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Clash of philosophies

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

Daniel from Dimondale, MI:
Can you explain how the pension plan works? Do you have to be in the league for a specific number of years to even get one? Does the position you play matter or is it just based on a percentage of what you made while in the league?

Vic: A player becomes fully vested in the NFL pension plan after he accrues three credited seasons. Players begin receiving benefits following their 55th birthday. Dollar values are determined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement mortality tables.

Rob from Jacksonville:
Shaun Alexander lost the rushing title to Curtis Martin by one yard. In close elections, political opponents can request a recount. Can a team or player request a game-by-game review, in this case rushing yardage, by the NFL?

Vic: I keep hearing over and over that football is the ultimate team game, but in the last couple of weeks we have experienced unbelievable displays of selfishness. Randy Moss walked off the field in a pout as his teammates were about to attempt an onside kick, Shaun Alexander criticized his coach for not giving him the ball on a critical goal-line play that represented the difference between Alexander and the NFL rushing title, and John Abraham refused to play in this past weekend's playoff game despite having been given medical clearance. A game-by-game review to find that missing yard that would allow Alexander to claim a share of the NFL rushing title? Hey, let's find him two yards? Why not reward selfishness, right? I apologize for venting. The answer to your question is all games are reviewed each week for the purpose of correcting statistical errors.

Joe from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Why do you think the Jaguars defense does not get a lot of interceptions? Is it the scheme of defense they play or the lack of talent in the secondary or the lack of a pass-rush?

Vic: The Jaguars had 16 interceptions in 2004, which was tied for 17th in the league. The Jaguars had 37 sacks, which was also tied for 17th in the league. There would seem to be a correlation, wouldn't there?

Ryan from Jacksonville:
On 1/6/05 you included Jets DE John Abraham as a linebacker on your "All-Vic" team. Are you suggesting he would be better off playing in a 3-4 defense?

Vic: John Abraham played some linebacker early in the 2004 season and was officially listed by the New York Jets as a "Willbacker/end." I wanted to get Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney and John Abraham on the team together. Abraham's ability to play linebacker made that possible. In a 3-4, Abraham would clearly have to play linebacker.

John from Atwater, CA:
You said Reggie Williams had to find one thing he's good at and build from there. Do you think he is any closer to finding his niche in the Jaguars passing game?

Vic: One of the challenges the new offensive coordinator will face is to discover that niche.

Howard from Frisco, TX:
Who are some of the "young guns" to watch for on the team that we may not have seen much of but you think may have bright futures with the team?

Vic: Jeff Lageman called to my attention last week the performance of fourth-round defensive tackle Anthony Maddox in the win against the Raiders. Jeff showed me on film a very solid performance by Maddox in the Jaguars' two red-zone stands in the fourth quarter. Maybe Maddox is one of those "young guns" of whom we saw little during the season.

Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
What is the deadline for college seniors to declare eligibility for the draft?

Vic: Jan. 15.

Derek from Jacksonville:
Why wasn't rookie LB Daryl Smith selected as the Jaguars rookie of the year. He contributed significantly to a much-improved linebacker corps. I agree that Josh Scobee improved the kicking game, but Smith played more downs and played a more important role, in my opinion.

Vic: Two considerations weighed against Daryl Smith: 1.) He sustained a knee injury in Houston on Oct. 31 that took the middle of the season away from him. 2.) Though you say the Jaguars had a much-improved linebacker corps, the truth of the matter is that the linebacker play wasn't all that good down the stretch. Josh Scobee, in my opinion, solved a long-term problem. He gave and promises to continue to give the Jaguars a leg strong enough for kickoffs and accurate enough for placekicking. He settled a major concern. That was the primary consideration that worked in Scobee's favor.

Maximillian from Jacksonville:
Could Kyle Brady play left tackle? I understand he is an accomplished blocker. I think he could easily bulk up to 300 pounds to play tackle. Just think of the tackle-eligible possibilities.

Vic: Why would you want to take one of the best-blocking tight ends in the game and make him a project at tackle? Blocking at the tight end position is critical. Don't think it's just about catching passes. Brady's too old and too good at what he does to waste that on something that may not work.

Rajesh from Jacksonville:
Who is defined as the "passer" when a penalty is called for "roughing the passer?" Why don't they simply say "roughing the QB?"

Vic: The same rules that apply to the quarterback when he's attempting to pass apply to any other player when he's attempting to pass. If you go to the head of a running back who is attempting to pass, you're going to be penalized. "Passer" is a generic term.

William from Washington, DC:
So much for the "stop the run/run the ball" philosophy on winning playoff games. Every wild-card game this past weekend was an aerial assault. There were no 100-yard rushers and the average for all leading rushers was only 60 yards. Either the model has changed or none of these wild-card teams have a chance of going any farther.

Vic: You're right, wild-card weekend was all about passing the ball. But let's not forget how some of those teams got to wild-card weekend. The Jets were third in the league in rushing in 2004 and have the league's rushing champion. San Diego was sixth in the league in rushing, Seattle was eighth, Denver was fourth and Green Bay was 10th. Against the run, San Diego was third, the Jets were fifth and Denver was fourth. Maybe this is the year "run the ball/stop the run" doesn't work. Admittedly, the league made a "major emphasis" on enforcing the "chuck rule" and pass interference, which has clearly stimulated the passing game league-wide. This Sunday's game between Indianapolis and New England will offer a good measuring stick. The Colts are 15th in rushing and 24th against the run. The Patriots are seventh in rushing and sixth against the run. Those two teams will clearly embody the clash of two philosophies. We'll see which one wins.

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