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Central wasn't so bad

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

Ian from Jacksonville:
If a team attempts a field goal on third down but botches the snap, it becomes fourth down. At what point in the third-down play is it considered a true attempt so that a fourth down is not possible?

Vic: The kicking team retains possession in the same series of downs if the kick is blocked by the defense behind the line of scrimmage and the kicking team recovers the ball on its side of the line of scrimmage. The kicking team is awarded a new series of downs if the kick is blocked by the defense beyond the line of scrimmage and the kicking team recovers the ball on its side of the line of scrimmage. The kicking team relinquishes possession on any down if the defense blocks the kick and recovers the ball or the defense blocks the kick and the ball is allowed to be whistled dead on the defense's side of the line of scrimmage (see Leon Lett).

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I completely understand your explanation on why the divisions are set up the way they are, however, I really miss being in the AFC Central mainly because of the Steelers. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way. The Steelers were who we wanted to be when we grew up.

Vic: I was working in Pittsburgh when Jacksonville was awarded a franchise and I remember reading an editorial by a "Times-Union" writer about what a disappointment it was for the Jaguars to have been placed in the "Rust Belt" AFC Central. The guy assassinated the division and the cities in it and I thought it was one of the most amateurish, snobbish columns I had ever read. You hadn't played a down in the NFL and you're taking potshots at the places where professional football was born? I couldn't help but think back to that column after the Jags had spent seven wonderful years in the "Rust Belt" AFC Central, because most Jaguars fans shared your opinion about leaving it. They loved being in the Central and, mostly, they loved their games against the Steelers. The lesson in this is that big games, not geography or demographics, make for great rivalries. I, too, was disappointed the Jaguars parted ways with its old AFC Central mates. I had covered that division for all of my career and I hated to leave it. I also know the Steelers would've liked the Jaguars to join them in the AFC North. The Steelers and their fans like Jacksonville. It was to them as Miami is to the Jets, Pats and Bills in the AFC East. I always thought Jacksonville was a perfect fit for Steelers, Browns and Ravens fans. Jacksonville was a Florida getaway, and I wanted to see Cincinnati join Indianapolis, Tennessee and Houston in the AFC South. I think the Steelers felt that way, too, but the Browns wouldn't go for it. They wanted to maintain their in-state rivalry with the Bengals, which made complete sense. Well, it is what it is and the Jaguars, as I've said, have built nice rivalries with each of its three AFC South counterparts. Nonetheless, I think we all miss the Steelers and I know, for a fact, they miss coming here. They loved having Jacksonville in the same division. They saw it as an annual road trip that was within driving distance and, following a Steelers-Jags game in Jacksonville, I was always flooded with e-mails from Steelers fans saying what a great time they had in Jacksonville.

Tim from Jacksonville:
I see that Charlie Weis is now in Kansas City. Do you see him having the same success without Belichick or Brady? Do you think he will ever be a head coach in the NFL?

Vic: I think it's become rather obvious that it wasn't Belichick, Weis, Crennel, McDaniels or any of the other New England geniuses. It was Brady.

Scott from Aurora, IL:
Strasburg is ridiculous. As a lifelong baseball fan, what did you make of that performance?

Vic: Before you induct him into the Hall of Fame, I would advise that you read a little about the career of David Clyde.

Brian from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Thirty-nine years as a sports writer and you disgrace the game of soccer. That is just dumb. As a sports-oriented person, you would think you would at least find some type of respect for the most popular sport in the world. Is baseball really that much better of a sport?

Vic: Yeah, I think it is, but that doesn't mean you have to share that opinion. I won't cry if you don't. Why are you people so fragile?

Edward from Jacksonville:
When is the next event the fans will be able to participate in or view? For example, a public OTA, etc.?

Vic: How about a public flogging? I have no doubt the soccer people would like to view and participate in a public flogging of the senior editor. Should that not occur, however, training camp is the next Jaguars event open to the public. Fans will be invited to view training camp practices, but not participate in them.

Jimmy from Columbia, MD:
What is the battle at safety looking like? Who would you expect to be starting in the opening game?

