Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Sam from Largo, FL:
Week after week, I see the Jaguars putting a hurting on the league's best running backs. Where do the Jaguars rank in stopping the run?
Vic: The Jaguars are third in the league against the run. Dallas is second and Tennessee is first.
Luthar from Orange Park, FL:
It seems most NFL games are actually very close. Is there anything as far as strategy or coaching that makes good teams consistently win these close games the Jaguars are not winning?
Vic: I don't think it's strategy. There isn't a coach in the league who doesn't know this game inside and out. What's more, most of these coaches have been recycled from one staff to another, so every team is basically doing the same things. In my opinion, the difference is players. Some players make plays; others don't. Why did Eli Manning fall down on the biggest play of the LSU-Ole Miss game this past Saturday? Was it just bad luck; a fluke? Or is there more to it? Coaches and personnel people say you can't look inside a guy's heart, but the truth of the matter is you have to be able to look inside a guy and know how he'll respond at crunch time. In my opinion, that's where the real genius lies; knowing which players will make plays at crunch time and which players won't. Personnel is a crystal-ball business. The teams that win have that crystal ball.
Todd from Jacksonville:
Has the NFL ever used a different overtime system than the current one? Also, what is your opinion of the current overtime system and what, if anything, would you change about it?
Vic: The overtime system the NFL uses today was used in the 1958 NFL title game between the Colts and Giants. But it wasn't used in the regular season until 1974. The first-ever regular-season game in which overtime was used occurred on Sept. 22, 1974. Ironically, the overtime period expired with Pittsburgh and Denver still tied, 35-35. Those two games are the first-ever postseason and regular-season examples of overtime being used, and in each case the format is the "sudden death" system that is used today. The only difference between those two games is that in the postseason, games are played to a decision. In the regular season, overtime has only one 15-minute period. I like the system just the way it is.
Charles from Middleburg, FL:
First of all, I love your column and read it every day. I was watching the game and as soon as the Jets got the ball in the fourth quarter, I looked at my wife and said, "We are going to lose; it's over." Is it me or does this team have the same feelings as me, because they always seem to find a way to lose? What can Jack Del Rio do to change this attitude or feeling?
Vic: Win; that's how you change it. The more you do something, the more confident you are in your ability to do it. Emotions are fine, but doing requires actions. When this team finds more players who can make plays at crunch time, your wife will have a happier and more confident husband.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Fred Taylor has now started 27 consecutive games at running back. I would say this means he no longer can be called "Fragile Fred." Does he have the longest current streak among starting running backs, and if not, who does?
Vic: I don't know who currently has the longest consecutive games streak among running backs, but I can tell you it goes way past 27 games. Let's start with the Jets' Curtis Martin, who may have the longest current streak. Martin has 86 consecutive starts. But your point about Fred Taylor is well-taken. Taylor played hurt this past Sunday and he was durable and productive in carrying the ball 32 times for 119 yards. I am impressed.
Alan from Jacksonville:
Just when I think your column can't get any better, you throw another zinger out there that makes me fall out of my chair. I see a very improved group of receivers, a top-quality running back, an improving offensive line, and if you look at the three QBs on any team, the Jags are near the top in overall quality. So why does the offense struggle week after week?
Vic: Because it's in the process of developing a young quarterback. If this was 1996 and this team had a young Mark Brunell who was coming into the prime years of his career, they might be headed for something big. But this is not 1996 and this team doesn't have a young quarterback who's ready to step into the spotlight immediately. The prime years of an NFL player's career are generally thought to begin with year four. That's where Brunell was in 1996. Byron Leftwich is in year one and David Garrard is in year two. Figure it out.
Jon from Jacksonville:
Why isn't anybody talking about the dropped interception by Darius? That lost the game.
Vic: That's the kind of crunch-time play I'm talking about. When the Jaguars begin making those kinds of plays, they'll stop losing the close ones. Talk to the other teams in the league who are having bad seasons; they'll tell you the same story.
John from Neptune Beach, FL:
Like you, I'm a firm believer in the run, and I understand that statistics show that when a back gains over 100 yards in a game, the team wins the vast majority of times. However, it seems to me that when Fred Taylor runs for over 100, we just don't seem to get the wins like other teams do. Any opinions?
