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Falling back in love

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

Carl from Eagle River, AK:
Just a few thoughts: I grew up in Jacksonville but moved to Alaska just before the city got the franchise, however, from the beginning I was and remain a fan. I even flew to Seattle to see them play. I read "Ask Vic" every chance I get and it has not escaped my lightning-fast brain that not only are you adept in your observations of the game, but your sense of humor is fantastic. I am just sorry that some of my fellow fans in the UK don't get it.

Vic: They get it. "Ask Vic's" tentacles are reaching out all over the world, seeking football fans that want to have fun. I'm glad to see we have roots in Alaska, too.

Scott from Ormond Beach, FL:
Being a Jags fan, I've never been a Peyton Manning fan, but this is why he is for sure a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The guy is clutch. It is amazing that he's not won more Super Bowls.

Vic: That's the only rub in his career, his postseason record, 7-9, which makes you scratch your head. He's like no quarterback you've ever seen, but not in the postseason. What I saw last night was jaw-dropping. On one particular play, I saw him look to his left at a couple of receivers downfield. When they failed to come open to his satisfaction, he wheeled to his right and dumped the ball to his check-down receiver, Joseph Addai. He knew exactly where he would be and he was able to start his throwing motion before he even saw him. Manning's ability to process information is what makes him the quarterback he is. He knows where everybody is and he knows exactly the order in which he should go to those receivers. Then, on top of all of that, he has a body clock that tells him when the ball has to come out to avoid being sacked. I've never seen a quarterback like him. So why hasn't he played better in the postseason? That's the only criticism that can be made of him.

William from Middleburg, FL:
Although they scored 31 points, I think the offensive play-calling was terrible. Except for the last two minutes of the game, we must have run the ball on first down 90 percent of the time, which left too many third-and-longs. Fortunately, Garrard was able to hit touchdown passes on two third-and-longs but, as evidenced in the final five minutes, the third-and-longs finally came back to bite the Jags. What are your thoughts on this?

Vic: I think it was one of the best play-calling jobs I've seen this season. I knew the Jags were going to run it, but I didn't know when. Dirk Koetter did a masterful job of blending run and pass, which allowed the Jags to dominate time of possession and keep Manning on the bench, and I have no doubt he scored points with the people at UNLV last night. It's unfathomable that anybody would be critical of last night's play-calling.

Jon from Durham, NC:
Can we now call the bulk of the first-round draft picks made by the former GM busts? Reggie Nelson looked awful last night and seems to be on the down slope of the development curve. How can a safety miss that many tackles?

Vic: It was bad and it's been season-long. The Jaguars have been claiming, signing and trading for safeties since last offseason began, which should've told us everything we needed to know. I would expect the position to be addressed even more fully in the upcoming offseason.

Casey from Jacksonville, NC:
After last night's game, how can the city not be excited about this young team's future? I know we lost but that game was fun to watch and showed the true potential of this team. What did you learn from that game last night?

Vic: I learned a lot of things. Most of all, I learned that Jacksonville can still get excited about a pro football game. The crowd was fantastic. I do an "Ask Vic" segment in our pregame radio show and I do it in a tent area where fans can watch and listen. A large crowd gathered for the segment last night and their energy lifted me. Energy pulsed throughout "The Jack" last night. I also learned that the Jaguars have a lot of pieces in place to be a playoff contender next year, and that most of the missing pieces are on defense. Actually, I think I already knew that. If the Jags do this right, and I have no doubt they will because I have complete faith in GM Gene, they will get this thing rebuilt just about the time Peyton Manning begins showing a little gray on the sides, if you know what I mean. Be patient, folks. This is happening. Just give it time to happen.

Jason from Jacksonville:
I know we hoped to have a signature win, but instead we got a signature loss. This game was our season in a nutshell; exciting, in it until the end but ultimately not enough players to get it done. What a great sense of joy to walk out of that stadium having played a meaningful game in December and to have taken the undefeated Colts down to the wire in a thriller. I'll be renewing my seats in excitement for what this team can do next year, and I hope all those who came down to see the fun last night will join me.

Vic: It's a defining game. There's no doubt about it. Yeah, it was a loss and I'm not looking for moral victories, either, but I don't think there's any doubt that last night's game is the one we will remember the most from this season.

James from Jacksonville:
Last night's game reminded me of the 2004 Sunday night game against the Steelers in which that same season there were a lot of blackouts except for that game. Not that many people knew the new-era Jaguars and the team put on a heck of a performance and came up just a play short. The result of the game caused a positive buzz around town about the team that triggered ticket sales and fewer blackouts. Do you think last night's game might have the same impact?

Vic: That's a good analogy and I'll tell you why: That was the game that caused "Ask Vic" to explode. You might remember that I had written about how my inbox exploded following that game. I got e-mails like I had never gotten e-mails before. Well, last night's game triggered the same explosion of e-mails today. Something happened last night. Maybe Jacksonville fell back in love with the Jaguars. We'll see.

David from Ormond Beach, FL:
I'm not one to jump on the quarterback and blame him for everything, but I do think David has had two bad games when we needed him most, especially in the fourth quarter. I think it`s time for the Jags to look for that franchise QB. David does not seem to be the answer.

Vic: You make it sound as though you can find one any time you'd like. David Garrard didn't get it done at crunch time and you don't have to tell me what that means. Nobody reveres the crunch-time quarterbacks more than I do. The sad fact of last night's game is that Garrard's failure in the fourth quarter masks an otherwise sensational performance. He threw some eye-popping completions. The way he extended the play and dumped the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew for a touchdown was impressive and his touchdown dart to Mike Sims-Walker between defenders was eye-popping, but you have to get it done at crunch time. Find someone who can and he's "The Man." Until that happens, however, it's going to be awfully difficult to unseat Garrard.

Solomon from Burlington, VT:
"This was a perfect opportunity to go down and score a game-winning touchdown," said Garrard, who knows he'll be harshly criticized for the fourth-quarter failure. "That's all right. That's the position I'm blessed to play. This is a game I love to play, but it's still a game." As a fan who lives and dies weekly based on the result of the Jaguars game, that is very tough to read. I've felt at times that I care more than anyone on the field; hard to see that it's true with our starting quarterback.

Vic: You should try to control your own emotions before you attempt to control somebody else's.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Not even a slight shade of grass stain on 18. How can that be? Great effort by the Jaguars.

Vic: There's the problem. There wasn't even a hint of pass-rush.

William from Jacksonville:
Are free safeties hard to find?

Vic: No, they're not. This will get fixed in the offseason. Trust me.

Matt from Bloomington, IN:
Where did the information arise that Mathis and Freeney were not going to play? Was there deceit involved on the Colts' part?

Vic: They were listed as questionable, which means their participation was OK. Was there deceit involved? Let's call it gamesmanship. Jim Caldwell said at the start of the week that he would play his starters, except those that were nicked. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis appeared on the team's practice report all week as not having participated in practiced, which would indicate they were nicked, right? I'm OK with it. Frankly, I'm tired of the whole injury report thing. Just play.

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