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Don't hate them, thank them

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

Kristen from Fort Myers, FL:
I really enjoyed watching Aaron Rodgers. What do you think of him?

Vic: I liked what I saw of him against the Jaguars in the preseason last year. In fact, I remember mentioning in my blog that I thought the Packers moved better with him in the game than when Brett Favre was in the game. It was a thought that caused me to be sternly rebuked by the fans of St. Brett.

Mike from Jacksonville:
When receivers line up, they always point with one arm, presumably at the line of scrimmage. Is it supposed to be some kind of reminder to line up properly?

Vic: No, they're just imitating that robot on FOX.

John from Colorado Springs, CO:
As a Broncos season ticket holder who wishes he could be a Jaguars season ticket holder, I can tell you the Broncos announce no-shows. When the announcer gives the attendance, he adds, "That means there were (however many) no-shows," to a chorus of boos. Even the no shows in preseason get booed.

Vic: I remember hearing that when I covered last year's game in Denver, but that's not the official attendance statistic. The official attendance appears on the front cover of the official play-by-play, and on the attendance line in the official play-by-play, the Broncos list tickets distributed, not actual attendance.

Thomas from Jacksonville:
In the Feb. 25 "Ask Vic," you said of last year's Jags that you couldn't "imagine being any better on offense than they were late in the season." In your estimation, how did the Jaguars become so powerful toward the end of last season without the suddenness of a big-play, deep-threat receiver?

Vic: It was for two reasons: 1.) The offensive line was playing at a dominant level. 2.) David Garrard was playing the best football of his life. I pointed out in yesterday's column, however, that the field began showing signs of significant shrinkage in the playoffs, due to the lack of a big-play receiver, and I think that's carried over into this season. In the last three games (this Sunday and the two playoff games), Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew have rushed for a combined 174 yards. In the last three games of last season (not counting the game in Houston when Taylor and Jones-Drew didn't play), the two rushed for a combined 527 yards. I think that's a significant statistical comparison.

Jeff from Indianapolis, IN:
How can you just immediately count the Patriots out? Brady may be gone but they still have the best receiver in the game, a stout offensive line, a good defense and great special teams, not to mention that Cassel looked at least like a serviceable QB on Sunday and they've got the easiest schedule in the league. How can losing Brady pull them down that much when they still are very talented in almost every other area of the game?

Vic: In my opinion, the offensive line really isn't that stout, the defensive really isn't that good, Randy Moss would've never had the season he had if Tom Brady wasn't his quarterback, and the Patriots really aren't as talented as you think in almost every other area of the game. In my opinion, Brady made it all work. I also think their schedule just got tougher. I could be wrong, though. We'll see.

J.W. from Keystone Heights, FL:
After all the injuries in the Titans game, is it fair to say the Jaguars found themselves with a game plan that didn't match up with the abilities of the backup players?

Vic: Your opinion of Dirk Koetter is too low. I guarantee you, Koetter made the logical adjustments to the game plan as the injuries mounted and the Titans asserted their dominance up front. I saw an outlet pass to Fred Taylor get swallowed up. I saw a screen pass to Maurice Jones-Drew nearly get him cut in half. I have no doubt Koetter tried some quick-hitters to try to catch the Titans linemen before they could get off their blocks, and some draws to see if he could catch them rushing too hard up the field. I saw both, in fact. I saw him move David Garrard out of the pocket and on one occasion the only purpose it served was to run him right into a tackle for no gain. I saw three-step and five-step drops; passes on run downs and runs on pass downs. What do you want me to say? Do you want me to tell you the Jaguars didn't get manhandled, that the blame really falls on the coaches because they didn't call the right plays? OK, I'll do it. It's all Koetter's fault. Feel better?

Luke from Jacksonville:
It's been noted over the last decade or two that as the game gets faster, players are using smaller or fewer pads to increase flexibility and speed. Do you think that change has anything to do with the frequency and type of injuries we're seeing these days?

Vic: I don't think it's the cause of injury but I think it's contributed to poor tackling. Players are taking "stay off the ground" to ridiculous levels. They're playing the game with their hands and not their shoulders, which is what I would do, too, if I was wearing a padded bra for shoulder pads and no hip pads, thigh pads or knee pads. From the waist down, they might as well be playing in their pajamas.

Rocky from Jacksonville:
If really hating the Titans is silly, then isn't really loving the Jaguars just as silly?

