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Beware of hangover

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

Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
Why on earth would we have wasted a time out trying to ice the Steelers kicker (it never really works anyway)? Wouldn't we have been better off using that timeout when Pittsburgh was running 30 seconds off the clock before spiking the ball? Instead of getting the ball back with 20 seconds, we could possibly have had as much as 50 seconds. I know we have a second-year head coach; do you think he knows he can use timeouts on defense also?

Vic: You're being unduly harsh. Pittsburgh was in control of the situation and they were going to run the clock down to where they wanted it, no matter what the Jaguars did. It was second-and-one at the 19-yard line. If the Jaguars call timeout, the Steelers probably run a play. If they make the first down, which would've been likely since the Jaguars would've had to play pass in that situation, the Steelers would've had a first down and could've run the clock to one second before kicking. What the Steelers were actually doing by letting the clock run was baiting the Jaguars into using their times out. That's what Bill Cowher wanted Jack Del Rio to do; use his remaining times out so he didn't have one to use when they got the ball back. In my opinion, Del Rio displayed composure in letting the situation play out the way it did. It was going to come down to a kick and there was nothing he could do about it. Why not let them kick from where they were instead of letting them kick from closer in?

James from Fort Gordon, GA:
I am extremely heartbroken because of our loss to the Steelers. My fiancé cried when the Jags lost and she doesn't even like football.

Vic: That's why she was crying; she doesn't like football. My wife does that on New Year's.

William from Jacksonville:
Wow! That was football. As you like to say, it was "big boy" football. If life were fair that game would have ended in a tie. That the Jaguars traded punches like that with the Steelers gives me more hope for the future than anything I have seen from them in years, possibly ever. What other teams in the NFL are physical enough to have played in that game without getting their (butts) kicked?

Vic: New England can play that game. That's why they're Super Bowl champs.

Todd from Jacksonville:
It's the rule of this forum that we ask you questions, but I'm compelled to make a statement. One of Jack Del Rio's original tag lines for this franchise was "take back our house." Jacksonville has failed. I was embarrassed Sunday night sitting in section 244 watching thousands of yellow flags waved around my stadium. I have never felt like wearing my own colors, in my own stadium, made me a target. My friends were trying to take my Jaguars logo magnets off my car because they didn't want to deal with hecklers. Look, Pittsburgh has a long and wonderful tradition and I am impressed by their fans' support of their team, but what a wonderful example they set and what a sad realization for Jags fans. We've read in the news lately that the fans' belief that they are a part of the game is dangerous, but there is reckless, obnoxious behavior and then there is emotional, unconditional support for your franchise. I love Jacksonville. I love the Jaguars. I am a loyal fan. Sunday night I had to watch someone walk into my house, sit down in my favorite chair, take control of my remote and dare me to take it back. I tried, the Jaguars tried, neither of us succeeded. Please, Jacksonville, take this as an example of what real fans do. You don't have to travel and take over someone else's stadium. Let's start by taking control of ours. Buy a ticket and love your team. This is our house.

Vic: There's only one rule of this forum: I make the rules. I like your message.

Dorian from Jacksonville:
You always have said, "Coaches coach, players play." Where did these two stand Sunday night?

Vic: Actually, I think it's Brian Billick who said that, but I agree with it. Where did they stand? I thought they both did great. The Jaguars were fully prepared to play against a team that had dominated the only other one-loss teams in the league, and the credit for that preparation goes right to the coaches. As far as the players are concerned, I thought they gave more effort than I have seen in any game in the league this year. I know this answer won't satisfy the play-calling people, but I just don't believe the play-calling was the problem. When it was crunch time, the Steelers defense rose to the occasion. They stopped the run and they stopped the pass. Isn't that what the number one defense in the league is supposed to do?

John from Jacksonville:
The Bears won pretty handily Sunday against the Vikings and the Jaguars couldn't beat Minnesota. At the beginning of the year I saw next week's game against the Bears and the last game in Oakland as gimmes for the Jaguars. Both of those teams seem to be playing well right now. Do you think those two games are still the easiest ones the Jags have left?

Vic: The toughest game left on the schedule is the one in Green Bay. The other three, in my opinion, are of normal difficulty, but the one this week is a real concern because the Jaguars are coming off a major physical and emotional battle against the Steelers. I'm concerned about the Jaguars suffering a hangover. Coaches love to play a team the week after they've played the Steelers. Jack Del Rio knows it'll be a big challenge to rebound this week and I'm sure he'll address that issue. This week's game against the Bears is not a gimme.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Not playing Marc Edwards at fullback appears to be really hurting the Jags in both the running game (please don't use the 32nd-ranked Vikings run-defense as an example of success with Greg Jones starting) and pass-protection. It seems Jones is not ready to play this position, yet. Am I the only one who has noticed this? This is like playing Williams over Troy Edwards.

Vic: First of all, the Vikings' run-defense is not 32nd in the league; it's 23rd. Your comments on Marc Edwards are not out of line. I think they lose something in the passing game by deactivating him. I think he's a better receiver and a better blocker than Greg Jones. I also think the Jaguars are managing their personnel with an eye toward the future, too, and Jones is clearly in this team's future. They expect him to become a better blocker and that'll allow him to become a full-time fullback. If and when that day comes, they might also have the pounder in their backfield that they so desperately need to complement Fred Taylor.

