Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
John from Brooklyn, NY:
Hey, Vic, are you going to keep us updated during this whole bye week?
Vic: I took a vacation day on Tuesday. The players were off and there was no press conference scheduled, so I figured it was a good day to get a haircut, vote, cut the grass, spend some time with the dog. Boy, what a mistake. Just when I start to break away, they pull me back in. You know what I mean? I'm sorry, but there was no indication on Monday that Byron Leftwich's knee was a problem. Anyhow, I'm here the rest of the week; "Ask Vic" today, Thursday and Friday, a couple of editorials and top-of-the-page stories as they present themselves.
Tom from Bedford Corners, NY:
Is Leftwich really going to miss the next 4-6 weeks, as espn.com is reporting? When can we expect a definitive announcement from the team?
Vic: Jack Del Rio will conduct a 12:15 p.m. press conference today and jaguars.com will provide details from that press conference. As for now, here's what I've learned: Byron Leftwich will be re-examined by Dr. James Andrews next Monday, Nov. 8. The Jaguars will provide updated information from that examination and, at that time, we should expect a more definitive prognosis. Per Tuesday's examination by Andrews, the Jaguars are saying Leftwich has sustained a sprained lateral collateral ligament. If that diagnosis is confirmed by Andrews next Monday, then the prospects for Leftwich's return would be bright. The LCL and the MCL (medial collateral ligament) are not usually surgical candidates; they are capable of repairing themselves. The Jaguars are currently not offering a timetable for Leftwich's recovery. I'll provide information from today's press conference as quickly as I can type it.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
With Byron missing the next few weeks with his knee injury, and most likely Garrard stepping up as a great backup should and winning, will this bring up the old quarterback controversy or will it just up the ante on trade value for Garrard during the offseason?
Vic: It would probably do both.
Steve from Williston, FL:
I usually hate bye weeks because I love Jags football so much, but I think this team really needs a week off. Was it me or did the Jags look flat, real flat?
Vic: I won't say they looked flat. I think it hurt them right off the bat that the Texans established field position. That put the Jaguars in a defensive posture early in the game and that may have caused them to look flat. It's difficult to look energized when you have the ball for 10 fewer minutes than your opponent. I don't think they were flat. I agree with Jack Del Rio that they were out-played and I think a big part of that is that the Jaguars just didn't match up well against Houston's receivers.
Calvin from Jacksonville:
Did you expect the Jags to be 5-3 at the midway point? How did the Colts' loss to the Chiefs help the Jags?
Vic: I was hopeful of 5-3 but I had said prior to the start of the season that 4-4 would have the Jaguars in the hunt, and it would. The Colts' loss to the Chiefs helps the Jags in the way of the common-games and AFC-games tie-breakers.
Ben from Rolla, MO:
You said offenses are throwing around Mathis and trying to avoid him. Is Del Rio and the defensive coordinator matching Mathis up against the number one receiver?
Vic: No, they are not. The Jaguars play their corners left and right and Rashean Mathis becomes the Jags' "nickel" back when they are in "nickel." Let's remember that Mathis is only in his second season. He may not be ready for the demands that go with covering the other team's top receiver on every play in every game.
Jon from Ocala, FL:
What is your midseason grade for the Jags?
Vic: From a pure record standpoint, I think they deserve an "A." They've come out of a tough first-half schedule that included five road games with an impressive record and nothing worse than a share of first place. Coming off a 5-11 season, I think what they did in the first half of this season is worthy of major applause. But their rankings on offense and defense bother me; especially the 27th in rushing and 14th against the run. My expectations were much higher, so I'm inclined to give them an overall grade of "B ."
Bill from Jacksonville:
I was thinking about your recent comment that great teams always have signature plays they run at will: the Lombardi sweep, the Redskins' counter, the Cowboys' lead draw with Emmitt. I've been trying to come up with a team that built a great season around one signature pass play, one that opponents always knew was coming but couldn't stop. The closest I can come is the Montana to Rice quick slant, which was awfully effective but doesn't seem like it has quite the same aura. Any ideas?
Vic: The 49ers under Bill Walsh perfected a pass play known as "spring option." When Joe Montana was at quarterback, it was usually "spring right option." When Steve Young was under center, it was "spring left option." It's a very basic, almost high-school like, pass play in which the quarterback rolls to one side of the field and considers three options: run, pass to a receiver running a short out, or pass to a guy running a deeper out. It's a pass-play staple in the playbook of every "West Coast offense" team. Mike Shanahan and John Elway rode it to two Super Bowl titles. And do you know who invented the play? Walsh? No. Paul Brown, for whom Walsh coached in the 1970s at Cincinnati. There's nothing wrong with having a signature pass play. In the case of "sprint option," everybody knows it's coming and nobody can stop it.
John from Jacksonville:
What in the world is wrong with three yards and a cloud of dust?
Vic: You need one more yard and a little more dust.
Wil from Jacksonville:
So the Byron doubters get their wish to see the backup quarterback run with the first team for a couple of weeks. Can we communicate to all of our fans what this time really is? It is not a time to pick sides during a quarterback controversy because there is no controversy. This is a time when the fans need to wish our backup quarterback well as he takes the reins for a couple of weeks until our starter is healthy enough to play. We are very lucky to have a very good backup who will use his skills to contribute to his current team and to audition for his new team.
Vic: I couldn't agree more.