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Anger is fashionable

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

Tom from Starke, FL:
What happened to stretching the field to help open up the running game?

Vic: You need time to do that. You need a firm pocket that also provides room for a quarterback to step up and deliver the ball. I don't believe David Garrard has been afforded that kind of pocket.

Wayne from Brunswick, GA:
I think the Jags problem is their easy-going lifestyle and off-the-field PR. They need to think and practice football hard every day. We, the fans, are paying millions of dollars for a certain product and that is to have a Super Bowl team called the Jacksonville Jaguars. What do you think, Vic?

Vic: Absolutely; the Jaguars need to work harder for the fans.

Jeremy from Fulton, MO:
I would like to point out it wasn't long ago the hated Titans were in salary cap purgatory and forced to go with a ridiculously young roster. They took their lumps early but a very talented coaching staff has made them an ascending team ever since, and that includes wasting the number three pick overall. Draft, develop and a little luck doesn't hurt.

Vic: The thing that provided the time the Titans needed to rebuild was the fans' patience and loyalty. Through that 5-11, 4-12, 8-8 stretch, the Titans sold out every game. That's what I mean when I say a team's fan base defines itself in losing years. The Titans' fan base did that in 2004-06 and it shocked me. I never thought of Nashville as a football town, but it has proven that it is.

Michael from Lake Mary, FL:
What happens to an official that misses a call such as the pass interference on Torry Holt? Does the NFL fine him or is he evaluated poorly?

Vic: He's graded down.

James from Jupiter, FL:
What did you think of Ponder's performance against BYU? Could he be an NFL QB?

Vic: I expect him to be a high pick. As I said, I love what I saw of him against Miami. I'm not making any final judgments because I haven't seen enough of him, yet, but he's clearly a guy with pro-like skills.

Mike from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
How related are ticket sales to the won/loss ratio? Do you have an example of a team that had a losing record and still sold tickets?

Vic: The Titans example I used is a good one. The Browns didn't have anything lower than 72,077 last year. The Bengals stayed at or near capacity last year. The Bills were 7-9 in 2007 and didn't have a crowd smaller than 70,600. Those are comparable markets.

Jon from Durham, NC:
If a true humbling experience is the realization you are going up against someone clearly superior to you, then true courage is stepping up to the line for 60 plays to do it with that knowledge.

Vic: That is the essence of the game, the human confrontation that goes beyond the X's and O's. It is the game within the game and it is much more important than what's on the scoreboard.

Jeremy from Jacksonville:
I was so pumped up for the game and I thought we started out pretty decent.

Vic: I'm not a fan of trailing 7-0 before you've even had the ball.

Kevin from Savannah, GA:
I saw lots of Gator fans wearing their Sunday best, a Tebow jersey with matching Gary Danielson knee pads. Very snazzy, but next time leave it on the nail.

Vic: Were they wearing Clark Kent glasses, too?

John from Jacksonville:
What are your thoughts on the success of the "wildcat" offense on Monday night?

Vic: You could run the "pussycat" offense and rush for 200 yards against the Colts defense.

Brandy from Crawfordsville, AR:
I think people in general are angrier now and it started before the recession. Even during the golden years of late, people have just been angrier at life. Working too hard? Not being disciplined? Not being taught any better?

Vic: I don't think any of that is it. I just think it's fashionable to act that way, and I see it mostly in sports. I think it all started with the double-chinstrap-pull-and-look-angry celebration ceremony. The fans liked it so much they started acting out the anger. I was in a sports bar late last season on a Sunday afternoon and I was stunned by what I observed. It was actually making me angry. What it took me time to realize is that it was all an act. It's what people do to be fashionable; they act angry.

Josh from Jacksonville:
How do you convert Jacksonville residents that have interest in other NFL teams to pull for the Jaguars?

Vic: That's a great question and it's a real problem. What I've come to realize is that this team's fate is in the hands of the snowbirds. The hardcore, native-born Jacksonville football fan has not embraced this team as fervently as expected. That's where I'll concede there's a divide between the Jaguars and the college football crowd and it has hurt this team. It didn't take long to find out that a surprisingly large portion of the Jaguars season ticket base was comprised of snowbirds and other such relocated residents who have a passion for pro football but also maintain loyalty to the team from the town they left. They adopted the Jaguars because they were the team of their new town, but fans with split loyalties are difficult to renew. I don't know what the answer is to your question.

Joshua from Jacksonville:
"Now we're left to deal with the plain, hard truth." So, is the hard truth that this town can't maintain an NFL team?

Vic: The plain, hard truth is that this town must over-achieve, as it was expected to do when the franchise was awarded, and it must happen now, not 15 years from now.

Sebastian from San Antonio, TX:
Aside from our pass-rush, how is the defense doing?

Vic: It's evolving. It's searching for the right players, the right scheme, the right combinations and an identity. This is going to take some time.

Brendon from Monterey, CA:
AOL Fanhouse ran an article yesterday about how long on average each QB has held the ball before being sacked so far this year. David Garrard's name was nowhere to be found in the worst 10. He wasn't in the best 10 either, so he was somewhere in the middle of the pack. Kind of an interesting stat and its value can be argued, but it sure doesn't support the claim that Garrard is being sacked because of holding the ball excessively long.

Vic: Ben Roethlisberger holds the ball forever and he's praised. Garrard doesn't but he's accused of it and blamed for it. Just win, baby.

Zach from Jacksonville:
Were the Dolphins not rebuilding last year when they won the AFC East? Rebuilding or not, if you have decent coaching and players, which we should have, you can win the games.

Vic: Hey, Zach, the Dolphins won last year because their schedule was a piece of cake. Do you understand? They were not good, but their schedule made it appear as though they were. How many times and how many ways do I have to say this? Now they're facing a really tough schedule and they're going to probably have a really bad season and you'll probably wonder why, so let me tell you why: It's because they're still rebuilding. It's a fluke to get a schedule as soft as theirs was last year.

Justin from Jacksonville:
Why don't the Jags do a "Battle Teal" day? I say we have a "Battle Teal" day when we face off against the Titans on Oct. 4.

Vic: I say save it for Dec. 6 against the Texans. I'm tired of this "Battle Red" stuff. I'm tired of the Texans disrespecting the Jaguars. It's time to hit them with "Battle Teal" the next time they play in Jacksonville. As Buford said, "There'll be the devil to pay."

Jendon from Jacksonville:
Having a youth movement and rebuilding a team are all fine and well, but what happens if those young players that you're picking aren't as good as you thought they would be? What happens if your rebuild doesn't make your team any better because the players you're drafting aren't going to develop into good talent?

Vic: Then you become the Pirates.

Matt from Jacksonville:
Not once have I ever booed the Jaguars. What does booing accomplish?

Vic: It accomplishes nothing but I'm not against it. The fan pays a lot of money and he deserves the right to express himself. Booing is as old as sports itself and it's an acceptable way for expressing dissent. I'm not OK, however, with cheering an injury. That was embarrassing.

Jeff from Boonsboro, MD:
Could you imagine if the Ravens bought into your out with the old, in with the new version and let Ray Lewis go to the Cowboys?

Vic: The Ravens are 17th in the league in defense. They're not winning with defense any more. They're winning with a young offense, led by a second-year quarterback and a young offensive line, the combination of which has the Ravens offense at number three in the league. Imagine that. It's a young man's game.

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