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Hey, I had to eat

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

Craig from Jacksonville:
I was tossing the football today with a friend of mine. I was sprinting full blast and stretched out for a fingertip grab. I said, "That was pretty sweet, huh?" He goes, "Yeah, sweet until you get leveled by the safety." It made me think quite a bit about my vulnerability at that moment catching the ball. How does it feel to be leveled?

Vic: It's an unforgettable experience. All of your concentration is on the ball. You're watching it into your hands and you're about to tuck it and run when, all of a sudden, you're on the ground and you don't know how you got there. It's just like when I got hung by that guy wire. I never saw it. Players all around you are hootin' and hollerin', but you don't get it because you didn't see it. The next day, in film session, you get your first look at how you went from catching the ball to being on the ground and you can't believe what you're seeing. In real time, it was over in a flash. You remember the ball and you remember your head hitting the ground; you remember nothing else. When you watch the hit on film, however, you see yourself turn over in the air, your arms and legs flying in different directions, the ball shooting 10 feet into the air, the safety flying in an opposite direction and another defensive back spearing you in the back as you hit the ground. "That's why my back is so sore," you think to yourself. Here's the crazy part: You kind of like it and you wanna do it again. You know what's even more fun? Out on your feet. Everybody's laughing at you and you don't know why. Someone leads you to the bench, where you sit down and wonder what's for dinner. Football is not a game for the well-adjusted.

Ben from Columbus, OH:
If you could team up our best offense in any year with our best defense in any year, what would it be, the 1999 offense with the 2006 defense?

Vic: Yeah, that's a good combination. The offense in '99 was seventh in the league overall. Most importantly, it was number one in rushing. The '96 offense was second in the league overall and number one in passing, but it wasn't nearly as balanced or as efficient as the '99 offense. The 2006 defense was second overall, fourth against the run and 10th against the pass. The '99 defense was pretty good, too; it was fourth overall, sixth against the run and third against the pass. The '99 and '06 defenses, however, each did something I don't like: They faded down the stretch.

David from Maplewood, NJ:
After Sunday's eye-opening performance and your repeated attempts to tell us that we have a serious problem in pass-defense, it appears the rebuilding isn't as far along as we might have hoped. Is that fair?

Vic: It's as far along as I had hoped. When haven't I cautioned everyone about expectations? You don't take what Gene Smith was handed and fix it in two offseasons. Both lines had to be fixed for the team to even be competitive. Do you have any idea how lucky the Jaguars are that the draft crops of the last two years lent themselves to addressing both lines? When GM Gene was handed the conn, Wayne Weaver told us the team was going to build through the draft. We were told the team would not be a major player in free agency. Frankly, I was stunned that the team spent as it did to acquire Aaron Kampman. There should be no disillusionment. There are only seven rounds of the draft and a quick look at past NFL drafts confirms the theory that the acquisition of talent falls off real hard after the first two rounds. I'm counting on the fans to have a little football savvy. I'm counting on you, folks, to be able to cut through the PC stuff and know the truth. This is the truth: This is gonna take some time.

John from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Is there any way to make the Facebook chat room an option that can be disabled during the game? I love your gameday blog but I cannot stand the Facebook chat. I find it distracting and the people that use it ruin the experience that the blog has created over the past several years. I use the blog to get your professional perspective; I don't need the perspective of uneducated and ridiculous fans that don't add any value to the gameday experience. The same people that pollute "Ask Vic" are ruining your blog for many of us.

Vic: I'll ask the IT guys if they can provide a means for turning it off.

Lee from Jacksonville:
Have you ever covered a QB as hot and cold as David Garrard? If so, did that player ever reach a point of consistent play?

Vic: Terry Bradshaw, in his early years, was very inconsistent. Back then, we called it development. It was said that it took five years to develop a starting quarterback, so we waited for it to happen. You know what? It happened. He won four Super Bowls and was the MVP in consecutive Super Bowls. I'm sure none of that will satisfy you, but you asked and the answer I've provided is the truth.

Mike from Syracuse, NY:
So, was the open air press box as much fun as you'd remembered?

Vic: I loved it, except for one thing I had forgotten: It is very, very tight in the San Diego press box. Otherwise, sitting with the crowd, so to speak, was wonderful. It brought back memories of the open-air press boxes that dotted the league when I started covering football. Shea was open air. They didn't put the glass in at Three Rivers until it got cold. The same was true at "The Vet." Those days are gone.

Amanda from Tallahassee, FL:
What did you think of Jack's "we traveled well" speech after the Chargers game?

Vic: He was just trying to say that travel was not a reason for the team's poor performance. That's all. The flight wasn't that long; it was comfortable. There were no incidents and there were no indications of jet lag or time change being a factor. In fact, I said on the pregame radio show that I felt as though I was covering a game in Cincinnati, which was my way of saying this trip didn't feel any different from any other trip. Why not? Because we were on the same schedule. Last year, because of the extra day, I felt as though I was covering a game in a foreign country. Coach Del Rio was right; the team traveled well. It just didn't play well.

