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Believe in the unexpected

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

Brian from Atlanta, GA:
Vic, did we know anything about this finger injury of Garrard's? I don't remember seeing his name on the injury list.

Vic: I knew nothing of it until I was told he was going to have surgery.

Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
I'm trying to get a feel for the Garrard finger injury. Is it an injury that if it occurred the week before a playoff game he would hold off on surgery until the season was over? Or is David simply physically unable to perform at an acceptable level due to the injury?

Vic: The injury was described to me as debilitating. If you wanna get a feel for what it's been like to play with it, imagine having the ligament in your finger ripped from the bone and now ask yourself this question: Would I like to hold a football in my right hand, raise it above my right shoulder and have a 300-pound man with huge arms and hands run at me from behind and karate-chop my hand for the purpose of knocking the ball loose? I would not like that to happen to my hand but, of course, everybody has different tolerances of pain.

Chris from Neptune Beach, FL:
I keep reading how David Garrard breaks another franchise record, the most recent being the most touchdown passes in a season. That being the case, is David really as good or better than Brunell, or is the game so much different now that you can't tell anything by these numbers?

Vic: Garrard holds the Jaguars single-season records for touchdown passes and passer rating (102.2 in 2007). He doesn't come near Mark Brunell's record of 4,367 yards passing in 1996, largely because Brunell attempted a Jaguars-record 557 passes that season, a year in which Brunell took every snap from center. Do I think Garrard is a better quarterback than Brunell? No, I don't. In his prime, which was unfortunately cut short by a knee injury, Brunell was one of the elite quarterbacks in the game. He took the Jaguars to two AFC title games and engineered a great playoff run in '96. Garrard has done neither in his time as a starting quarterback. I think it's important to note, however, that Garrard hasn't had Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy pass-blocking for him and he hasn't been throwing to Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, and I think it's also important to note that what Garrard has accomplished statistically is worthy of respect. It's a respect, in my opinion, he hasn't been afforded.

Derick from Seattle, WA:
Let me go ahead and solve two of your biggest problems, then you won't have to talk about them anymore. First, the anger is from the hormones, and that is why grown men act like menopausal women. The other is attendance, and they need to do a Kleenex free giveaway so the overly hormonal people know that it's OK to cry. I hope this solves a few things.

Vic: Blame it on hormones?

Mary from Jacksonville:
Did you see the movie "Never Been Kissed?" When Drew Barrymore stood on the pitcher's mound waiting for the guy to arrive and kiss her and the game clock went to 0:00, the reaction of the audience (and Drew) is exactly how I felt at the end of our last game vs. the Redskins.

Vic: I didn't see that movie. I swear I didn't and anybody who says I did is lying.

John from Jacksonville:
When you look back on this season's "Ask Vic" questions, from draft Tebow to Jags scarves to BAP vs. need to FULL CONSISTENCY, what was your favorite? Here's looking forward to your 40th season and another season of intentional and unintentional comedy in 2011.

Vic: I wouldn't worry about that.

Rick from Jacksonville:
Stand or sit? I fully understand the college tradition of standing throughout the game to show support. Does the same really apply to the NFL? There's a time for everything and standing up and cheering for a big play or defensive stand is certainly appropriate. To stand up the entire game is simply moronic.

Vic: It's the monotone howling that drives me crazy. It's as though the fans are zombies. I like a crowd that knows how to ebb and flow. I like a crowd that has a feel for the action and knows when to strike.

Elton from St. Augustine, FL:
Last week you asked why the Jags didn't pound it up the middle at the Colts one-yard line instead of running wide. Players, not plays, say you, or are you not sure where you stand?

Vic: I'm very sure of where I stand. What you're describing is the difference between scheming schemes and scheming personnel. When you're on the goal line and you have one of the best short-yardage backs and the absolute best quarterback-sneak quarterback in the game, it is my opinion that you run straight ahead because that's what your players' talents dictate. That's what you should do because it's players, not plays, and that means doing what your players do best. It's not like that on your video game, is it? All you have to do is push buttons and all the buttons are the same size. Call some coaches and ask them if it's plays or players. Call any coach and ask him. I've never known a coach, any coach, who didn't believe it was players, not plays. Imagine the reaction of a room full of players if their coach presented that week's game plan to them by saying, "We're not going to win because we have better players, we're going to win because we have better plays." The people who coach and play this game know it's players, not plays.

Artie from Jacksonville:
Now you comment that the Jags had six bad years of drafting. Where were you when it was happening, ripping into us fans, suggesting that we should shut up and let the experts do their job?

Vic: I was critical of the Reggie Williams pick and I made that opinion known on the radio seconds after the pick was made. I was also critical of the Matt Jones pick and all of my haters out there love to remind me about how I was critical of the Reggie Nelson pick by reminding me that I favored selecting Brady Quinn. I think any veteran of "Ask Vic" would confirm that information for you.

Karen from Jacksonville:
Why don't we target our tight end more? Manning and Brady continuously find theirs, yet, ours always seems to be a last resort. How about forcing him the ball?

