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A little history lesson

Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Dave from Lighthouse Point, FL:
When did NFL linemen stop blocking with their shoulders, especially run-blocking, and resort to solely using their hands? With this being the case, it's hardly surprising Boselli's career may be in jeopardy due to tom labrum's in both arms.

Vic: First of all, the labrum is in the shoulder. Dave, the NFL changed its rules governing the use of hands in blocking prior to the 1978 season. Before then, offensive linemen could not use their hands to block in any way, and holding was a 15-yard penalty. In an attempt to pump more offense into the game, the NFL amended the rule so that offensive linemen could use their hands to grab a defender, as long as the offensive linemen kept his hands within the defender's shoulders. At the same time, the pass-coverage rules were changed when the bump and run technique was forbidden beyond the five-yard "chuck" zone. The combination of the two rules changes kick-started the modern era of professional football offense. The Steelers won the next two Super Bowls by featuring Terry Bradshaw instead of Franco Harris, and Dan Fouts and Joe Montana would soon take offense to a new level. That's when "basketball on grass" began, thanks to the rules changes of 1978.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
It seems to me teams are having a high yards-per-carry average against the Jaguars defense. Do you share that feeling? If you do, how can the Jaguars improve in that area?

Vic: The Jaguars are 26th in the league against the run. That's not good. At some point in time the Jaguars are going to have to contend with that deficiency. I don't know how you do it. They've obviously drafted for it.

Chris from Pass Christian, MS:
The Jags are on top of the South at 3-1, which is quite honestly way beyond what I had ever imagined. My question is: If this holds up, will all the one-year contracts we gave players make it impossible to keep this team intact? I know we need to act responsibly with the cap, but I am concerned we possibly are going to lose the best players we signed to one-year contracts. Or will we have to "turn them loose" and do the same thing next year?

Vic: There is no such thing as "intact" in the salary cap era. Every year will require changes in personnel. You must accept that.

Darrell from Atlanta, GA:
We (fans of Jags in Ga.) strongly do not like the fact that Coughlin is letting Fred Taylor do all the work in getting the ball down to the goal line, and then letting Stacey Mack get all the credit by scoring the one and two-yard touchdowns. If Coughlin thinks that will prevent Taylor from getting hurt, he has no basis for that because Fred has never been seriously hurt on the goal line. Do you feel letting Mack get the credit for Taylor efforts is fair?

Vic: This is a joke, right?

Ed from Jacksonville:
Back-tracking to the question about Brackens' delay of game tactics -- simulating the start of the play -- why are quarterbacks allowed to simulate the snap of the ball with their voices?

Vic: That's a great question, for which I have no answer. I guess a long time ago "hard count" became an acceptable and allowable technique for drawing defenses offside. But there's no question about it, it's definitely an attempt to deceive by simulating the start of the play.

Duane from Jacksonville: :
It's great seeing the Jags win and become a physical team. In the past, the Jags have been labeled a finesse team. What kind of team do you think they are?

Vic: Because they are playing so hard right now, no one would dare call them a finesse team, but they must do a better job stopping the run. True muscle teams run the ball and stop the run. Right now, the Jaguars are only doing one of those two things.

Joan from Fort Myers, FL:
While watching Monday night's game between the Bears and Packers, I couldn't help but notice the long tresses on number 23 for the Packers; they hung past the helmet by at least 6-8 inches. My question is: Is it a penalty if a player tackles/grabs him by the hair to bring him down? I've asked a lot of people and no one really knows the answer.

Vic: Joan, you can grab him by anything you want, except his facemask.

Donny from Orlando, FL:
Vic, hats off for the "It's all about the cap" editorial. From a Jag fan and Jacksonville native's point of view, Jax is a great football town, however, due to the Gators, Noles and the Jags' first five years, some Jag fans are spoiled and unrealistic concerning the reality of the NFL. That brings me to my question. As I was leaving the stadium this past Sunday, I heard two fans agreeing the team "won again in spite of Coughlin." My understanding of the facts are that coach Coughlin is not directly responsible for the number of injuries we've had the last two years, or 100 percent responsible for the salary cap mess and subsequent veteran purge. While he clearly has made some poor personnel decisions during his tenure, our start this year is a testament to his coaching ability once again. My opinion is that he is one of the top 10 coaches in the NFL and would be offered another head job quickly if the Jags let him go. Having covered the NFL for many years, what is your typically blunt opinion?

Vic: No one is doing a better job of coaching anywhere in the league right now. If Tom Coughlin was fired, he would quickly surface as a head coach somewhere else in the league.

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