Vic: No, it's not. Love is a positive emotion. It's a good thing. It's fun to love. I just don't understand the logic in hating another team merely because it's trying to do the same thing your team is trying to do. It's just a game, for goodness sakes. Go ahead, support your team and feel bad when it loses, but only a fool would turn his disappointment into hate for the other team. That's nuts.

Scott from Eau Claire, WI:
Do you see the Jaguars choosing to wear their white jerseys at home on Sunday vs. Buffalo?

Vic: No, the Jaguars are going to wear their teal jerseys. Why? Because real men wear teal in the heat.

Brian from Jacksonville:
What did you think of Harvey's and Groves' performances on Sunday?

Vic: Derrick Harvey had the interception, which is a good thing, but you can't count on a pass hitting you in the chest every week. Harvey is in the process of learning his craft. Groves was used in some sexy ways. I saw him once or twice standing up behind a defensive tackle, which is how Gregg Williams used Jevon Kearse in Kearse's rookie year. The problem is that on defense neither player contributed a tackle or anything other than Harvey's interception. Pro football is a tough game. It takes time for even the best athletes to get their feet under them.

Roland from Jacksonville:
You watched the tape. What happened to Reggie Nelson? He was supposed to be our playmaker on defense, yet, every time I saw him, the Titans had a hat on him. They totally neutralized him. I don't see that ever happening to Troy Polamalu or Bob Sanders. Does he still have some ways to go to reach his potential?

Vic: That was not Reggie Nelson's kind of game. He's gonna be at his best in an open-spaces game. His strong suit is playing centerfield in pass-coverage, not coming up to support against the run. Don't judge him on that game. Judge him on the one coming up in Indianapolis. That should be his type of game.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
You're right, it is kind of silly. Hate is the wrong word to use and I shouldn't have used it. When I sent that e-mail it was in a purely competitive sense, not personal. I promise you, as I was reading the rumors and struggles of Vince Young, I felt bad. I don't wish that on anyone. What word should I use?

Vic: I don't know. That's a great question, but it allows me to tell a story you might like. I helped coach my sons when they were playing junior baseball. I disliked the "good game, good game" postgame ritual because the exchange between players was so hokey and meaningless. I explained to the players that the other team had just honored them with their competition and I required our players to shake the hand of each player on the opposing team, look them in the eye and tell them "thank you." When our players did it, the whole mood of the ritual changed. The players on the other team were kind of surprised. They'd nod and smile and return the thank you. A coach from the other team asked me to explain what the "thank you" was for and when I did he loved it and started having his team do the same thing. Maybe that'll help you but, if it doesn't, then go ahead and hate them. Hey, for what they get paid, they should be able to deal with a little hate, right? After all, it's an election year.

Raj from Jacksonville:
Can "Ask Vic" be published in blog format? I know you do like to be a writer more than a blogger, but a blog may allow your fans to discuss your viewpoint on a daily basis.

Vic: I think you've hit on something. I love it. It's a great idea. I sent it to IT to see what they think and find out if we can do it and how long it would take to effect a format change.

Michele from Cocoa, FL:
I love that you answer the dumb questions. I am a better fan because of it.

Vic: I love dumb questions. They make the most sense and the answers usually provide the most information.

Tony from Ogden, UT:
I agree with Tyler. Start answering more important questions, like what's this I hear about trading for Jason Taylor?

Vic: Oh, very funny. I'll take this opportunity, however, to ask my readers' indulgence if they feel neglected. This week may have produced the greatest volume of questions in "Ask Vic" history. In fact, I'm sure it has. If you didn't have your question answered, you were part of a very large crowd. Thanks for your patience and participation.

Ricky from Melbourne, Australia:
What does Ryan Robinson have against the Titans? Is it that the stats are heavily in their favor as of late?

Vic: He must hate them. Hate is everywhere.

Lauri from Cincinnati, OH:
I'm sick of everyone, including you, that continues to talk about our absence of a deep-threat receiver. We haven't seen Jerry (Porter) play, yet, but he is very likely to be that guy. I think he's what we need.

Vic: She hate me.

Kenny from Albany, IN:
Have you ever read Michael Silver's 32 NFL rankings and questions? What a joke.

Vic: Yet, someone and something else to hate.

Josh from Zephyrhills, FL:
I heard that Martina McBride sang the national anthem on Sunday. Did you hear that every game that she sings the national anthem the home team wins?

Vic: I hate that.

Brandon from Jacksonville:
It's not silly to hate the Titans. Hatred of a sports team rival is a major part of fan culture, and anything that aids in building our fan base is good. Keep on hatin'.

Vic: Is this a great culture or what?

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