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Information for the open-minded

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

Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
We are still one game behind the Colts, but so are the Titans. Do you think we're going to pull out of this mess?

Vic: When things go bad, there's no shortage of reasons. Just read "Ask Vic" if you need to know the reasons for losing. But here's the fact of the matter: On the Jaguars' first offensive series of the game in Tennessee on Oct. 13, Mark Brunell suffered a concussion and, shortly after, had to leave the game. Since then, neither Brunell nor the Jaguars have been the same. Obviously, the Jaguars' "resurrection" is tied directly to Brunell's recovery and return to form. My guess is we'll see that happen soon, but only if Brunell stops getting hit.

Ken from Canonsburg, PA:
Why no kitchen-sink blitzes on Carr? How can we give up a long pass so late in the game with the game on the line?

Vic: The 40-yard completion to Billy Miller in the fourth quarter was the result of a kitchen-sink blitz. It left middle linebacker Wali Rainer in man-to-man coverage on Miller; a major mismatch. The Jaguars were in an all-out (Bears 46 defense) blitz and didn't get to the quarterback. That's the problem. If you're going to sell-out to sack the quarterback, you better do it. Everybody loves the blitz, but the Jaguars don't have the personnel to justify doing much of it.

Glenn from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I am writing to you hoping you have the resources to find this fact out for me. How many times in his Jaguars career has Mark Brunell engineered a drive in the last two minutes of a game to win it by either a field goal or with a touchdown? I am not trying to bash Brunell or say get rid of him. I think he's a good QB who can't perform with the game on the line. We need to realize this and play the games with this in mind, trying not to put him in these situations. Do the stats bear this out?

Vic: Glenn, I put a lot of work into researching your question, so I hope you can gain some insight from it in forming your opinion of Mark Brunell. In other words, I hope your mind isn't closed and I've wasted a lot of time. So, here are the closest examples I can find to your criterion: In 2001, the Jaguars won in Cleveland when Brunell moved the Jaguars 47 yards in 14 plays and Mike Hollis kicked the game-winner with 2:57 to play. In 2000, the Jaguars beat the Titans when Hollis capped a 61-yard drive by kicking the game-winner with no time left on the clock; beat the Cowboys in overtime when Brunell threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Alvis Whitted. In 1999, the Jaguars defeated Denver by kicking a game-winning field goal on the final play of the game, won in Baltimore by scoring the winning touchdown with 1:44 to play. In 1998, the Jaguars won the season-opener in Chicago on a game-winning touchdown pass by Brunell with 29 seconds left on the clock; beat Miami on a long Brunell to Keenan McCardell touchdown pass with 2:36 left on the clock. In 1996, the Jaguars beat the visiting Ravens when Brunell ran for the winning touchdown with 41 seconds to play; won a few weeks later in Baltimore when Brunell completed a touchdown pass and a game-tying two-point-conversion pass with 1:24 to play, then led the Jags to the game-winning field goal in overtime; beat Seattle by kicking the game-winning field goal with 2:48 to play; won in Buffalo in the playoffs when the game-winning field goal was kicked with 3:07 to play. In 1995, the Jaguars scored their first-ever win when Brunell threw the game-winner in Houston with 1:03 left on the clock; beat Cleveland in the final game of the season when Hollis kicked the game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. Glenn, as an aside to all of that: Terry Bradshaw was, by far, the worst two-minute quarterback I have ever covered. He was also, by far, the best quarterback I have ever covered.

Dan from Orange Park, FL:
It seems to me the reason the Jaguars are losing isn't because of their kicking game or coaching decisions, although they don't help. It looks like the Jags offense gets an early lead, usually a field goal or one touchdown, and then shut down for the rest of the game and expect the defense to keep the opponent scoreless. It seems we only score when we are behind and almost never extend a lead. What are your thoughts on this, Vic?

Vic: I don't think that applies this season. It did in 1999.

Scot from Jacksonville:
What will it take for the fans in this town to mature enough to realize that every time a rebuilding team loses a game, it is not always poor play-calling? Kickers have to kick, linemen have to block and receivers have to get open. It gets old hearing fans and radio talk-show hosts blame the coaches each and every week.

Vic: Coaches and quarterbacks will always be blamed for losing.

Matthew from Monticello, IN:
What is up with the offensive line? The first 3-4 weeks we were talking about an eight-sack season, but now we're already up to 14. What is with the sudden increase of sacks on Brunell?

Vic: Losing Maurice Williams, which caused changes at two positions, appears to have unsettled the entire offensive line.

Eric from St. Augustine, FL:
We looked terrible in the preseason, then we came out and surprised everyone by going 3-1, then, when everyone started to notice the Jaguars as a threat, we choked and fell to the expansion Texans. I know any given Sunday anyone can beat anyone, but why do the Jaguars seem to choke when things seem to start going their way? How optimistic is it to hope for a playoff spot at 3-4?

Vic: The fans of every team in the league could ask the same question: "Why can't we keep winning?" Tennessee beat Philadelphia in the season-opener and then lost four straight. As far as the playoffs are concerned, I stand on my preseason expectations: This is a rebuilding year and the goals should be salary cap repair and roster reconstruction. Because the AFC South is the weakest division in the league, the Jaguars truly are involved in a division title chase, but let's be sensible about this season.

Jon-Michael from Starke, FL:
Is there anything that makes the NFL playoffs better than the other major sports playoffs?

Vic: The NFL playoffs have always been special. Sometimes, the others have been, but the NFL always is. The concept seems to be perfectly suited for the game; lose and you're out.

Ed from Orange Park, FL:
The Jaguars do not learn anything from past experiences. Last year it took Brunell about a month to fully get over his concussion. Sure he still could run and throw, but his decision-making was altered. Now we are going through the same process, and more hits like he took Sunday could lengthen the process. I say sit him for at least two weeks and move on. What are your thoughts because I greatly respect them?

Vic: I won't disagree with you.

Mario from Zapata, TX:
How much do the Jags have left on the salary cap? Do they have enough to make significant changes, or are the players we have it for the season?

Vic: Help is not on the way.

Brian from Davenport, IA:
Maybe I am wrong but the Jags always have bad Octobers. So what is everyone so down about? Look at our remaining games and the division is still at hand! Your thoughts?

Vic: Yeah, but this team is not playing well and that's what the big concern is.

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