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A Thanksgiving 'Vic'

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

Johnny from Hastings, FL:
I wonder how long it took teams like the Steelers that have waiting lists for tickets to get to a point where there was a waiting list. While I make no excuses (I am a season ticket holder), I just wondered if perhaps the Jags are still just too young.

Vic: Yes, the Jaguars are still too young to expect them to have a waiting list as the Steelers, Packers and other heritage teams do. The Jaguars, however, are not too young to expect their games to be sold out for a first-place team. They're not too young to expect to avoid blackout extensions. The heritage teams have great traditions that fuel their season-ticket bases, but they also charge big prices and require PSLs that go for ridiculous sums of money. I just read about two Steelers PSLs that went for $30,000 each. We don't have that here. We don't have PSLs but we do have affordable upper-deck tickets and fan-friendly season-ticket plans for which there should be a reasonable expectation that they be sold out.

Matthew from St. Augustine, FL:
Wouldn't it be better to telecast our games looking at the Jaguars side of the field instead of the away side? Our side is practically full and it makes us look bad showing the other side with horrible attendance.

Vic: So you want to deceive the national audience, even though it angers you that the national media isn't telling the truth about Jacksonville.

Kristian from Belo Horizonte, Brazil:
I teach English as a second language here in Brazil. Today, while my student was doing a test, I was reading "Ask Vic." I couldn't stop myself from giggling on several occasions and my student, thinking I was laughing at him, asked: "Am I doing that poorly?" I could only answer: "No, but you need to achieve full consistency."

Vic: Yes, we must achieve FULL CONSISTENCY. Our greatness is great. Anything less than FULL CONSISTENCY is unacceptable.

William from Jacksonville:
Were you surprised to learn that Rusty Smith will be the first ever local product to start an NFL game at QB? How can that be? There has been plenty of talent for at least five decades in our high schools. Are the high schools not as good as advertised, or does it show just how hard it is to become an NFL QB?

Vic: I don't know, but I think Smith will also become the first starting quarterback whose family owns a sandwich shop. You get a lot of quarterbacks from steel mill and coal mine backgrounds, but you don't get a lot of sandwich shops. If I may, I recommend the tuna on pita with lettuce and tomato.

James from Tucson, AZ:
The average points scored for a winning team last weekend was 30.56.

Vic: I wanna cry.

Chris from Jacksonville:
I didn't even get my ticket scanned this past week. They just took the bottom off. There were a lot more people there this week than last. I think the count may be off a little. Is it just scanned tickets they're counting? I can tell you that no one in my line was being scanned. This has happened a number of times this year.

Vic: Blame it on the scanners? That's a new one. I like it. The problem, however, is that the scanners go off-line from time to time and, when they do, the bottoms of tickets are collected and scanned later when the scanners come back on-line.

David from Ormond Beach, FL:
Do the matchups favor the Giants this week?

Vic: Not as much as they would if Hakeem Nicks was healthy. The Giants have the kind of pass-rush with which the Jaguars struggle, but the Jaguars offensive line is playing well so it might not be that big of a problem. We'll see. The inside-outside combination of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw is what concerns me.

J.R. from Mount Pleasant, SC:
Have you had a chance to watch South Carolina's running back, Marcus Lattimore? If so, who would you compare him to?

Vic: I see some Billy Sims in Lattimore, who I think is a sensational back. He is absolutely my kind of running back. He's a pads-down guy who can bounce and go.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Richard Seymour lost his cool, yet, Roethlisberger was clearly trying to get a reaction from him. While retaliation is not OK, I can't help but wonder how Chuck Bednarik or Dick Butkus would have handled the same situation. If they did react the same way, would public perception have been different in a different era?

Vic: My understanding is that Roethlisberger said nothing to Seymour; he was merely trying to separate one of his offensive linemen from Seymour. Butkus, Bednarik and just about any other tough-guy from that era would've reacted the same way and no one would've thought anything about it and there probably wouldn't have been a penalty, but these are different times. I'll give you the name of another tough guy: Bill Bergey, a middle linebacker for the Bengals and Eagles. The league was full of tough-guy middle linebackers in the 1970's and Bergey was one of the meanest, tough and dirtiest players I have ever seen. I can still hear the crowd chanting hauntingly, "Berrrgey, Berrrgey,"

Sashi from Gainesville, FL:
What are your thoughts on Vick, Vic? Comeback Player of the Year?

Vic: He's the league MVP right now. I'll always struggle with the stigma of what he did, but I marvel at his talent and I admire his comeback. He's a great football player. He's not the first one who's run afoul.

Chris from Sherman, TX:
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a 6-4 record and my daily dose of "Ask Vic."

Vic: I'm thankful for all of the important things, and I think we know what they are, and I'm also thankful to be covering meaningful late-season games and for a readership that entertains me as much as you think I entertain you. It's all part of the experience, folks.

Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
Jodie Foster? You're killing me. You seem to be in midseason form with a nasty edge. I loved your commentary on Jags All-Access. We leave on Wednesday for New York; Macy's parade, Broadway, Jags-Giants.

