Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Sonny from Jacksonville:
I was just wondering if you knew what teams the Jags will be playing at home next season.
Vic: At home, Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee, St. Louis, Arizona, Miami, Buffalo and likely either Oakland or Kansas City. The Jaguars will play at the three AFC South teams and at San Francisco, Seattle, the Jets, New England and either Cincinnati or Cleveland.
Mike from Houston, TX:
Texas Tech, Texas or Oklahoma? Who do you think should represent the Big 12 South?
Vic: I'll leave that to the Big 12. Does it really matter? I mean, yeah, one of those teams is going to play in the national title game, but everybody knows who the best team in the country is. I know. You know. Everybody knows, even if they don't want to admit it. It's Southern Cal. Ask the pro scouts. I did and the answer came quickly and sharply, without doubt. If USC isn't in the national title game, and they won't be, the game is bogus. If you wanna fool yourself, deceive yourself into believing otherwise, go ahead, but deep down inside you know the truth.
Leroy from Ocala, FL:
Why did Hochuli throw a flag on the Clark hit? It wasn't that big of a hit. Welker looked fine.
Vic: It wasn't that big of a hit? Are you kidding? I've never seen somebody go from upright to flat on the ground that quickly without getting divorced. Welker looked fine? Yeah, maybe to Rod Serling, but not unless Welker was trying out for the "Twilight Zone." Ryan Clark was penalized for a personal foul because he launched. The hit was not helmet to helmet; it was shoulder to chest. That part of it was OK and it occurred after the pass was tipped, which made the hit legal, but Clark left his feet and you can't do that. What if he had stayed on his feet? I wish he had done that because Ed Hochuli's crew's reaction would've told us everything about whether or not the league is trying to soften the game. Had Clark stayed on his feet, nothing would've been wrong with what he did. I'm glad to hear he apologized for the hit.
Ben from Jacksonville:
Drew Brees for MVP? He crumbled at crunch time this week. Who would be your MVP?
Vic: I never said Drew Brees should be a candidate. Why are you calling me out? I gave my candidates last week and I stand by them.
Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Regarding your response to Notre Dame, I believe Georgia Tech also requires their players to take calculus. Their academic standards definitely limit their recruiting base, yet, they still seem to be relatively successful.
Vic: That's because they have, in my opinion, the best coach in the game today for schools with recruiting disadvantages or limitations. Heck, Paul Johnson just flat may be the best coach in the country, period. I love to watch his teams play. I thought North Carolina should've hired him. In my opinion, he'd be perfect for Notre Dame. I can think of another guy who'd be perfect for Notre Dame, but he already has a team and it just happens to be the best in the NFL. That's where Notre Dame screwed up. Tom Coughlin was their guy and they blew it.
Scott from Colorado Springs CO:
Here's an idea and my question is why not? Every year the Jags sell four-pack and three-pack tickets in the late summer; too late for a Christmas present. How about you talk to Wayne Weaver and suggest that for the following year they go on sale in December of the current year. I believe many others would buy these as Christmas presents. Why not?
Vic: Because the goal is to sell out the stadium on a season-ticket basis. When that happens, the future of professional football in Jacksonville will be secure. If you start selling four-game and three-game packages now, full-season ticket sales will decline. Why buy tickets to all of the games if you can pick and choose your games, right? It's not a good idea, Scott. It is what it is. All the games have to be sold out.
Stuart from Tulsa, OK:
What would you do with Plaxico Burress?
Vic: My stock answer is that I'd leave it to law enforcement, but Burress committed a "crime" against the team. He let his team down. He was not dependable and was unable to contribute on Sunday and "crimes" against team must be acknowledged and/or punished by the head coach. If I were Tom Coughlin, I would seek counsel on what the CBA allows in the way of punishment and I would execute that punishment to its full tolerance. Burress has become a distraction and that must not be allowed.
Chris from Red Deer, AB:
I can't tell you how annoying it was to listen to those three knucklehead commentators go on for five minutes talking about how Peter King was the reason for the Jags lackluster season. Give me a break. I'm sure it had nothing to do with them losing their best lineman or signing a bust of a receiver? Come on. They even mentioned Garrard had said this. I sure hope not.
