A marriage of town and team

Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Rob from Toronto, Canada:
Who is emerging as the Jags number one receiver?

Vic: I think it's fair to say Reggie Williams and Matt Jones are pushing each other for that distinction.

Paul from Gainesville, FL:
That was old-school and it was a thing of beauty, however, I am assuming not all fans will appreciate it for what it was. How many e-mails did you get moaning about the lack of scoring?

Vic: Not a one.

Ben from Oviedo, FL:
Do you think the Jags will move up in the power rankings and start being recognized by more people and teams as a threat?

Vic: Isn't that obvious? Do we need the sound of trumpets? President Bush isn't going to issue a proclamation. The rest of the league isn't going to drop to its knees in honor of the Jaguars. Maybe it's time to have a little self-respect.

Ryan from Los Angeles, CA:
We all know there's no way to eliminate the great traveling Steelers fans, but with all this teal stadium and teal day movement, did the Jaguars fans prove last night they can be a real intimidating force?

Vic: They absolutely did. The place was full and the fans were frenzied. I've never seen Alltel Stadium have that much energy. It was, by far, the most energized performance, by the players and fans combined, in Jaguars history. The roots of professional football in Jacksonville grew very deep last night.

Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Is it too early to compare the 2006 Jaguars defense to the 2000 Baltimore Ravens?

Vic: Yes.

Bill from Jacksonville:
I was at work and was unable to watch the game, however, I did have your blog and nfl.com up. I was surprised how it seemed the Steelers abandoned the run in such a low-scoring game. Was the defensive line that impressive?

Vic: Yes, the defensive front seven was that impressive. They dominated the line of scrimmage. Jim Brown couldn't have rushed for much against the Jaguars last night. The Steelers abandoned the run because they saw they couldn't run. They came into the game unsettled on offense because of their quarterback situation, and they had one of those games when you might not be able to score against air. For the Jaguars, last night was a high point for a team that has been building toward a peak for three-plus years. For the Steelers, last night was the low point for a team that has struggled through the travails of its quarterback since June. Roethlisberger only played 43 snaps in the preseason, then missed the season-opener. There was no coordination in their offense. It lacked flow and that's the result of Roethlisberger not playing much. When you combine that lack of execution with the quality of opposition the Steelers were facing, the result is a shutout.

Marc from Little Rock, AR:
I was reading your defense of the "possession receiver" tag you put on Matt and I couldn't agree with you more.

Vic: The way Matt Jones was used last night is exactly as I envisioned him. He made critical, drive-sustaining catches. That's what I see in him.

David from Jacksonville:
It's now 1:50 a.m. I am in the quietness of my home, relaxing after a long shower. As a long time season ticket holder, I have just witnessed the true birth of professional football in Jacksonville. I have never been to a game where our fans showed this much passion. I am actually crying right now. I truly believe we are finally an NFL city.

Vic: Please don't cry, and if you do cry, please don't tell anybody.

Jeremiah from Jacksonville:
You must feel like a proud papa. They did everything you preach. They ran the ball, stopped the run, controlled the clock, won the battle for field position. You couldn't have asked for anything more, huh?

Vic: What you saw last night was a postseason performance. That's how you win in the playoffs. You do all of the big things. You don't run away from your opponent very often in the NFL. You're going to have to play 60 minutes and make the big play with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. You have to have the courage to play the patient game, which means winning the battle of field position and scoring when you have the chance. I didn't invent that style of football. I was lucky enough to observe it and learn it from the best football coach I have ever known, Chuck Noll.

Hank from Jacksonville:
I am 67 years young and I have been following the Jags since 1995. I have waited a long time to see my Jags on top of a power poll. I know it doesn't really matter about polls and stuff, but will you sit our Jaguars on top in this week's poll? I think they deserve it.

Vic: I got a sense last week of how important this game was to Jaguars fans. I started to get the feeling this might be the most important game in franchise history, not because the Jaguars could clinch the division title or a playoff berth or anything else really important, but because this was a game that could marry this town and this team. That's exactly what happened last night. So, Hank, I decided to dangle a little carrot. I said that if the Jaguars beat the Steelers I'd put the Jaguars at the top of my power rankings. Check it out. I think you'll like what you see.

Scott from Miami, OK:
You said last week there needed to be a sea of teal at the stadium against the Steelers, and until reading your blog I thought the fans had done just that. I don't know how it looked at the stadium but, watching at home, every time the camera panned across the crowd, I saw nothing but teal and "wiggle sticks" with a "Terrible Towel" mixed in here and there.

Vic: I was stunned at how many Steelers fans were at the game. I never expected they could get as many tickets as they did. The "wiggle sticks" idea was great because they visually overwhelmed the towels. It also helped that the Steelers only crossed the 50-yard line once. I'm not going to throw out a number, though a number was offered to me by a guy who knows, but I'll tell you that a lot of Jaguars fans sold their tickets and to them I say shame on you.

Glenn from Sumter, SC:
Who are your offensive and defensive MVPs of the game?

Vic: My offensive MVP is Khalif Barnes and my defensive MVP is Rashean Mathis. Barnes eliminated Joey Porter. In my opinion, that has to be acknowledged.

Gavin from Halifax, Nova Scotia:
Do you think we have a rivalry with the Steelers now?

Vic: That's a good question. I guess we'll have to wait until the next time the two teams play to find out. Frankly, I thought the Steelers were a little flat and played as though they were above a big early-season game. I didn't see anything near the intensity in them that the Jaguars brought to the game. That was an embarrassing performance on national TV by a defending Super Bowl champion.

Daniel from Wichita, KS:
It's obvious, we are one of the elite teams in the NFL now, but if we win against Indy next week can anyone dispute us?

Vic: Who's disputing the Jaguars? What are the roots of this insanity? You wanted respect and now you have it. When is it enough? It's a real simple formula: Win and go up, lose and go down. What we're going to find out now is how tough it is to stay on top. The Colts held that top spot for nearly the entire season last year; little good it did them. The Jaguars are at one week and counting. The season didn't end last night. They didn't present the Lombardi Trophy. There are 15 weeks remaining.

Rufus from Jacksonville:
It's 3-0 early in the fourth quarter and the Steelers are gassed. I can already tell you who wins and so can anyone else.

Vic: You got it. I like how you think. When Josh Scobee kicked his first field goal, I turned to the guy next to me and said 3-0 might be the final score. Just as I said they would, the Steelers wilted. Conditioning is very important for the Jaguars because they can gain a huge advantage in these early-season home games and there's not a thing wrong with that. In my opinion, if you're a team from a warm climate, it's even more important to be a physical, ball-control team. That's how you press your weather advantage. Why would you want to be a finesse team? You don't gain a fatigue factor advantage in the heat and you can't function in the cold.

Travis from Charlotte, NC:
There was no "Ask Vic" column on Monday. Why not?

Vic: I'll work all day, or I'll work all night, but I won't work all day and all night.

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