Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Pete from Gainesville, VA:
I do not remember when you said it, but it was not that long after Del Rio became coach. You said something like Tom Coughlin's greatest gift to the Jaguars was his last two drafts, when he got some big guys for the lines early. Well, this season is making it very apparent how important the lines are. Neither of the lines are getting it done and the record and stats reflect it. I am expecting big guys in our draft and in free agency. Sound like a fair assessment to you?
Vic: I think it goes without saying. Coughlin left Jack Del Rio with a nucleus around which to build. That nucleus was represented by two big, powerful and talented defensive tackles, Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. Tom also left some building blocks on the offensive line: Brad Meester, Mo Williams and Chris Naeole. Well, Stroud is gone, Henderson is off his game, Meester has just returned from his second major arm injury and Naeole was just lost for the season for the second consecutive year. It's a young man's game and teams have to be vigilant about staying young. There has to be a constant influx of replacement talent, which I've always referred to as "jars on the shelf."
Wes from Jacksonville:
I believe the reason you went off the air is because you were raised right and taught that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
Vic: No, that's not the reason. All of a sudden my laptop froze. I'm not a technician but I did all I could and it appeared the problem was with the press box host or whatever you call it. Stuff happens.
Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
Twelve penalties for 86 yards? Is this becoming a sloppy team that lacks discipline? That is usually not indicative of a Jack Del Rio-coached team.
Vic: Nothing about this team is indicative of Del Rio's football beliefs and trademarks. He's a run the ball/stop the run guy and this team is doing neither. He's a coach who believes in winning the physical battle and I don't think the Jaguars are doing that, either. So I suppose you want me to tell you why, right? Well, it has been my experience that when teams underachieve, it's usually because they are undermanned.
Alex from Kansas:
Why, when the Jaguars can't run the ball, do they give up on it so fast and quit?
Vic: A strong, committed running game goes hand in hand with a strong defense. It's difficult to stay committed to the running game when your defense has allowed the opponent to go 84 yards and 88 yards for touchdowns in its first two drives. It's difficult to remain patient and stick with the run when you're down 14-0 and 21-3. Even if they had, I don't think it would've worked. They're getting whipped up front. It's just that simple.
Leonard from Santa Barbara, CA:
I watch the defense give up easy scores. Do you think it's the coordinator?
Vic: No, it's not the coordinator. Gregg Williams has been coaching football for a long time. Let's not forget that he was the defensive coordinator who helped the Titans beat the Jaguars three times in 1999. It's not the coordinator and it's not the other coaches. In my opinion, there is a decline in performance that is probably attributable to a decline in skills.
Harsha from West Palm Beach, FL:
How much was Marcus Stroud an impact on our defense and is his loss one of the reasons our defense is faltering?
Vic: Stroud had not had much of an impact on the Jaguars defense since sustaining a serious and career-altering ankle injury during practice the week of the 2006 season-opener. He was never the same after that. He was unable to practice during the week, as he had to rehab himself weekly to be able to play the following Sunday. Last season, of course, was a near total loss. Is losing him one of the reasons the Jaguars defense is faltering? Absolutely it is. He was one of two players around whom the Jaguars defense was built, but the Jaguars didn't just lose him when they traded him, they had lost him two years earlier. This defense's heyday was from midseason in 2003 through 2005. The losses started to mount in 2006 and I think you can trace the decline.
Gary from Nancy, KY:
As it is right now, was it a mistake to draft Harvey and Groves?
Vic: You don't grade a draft midway through its first season. The evaluations of Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves will begin next season. Was it a mistake for the Jets to draft Vernon Gholston? For the Chiefs to draft Glenn Dorsey? A lot of teams' first-round picks are underachieving. We put a lot of hype on Harvey because the Jags were desperate for a pass-rush and we wanted him to be the difference-maker. That was a mistake.
Saud from Marietta, GA:
Why is it all falling apart? I really had high expectations for this team after last season. Now we've basically become the laughing stock of the NFL. So what's our problem?
Vic: I missed it, too. I could say this and I could say that, but I should begin with this: I thought this was going to be their year. What I didn't realize was that last year was their year. I missed it. I didn't see it coming. Before I start telling you what's wrong, shouldn't I first figure out why I missed it? There's no need to rush the analysis. Let's start by figuring out what's wrong with the analyst.
Jon from Kittery, ME:
It's looking more and more like it's gonna be time for the front office to blow it up and start retooling, beginning this offseason. At least that's the impression I get from listening to Del Rio in the last two postgames. Do you get that same impression?
Vic: I think there will have to be changes, yes. Blow it up? How do you blow it up when you only have six draft picks? I think you're being overly dramatic. I think it's time to start finding a few replacements because that's about all you can do from year to year.
Malachi from Lebec, CA:
"Repair begins with acceptance." Is this starting to look like it fits the Jaguars?
Vic: Unless something dramatic happens, I think that's the direction we're headed.
Cedrick from Jacksonville:
Except for Florence and Stroud, our defensive unit is almost exactly the same as last year. So taking this into account, can you still say it's players, not plays, when it seems as if everything Gregg Williams tries comes up short week after week against seemingly weaker opponents?
Vic: This isn't last year. Everybody is a year older. It happens that way, plus, let's not forget that the defense wasn't playing at a high level when last season ended. As I recall, everyone was cheering Williams' hiring because he would steer the Jaguars away from Mike Smith's soft-zone, no-rush coverages and give the Jaguars an attack mentality. The Jaguars' success late last season was built on the combination of a strong running game and an emerging quarterback. The defense, you might recall, was torched in the playoffs by Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
The most impressive stat yesterday was that 64,238 people showed up to watch two losing teams play. That could be a reflection of Cincinnati's commitment to the Bengals, or it could just simply be a lot of people that like football watching a game.
Vic: Or it could be the number of tickets distributed and is not an accurate representation of the attendance. There were a lot of empty seats, as you would expect for an 0-8 team, but I was impressed that attendance was as good as it was. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I'm sure that helped, but Cincinnati is a good football town. I've always enjoyed Cincinnati and I love Paul Brown Stadium.
Dave from Waunakee, WI:
My question is about the one intangible that every winning team possesses: great team chemistry. How is that chemistry between the players, the coaches and with the front office this season?
Vic: Chemistry isn't the issue. All you had to do yesterday was look at the Jaguars defensive line struggling to get off blocks and you knew what the issue is. I saw guys getting blocked forever. I think the John Henderson incident is an example of the frustration level.