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AFC Central race wide open

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


Brian Rhodes from Davenport, IA:**
What do you think of the Bengals being 2-0? Are they gonna be able to run with the Jags as the season goes on, or will the Titans and Ravens resurface with the Jags for the division title? And do you think the Jags will make it all the way?

Vic: Nobody in the AFC Central Division is out of the division title chase, although the Titans' start, combined with their schedule over the next four games, has put them in peril. The Ravens and Jaguars will be there, I expect the Bengals to hang around for a while, and the Steelers might make a push at midseason when they play four consecutive division games (three of them at home). It's too early to begin thinking about "all the way."

David Wielgus from Orlando, FL:
The Jaguars played with great intensity on Sunday. It was a great victory. Kevin Hardy and Hardy Nickerson, in particular, have played like men possessed, which leads me to my question: Do you see any way for us to keep Kevin Hardy and Hardy Nickerson on the Jaguars after this season? I think losing either would be a big mistake.

Vic: Kevin Hardy wants to stay in Jacksonville. It's possible something could get done there, but you must remember the Jaguars still have a major salary cap problem. Hardy Nickerson's contract makes it impossible to fit him under next year's salary cap.

Kevin Gardner from Jacksonville:
I think a Sunday blackout would be unfair to the city of Jacksonville, and the league office should make a special case for this town. We have a large military population and many of our season ticket holders and single-game buyers are out on the front lines. Is there any chance the league will look at our special circumstances? And is this something Wayne Weaver can go to the visiting team with?

The league has been more than gracious in granting Jacksonville deadline extensions and, largely, turning its back on this situation through the first six years of the team's existence. Last season, Cleveland's Carmen Policy agreed to waive the blackout rule when the Jaguars hosted the Browns on Dec. 3, and the league turned its back on that, too. Don't you think it's about time we start living by the rules that govern every other city in the league?

Lane Baker from Orlando, FL:
I know Fred Taylor was in a lot of pain when he went down on Sunday, but I lost some respect for him when replays showed he simply threw the ball away as he went down. Don't you think he could've done a better job of maintaining possession of the ball? Between that, Damon Jones' fumble and Hollis' missed chip-shot, the Jags seemed to shoot themselves in the foot too often. Do you attribute these mistakes to early-season miscues?

Vic: How can anyone say what Fred Taylor should've done, without experiencing the same pain? It has become a very popular pastime to insult and assassinate Taylor's character with subtle shots at his toughness. Frankly, it infuriates me. As for the rest of what you said, yeah, Jones shouldn't have fumbled and Hollis shouldn't miss field-goal attempts. And I shouldn't have cut myself shaving this morning, but I did, and somehow I'll manage not to bleed to death.

Ken Gentry from Panama City Beach, FL:
Do local TV stations decide which games to broadcast in a particular region?

Vic: TV stations in a team's primary market (Jacksonville) are required to show all of that team's games, provided the home games are sold out. TV stations in a team's secondary markets (Orlando, Daytona, Gainesville, Savannah) are required to air that team's road games, but are not required to show that team's home games. This past Sunday, the Orlando CBS affiliate aired the Raiders-Dolphins game instead of the Titans-Jaguars game. We can certainly expect the same to hold true in week 10, when the Jaguars host the Bengals and the Dolphins play at the Colts.

Joe Peters from Green Cove Springs, FL:
It seems like Mark Brunell isn't throwing to Keenan McCardell. Keenan usually has pretty close to the same numbers as Jimmy Smith. Is McCardell still slowed from the surgery? Is there something else we don't know about? Please fill us in.

Vic: I have to believe the hernia surgery is still hurting Keenan McCardell.


*Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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