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Criticism was inevitable

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

Tom from Jacksonville:
I'm glad T.J. Slaughter is healthy and back starting at linebacker. What I don't understand is why is he starting at the strong position and Peterson is in the middle? What is it about the Jaguars' scheme that would place a slower and harder-hitting Slaughter in pass-coverage and the smaller and speedier Peterson filling gaps in the middle of the field?

Vic: Your point is well-taken and I must confess to being similarly puzzled. Mike Peterson just doesn't look like a middle linebacker. So, maybe that's not where he'll ultimately end up. I can't help but think that because they've invested so much in him, they're not going to move him around to accommodate circumstances that could be temporary. I'm thinking that when this team gets a true middle linebacker, Peterson will be permanently moved to his true position, which most people consider to be weakside linebacker.

John from Jacksonville:
You have heard football analysts make both brilliant remarks and stupid remarks for decades. What is your opinion on the recent Rush Limbaugh controversy?

Vic: Rush Limbaugh had to know what the impact of his remarks would be, which is to say it has earned him national attention. Simply put, as a result of his remarks about Donovan McNabb, Limbaugh has become the number one newsmaker in America this week. My perspective on this is I refuse to be led into a debate about something as sensitive as race by a man whose primary motivation for raising the issue was probably personal gain.

Dave from Santa Maria, CA:
The on and off again decisions to not announce Brunell as the starter makes the staff look really bad. Why would the coaching staff willingly open themselves to criticism?

Vic: Criticism was inevitable. Mark Brunell has been the only quarterback this team has ever known and he has a huge and loyal following. There was no way to politic this situation. When the Jaguars drafted Byron Leftwich, it became apparent Brunell's career would not end in a John Elway-like Super Bowl victory/retirement celebration. It became very clear Brunell's career in Jacksonville would, sooner or later, end on the waiver wire. What could Jack Del Rio do other than to announce his decision to start Leftwich and weather the storm of protest that was sure to follow? How long should he have postponed that?

Steven from Jacksonville:
When will Del Rio finally stand up and be a man and just say Brunell is our number two guy and we are going with Leftwich?

Vic: I think that's what Jack Del Rio did yesterday. In my opinion, his decision to announce Byron Leftwich as this Sunday's starting quarterback was a clear signal that Leftwich is one and Mark Brunell is two. In my opinion, Del Rio's announcement at yesterday's press conference was the bold statement you want.

Harald from Jacksonville:
Brunell is the better quarterback. If he had the same amount of time other quarterbacks get to throw the ball, the Jags would be 4-0. It seems the time given by the offensive line to Leftwich and not to Brunell is a direct statement that they don't want Brunell in the game at all. Is this what prompted Del Rio to act as he did?

Vic: Harald, what you're suggesting is ludicrous. The decision to make Byron Leftwich the starting quarterback is so much simpler than the dastardly plot you've proposed. It's as simple as this: Last spring, the Jaguars decided to invest their future in a young quarterback. A few picks later, the Baltimore Ravens made the same decision. It's what teams do. When would you have that future begin; this year, next year, the year after? Most coaches and personnel people will tell you the smart decision is to make that move as soon as possible.

Dave from St. Louis, MO:
If Jaguars Inside Report hired some hot-shot writer out of Princeton and you were suddenly moved to doing the obituary columns of the local paper, how would you feel when the powers-at-be called it just chopping wood?

Vic: Give me $6.75 million and I'll drive the guy to work every day.

William from Redlands, CA:
I was for blowing it up but I think Del Rio saying Leftwich is our best chance to win is bull. Who is he trying to kid? If he said he wants to get him more experience, fine, but if it's win, Brunell's the man. What do you think?

Vic: What do you want Jack Del Rio to say; he gives us the best chance to lose? You're being unfair. Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars have embarked upon a long-range rebuilding project. I don't care what the team led you to believe, the fact of the matter is you have to be tree-stump-stupid not to know this is a rebuilding year. Didn't every preseason magazine pick the Jaguars to finish at the bottom of the league? Didn't I write over and over, right here on the team's website, that this would be a rebuilding year? When the Jaguars activate Jimmy Smith and release a player for Sunday's game, those will be the 19th and 20th personnel moves this team will have made since the beginning of the season. Are those the actions of a team with a talented roster? Well, this is rebuilding, and you don't rebuild with a quarterback who is in his final year with the team. Frankly, I'm disappointed so many Jaguars fans don't have the football savvy to understand all of this.

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