Joe from Fleming Island, FL:
On the Wednesday night radio show, you commented with some concern that you thought the Jaguars were heading for an ambush on Sunday. Sometimes, I hate when you're so perceptive. I think they ought to can the game films up on this one, stick them on a shelf and move on.

Vic: It happens. I covered a Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit one year when a 9-3 Steelers team lost to the Lions, 45-3. That night, Johnny Carson said: "I'll tell you what kind of Thanksgiving I had. I had the Steelers and 41."

Craig from Bloomsburg, PA:
What is going on with the offensive play-calling? Why are we not running the ball more?

Vic: You play-calling guys drive me nuts. OK, let's look at the play-by-play. It says that at halftime the Jaguars had run the ball 12 times and thrown it 11. One of those runs was a Garrard kneel-down, so make it 11 runs and 11 passes. That's not balance? Forget about the second half because you can't stick to the run when your opponent scores on its first three possessions.

Jeremy from Navarre, FL:
How many of the Jags starters would you say are actually second-string caliber players filling a starting role?

Vic: It would be unfair to start labeling players as such after just two weeks of the season, but I don't dispute the possibility that this team is playing with marginal personnel. What did I say? It takes time.

Jason from Jacksonville:
I agree that our secondary is a liability, but do you also think that six turnovers had a bit to do with 477 offensive yards? Are you blaming the defense for the four interceptions and two fumbles?

Vic: Of course not. I'm assigning the same amount of blame to the defense for allowing the Chargers to march up and down the field that I'm assigning to David Garrard and the offense for failing to march the ball up and down the field. Most of all, I'm blaming the defense for not getting a stop with the Chargers at their 13-yard line and leading 14-6 with 1:50 to play in the half. The game, in my opinion, was on the line right there. Is that a fair statement?

Patrick from Jacksonville:
Was the Maurice Jones-Drew torn hibiscus rumor true? He doesn't seem to have much burst.

Vic: Yeah, as I reported, it was his hibiscus.

Chris from Jacksonville:
What happened in San Diego?

Vic: I knew this was going to come up, so I might as well get it out in the open. I went to one of those trendy restaurants with a friend. He was buying so I figured, what the heck. We sit down, they give us these giant menus and right away I can tell this is a clip joint. The waiter comes over and I ask him, "Is everything a la carte?" He immediately confirms my fears. So I ask him: "This tuna, how big is it?" He says it's seven ounces. "That's this big," I said, spreading the thumb and index finger of my right hand about three inches apart. He looks at my right hand and says, "Yes, it is." By now, another guy is pouring fancy water. I said, "Hey, I gotta eat." With that, I left. Hey, I was hungry. I had to eat something. If the guy had brought out a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread, I would've stayed.

Jason from Hagerstown, MD:
Was Jack Del Rio trying to be funny with a goal of winning the division?

Vic: He made that the stated goal because he wanted the fans to know the team was going to do everything in its power to succeed. He wanted to send a message of effort and dedication. Is that such a bad thing? As I said, you need to have a little savvy.

Derick from Jacksonville:
Hey, Vic, this isn't even a question. It's more of a thank you. I sent an e-mail a few months back as a troop just getting to Iraq. I asked you about the possibility of getting a care package sent this way that you forwarded to the senior VP of marketing, I believe. Well, after three months, I finally got it and I cannot appreciate it more. Looking forward to getting home and seeing a game.

Vic: Please come home soon.

Steve from Orange Park, FL:
How can the Steelers release Leftwich and then pick him right back up again next week? Can they do this all year long to add a roster spot?

Vic: Sure they can. Byron is a veteran, therefore, he's not subject to the waiver process. He can sign with any team he pleases and I think the Steelers are the team for which he wishes to play. Even if he was subject to the waiver claim process, the Steelers could cut and re-sign him as many times as they please, provided he wasn't claimed by another team. That's what the Jaguars did with Kennard Cox last year. I think he set a record for being cut and re-signing with the same team.

Matt from Orlando, FL:
Oh, now Orlando can help? Really, Vic? The Jaguars should have been treating Orlando like it's the same market 10 years ago. Fans in Orlando, including myself, have wanted to see some support from the marking department for years.

Vic: Billboards aren't gonna get it done. The Jaguars can't even get their games on TV down there, unless the rules require the games to be shown. To get help from Orlando, the Jaguars need to involve Orlando. By that I mean they have to play games there. Orlando needs to feel a sense of proprietorship.

Richard from Starke, FL:
What is your assessment of how our offensive line played? I am not trying to make excuses for David, but it looked to me like the Chargers were able to get consistent pressure only rushing four guys.

Vic: Once the lead got to double figures, they were just teeing off on the pass-rush. They stopped playing run. When a score gets out of hand, there's always going to be a deterioration of play. That's not when you want to evaluate play.

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