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He's got to be a player

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

Justin from Jacksonville:
Will Sunday's game be blacked out?

Vic: Yes, it will be blacked out. I wish I could tell you there's a chance enough tickets could be sold for the blackout to be lifted, but there's no chance of that happening. My concern now is for what will happen when the blackout becomes official this afternoon. Will there be a spike in ticket sales, as is usually the case, or will sales remain flat? The league will watch that very closely. Do the people in this town understand how critical this situation is to the town's future? That's the burning question. When I came here in 1995, Jacksonville was regarded as one of the hot spots in the country. It was a community of intense growth and the Jaguars were the centerpiece and symbol of that growth. That perception, however, has changed. The following appeared in the "Baltimore Sun" recently: "I think generally the NFL made a mistake during expansion," said John Moag, former head of the Maryland Stadium Authority, who negotiated the Ravens move from Cleveland after Baltimore was denied a team during the expansion process. "I think they misread growth potential of the Jacksonville market." As you can see, the perception of Jacksonville now is that the growth has stopped and that perception will have a devastating effect on the town's commerce. It's a perception that could impact Jacksonville negatively for several generations, and it would've never surfaced had these blackouts not occurred. The empty seats in the stadium on Sunday are a big deal.

Jordan from Lincoln, NE:
I saw the Jags signed a new defensive end, which isn't a surprise at all but I'm a little confused by the fact they signed him to the practice squad. Could you explain the logic behind the move?

Vic: It could be for several reasons: Maybe they wanna see him on the practice field before they decide to use him in a game. Maybe he needs time to get into the playbook, so to speak. Maybe they don't have an immediate need for a defensive end this Sunday but they wanna have one on their practice squad ready to go when they do need him. The Cardinals do four-wide stuff and that's probably why an extra defensive back, Kennard Cox, was added to the active roster. Maybe they're just covering themselves until they can address the position more fully.

Josh from Essex Junction, VT:
I would like to apologize for my actions last summer. I had a horrible break up with my fiancé and I took it out on you and others as a way to vent my anger. I'm a lot better and learned a lot through that experience and my friends and family were gracious during that time in my life. As you can see, my location has changed from Orange Park, FL, to Essex Junction, VT. I hope you don't mind that I start writing to you again, Mr. Ketchman. I'm truly sorry and hope for your forgiveness.

Vic: I've completely forgotten about it.

Scott from Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
You have seen two generations of information before your eyes. You started in print and gave information to consumers in the past. Now that you have been on the forefront of technology for years, how has the industry changed? When the Jaguars paper ended did you think you were done or did you just accept that things had changed? What are the positive differences from when you started to your capabilities now? Did you ever dream you would do TV, radio, print all in the same medium?

Vic: I don't know what the answers are to your questions and I think I know why I don't know. You see, on the front page of "USA Today" on Monday was an aerial picture of my hometown, which was accompanied by a long story about poisonous air. I'm starting to think that story explains a lot about my life's choices.

Lance from Orange Park, FL:
Your example of comparing the Gators game to the Jaguars game and other NFL games is ridiculous. The fact is passion and group celebration is a bigger part of college football compared to the NFL. The ratings will never be accurate because college fans are more likely to get together in larger groups to watch the games, whereas the average Jaguar fan is Joe homeowner watching the Jaguar game intermittently while doing some Sunday afternoon yard work.

Vic: Oh, I get it. There are more college fans per TV, which I can totally understand because they all lived in the same dormitory as they were pursuing their degrees, right?

Max from Jacksonville:
Why do you have to be a jerk when responding to Daniel? Being a smart (expletive) is OK. Being sly is OK. But being a jerk is just not cool. Don't forget who pays your paycheck.

Vic: Daniel signs my paycheck? That changes everything.

Trey from Jacksonville:
I know the Pats got a first for Seymour but, I must say, he looked pretty good with the Raiders on Monday and it looked like the Pats could have used him.

Vic: The big picture, Trey, always see the big picture.

Cliff from Patuxent River, MD:
If you were sitting next to Mr. Smith, perhaps he was respecting the code of no cheering in the press box. Would a smile or a smirk be considered cheering?

Vic: No, just unnecessary.

J.P. from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Do you think we will change things up defensively against the air attack of Arizona, or basically stick with a "cover two?"

Vic: The Jaguars didn't stick with "cover two" against the Colts. I think they played every defense known to man. There's nothing unimaginative about this team on defense. The Jaguars are a video game player's dream team.

Thomas from Cambridge, MA:
When asked about teams building with youth, you mentioned only teams in the AFC. Whose youth do you admire in the NFC? Ryan and Stafford come to mind as central building blocks.

Vic: Atlanta's the team in the NFC. They got the quarterback who is likely to be the next Tom Brady and the Falcons are assembling a nice core of young talent around Matt Ryan. Arizona, in my opinion, has the conference's best cast of young talent, but the Cardinals are dreadfully old at quarterback and that's something that has to get fixed in the next draft.

Buddy from Jacksonville:
Do you think we can acquire Marvin Harrison now, before it's too late?

Vic: What's the rush?

Jim from Jacksonville:
Tony Boselli mentioned that he was surprised the Jaguars did not keep Marcedes Lewis on the line to help block Freeney. He mentioned that it would have bought Garrard a little more time. Why did the coaching staff not make this seemingly smart adjustment?

Vic: I don't know, Jim. I'm just not smart enough to understand this kind of stuff. My inclination is to believe the Jaguars wanted to throw the ball to Lewis and that's why they didn't use Lewis more often as a blocker, although I can tell you that I saw Lewis used as a blocker quite often as the game wore on. I also know that if it takes six to block four, then the defense is going to have seven to cover four, and that's not a formula for completing passes either. That's just the simple logic of a simple man and I'm sure it doesn't satisfy you. This is probably not a good place for finding answers to these very sophisticated issues because, as you've read higher in the column, I clearly suffer from some kind of pollution-induced dementia

James from Jacksonville:
Could the Jaguars sell a $20 standing-room-only ticket?

Vic: Why make them stand if there are thousands of seats empty? Have you been spending time in my hometown?

Mike from Palm Bay, FL:
Where can I get my "Don't Draft Tebow" bumper sticker? I understand the need to get people in the seats, but this just sounds like a desperation move on the part of the Jags. After one or two losing seasons with Tim at the helm, those Tebow fans will jump off the bandwagon faster than you can say "Go Gators." Now, can we just stop talking about this until the end of the season, please?

Vic: I'm sorry, Mike, no can do. The cat is out of the bag and there's no putting it back in. The T word has officially been used. Desperation? You bet it's desperation, and for a good reason. When we take a look at the empty seats in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Sunday, desperation is going to turn to exasperation, frustration and humiliation. We're at the crisis point. We're all standing on Little Roundtop and we have to decide whether to fight or surrender.

Matt from Jacksonville:
What are your thoughts on Mr. Weaver's remarks regarding the possibility of drafting Tebow to generate ticket sales?

Vic: I'm all for it, but he's got to be a player because all of the draw power in the world won't work if the guy can't play. It's just that simple.

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