Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Fred from Marineland, FL:
How much do you think having a new defensive coordinator is to blame for the poor play of the Jaguars defense this year?
Vic: It's not an issue at all. The Jaguars' problems on defense surfaced last season. They fell in the rankings, especially in pass-defense, and they had very little pass-rush. Why do you think they traded up in each of the first two rounds of the draft to pick defensive ends, one of whom is a pass-rush specialist? Losing leads didn't start this year, either. The Jaguars defense failed to protect leads in both Pittsburgh games. I can't tell you enough that it's players, not plays. The rookie defensive ends are learning the game. When they get it and when they start getting sacks, the Jaguars' defensive problems will end. That's my opinion and Jack Del Rio wouldn't agree with it because he thinks that's an oversimplification. I don't. I think it's that simple. The quarterback must go down and the quarterback must go down hard.
Mary from Jacksonville:
Please explain the difference in false start, offside and unabated to the QB.
Vic: A "false start" is committed by an offensive lineman when he moves, unprovoked by a defender in the neutral zone, before the ball is snapped. "Offside" is committed by a defensive player when any part of his body is in the neutral zone when the ball is snapped. The neutral zone is the space between the forward and backward points of the ball. "Unabated to the QB" is a phrase used to describe a defender who has crossed the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped, hasn't contacted an offensive player and has a free run at the quarterback. The play is to be blown dead before the defender impacts the quarterback. It's a rule for protecting the quarterback.
Paul from Lakeland, FL:
Have you ever sustained an injury trying to get to the elevator?
Vic: No, but Sunday was rather trying. You see, there's a period at the end of the game when the elevator is reserved for coaches. I mean, you wouldn't want them actually breathing the same air that reporters do, right? I understand that, so I never considered using the elevator after the game, once it went into overtime. "The Jack" has a stairwell next to its press box elevator. It's a little high but I can still handle it. The only problem with it is that it leaves you outside the stadium, so I had to re-enter the stadium, but that's OK because this was an overtime game and stuff happens. What bothered me, though, was that a press box security guard attempted to stop me from walking toward the stairs because the coaches would be walking in that same direction. Oh, excuse me. Wait, I'll get a brass band. That's another reason why I have to do "Good. Bye." There's no time for anything else when you get caught in that kind of crunch, especially when you have to walk down a flight stairs that takes you outside the stadium and you're not even permitted to begin your walk toward those stairs until the air has been cleared for the coaches.
Franchot from St. Augustine, FL:
How about Big Ben on Monday night? With all the pressure, he still came through. Flacco looks promising. Who do you think is going to be better this season, the Steelers or the Ravens?
Vic: It appears the Ravens finally have a quarterback for the long-term future. I like Joe Flacco. I think Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser fawned over him excessively on Monday night, but he's a good-looking prospect. Ben Roethlisberger is facing hard times. He has no confidence in his pass-protection and it's for good reason. There isn't a quarterback in the game, including Peyton Manning, that could succeed under those conditions. Roethlisberger is out of sync and that showed on Monday night. Nonetheless, he got it done at crunch time. That's his trademark. The guy has true grit. Jaworski is big on telling you what the quarterback should do. He's big on the route tree and the progression and the hot read and all of that technical crap. I'm big on crunch time. Give me the guy who gets it done at crunch time, as David Garrard did the last two weeks. Don't tell me that he locks onto receivers and that he lacks clock-management skills. Tell me about what he did at crunch time. Give me the guy to whom his team looks for direction. As far as which team is going to be better this season, I think they're both headed for ordinary records. The AFC North is weak and 9-7, maybe 8-8, could win it. Look at their schedules. They're frightening. Maybe 7-9 will win that division. But I'll say this about them: They'll hit you. That game on Monday night was as vicious as any game I've ever seen.
Blake from Tamarac, FL:
What is your take on the Jaguars offensive line right now? How do you think it'll hold up against the Steelers?
Vic: That's the flip-side question. I don't think the Steelers' offensive line will hold up at all against the Jaguars defense, but the Jaguars offensive line is going to be challenged, too. The Steelers have outstanding linebackers. They are playmakers. They are play disruptors. LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons are second-year guys who are really growing into their roles. Jeff Lageman spotted James Harrison when Harrison was just a backup. Jeff said Harrison was the best linebacker on their team and he hit it right on the nose. This is a special group of young linebackers. It is the nucleus around which Mike Tomlin will attempt to rebuild the Steelers.
J.R. from Yulee, FL:
When will people learn they should never call sport talk shows or "Ask Vic" to complain and argue? They never will get the last word in. Keep up the good work.
Vic: Fortunately for me, they'll never learn.
Tommy from Fruit Cove, FL:
Why so much hate?
Vic: I don't know, Tommy, I don't know, but your question allows me to address the terrible news of Richard Collier's wounds. Since the Monday press conference, I have received hundreds of e-mails from people expressing their grief. Some of them are angry and want vengeance against the perpetrator. Some of them want to know what they can do to help. I'm going to answer one and all right now. Here's my advice: Let's make a statement this week by treating our fellow man with more kindness. Let that be our get-well card to Rich. It won't go unnoticed, if you know what I mean. Let's do something that might help reverse the attitude that cuts down a young man in the prime of his life.
Dewayne from Jacksonville:
Over the last four weeks, I've seen amazing consistency out of Matt Jones. If he keeps it up, do you think he will be the number one receiver for the Jaguars?
Vic: He already is this team's go-to guy. Jones is finally showing the grit and determination I never saw in him and always knew had to surface for him to have any chance of fulfilling his promise. This is a tough game for tough guys and you will not establish yourself in this league without playing with toughness. He's on his way.
Mike from Jacksonville:
If a team always drafts BAP, should they ever need to rebuild?
Vic: It happens to all teams, regardless of their philosophy. The order of the draft assures it. The more you win, the longer you'll draft at the bottom of the order, which assures that one day you'll lose and move toward the top of the order, and so on and so on. In my opinion, BAP drafting will keep you at the bottom longer, whereas need drafting may leave you drafting at the top forever.
Bill from Jacksonville:
The Titans are looking scary good right now. What roadblocks, if any, do you think is in their way for the AFC South crown?
Vic: I can think of one right away; Nov. 16 in Jacksonville. Their two games against Indy won't be easy, and they have to play Green Bay and at Chicago. Pittsburgh could be a test for them. Their schedule is, however, favorable.
John from Jacksonville:
How big a threat is the Steelers' no-huddle offense and what's the key to stopping it?
Vic: The only threat the no-huddle poses is that it can force you to keep the same personnel on the field from play to play. The key to stopping it is having the right personnel on the field on the first down. That shouldn't be a problem for the Jaguars, given the Steelers' injuries at running back. The Jaguars should be able to play "nickel" and still stop the run. With a healthy Willie Parker, that would be less likely.
David from Geneva, FL:
Can the Ravens give us a shot at pulling one closer to the Titans?
Vic: No, they emptied both barrels on Monday. I think the Steelers did, too. Those two teams hate each other so much that they treat that game as though it's the only one on the schedule. Look at what Brian Billick did in the 2003 regular-season finale. His team was headed for the playoffs, but he was so desperate to beat the Steelers that he kept his starters in the game and allowed it to go into overtime. The Ravens then quickly exited the playoffs the following week.