Vic: Make sure you see the nuts.

Jordan from Alabaster, AL:
When asked whether Vince Young would be the Titans' starter in 2011, Bud Adams responded, "Oh, God, yes." What are the chances the Titans draft a QB in one of the first two rounds?

Vic: Watching coach Jeff Fisher's postgame press conference, I got the feeling he was sending a message to his owner: Him or me; pick.

Genesis from Colorado Springs, CO:
Vic, I am in the military (Army), and the basic definition of leadership is to provide purpose, direction and motivation to collectively accomplish a goal. Who, in your opinion, provides these qualities in the Jaguars locker room?

Vic: I'm not into that vocal leadership stuff for football teams. If I've got a locker room full of guys who need to be led, then I need a new locker room full of guys. I want self-starters. If I'm a coach, I don't wanna walk into my locker room and see a player acting as a coach. I wanna walk into that locker room and see every eye in the room turn to me with a focus that lets me know I don't have to say a word because they're ready to play. I want guys who can lead themselves and that's what I see in the Jaguars locker room and I think that's what Jack Del Rio is describing when he talks about how enjoyable it's been to coach this group of men. I see a lot of strong individualized personalities that have a natural ambition to win. No one is going to show Terrance Knighton the way; he has his own strong sense of direction. Lead Maurice Jones-Drew? That's comical. He's one of the most stubborn people I've ever known, but in him it's a virtue because he expresses it in a rugged will and purpose. You saw that run with the screen pass. He needs leadership? Marcedes Lewis has finally stopped following the lead of others and has started being his own man, and that's the difference in him. David Garrard definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer. I look into Eugene Monroe's eyes and I can't help but wonder what's going on in there. I promise you, nobody is gonna tell Monroe what he should think and how he should act. Mike Thomas reminds me of several cocky Steelers players I covered. Thomas is a free spirit and you don't wanna break that spirit. Yes, football is a team game but it's also a game of one-on-one confrontations and you've got to be able to count on yourself to win those confrontations because help is not on the way. At that point, the question you have to answer is: Do you have what it takes to win? Nobody can answer it for you and they're not gonna stop the game to let somebody give you a pep talk. Just do your job. That's all. That's how you lead.

Tom from Staten Island, NY:
Not to jump ahead but when was the last time the Jaguars had a four-game winning streak?

Vic: It was in weeks 2-6 (including bye week) in 2007. They beat Atlanta, then won at Denver and at Kansas City, then beat Houston.

Jonathan from Jacksonville:
The good news is I work in Jacksonville International Airport. The great news is the game being on while I worked in the airport was the only way I could watch it. Why do people only look at the TV for five seconds and get opinions?

Vic: As I said, there must've been some logical explanation.

Cliff from Baltimore, MD:
One of my favorite things about "Ask Vic" is the stories you tell from all different aspects of your life and career. I remember about a year ago you mentioned the Saul twins from Butler, Pa., in one of your answers and it made me happy that you had known them. While he was their older brother, my grandfather, Bill Saul, also played in the NFL, for both the Baltimore Colts and the Steelers, among other teams. For the past few years, Thanksgiving has been a rough time thinking about how much I miss him. It would be wonderful to know if you had any stories of him to share. Regardless, I thank you for all the work you put into this site and beyond, and I wish you, your family and the entire "Ask Vic" family a very happy Thanksgiving.

Vic: Ladies and gentlemen, we have been graced by the presence of the grandson of the late, great and forever famous Bill Saul. This is truly a great moment for me for it was your grandfather who was my only salvation during those grim falls of my teenage years. I'm sure you're aware of your grandfather's fame and infamy as one of the truly zany and rugged players of NFL Films lore. He was NFL Films' first live-miked subject and he put on quite a show for Ed Sabol. In between the bleeps, your grandfather was captured targeting a "little (bleep)" who played for the other team – I believe it was the Redskins – and then proudly announced in the huddle that he got him, which meant, of course, that he had injured the "little (bleep)." The piece ended with your grandfather shooing away autograph-seeking kids by telling them "We're not allowed to do that kind of stuff." I think the live-miked segment was either entitled or promoted as the violent world of Bill Saul, and the intent was to convey to the viewer the game's sounds of fury, which the piece did, but it was your grandfather's commentary that put it over the top. By the way, your grandfather is rather infamous for a little thing he liked to do on the first play of the game, too, but we won't talk about that. Here's what's important, Cliff: Your grandfather played at a time when baseball was the national pastime and football was the college game. The NFL was still struggling to gain a foothold on the national sports scene. NFL Films was an Ed Sabol invention to which Pete Rozelle granted funding and carte blanche access because Rozelle was and always will be the most accomplished commissioner in the history of professional sports and Pete knew the value of exposing the public to snippets of the NFL, such as the violent world of Bill Saul. Your grandfather is one of the pioneers of the league. He's one of the men who made the game what it is and I am thankful to know his grandson. Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all of the "Ask Vic" family.

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