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Defense is their strength

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

Scott from Miami, OK:
What is your opinion on how a drive at the end of game like the Jags had will do for the confidence and development of Leftwich? He clearly seemed to be in control of the offense and the game on that last drive?

Vic: It certainly has to help, but I'm not big on the confidence factor because state of mind is a fragile thing and the effects of success often only last until the next defeat. The importance of that final drive in Buffalo is two-fold: It gave the Jaguars a win and it advanced Byron Leftwich's development one more week.

Tony from Jacksonville:
What do you think is the bigger key to a victory over Denver this week? Is it the defense being able to slow down the Broncos' high-powered offense, or us being able to put points on the board? If the offense can score 17-20 points per game, do you think that'll translate into a winning record this year?

Vic: For this team, it's always going to be about defense first. Yes, I believe whatever chance the Jaguars have of beating the Broncos will rest with the defense's ability to hold the Broncos under 17 points. For defensive-minded teams, 17 points has always been the line of demarcation.

Tom from Jacksonville:
In your not so humble opinion, are there 10 deep threats in the NFL? Is speed so rare that Alvis Whitted is valuable?

Vic: This is a speed game. Don't ever think otherwise. Speed is clearly what's kept Alvis Whitted in the league. If he was a step slower he would've never made a roster. Are there 10 deep threats in the league? Sure there are. You start with players such as Randy Moss and Isaac Bruce. Jimmy Smith is still the Jaguars' deep threat. Why haven't the Bucs caved in to Keenan McCardell's demands? Because he's not a speed receiver. Speed is what makes players valuable.

Nick from Hanover, NH:
Maybe my expectations are too high, but I wasn't as impressed with the Jaguars' run-defense on Sunday as I expected to be. Travis Henry isn't exactly Priest Holmes, and he got off decent numbers against our highly-praised defensive line. And how would you rate Deon Grant's first game as a Jaguar? Maybe I wasn't watching closely enough but I don't remember seeing him involved in too many plays.

Vic: Deon Grant came up and put a hit on a receiver, which caused the ball to fall incomplete. It was his best play of the day. The Jaguars' run-defense kept the Bills under a hundred yards (95), which leaves the Jags tied for 13th place in the league's run-defense rankings. I agree, they can do better, but I think you're way underrating Travis Henry. My complaint with the run-defense this past Sunday was that I thought it got a little soft late in the game when the Bills were trying to run out the clock. The Bills were close to doing it, too, when Chris Villarial was called for holding. That penalty killed the drive and allowed the Jaguars one more chance to win.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I don't recall in the last 10 years such a memorable last-second win. We won without ever leading in the game. Would you put last Sunday's win (including beating Denver in the playoffs) as the most dramatic?

Vic: It is clearly one of the most dramatic wins in Jaguars history. I wouldn't include it with the playoff win in Denver because they're not dramatic for the same reasons. The win in Denver was dramatic because of the magnitude of the upset and the importance of the game; not because of a late-game play or rally. The win in Buffalo was dramatic because the winning touchdown was scored on the final play of the game. I would put it in a category with Morten's miss in 1996, the win over Pittsburgh in '97, the season-opening win in Chicago in '98, the inaugural win in Houston in '95, both wins over Baltimore in '96, the win at Tennessee in '97, the win at Baltimore in '99, and a few others. They all had a late-game-heroics quality to them. Where the win over Buffalo ranks in Jaguars history will depend largely on where the Jaguars go from here. If it turns out to have been the start of something big, then you can put it right at the top. I've always thought the two games against Pittsburgh in '97 were the two most exciting games in Jaguars history.

Barry from Richmond, VA:
Of 24 passes before the final drive, only seven were for six or more yards. That's excluding the two goal-to-go situations. They had 15 passes for five or fewer yards. Was it great coverage in the secondary that forced all of these short passes early on or was it the play-calling?

Vic: The short passes, in many cases, were check-downs; Byron Leftwich's decision not to force the ball into coverage but, instead, throw it to the open underneath receiver and take what you can get. It's called playing it safe and coaches urge young quarterbacks to do that, especially during the early stages of their development. The only chance the Jaguars have of winning, of being a playoff contender this season, rests with Leftwich's ability to avoid turnovers. All teams play to their strengths and defense is clearly the Jaguars' strength. It's believed that, in time, Leftwich will become this team's strength, but it would be very unrealistic to expect that of him at this early stage of his development.

Tiger from Long Beach, CA:
Do you think Fu has a chance to prove that he has what it takes to be something in the NFL?

Vic: Fu has to get healthy and give this coaching staff a chance to play him. That's always been the issue in Fu's career. It's not about him being denied an opportunity. It's about him not being able to play.

Rob from Columbus, OH:
I was just wondering what happened to our young Jag fan that went to Buffalo? You mentioned to him not to wear Jags gear and I wanted to see what happened to him? Anyone hear from him?

Vic: How would you like to have been wearing a Jaguars jersey, jumping up and down and cheering as the 72,000 heart-broken and angry Bills fans walked out of Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday? Do you think something might've been thrown at you? I hope the kid behaved himself.

Luke from Anchorage, AK:
Do you think Fred Taylor is underrated?

Vic: He sure is, and so is Curtis Martin.

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