Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Warren from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
My wife, who has only been a football fan since the Jags came in, wanted me to ask this question. In your opinion, should the coach have pulled a rookie who struggled all day?
Vic: Warren, your wife's question has a kind of innocence to it that made me feel obligated to answer it. In my opinion, Jack Del Rio made the right decision in allowing Byron Leftwich to finish the game. Here are the reasons: 1) In professional football, one quarterback gets almost all of the practice time, which was the case last week with Leftwich. If you're going to make a switch at the position, the time to do it is at the beginning of the week. If you make the move during the game, all you did was waste a week's worth of preparation on one guy. Steve Spurrier changed quarterbacks two and three times a game in Washington last season. It sure didn't work for him. There's also a bad message in changing quarterbacks. It says the coach lacks commitment and belief. 2) How is Leftwich going to grow and develop if he's not permitted to experience situations such as the fourth-and-goal play? This team is 2-8 and headed into its future. Leftwich is that future.
Todd from Jacksonville:
How does the yellow (first-down) line get projected onto the field during television broadcasts?
Vic: It's invisible paint. Just kidding, Todd. It's actually a very sophisticated television technique that involves lasers and the same Global Positioning System that was used to locate the Pennsylvania coal miners. No? All right, I don't know, but it sure is a great invention. I consider it to be the second-greatest invention in television-football history. Number one is instant replay, of course. Now, here's a question for you: In what year and in what game was instant replay used for the first time in the telecast of a game?
John from Fruit Cove, FL:
In the Titans game near the end, the Jags punted the ball downfield and they all stood around the ball not touching it and thus running time off the clock. How long could the Jags have stood there before the ref blew his whistle? Is that time frame decided by the ref?
Vic: The ball is blown dead when the official considers it to have come to rest. I remember a game played on a windy day and on a hard artificial turf, and the wind kept blowing the ball toward the goal line and the play seemed to go on for a minute.
Patrick from Morgantown, WV:
I am a Jags fan and just a stone's throw away from Mountaineer Field here in Morgantown, where I was fortunate enough to watch Larry Fitzgerald from Pitt, the best receiver in college football, in a losing effort (Go Mountaineers!). My friends and I were talking about Fitzgerald last night, and one of them said that even though he is a true sophomore he should be eligible for the draft because he waited a year before college or something. Do you know anything about this?
Vic: He didn't sit out a year. He attended Valley Forge Military Academy, from which he graduated. That's the rub. Valley Forge is a prep school, therefore, Larry Fitzgerald is only two years removed from his high school graduating class. The NFL language regarding this situation is vague and Fitzgerald's situation is confusing because it involves two high school graduating classes, one from which he is only two years removed. The NFL permits draft eligibility for those players who are three years removed from their high school graduating class.
Steve from Kensington, MD:
What is the best draft any team has had? I ask this in terms of consistent starters coming from a single draft. I can see the Jags having four if Wrighster takes over for Brady next year.
Vic: I have to believe the Steelers' 1974 draft class is the best of all-time. It included Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster. They each have four Super Bowl rings and they're all in the Hall of Fame.
Holger from Bad Vilbel, Germany:
Since I live in Germany, I am not able to watch any Jaguars games on TV, but I follow them every Sunday via the internet and I read every story I find about the Jaguars. My question is: How does Byron Leftwich compare to Kyle Boller, and is there already a reason to believe he can be a dominant quarterback in the future? All I read is one week he's awesome and the next he looks like a rookie quarterback.
Vic: You got it; one week he's great, the next week he's less than great. The difference between Byron Leftwich and Kyle Boller is that the Ravens are still waiting for Boller to be great one week. All they've gotten so far is a lot less than great. I believe Leftwich can be a star in this league, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen quickly. All we can do is wait. By the way, is there a Good Vilbel, and if there is, why have you chosen to live in the Bad Vilbel?
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Vic, is it too early to congratulate Jack and "Shack" for success on the first draft class? Leftwich, Mathis, Manuwai, Toefield and Wrighster will be quality players, in my opinion. What's your take?
Vic: At this point in time, I give them an A for this draft class. They were able to find quality and quantity in a draft class that, quite frankly, appears to be weak league-wide. In the week leading up to last April's draft, personnel guys started saying it wasn't a very deep crop. Apparently, it wasn't even deep in the first round. As I've said on a couple of occasions recently, it's difficult to find rookie of the year candidates.
John from Tampa, FL:
All right, Vic, explain to all us novices the mechanics behind deactivating a player versus cutting him, trading him?
Vic: The Bucs couldn't trade Keyshawn Johnson because the trade deadline has passed. And they didn't want to cut him because they think they can recoup some value for him in a trade next spring. Also, the Bucs' salary cap couldn't take the amortization hit that would result from trading or cutting Johnson. Personally, I've got to wonder what his trade value is now. So, they deactivated him because Jon Gruden decided he couldn't coach the guy any longer. I salute the move. There's really not much involved procedurally. Johnson remains on the Bucs' active roster and counts against their 53. He will continue to be paid his salary. All the Bucs did was announce in advance their intentions of deactivating Johnson for each game the remainder of the season. In effect, they told him to get out and don't come back; your paycheck will be in the mail.
Eric from Columbus, IN:
My favorite moment in Jags history is clearly the missed field goal by Morten Andersen, the best kicker at the time. This play actually is what made me start to cheer for the Jags. They were the true underdog in 1996. Can you please refresh my memory and explain exactly what took place in that game?
Vic: The Jaguars had a 19-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. Atlanta cut that lead to 19-17 with a 12-play, 77-yard touchdown drive. The Jaguars had a chance to run out the clock when they got the ball back at their 25-yard line with 5:39 to play, but they went three and out and the Falcons regained possession at their 30-yard line with 3:57 to play. They moved quickly and easily into scoring position at the Jaguars' 13-yard line where, on third down with eight seconds to play, Andersen lined up a chip-shot field goal. But his plant foot slipped and he dubbed his kick low and wide left.
Mark from Atlanta, GA:
I'm very encouraged by the free agent acquisitions of Troy Edwards and Fu (vowel rationing). Are they under contract for 2004 and do you agree they are part of the foundation for future success?
They are under contract through 2004.
Jim from Ridgecrest, CA:
I know how much you dislike signing expensive free agents, but I'm sure you were expecting at least a hundred questions about this. What do you think about the Jags signing Keyshawn Johnson next year?
Vic: Absolutely; who doesn't need an old, slow, overpaid, underachieving, malcontent wide receiver? And, by all means, trade a high draft choice for him.