Vic: The Jaguars are 18-11 in games in which Fred Taylor has rushed for 100 yards. That would certainly constitute a majority, but, you're right, this team has not gotten the bang out of Fred's 100-yard games as other teams have from their backs. Why? Three reasons: 1) Run the ball must be accompanied by stop the run, and the Jaguars haven't done that until this season. 2) This team loses leads late in the game, which it has now done 15 times in the last four seasons. Teams that run the ball must win the close ones. 3) The Jaguars are in the process of attempting to develop a young quarterback, and that has skewed everything.
Andrea from Magenta, Italy:
I would like to answer Holger from Bad Vilbel and try to give you a suggestion on extending your theory: The Jaguars have to stop the run, to run the ball, but among these things they have to score points, which includes don't turn the ball away and score into that 20 yards. Anything wrong?
Vic: OK, Andrea, the language thing is starting to become a problem. You see, I'm from Pittsburgh.
Andy from Palm Coast, FL:
What would happen if the Giants played the Jets and it wasn't a sellout? Blackout because the Jets didn't sell out, or on the air because the Giants were playing away?
Vic: It's never occurred previously, but should it happen the plan is for the power to be turned off on Long Island and in Queens. Just kidding; blackout.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I was a Dolphin fan before becoming a die-hard Jags fan. But since my second favorite team has a chance for a playoff, here's my question: Why would the NFL make the Dolphins play on a Sunday night and then again on Thursday? No way the guys can recover.
Vic: Every year the NFL does strange scheduling like that. It's almost as though they want to punish a few teams. I couldn't agree with you more; that's ridiculously unfair. Here's another one: Of the 17 Monday night road teams this season, 13 of them were scheduled to play at home the following Sunday, three of them had bye weeks, and only one was scheduled to play on the road. The Steelers were scheduled to play at Cleveland on Sunday following a Monday night game in San Francisco. That kind of stuff doesn't happen by mistake.
Bill from Good Vilbel, Germany:
I know there's a league rule that prohibits public criticism, but why?
Vic: You're busted. Holger from Bad Vilbel told me there is no Good Vilbel. No soup for you.
Cole from Tallahassee, FL:
During your radio broadcast on Monday, Brian said it was "valuable game-time experience" to leave Leftwich in the game when he is struggling. He seemed to favor giving Leftwich as much practice as possible for next season, even if it costs us the game. Do you agree?
Vic: In the long run, I'll bet you Brian will be right.
B.J. from Nashville, TN:
As a recent transplant to the land of the original Houston franchise, I look forward to seeing your column and listening to your assessments of the Jaguars over the internet. Now, can you do one more thing? Could you do whatever you have to do to get the Jaguars out of those ugly black pants? Who ever thought the teal stripe looked good with the black should be forced out of town!
Vic: I'm not a uniform guy and could care less what they wear, but during the offseason I'd like to see them pick a uniform style and stick with it.
Don from Jacksonville:
What was Peyton Manning's win-loss record in 1998, 1999, 2000? Also, the same for Ryan Leaf?
Vic: Manning's record in those three years is: 3-13, 13-3, 10-6. The question doesn't apply to Ryan Leaf because he never established himself as a true starting quarterback. He never had more than nine starts in a season.
Jim from Ridgecrest, CA:
The Jags are doing great at stopping the run and running the ball, so what else is there. What's the next step? Change QBs again?
Vic: The next step is develop the quarterback. When that happens, this team will become a playoff contender.
Chad from Zanesville, OH:
Love the column, read it every chance I get. It keeps me going in the offseason. I was wondering, can I order and get the "Jaguars Inside Report" here in Ohio?
Vic: Absolutely; call 1-888-846-5247.
Christopher from Columbus, Ga:
I am always hearing about an end-over-end kick and a kick turning over, what does that mean exactly?
Vic: "End-over-end" usually refers to a placement kick; the points of the ball rotate as the ball flies forward in an upright position. "Turning over" usually refers to punts in which the front point of the ball changes its position from pointing up as the ball is in ascent, to pointing down as the ball begins it descent. Punts that turn over usually go farther than tail-draggers. Don't ask. Figure it out for yourself.
Daniel from Springfield, MO:
I love your column and look for new ones every day before classes. And second, I was watching the games this weekend and I think I discovered the answer to the question of the yellow line. If you watch, the line does not show up on players, the hash marks or any of the items at the 50-yard line. The only thing it showed up on was the green grass, which makes me think it's some kind of "blue screen" technique. I couldn't be sure, though, since the Dolphins wore orange jerseys this week.
Vic: Are you saying it's not invisible paint?