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Don't eat the hot dogs

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

Seth from Jacksonville:
You mentioned on the radio that the NFL is a one-score league. Not true. So far, 70 games have been decided by more than seven points and 60 have been within seven points.

Vic: When you stir in the real good teams and the real bad teams, you will get a lot of games with spreads greater than seven points. I have made that point repeatedly. The core teams, such as the Jaguars, represent the meat of the league and when you check the scores of their games you'll see that, for the most part, their spreads are close. For example, six of the Jaguars' eight games have been decided by seven or fewer points. In fact, the average spread of the Jaguars' eight games is exactly seven points. Frankly, including the elite teams and the dog teams, I think the 70-60 figure makes my point. Of the 14 games played last weekend, seven of them were decided by seven or fewer points. The average score of all games last weekend was 25-15.

Dave from Jacksonville:
Speaking of wide receivers, I was wondering how much R. Jay Soward ended up banking when all was said and done in Jax?

Vic: Banking?

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN:
We boo you all the time, yet you keep coming back for more. So why don't you tell us how it feels?

Vic: After a while you don't even notice it. It becomes part of the daily routine. It's like losing in the playoffs every year. You get used to it, right?

Josh from Jacksonville:
Let me ask you something. Are the Jaguars thinking about sitting Leftwich down for some time? Personally, I think Leftwich is great, but that's not what some others think. Do you think if he doesn't start stepping up that they will sit him out?

Vic: This has been an amazing week. Just when the guy plays the best football of his life, criticism of him becomes harshest. What part of 11 for 11 didn't you like?

Harold from Van Buren, AR:
Matt Jones was drafted because of his athleticism and what he could become. He should not, at this time, be compared to others who have played that position for several years. How long should he or will he be given to mature? I respect your opinion.

Vic: Whoa! Wasn't it all of Matt Jones' rabid Arkansas fans who were predicting such great things for him? Back in the spring and summer, I didn't get many questions about Matt being allowed to mature into the position. Back then, all of the questions were about how many positions he might play. What you're suggesting now is what we all should have been saying from the beginning. This is the toughest, most demanding sports league in the world. Patience is required. Expectations should be minimized for rookies, especially for rookies making a position switch. I have only two expectations of Jones: Play hard, play tough. If he truly is as talented as you believe he is, the rest will follow in time. How long should he be given to mature? The standard answer is three years. The prime years of a player's career are thought to begin with year four. By the end of his third year, you should get a glimpse of what that player will be in his prime. At that point, I think it's fair to make a stern evaluation.

Derek from Murrieta, CA:
Are you crazy? How can you sit behind your little computer and honestly say the Bengals are ahead of the Jaguars in the power rankings? Did you not see the Sunday night game? The Jags nearly dominated the entire game. I think you owe the fans and the team an apology for this mishap.

Vic: I think you need to read a book.

Chad from Jacksonville:
You seem a little testy lately. Do you need a hug?

Vic: No, that's how it started with those Panthers cheerleaders.

Tom from Jacksonville:
Back around May, wasn't it you who said the area of concern on defense was linebacker? And wasn't it you in August who said the receiver issue would play itself out? So, Steel City Swamie, you said Fred Taylor was the key to how far this team would go. We are 5-3 and Fred was not around in two of those wins and in his best game we had our worst game. Break it down for me, Swamie.

Vic: You have a good memory. I said this team's season is riding on Fred Taylor's knee. I was wrong. It's riding on his ankle.

Jon from Spokane, WA:
What's with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud? They only have one sack combined.

Vic: I'm not one of those guys who prays to the sack god. Sacks can be overrated because they're not always an indicator of pressure. That's the big thing; pressure on the quarterback. Stroud is second on the team with 15 pressures and Henderson is fourth with 10. I think your question is valid.

Benji from Pulaski, VA:
I have always agreed with you about the Terrell Owens' and Randy Moss'. Why can people not look at the team problems and the combined 7-9 record of the Raiders and Eagles and see that they are a hassle and not a help?

Vic: A lot of people are entertained by controversy. They like the rebellious. They're probably not team players either.

Tim from Jacksonville:
Me and some buddies need your help in an office dispute over how to win the division. My thoughts are the Jaguars win the division if we win the remaining division games and the Colts lose at least two division games. A co-worker feels the division winner is the team that has the best overall record and the division record has no bearing on who wins the division. Can you please clarify the rules on this?

Vic: Your "co-worker" is correct, to a point. If there is a tie for the division title, the number two tie-breaker is division record.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Since we almost always start off slow, don't you think if we win a coin toss in the beginning of the game we should defer until the second half?

Vic: Wrong day, Mike. You're lookin' for Saturday. There's no deferring in the NFL.

Brad from Vancouver, BC:
You answered a question about parity and the Jags not being an elite team. Are the Jags even being considered a contender for anything by anyone?

Vic: You don't have to be considered; all you have to do is win, especially in January. Make the playoffs and just win, baby, win. That's all the consideration you need. No polls or opinions in this league. This league is about winning, not weighing.

Donnie from Palm City, FL:
Were you being serious on taking T.O.? Or were you just being sarcastic?

Vic: Are you kidding? A yell-at-everybody-and-act-like-a-nut day? You thought I was being serious? How's the water down there in Palm City? Any funny taste or visible residue?

Craig from Palm Coast, FL:
I am a Jaguars season ticket holder and a fan of your work. I am currently attending UCF, working toward my journalism degree with aspirations of being exactly what you have become, a journalist for a major sports team. With that said, is there any feasible way I could shadow you for a game or two in order to get a good feel on what someone of your position does throughout gameday?

Vic: Kid, I got work to do. I gotta sit up in that press box and eat rubber hot dogs and talk to other reporters about their golf games. I've never even taken my own kids to a game. If I took you to the press box with me on Sunday, you'd change your major on Monday. Spend some time thinking about your career choice. Give some thought to medical school. Find some girl with a nice smile who wants to be a doctor's wife; a stylish house, expensive cars, a country club membership and private schools for the kids. Stay away from the rubber hot dogs, kid.

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