Vic: Marcedes Lewis has been targeted 82 times this season, which is second on the Jaguars to Mike Thomas' 96. Last resort? Hardly. Lewis was a prime target in the Jaguars' pass-offense this year, especially for a true tight end, not an H-back/wide receiver type.

Chris from Jacksonville:
Do you agree with Governor Ed Rendell's statements about the NFL making a mistake in postponing the Sunday night game?

Vic: Rendell was at the infamous Santa Claus game years ago. I think he even admitted to having thrown a snowball. He's one of them.

Joe from Orlando, FL:
Fans like to complain about being heartbroken by their team's efforts, yet, 31 teams each year seem to fall short of their fans' expectations. Are we asking too much or is it our duty to demand consistent perfection?

Vic: You make it sound as though it's war. Duty? Consistent perfection? It's a game! You're seeking perfection from a game? Is it the duty of teams to provide consistent perfection? Are you kidding me? That's laughable. Hey, this column isn't for you because this is a place for great imperfection and I want it to stay that way.

Chad from Yulee, FL:
A big topic in this column over the years has been respect. Prior to certain games in some seasons you have pointed out that the best way for the team to get the respect of the national media that the fans so desperately want is to win the big game. Without researching their record in respect games, what is your sense in how they perform in these situations? My sense is this is a below .500 franchise over the years, even with the 1996 to 1999 run.

Vic: You're asking a question to which you already know the answer. If you have something to say, just say it.

Maria from Melbourne, FL:
My teenage daughter and I are big Jags fans. We finally had an opportunity to attend a game and her Christmas present to me was a framed photo of the two of us in our MoJo jerseys at the game. It was a great mom and daughter moment. Also, any chance there will be an "Ask Vic" tumbler for those non-coffee drinkers?

Vic: Tumbler, as in something a child might use? Or are you referring to a short glass an adult might use after the car has been safely returned to the garage for the evening, the day's chores are complete and a period of introspection is at hand? Yeah, we need a tumbler.

Blake from Jacksonville:
I hope at least some of these people writing these messages to you are embarrassed by their behavior and attitude. I played football my whole life, including in college, and not one time did I ever come off the field and feel upset because of the play-call. Maybe it's just easier to blame play-calling and maybe I'll go pick up a copy of Madden or Playstation so I can learn something about football today.

Vic: Give Craig and his friends a call. They can probably tell you where you can get a real good deal on video toys. I have no doubt they play with theirs all night long.

Gabe from Jacksonville:
Garrard's intercepted passes against Indianapolis and Washington that sailed on him were unlike any other picks that I have seen him throw. I have to believe it's the finger's fault. I don't get why people insist on getting rid of Garrard. It's not like keeping him is hurting us.

Vic: The one in Indy, which was intended for Jason Hill, I believe, had a lot of zip on it, but there was one pass in the Washington game, and I think I described it in my blog as a wild throw, that made me wonder. It was a horribly wild-high throw that wobbled a lot. It appeared as though it was intended for no one and that's why I remember it. That's the only throw from the last two games that I remember as having been suspicious, but I've gotten a few questions this week from readers asking if there was something wrong with Garrard's arm, because they thought some of his throws were weak. I can't remember if it was during Gene Smith's radio show on Monday or during one of the breaks in that show, but I remember him saying the hamstring injury probably caused Garrard not to step into his throws fully. What I didn't know, of course, is that Smith knew something I didn't.

J.R. from Castle Shannon, PA:
"What can happen in 28 seconds, huh?" "Hang onto your hats, here come the Steelers out of the huddle. Twenty-two seconds remaining. It's down to one big play, fourth down and 10 yards to go, Terry Bradshaw at the controls, and Bradshaw, running out of the pocket, looking for somebody to throw to, fires it downfield, and there's a collision, and it's caught out of the air. The ball is pulled in by Franco Harris. Harris is going for a touchdown for Pittsburgh." What can happen in 28 seconds? Only the arrival of a dynasty, and with six seconds to spare.

Vic: It's a game. It's not an exercise in consistent perfection. The unexpected is what makes it great and the course of history can change in the bat of an eye. I don't think the Jaguars are going to make it into the playoffs this Sunday, but I didn't think the Jaguars would make it into the playoffs in 1996 when they were 4-7. I didn't think they'd make it into the playoffs when Morten Andersen lined up a kick from point-blank range. I didn't think Mike Thomas would catch a deflected pass to beat the Texans this season, either. The inexplicable happens. The game's greatest example of consistent perfection, Peyton Manning, threw a pick-six with the Super Bowl title on the line. DeSean Jackson returned a punt for the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game, after the Giants punter had been instructed to punt the ball out of bounds. How and why do these things happen? Nobody knows; they just happen. Maybe it'll happen this Sunday for the Jaguars. Maybe they'll win and the Colts will lose and Trent Edwards will get hot and lead the Jags on a playoff run and the fortunes of the franchise will be changed forever. I wouldn't bet on it happening but nothing that happens in this game surprises me anymore, and that's why the games are played and why we watch. You don't have to have expectations. You don't have to predict the outcome. You don't even have to make sense out of any of it. It's OK to be surprised. All you have to do is watch and enjoy.

Joel from Jacksonville:
Do you believe in miracles?

Vic: I believe in the unexpected.

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