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Fans control the future

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

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
All those questions about the onside kick reminded me of something we used to do in backyard football. The kicker would make a divot in the grass with his heel to stand the ball up. Would that be legal in the NFL?

Vic: It's not legal because it falls under the "artificial media" clause of the rulebook. "No artificial media shall be permitted to assist in the execution of a field goal and/or try-kick attempt after a touchdown." By moving the ground with the heel of your shoe, you could build a mound that could be used as a tee. Even though you may use a tee on kickoffs, is must be one that is "approved by the league." No other means of altering the ball's position on the ground is permitted.

Kathy from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Does the elevation of Bryan Smith as right defensive end mean he is considered our best chance for rushing the passer? In your opinion, should Derrick Harvey be considered a bust?

Vic: What Smith's promotion means is the Jaguars are looking for a pass-rusher worthy of the premier pass-rush position, the blindside right defensive end spot. Smith is getting an opportunity; we'll see what he does with it. As far as Harvey is concerned, it's too early to pronounce him a bust and his move to left end is largely the result of a return to the 4-3 and the need for a guy on the left side who can play the run, which is not Smith's or Quentin Groves' forte. A huge investment has been made in Harvey and he'll get plenty of time to prove he can play, but I think it also has to be acknowledged his failure to rack up sacks.

Ryan from Cincinnati, OH:
Do you think Brian Kelly returns to our Cincinnati Bearcats next year or will a big college buy him?

Vic: We'll find out Saturday night.

Jerry from Tamarac, FL:
What do you make of FSU's offensive line staying in their stance throughout the entire play when the defense jumps offside?

Vic: I love it. It shows great discipline. Rick Trickett has been one of the best offensive line coaches in college football for a long time and this has his signature all over it. What he's done is to have extinguished the possibility that one of his linemen will be flagged for a false start when, in fact, it was the defensive lineman who should've been penalized for being in the neutral zone. Hey, there's no reason for an offensive lineman to move before the ball is snapped. Trickett is making sure his linemen buy into that discipline by exaggerating their commitment to the snap of the ball.

Ray from Jacksonville:
With four wins so far, it's clear the team will surpass last year's win total. That along with a much-improved passing game and an abundance of young talent that is making significant contributions should confirm the fact that we are on the rise. Three entertaining wins at home doesn't disappoint, either.

Vic: I keep hearing about the blowouts. I keep reading about the fans' great embarrassment that the team has suffered three lopsided defeats, but you're first to notice the Jaguars are winning at home, again. It starts there. It always starts there. You have to win your home games.

Donny from Lake Mary, FL:
The Jets have the number one rushing offense and number two overall defense in the NFL, usually a recipe for a very good team. So why are they 4-4? Is it the rookie QB?

Vic: It was against New Orleans and Buffalo, games in which Mark Sanchez was intercepted a total of eight times and produced passer ratings of 27.0 and 8.3. Ouch! Another loss can be blamed on special teams allowing two kickoffs to be returned for touchdowns. Don't make the mistake of judging the Jets by their record.

Gamble from Jacksonville:
Well the shots at the city keep coming. On NBC's sitcom, "30 Rock," while mocking ESPN, the fake bottom line ticker read, "Jacksonville residents no longer aware of Jaguars." The shot really hurts, as it was unexpected, but I know it will only get worse if things don't change soon. I've begun imagining and bracing myself for the worst, and it scares me and turns my stomach all at once.

Vic: All of this would go away if the stadium was full. That's all it would take. We don't have a stadium issue, an ownership issue, a lease problem, a local government that is insensitive to the team's needs, etc. In Cleveland, Baltimore, Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, etc., the fans were at the mercy of the owner and the local government. Here, the fans are in control of the situation. The future of this franchise will be decided by the fans. If they buy the tickets, everything will be fine. If they don't, uncertainty will prevail.

Brandy from Crawfordsville, AR:
As far as the announcers go, I can understand an error here or there. They are human and we all make mistakes. The mistake I died laughing about, though, was during the Arkansas-Florida game, when the guy caught the ball and ran for over 20 yards, fumbled it on the half-yard line and recovered it in the end zone. The officials were taking forever to review it for some odd reason and the announcers were trying to justify the review. One actually said, "Do you think they might call it an incomplete pass?"

Vic: That had to be the most embarrassing moment of Verne Lundquist's career, but, you know, there was actually something profound about his comment. It said something about where we are in the evolution of football. We've reached the point that we'll even question the completion of a pass after a guy runs with the ball for 20 yards – I actually think it was much longer than that. We'll review anything to find any reason to change the call. Replay review is way out of control and the management of it needs to be revisited. It is ruining the game. I actually think baseball, in all its glorious stodginess, is doing the smart thing in avoiding the use of replay review.

Dave from Rockford, IL:
As I watched Jay Cutler consistently completing passes to the 49ers, I thought about how he was actually starting to develop into a good QB in Denver, while Kyle Orton was struggling in Chicago. Now Cutler seems to have taken a step backwards while Orton is developing into a very efficient QB that is getting the job done. Did Cutler kill his career with his offseason antics, which ultimately led to him being traded?

Vic: Orton hasn't been all that good lately. The simple fact of the matter is: Cutler can make all of the throws, Orton can't. The rest is up to Cutler. He's in control of his own destiny.

Alex from Jacksonville:
It seems to me the NFL has a double standard in regards to disciplining players. They condemn the action and fine the player, but their very own "NFL Network" shows the bad behavior repeatedly, for ratings, I imagine, while the analysts laugh about it. It seems like they play both sides of it.

Vic: "NFL Network" is media and must be a separate entity from the league. It's no different than CBS owning the Yankees and having to report on a team it owns. If you don't create that separation, you'll have no credibility.

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