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Blame it on the QB

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Eli from Cloquet, MN:
I have never seen you criticize or question the ability of a player who plays for the Jaguars. The Jaguars must not have any bad players. Interesting.

Vic: Obviously, you are also incapable of reading. I have offered critical analysis quite often. I have scolded Matt Jones for trying to make one-handed catches; Fred Taylor for trying to cut back too much; Byron Leftwich for holding the ball too long; David Garrard for staring down receivers; Vince Manuwai for being inconsistent; the Jaguars for reaching too far with the ninth pick of the 2004 draft. How much more would you like? Are you sure you can read this?

Jeff Smith from Westminster, CO:
"Radio" and "All the Right Moves" were good. Have you ever seen "Rudy" or "Remember the Titans."

Vic: "Rudy" is good, in a kids kind of way. "Remember the Titans" is awful. It's the most hokey, over-acted sports movie since "The Program." "Titans" is a great story. If it wasn't for the story, the movie would be unwatchable.

Rob from Orange Park, FL:
Can you please explain to me the difference between a strong safety and a free safety? Also, what does "nickel" and "dime" packages mean?

Vic: The strong safety is usually deployed to the strong side of the offensive formation, which is usually determined by the tight end, who is usually the strong safety's responsibility in pass-coverage. The free safety is also referred to as the weak safety because he is usually deployed to the weak side of the offensive formation. The "nickel" package includes five defensive backs and the "dime" has six.

J.D. from St. Augustine, FL:
How valuable is Dennis Norman to this team? He looked great at times last season. Is he too valuable to shop in a trade to a team like Cleveland?

Vic: I'm going to refer to Jeff Lageman here because Jeff watches a lot of tape. He believes Norman should be given a shot at the starting center job. Your Cleveland scenario is interesting, but I doubt if Norman would command enough value in a trade to make it worthwhile for the Jaguars.

Fred from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Mike Peterson is quoted in your article as saying, "If we jump out to 5-0, nobody will want to see us." Do you think we can actually start 5-0 with the killer early-season schedule we have?

Vic: No, I don't, but players shouldn't think that way. Mike looks at that early-season schedule and sees an opportunity to achieve greatness. I look at the first five games and think, 3-2 would be fine. Reporters are natural cynics.

Jon from Santa Barbara, CA:
What's the difference between a "44" defense and "46" defense?

Vic: The "Penn State 44" is named for its alignment: four down linemen and four linebackers, including a "hero" or "monster." The "46" defense Buddy Ryan made famous with the 1985 Chicago Bears is named in honor of Doug Plank, Ryan's favorite player, who wore number 46. The "46" is an eight-man front with man coverage by the cornerbacks and a safety in the middle of the field. The center and two guards are each covered by a defensive tackle. The "46" is a pressure defense that works if you have the right people, but is very vulnerable to the big play if you don't get home with the rush.

Josh from Jacksonville:
What's the deal with Marcedes Lewis? I know he's injured but did he look like a first-round pick in camp?

Vic: He showed me enough to make me believe he can be the "missing link" in the Jaguars passing game. The problem now, of course, is that he has a high-ankle sprain that's going to cost him significant time.

Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
You mentioned Lavar Arrington's knee. Does Tom Coughlin have final say on personnel like he had here?

Vic: No.

Kenney from Jacksonville:
How much has Jamaal Fudge improved his chances of making the team and how much more does he have to prove himself?

Vic: In my opinion, his chances of making the practice squad are strong. His chances of making the final roster are a lot better than anybody thought they would be, but he's still a longshot. For Fudge and any undrafted player, proving himself is a daily regimen.

Sean from Jacksonville:
My dad was telling me about George Blanda, one of Madden's players. Do you have a good story about him?

Vic: Yeah, my first wife taught school in the building from which Blanda graduated high school. Isn't that exciting?

Ed from Jacksonville:
Would you please tell me if in other NFL cities there are the same idiotic fans who know nothing about football but think they know which quarterback should start and which one shouldn't?