Vic: You can't have a battle at safety in OTAs because safety is about tackling and that'll have to wait until training camp and the preseason. When training camp does arrive, however, I would expect the two safety positions to be wide open to competition, and I do mean wide open. Safety is the one position on this team at which I think a guy could emerge from deep on the depth chart and win a job.

Kathy from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
In your opinion, is this upcoming season a make-or-break one for Derrick Harvey?

Vic: If this isn't one, then we're certainly nearing one. Joe Cullen was hired to coach the defensive line and I have to believe Harvey's development is at the top of the to-do list coach Jack Del Rio gave Cullen upon hiring him. Let's look at the situation for what it is: The Jaguars signed Aaron Kampman and drafted two defensive ends among their first four picks. If I was Harvey, I would certainly feel a sense of urgency.

David from Jacksonville:
I think Los Angeles has had two teams before and I'm guessing they moved because of stadium issues. This was before my time so I could be wrong. My question is how were ticket sales in Los Angeles? What was the fan base like?

Vic: You're right, stadium issues were at the root of the instability in Los Angeles. I'm going to use the Raiders as an example of that instability caused by stadium issues, because the Raiders were the last team to play in the Coliseum. The Rams had moved to the baseball park in Anaheim, which was absolutely dreadful for football. Plus, when the Rams last played in the Coliseum, they had it downsized and tightened, so the highs and lows aren't as obvious. For the Rams, moving out of the Coliseum was about it not having luxury boxes. In 1984, in the Raiders' third season in Los Angeles and as defending Super Bowl champions, the Raiders drew crowds of 80,674, 80,929, 92,469 and 87,291. Pretty impressive, huh? Yeah, the Coliseum's huge seating capacity offered the potential for huge crowds, but the problem was that it also offered the potential for a lot of empty seats when the team wasn't winning. That's one of the stadium issues. Too big is a major problem because it allows fans to pick and choose the games they want to see. In '85 and '86, the Raiders were still topping the 90,000 mark, but then their play started to decline and so did attendance. There were a lot of attendances in the 40's in '88 and '89. Even at that, I think Los Angeles would've been able to keep the Raiders had it shown any forward motion on a stadium resolution. The Coliseum was falling hard into disrepair. I covered a game there in '94 for which the press box was closed because it was deemed unsafe. We were moved into a temporary facility in the peristyle end of the stadium. At that point, the Coliseum was no longer suitable to host NFL games, there was no resolution in sight and Al Davis had no choice but to go back to Oakland. The situation in Los Angeles, in my opinion, has been grossly misrepresented.

Lou from Richmond, VA:
Was there bad blood between Del Rio and Mark Brunell at the end of Mark's career as a Jaguar?

Vic: No, I don't think so. Mark is a pro; he always has been. He knew that at some point very soon he would have to turn the job over to Byron Leftwich. Mark knew as much the day the Jaguars drafted Leftwich.

Mark from Richmond, VA:
What is our overall record against our division foes since we have all been together?

Vic: The Jaguars are 18-30 in AFC South games since the division began play in 2002.

Bryan from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Have you seen enough of Luke McCown in OTAs to get a feel for his skill level? Will he push Garrard? Will the Jags be in capable hands should Garrard get injured?

Vic: I thought McCown looked especially good in practice the last two days. His problem is that David Garrard has consistently been one cut above. Anybody who has watched the first eight OTA practices would agree that Garrard is clearly the quarterback of this team. I think those same people would tell you that McCown is clearly an NFL-caliber quarterback. Jack Del Rio said on Monday that all positions are open, and I don't doubt that, but I've seen nothing to suggest that Garrard doesn't have a firm hold on the starting quarterback job. One other observation: Undrafted quarterback Trevor Harris appears to get better with each practice. He almost appears to be gaining arm strength.

Matt from Jacksonville:
Strasburg, Va., was thinking about renaming itself Stephen Strasburg, Va. Do you know of any other cities to be named after athletes?

Vic: Jim Thorpe, Pa.

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