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Here's what Jags need

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.


Alex from Los Angeles, CA:**
What exactly needs to happen next week for the Jags to make it to the playoffs?

Vic: The Jaguars will clinch a wild-card playoff berth with a win over Oakland and losses by Buffalo and Denver. Baltimore does not figure into the equation because the Jaguars would own the tie-breaker over the Ravens. There it is. Jaguars win, Buffalo and Denver lose; that'll do it. The problem is Buffalo and Denver host Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, two teams that are locked in their respective playoff spots.

Derrick from Jacksonville:
If you want to see the old columns, as Barb was speaking of, you can visit and search for It goes all the way back to 1999. What a cool site.

Vic: Thanks for providing that information.

Robert from Chicago, IL:
I am obviously very disappointed with this loss to the Texans. What an awful way to lose your playoff bid. I can't believe they were manhandled by those guys, again. My worst fear is that we are seeing the rebirth of the Tennessee Titans, in Houston. Why did these guys seem to have our number all year?

Vic: That's a question that must be studied and answered during the offseason because the Houston Texans are in the Jaguars' division and the Texans are a team the Jaguars must beat if they're going to be a division title contender next year. I see nothing in the matchups to lead me to believe the Texans should dominate the Jaguars. How do you explain a team that passed for 139 yards by a quarterback with a 66.5 passer rating beating a stop-the-run team? How do you explain a team that had the 20th-ranked rushing attack in the league pounding out 122 yards in the first half? How do you explain the 27th-ranked defense in the league denying the Jaguars a touchdown in eight quarters of play this year? I don't know what the answer is but clearly something is wrong and it must be found out.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
You called out the fans in your "Inside a Minute" segment on TV. Maybe now you can understand why they can't fill all the seats. I mean, who would want to pay good money to see a performance like that? And don't tell us the Jags would have played better had the crowd been there. This team embarrassed the city of Jacksonville. I'm feeling physically ill.

Vic: The fans knew what was coming so they didn't go? Gimme a break. At kickoff Sunday I looked at all of those empty seats and I felt sad.

Bryan from Austin, TX:
I witnessed first-hand the worst performance in Jaguars history Sunday against the Texans. You always seem keen to list the best/biggest victories. What would you say are the Jaguars' biggest losses in franchise history and where does this one rank?

Vic: I'm not exactly in the mood to spend Monday morning ranking Jaguars all-time defeats, but if I did this one would be right below that AFC title game loss to Tennessee. This one hurt. No one is saying otherwise. And don't think for one second the players and coaches aren't hurting, too.

Ben from Jacksonville:
I really thought the Jaguars were over the hump. Why do they play so good against the great teams and so poorly against the bad ones? Also, I was at the game and the fan support was deplorable. What other team in the NFL would have a half-empty stadium when fighting for a playoff spot? I know it was cold but this team needs its city and fans to start supporting them.

Vic: We tend to look at a team's best performances and consider that to be the norm for our expectations. I'm starting to believe those "best performances," against Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, for example, were the result of this team playing at an abnormally high level. The Jaguars are 8-7. That appears to be their niche and it's a distinct step up from 5-11. In my opinion, we have to accept that, and I include myself in "we." When the Jaguars lost in San Diego, I said they were flat. When they lost in Houston three weeks later, I said they were flat, again. I should know better. Very seldom are teams flat. They lose for a reason. In the case of San Diego, it was to a very good team that we had underrated. In the case of Houston, it was to a team that would confirm the legitimacy of its first win by scoring a second win over the Jaguars later in the season. It is what it is. Our expectations going into the season were for this team to be a playoff contender, and it is.

David from Jacksonville:
What was the total number of tickets sold for the Texans game?

Vic: The Jaguars announced that 66,227 tickets were distributed.

Jason from Jacksonville:
Do you have any comments on the end zone fumble at the beginning of the game? Should Del Rio have reviewed it?

Vic: Based on what I saw of the TV replay, it appeared Domanick Davis had, in fact, crossed the goal line before the ball came out. In my opinion, Jack Del Rio got accurate information from his coaches in the booth and was correct in not "challenging" the call.

Nate from Tampa, FL:
Maybe they're not as good as the media, coaches and players make them out to be?

Vic: Maybe you're right. If you are, you can point the finger right at me. I thought they were playing their best football at the right time of the year. I thought Byron Leftwich was stepping into year three. I thought they would beat the Texans. Maybe I need to temper my enthusiasm.

Jami from Jacksonville:
I believe you have an opinion as to why the performance was so bad yesterday, so please tell us.

Vic: Dealing with the pressure of a playoff chase is something that must be learned. Focusing on what you have to do and ignoring the scoreboard, so to speak, is easier said than done. I can't help but think the Jaguars were a little tight for this one. Yeah, Pittsburgh was a big game. Yeah, Green Bay was a big game. But this one put the playoffs on the line. This one was really big. Maybe it was just too big for this team at this time. That's the best I can offer because I'm not buying into being flat or out-coached. Those are excuses that have been much too over-used.

Nate from Macclenny, FL:
You said we would need 10 wins to make it into the playoffs and you were right. Had we won yesterday and next week at Oakland, we would be in.

Vic: That's what hurts the most. The Steelers' win over the Ravens put the Jaguars in a win-and-in situation.

Jason from St. Augustine, FL:
Why did Del Rio leave Leftwich in the game when it was apparent there was a head injury that was affecting his game?

Vic: We don't know that to be for sure, and I won't accept it as an excuse after the fact. Byron Leftwich was examined by the doctors and cleared to play. He was judged to have been alert and able. That he didn't play well may not have been a product of his head injury. In the two series before he was injured, he was 0-for-2 and nearly lost a fumble. Maybe he was just headed for a bad day. In my opinion, Jack Del Rio is taking an unfair hit on this one. Nobody complained in Green Bay when Del Rio let Leftwich play with a wrist injury. All coaches with quarterbacks who are having a bad day face the inevitable question: Should I replace him? Del Rio waited until late in the game to make that move. Honestly, do you think it would've mattered had he made the move earlier? Let's stay away from the easy excuses. Let's seek the hard truth.

Aaron from Jacksonville:
That was probably the best football weather we've had all year.

Vic: You know, you may be right.

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