Vic: Yeah, same ones. The difference, in my opinion, is that I have never seen the kind of intensity for a quarterback controversy that exists here. It's borderline manic.

Nick from Hanover, NH:
Do you think you've improved as a writer more so through "Ask Vic" than through other columns you've written? It seems like not restricting yourself to a strictly formal writing style would help a lot.

Vic: I don't know if it's improved me, but I like it more than conventional column writing. The "Ask Vic" format allows the fans to pick the subject matter. Instead of guessing about what's important to them, this column lets them tell me.

Rob from Jacksonville:
I noticed some players have what appears to be clear-wrap material over their helmets. I assume this is done by the equipment staff to protect game-prepared helmets. Is my deductive reasoning from Jesuits and Benedictines finally paying off?

Vic: They trained you well. If you had been trained by the nuns, as I was, you would know the 1,001 uses for the saw dust in chalk boxes. The nuns also taught me to always steal the little shampoo bottles in hotels and pour them into big bottles at home.

Tim from Bella Vista, AR:
What are your thoughts on the poll asking who will score the first touchdown this season?

Vic: We need a new poll.

Dan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
How did you shoot, Vic?

Vic: Last Friday was the day of the third annual "Ask Vic" golf tournament at North Hampton Golf Club. The course was in great condition. It's one of my favorite courses. The golfers were in great condition, too. They always have the right attitude. They come to have fun and they always do, which is what it takes to make this a success. We don't give away a lot of glitzy stuff. We keep it affordable. It's all about value and the golfers got a great course, a tasty lunch and as many prizes as we were able to steal out of the equipment room. Alisa Abbott put the whole thing together. I did nothing except show up and drive around and talk to everyone. I dropped some balls and hit a shot here and there, but mostly I talked. I hope to have some pictures up on site soon. By the way, I got several e-mails from people who were genuinely angry that I was golfing on Friday and there was no column. Some of those e-mails were even nasty. Anyone who wrote one of those e-mails should go to the bathroom right now, breathe on the mirror and see if it fogs.

David from Tallahassee, FL:
I started to submit this at halftime, before I read your blog. I have to say, after reading it I feel your comments about the quarterback situation are right on. I thank you and hope you keep giving it to us straight.

Vic: Congratulations for being able to read.

William from Savannah, GA:
Against the Panthers, the first team offensive line did not get results because of poor execution. Was the Panthers defensive line that good, the Jaguars offensive line that bad, or some of both? At the start of camp, you mentioned that the receiver corps was the area of concern. Is it possible the offensive line has become the area of greatest concern?

Vic: Yeah, the Panthers defensive line is that good, but I acknowledge concerns about the Jaguars offensive line. I'm not going to get worked up, yet, because it's still the preseason. I really do believe the Jaguars have the talent up front to get it done. We'll watch this. If it doesn't happen, then I was wrong.

John from Brooklyn, NY:
Why does Jack always try to downplay everything? The offense is in serious trouble.

Vic: Coaches downplay preseason results because they are meaningless. He's not going to tell you that if it had been a regular season game he would've done this or that. He trusts you are savvy enough to understand that. Two weeks from now, the preseason is going to end and we are immediately going to turn our attention to the regular season opener and never give another thought to the preseason. Every year I tell myself, the preseason is meaningless, don't overreact. Every year, in one way or another, I overreact. It's a natural tendency.

Jay from Jacksonville:
Watching Tiger come through once again in the clutch, I couldn't help but think Garrard had a shot and evidently is not the money player we need starting at QB. The intangibles you cannot teach. We need our QB to win when it counts. The starting job was there and he pulled out the driver and hit the tent.

Vic: You've been reading too much "Ask Vic."

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Can I get your honest opinion? As it looks right now, are we in trouble if we don't play better? Where do you see a weakness?

Vic: My concern is for the passing game. I've said that all along. I applaud Jack Del Rio's patience and commitment in developing his young receivers. That's how it should be done, plus, he really doesn't have an option. You might find a guy who can help you, but you're not going to find a guy on the waiver wire who's going to make a difference. Nonetheless, I worry that the Jaguars may be deficient at wide receiver.

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