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Garrard did it at crunch time

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

John from Jacksonville:
I might have missed this earlier when the schedule was announced for 2009 but is there a specific reason the Jaguars play all of the teams from the NFC West and no other NFC teams this season?

Vic: The schedule is on a rotation basis. This is the AFC South's year to play the NFC West. Last year, the AFC South played the NFC North. Next year, the AFC South will play the NFC East. If there's a 2011 season and if the format remains the same, the AFC South would play the NFC South. As you can see, every four years a team is guaranteed to have played every team in the other conference.

Terry from Jacksonville:
I was wondering if the Jags have considered using Tra Thomas at guard. The old Baltimore Colts converted one of the best tackles in the game, Jim Parker, to guard late in his career and was wondering if this was even considered with Thomas?

Vic: What's wrong with the guards the Jaguars have? Vince Manuwai has been one of the best drive-blockers in the league for the past several years and is regaining strength and mobility in his knee. Uche Nwaneri is a young player on the rise who has the athletic ability to get out in front of the runner. I understand that Thomas is from Florida and he played at Florida State, therefore, he has a lot of fans, but this season can't be dedicated to finding a place for him to play. Eugene Monroe turned in his best game as a pro on Sunday. His arrow is pointing up and that's the kind of guy you want in the lineup on a rebuilding team. Thomas is exactly what he was signed to be, which is to say someone who offers an immediate fix at left tackle in an emergency.

Marty from Tipton, IN:
Was that the worst we'll see this season as far as empty seats go? I think things should be better for the Chiefs game, especially if the Jags can win at Tennessee.

Vic: The major concern is for the Dec. 17 game against the Colts, which will be nationally televised. The city is assisting the Jaguars in making a big push to sell tickets for that game, obviously because of the concerns the city has for the terrible image hit Jacksonville will take if the nation tunes into that game and sees the large expanses of empty seats that were evident yesterday.

Paul from Arlington, VA:
You've mentioned in the past how much time it takes for you to get from the press box to the locker room. How does it work for coordinators who are also up in the press box? Are they able to get to the locker room at halftime?

Vic: The elevator is held for the assistant coaches in the press box. For them, it's like having a limousine waiting for you at the curb. That's why I have to either get down early before the elevator is idled for the coaches, or wait until the game is over and fight the crunch of humanity and risk being late for the start of the postgame press conferences. If the score is 41-0, I'm leaving early. If it's overtime, I'm staying late. The nice thing about Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is that it has an outdoor staircase I can use to avoid the elevator, and I used the stairs yesterday.

Jim from Jacksonville:
I know it's still early, but would you consider Terrance Knighton a home-run draft pick?

Vic: I don't think there's any question about that. I'll take it one step farther: Considering the round in which they were selected and the value they've returned, Knighton and Derek Cox might be the best one-two punch in the league from this year's draft.

Alex from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I personally thought David Garrard played a great game Sunday. He seemed calm and poised and delivered some big plays in crunch time. It was nice to see him rip off some big gains on the ground, too. What did you think of Garrard's performance this week?

Vic: His touchdown drive following Leonard Little's interception return for a touchdown may be the most important two minutes and 43 seconds of Garrard's career. Imagine what it would be like for him today if he had not rallied the team. The next two weeks would've been devastating. Fans would've demanded that he be replaced. They'd blame him for the empty seats. They'd blame him for the balloon hoax and the terrible officiating in the Florida-Arkansas game. Instead, he's a hero. Why? Because he got it done at crunch time. Nothing speaks louder than getting it done at crunch time. It silences everything else.

Gabe from Santa Barbara, CA:
I heard something really interesting on the Rams' radio broadcast this Sunday. In talking about the blackouts the Jaguars are experiencing due to unsold tickets, they compared the Jaguars' record to the Rams' record in recent years. The Jaguars' record from 2004-08 is 45-35, while the Rams' record during the same period is 27-53. St. Louis has won a total of five games the past two seasons and they are still selling out games, they said.

Vic: That's the old our-fans-are-better-than-your-fans-because-our-team-stinks-more routine.

Chris from Jacksonville:
Do you think politics played a major role in the NFL's decision to say no to Rush Limbaugh before they even vetted him as a part owner?

Vic: The NFL didn't say no to Limbaugh, the purchasing team did. Look, the NFL already had a relationship with Limbaugh and it didn't end well. It ended with him having to resign his position with ESPN for having made inflammatory remarks. Those are the facts.

Stephen from Melbourne, FL:
What a joke, Vic. I am sitting at the game, the start of overtime as I send you this message, and people are sprinting for the exits. The most beautiful day of the year and people are heading for the exits. It's no wonder Jacksonville is constantly the talk of relocation. I am embarrassed to be a Jaguars fan because of these people.

Vic: I've never seen anything like it. It was a great game and the most dramatic moments were in front of us. All of a sudden, it was as though somebody yelled, "Tim Tebow is in the parking lot." I don't know if there were 25,000 people in the stadium for overtime. I don't get it. This season is starting to look like it could be fun. Yeah, it's rebuilding, but I'm looking at the schedule right now and, frankly, I don't see anything daunting until the trip to San Francisco the last weekend in Nov. Seriously, though, I don't blame anyone for not going to the game or even for leaving the game. People do what they want to do and there is no obligation attached to being a Jaguars fan. I just don't understand why someone would sit in that awful cold all day and then leave with the game on the line.

Lawson from Jacksonville:
After a total dismantling of our defense in Seattle, our defense played pretty well against St. Louis. Is the defense getting better, or was this a one-time moment?

Vic: It was good against the run, but the pass-rush is still missing and you can't beat good teams without a pass-rush.

Drew from Washington, D.C.:
There's no question east coast teams struggle mightily traveling to the west coast and vice versa. Look no further than to the Eagles' meltdown in Oakland.

Vic: You're right. I don't know what it is, but it's a tough thing to do.

Jon from Daytona Beach, FL:
Did you know if the season ended today the Jags would have the last wild-card spot? Fans need to step back and realize what we have accomplished at 3-3 so far.

Vic: That's kind of cool, but the season doesn't end today. We still have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's to do before the season ends.

Mason from Palm Bay, FL:
What happened to Tennessee this weekend? That is not a Jeff Fisher team right now.

Vic: You're absolutely right, that is not a Jeff Fisher team. I have no idea what's wrong but I know it can't be all about having lost Albert Haynesworth. Obviously, something is terribly wrong in Nashville and you can bet Fisher is going to use the bye week to figure it out and start fixing it. The Titans may have new resolve when they play the Jaguars on Nov. 1.

Ken from Jacksonville:
Fifty-nine to nothing? There is no longer any doubt. It's the towel.

Vic: I have considered that possibility. You know, there are other examples of this happening.

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