Stan from Fort Myers, FL:
I'm a Steelers fan for about 40 years. I just wanted to thank the Jags for scaring the living heck out of me and showing me one of the best, hard-fought, chew-and-spit games I've seen since the Pitt-Dallas Super Bowls of the '70's. This year, I'm loving being a Steeler fan, but the way you guys fought in this game, I'm sure you will be enjoying the same kind of season in the near future.

Vic: I like the chew and spit reference. I'm gonna use that some day.

Mike from Orlando, FL:
Looking back on the 1999 draft, how many thought Tim Couch and Akili Smith would be busts, while Donovan McNabb would light up the way he has? What do we chalk this up to, a superior environment in Philadelphia or is it simply one of those quirky and unpredictable things about the draft?

Vic: Chalk it up to raw talent. I don't know about thinking Couch and Smith would be busts, but anybody who judged them to be better talents than McNabb obviously doesn't know anything about football talent. Smith was drafted after McNabb, so Smith really doesn't apply to this review. But Couch was drafted ahead of McNabb. Are you kidding me? McNabb is a superior athlete and quarterback in every way and that was obvious when they were coming into the draft. Arm strength, size, athletic ability, mobility, everything; no comparison. What a mistake Cleveland made.

Mike from Burbank, CA:
In what seasons were we good in the red zone? What did we have then that we don't have now?

Vic: I went all the way back to 1999, which was the Jaguars' 14-2 season, and I couldn't find anything much better than middle-of-the-pack red-zone efficiency. Frankly, the Jaguars haven't been a good red-zone team for a lot of years. In my opinion, they need a pounder. I've said that too many times now. Can we please move on?

Joseph from Daytona Beach, FL:
Hey, Vic, love your show. Something I've always wanted to know but never had anyone to ask: Whenever I'm watching a game on television, I always hear a guy yelling, "It's away," during a punt or field goal. Who is yelling that and why?

Vic: It's one of the officials letting the players know they can stop hurting each other now.

D.J. from Brunswick, GA:
At the end of the game I just sat there in the stands. To be honest with you, Sunday night was the closest that I've ever come to crying at a game. I live and die with this team week in and week out. I take each loss personal and whenever we lose I'm depressed for the rest of the week. I was just wondering if there were any other fans out there like me?

Vic: Get hold of yourself, man. This is professional football. It's for tough guys. We laugh, we argue, but we don't cry. And no depression, either. That's childish. Football is a game.

John from Jacksonville:
I see that you said we have used all the plays in our red-zone playbook, but what about expanding it? I think the players on our team with the best talents suited for a short field are Jones and Wilford but they rarely get chances to show their stuff. What's up with that?

Vic: Do you think there's any chance the coaches know what they're doing? They see these guys every day. They know what they can do and they know what they can't do. You say "the players on our team with the best talents suited for a short field are Jones and Wilford," but do you know that for sure? And if they are, as you say, the "best players," don't you think that would be most obvious to coaches who make that kind of evaluation the focus of their professional existence? Or maybe they have made that evaluation and they agree with you but something is preventing that talent from being expressed on the field. I just don't think it's as simple as calling a play. There are lots of plays and they're all intended to work. There has to be something more involved here than play-calling.

Philip from Woodmere, NY:
I understand the need for a pounder, but wouldn't you agree that in the new-look NFL a Shockey, Gates or Gonzalez-type tight end who can create mismatches in the red zone would be just what the doctor ordered?

Vic: That would work. They tried to throw it to Todd Yoder.

Derrick from Jacksonville:
What's it going to take for people to realize what a joke the BCS is? How can an SEC team go 11-0 and not even sniff a national title shot. Something's wrong there, don't you think? The situation is a joke.

Vic: You bet the system is a joke and the bowls are laughing at all of us. They just keep fostering a system that gives us four months of football with no satisfying conclusion. Who would you suggest the system victimize? Oklahoma? USC? Utah? Boise State? Someone's gotta get screwed, right? How about one of those one-loss teams? Maybe they're the best team in the country. I know how to find out. Have a playoff. That's what the NFL does and that's why the NFL is a superior product. It identifies its best teams by employing a fair, equitable and thorough rating system, then it gathers those teams for a playoff system that is the crowning jewel of the season. And here's the best part: All eight of the NFL's divisions are in the "BCS." What do you think would be people's reaction if the Steelers, Patriots and Eagles all ended the season 15-1 and the NFL decided the Steelers and Eagles should play in the Super Bowl? Shame on college football for continuing this hoax. It's about time college football comes out of the '50's and '60's.

Aaron from Pittsburgh, PA:
Not so much a question as a comment. As a die-hard Steelers fan I just wanted to say that after watching that unbelievable game I have a new-found respect for the Jaguars. Jacksonville played passionate football and went toe-to-toe with us for 60 minutes. It was a fantastic game and I'm just thankful the black and gold ended up with a win. It was the kind of game in which you hate to see anyone lose.

Vic: There is smack and then there is intelligent commentary. "Ask Vic" does not permit smack.

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