to many pick and sack opportunities.
John: You make good points, but whatever the circumstance, the Jaguars haven’t been good enough on run fits. What that means is they haven’t been consistent enough. They have allowed a large number of two-yard runs or less, which shows that the ability to stop the run is there. But they also have given up a lot of long runs, which shows that there are too many times when the team allows gashing runs.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
What were your thoughts on the reports that Cleveland would have offered more for Eugene Monroe than Baltimore?
John: I think there are two sides of the story, and I think you can’t always believe reports. The Jaguars talked to many teams about Eugene Monroe, the Browns included. Caldwell took the best offer.
Coy from Roanoke, VA:
Can I borrow or have your black NFL pullover sweatshirt?
John: Some things in life are precious. Some things you just don’t part ways with. How much ya got?
Eric from Doctors Inlet:
John, I noticed in one of your videos you had a Baltimore Orioles cartoon bird behind you. Can you explain how or why you became an O's fan?
John: I’m not an O’s fan. The magnet belongs to Patrick Kavanagh, a member of my supporting cast here at jaguars.com. He’s an O’s fan and was given the magnet by his parents. It was a touching gesture, one I imagine meant a lot to his family. I removed it one morning in the parking lot just to see if he would notice, and promised I’d return it promptly. This was months ago. I’m not very pleasant to work with.
Eric from Jacksonville:
John, I think as long as Blaine Gabbert
is the team's starting quarterback, the "he is not an NFL QB" response is not justified for Denard Robinson
. I doubt Robinson would post worse than a 1.8 QBR if we played him this season.
John: I think as long as I’m writing the O-Zone, I’ll decide what responses are justified.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Whether they are trying or not, the Jaguars are alienating the fan base. I have supported them since their birth and they are still my team, but I am tired of paying my hard-earned money to watch a team that is not even remotely competitive. I personally do not care about big scoreboards or stadium swimming pools. What I would like to see is a better football team. I will not re-up my season tickets until I see what the Jaguars are going to do in the offseason. If they are serious about getting quality veteran players to fill holes and drafting well, then I may continue to buy season tickets. If they continue to fail to address obvious problems (like the offensive line, quarterback, and defensive end) then I will not support them. Do you think I am alone in how I feel? If not, the Jaguars have a serious problem.
John: You are not alone in how you feel. It’s frustrating to lose like this. No one questions that. David Caldwell said from the time he took this job it was a long-term process, and the Jaguars made it pretty clear in the offseason they weren’t making moves to patch holes on a short-term basis. I’ve written a lot in recent weeks and will continue to write that the Jaguars likely will be more active in free agency this offseason. I can’t promise that will satisfy you. I can promise the Jaguars’ goal is to build for long-term competiveness.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
On top of a car and saying how awful things are? I come home to see my wife doing that every day. It doesn't work. I still come home every day.
John: No, it doesn’t work for my wife, either.