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Attractive opening schedule

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

Bill from Jacksonville:
I know this is a small point, but do you think it would help if the Jaguars advertised that you don't need good credit to purchase season tickets? They will set it up where the money is taken out of your account on a monthly basis?

Vic: Turn the franchise into a used car lot? Yeah, that'll work.

Jimmicane from Cardiff, CA:
Is it possible the July season ticket push we typically see hasn't been the same because the proactive approach by Tony Boselli and "Team Teal" has already tapped into the procrastinating bunch? Has the pool of season-ticket buyers evaporated?

Vic: That's a new one: Blame it on Boselli.

Mike from Piscataway, NJ:
I just read this comment from Steve Sabol: "Jim Brown was the greatest ball carrier, but no one ever played the position of running back as completely as (Walter) Payton." I never saw Brown, however, I was a huge Payton fan. I know you've always professed how great Brown was. What's your thought about Sabol's take?

Vic: He should've stopped after he said "Jim Brown was the greatest ball carrier." When you average 5.2 yards per carry, you don't need to do anything else, yet, Brown was a fantastic receiver out of the backfield, despite playing in an era when running backs weren't used prominently as receivers. Brown caught 262 passes for 2,499 yards in his career. He averaged 9.5 yards per reception. Brown was the total package. He's the best ever, period.

Adam from Jacksonville:
Looking at the ticket sales up to this point and our first four home opponents (Broncos, Eagles, Colts and Titans), would it be ridiculous to assume that these first four games might sell out?

Vic: If any of the first four home games are blacked out, I will be very, very sad. That is a sensational opening lineup of home games. It might be the best in the league, especially when you consider the Tebow lovefest factor.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Sorry for submitting a second question for the same day but I thought I should point out that the score on the 2007 schedule page for the game against Carolina is wrong. It says we won 29-22 but, in fact, we won 37-6.

Vic: I know, Art, and thanks for noticing.

Caleb from Jacksonville:
As a fan and reporter, how hard is it to write a piece without interjecting your true emotion as a fan?

Vic: It's not hard at all. It's my job. Do you get emotional as you do your job?

Skip from Jacksonville:
The Jaguars lost the last four games last year. I'd like your input as to why. Were those teams just better than the Jags? Did the Jags have two or three players that just weren't playing hard? Was there a problem in the Jags backfield? Was it poor conditioning? I know what I think. What's your take?

Vic: The schedule got tough. That's all it was. The five-game stretch from the game in San Francisco through the game in New England was the most difficult stretch of schedule in the Jaguars' season. Look at the numbers from last season: Eighteenth in total offense, 23rd in total defense, last in the league in sacks, 27th in pass-defense. They were playing with two rookie tackles on offense and a rookie cornerback on defense. They started the season playing a 3-4 and ended the season playing a 4-3 with a defensive line that included two starters, Quentin Groves and John Henderson, who are no longer with the team. By December, the defense was able to do little more than hope the opposing quarterback threw the ball high or the receiver dropped it. Alex Smith looked like Sammy Baugh, Matt Schaub threw for 207 yards despite not entering the game until midway through the second quarter, I think Chad Henne set a record for consecutive completions and, of course, Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark played pitch and catch on a Thursday night. At that point it was over. Then the Patriots and Browns combined for over 400 yards rushing, which made the Jaguars offseason mission crystal clear: Fix the defense. I have no doubt you think the Jaguars should've made the playoffs, but I think any logical football analyst would agree the Jaguars were not a playoff-caliber team last season.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Placing a wager on golf matches years ago was the way a lot of past champions were groomed for the professional level. That's not the case anymore in the U.S. In the UK, they encourage gambling or placing a wager. Do you think the American golfers are a little weak on the mental side?

Vic: No, I don't think that's it. I think they swing too hard. I think we place too much of a premium on how, instead of on how many. A six iron out of bounds? Who hits a six iron out of bounds? That was almost as bad as the tent shot. Oysterhouse has the most relaxed swing I've ever seen. A gap-toothed, pasty-faced, pansy-looking kid from South Africa made fools out of our bombers. Maybe we need to stop with all the personal trainers and intense instruction and start developing some feel for the game.

Jordan from Alabaster, AL:
With potential violations at Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina, and probably another 100 violations we don't know about, what can be done? As an Alabama fan, I think Florida being forced to vacate their Sugar Bowl victory would be a sign the floodgates are about to break open. What happened to culpability? I understand the NCAA adopted a rule to decrease its enforcement costs and send a message that amateurism needs to be protected, but I think it will also be harmful to the game to have teams, who did nothing wrong, vacate wins for isolated incidents. I'd love to hear your perspective. You always seem to have another way of looking at things.

Vic: The responsibility for providing a respected and distinguished football program is every bit as much the responsibility of the university president as it is to provide a respected and distinguished science department. That's where the culpability falls and it's up to the university president to fix the problem. Vacating victories is meaningless enforcement measure. If the president really wants to fix the problem, he knows what has to be done. It begins with greater scrutiny in the recruiting process, and don't tell me athletics pays the bills.

Keith from Ruskin, FL:
I read a column from Steve Sabol of "NFL Films" today and he said this: "I think emotion is an overused word and overrated factor in the NFL. Everyone in football is charged up, but emotion is a commodity with a notoriously short shelf life. You can't replace preparation and execution with emotion and hope to make it. There was a lot of passion at the Alamo, and they all died." It immediately made me think of your stance on a lot of the chest-pounding, muscle-flexing, and trash-talking that is so prevalent today.

Vic: Sabol, again? All right, this time I agree with him. Chuck Noll used to say that all that emotion only lasted until the first time you got knocked on your butt, except he didn't use the word butt. I agree with Chuck. The real emotion you need to be successful on the football field is that quiet, inner intensity called will. You don't wear it on your shirt sleeve for your opponents to see. They see it in your eyes and they know it's the kind of emotion that lasts all day. That other stuff is for the fans. They like it because they can see it.

Sunil from Jacksonville:
Sitting in the stands at halftime of the 1999 AFC championship game, I remember discussing with my family that the Reggie Barlow fumble at the end of the half may have been a huge momentum shift. It turned out it was. Do you think that may have been what turned that game?

Vic: When you lose to a team three times in one season, twice at home and once to its backup quarterback, you probably need to admit the better team won. I didn't believe that back then, but I do now. The Titans were a team on the rise; the Jaguars had reached the end of their run. That run peaked the previous week in the 62-7 win over the Dolphins. The Jaguars were never the same again.

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