Vic: David Garrard told us after the game that he had said to the Monday night crew that Peter King's Super Bowl prediction for the Jaguars tightened the team after it started slow. I don't find that alarming but I also know from having worked in this business for a long time that it was the wrong thing to say because it would be perceived as a weakness of character. In times such as these, everybody is looking for an answer. Everybody is looking for someone and something to blame. Should he ever go through a season like this again, Garrard will know never to blame it on the media. You can't do that because it'll get thrown back in your face. I liked the answer Garrard gave us after the game. He said the difference between this year and last year is that the Jaguars aren't making the game-changing plays this season that they made last year, and they're also not getting the breaks they got last year.
Jami from Arlington, VA:
The ESPN commentators talked about the Jaguars as if they were familiar with the team and their woes this year. Do they talk to people like you that cover the team? How much time do they actually spend interviewing the players and coaches prior to the game?
Vic: Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser and Mike Tirico spent about two hours on Sunday night talking to Jack Del Rio, David Garrard, Maurice Jones-Drew, Paul Spicer and Rashean Mathis. The bulk of the ESPN's homework for the game, however, is from viewing tape of the Jaguars and reading media reports. Jaguars.com is one of the media outlets whose reports are presented to ESPN. Hey, wanna bet they read "Ask Vic?" If they do, they're reading you. That's how they get to know the Jaguars so well. What you say about them goes right to what they know about them.
David from Jacksonville:
How did this happen?
Vic: I can't convince you, can I? I've answered this question and I'm sure of my answer but it's the one answer no one will buy because it's an undeniable fact of life. They got old. I started talking about getting old on the defensive line two years ago. Look at the numbers. This just didn't happen overnight. It's just that you're only seeing the results now. The Jaguars were number four against the run in 2006. They fell to number 11 last year and now they're down to number 20. It's precipitous. It's classic and this isn't the first team I've covered that has had this happen to them. I covered one that won four Super Bowls in six years and was the pick to make it one for the thumb, but they didn't even make it into the playoffs. All of a sudden, Joe Greene couldn't get off blocks and everybody was asking, "What's wrong with Joe?" He got old. It took a couple of years to sink in, but eventually it did.
Ryan from Los Angeles, CA:
The only positive in this entire season has been the fact that a poor finish leads to a higher draft pick, but is a high draft pick really good for a small-market team like the Jags, considering how much top 10 picks cost?
Vic: It all depends on who picks ahead of you. If it's the Jets, you better get out of the top 10. If the teams ahead of you are fiscally responsible and are likely to hold the line, a top 10 pick is great. It can, however, be daunting. It certainly was in last spring's draft.
Andrew from Washington, D.C.:
Ruled a fumble? Does the tuck rule only apply to Tom Brady?
Vic: David Garrard wasn't attempting to tuck the ball to his side. That's the tuck rule. Garrard was attempting to pass when the ball was ruled to have been knocked out of his hand before his hand moved forward.
Matt from Jacksonville:
It pains me to say this, as I've been a season ticket holder from the beginning, but Monday night is the first time in the history of the franchise where I can legitimately say I am embarrassed to be a fan. I think I speak for the bulk of the fan base when I say it's time for these players to wake up and start earning the millions of dollars we waste in this pathetic economy on entertainment that isn't even close to worth the money and emotion exerted. The mental mistakes have destroyed this team and I want to know who's accountable?
Vic: Come on, Matt, you sound like one of those angry citizens in "Jaws" who wants to know who let the shark swim into town. It's football, not a shark. It's a game, not life or death. Teams win and teams lose. Last year the Jaguars were on the winning side. This year they're on the other side. No one is above losing.
Roberto from Mandarin, FL:
I want to ask what the commentators kept asking, what happened to the Jags?
Vic: So let me get this straight: The media incorrectly – and I have already apologized for my part in this – identified the Jaguars as a Super Bowl favorite, and now the media is asking what happened to the Jags? Maybe the media should just acknowledge that it blew it.
David from Jacksonville:
Jack Del Rio maintains that the players are not lacking effort. After the performance in Houston, can he or anybody really believe that?
Vic: It was a hot topic in postgame interviews. We asked the question directly to Jack Del Rio and several players and in each case the answer was that in no way, shape or form has the team quit. My position on this is that if you're not going to believe the answer you get, then don't ask the question. Del Rio said something, however, that is food for thought. He said: "Show me examples of what would be an indication of that." With that remark, he was giving everyone license to voice their opinion. The thing that bothered me is that Steve Slaton's last two runs went for touchdowns of seven and 40 yards and he wasn't touched by a Jaguars defender on either play. That bothered me. Yeah, I know the outcome had already been decided, but I still don't like it.