Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Cole from Tallahassee, FL:
What do you suggest the Jaguars do in their final home game to honor our departing quarterback?
Vic: I wouldn't mind seeing a video presentation during a timeout; something that would take us back through the great early years of this franchise's history. In my opinion, Jaguars fans never fully appreciated the heights this franchise reached in its first five seasons. Two AFC title game appearances, two consecutive division titles and four consecutive playoff berths is an amazing feat. Mark Brunell's departure is going to bring all of that into focus, and that's a good thing because I think we need to understand how fortunate we were to witness such success and excitement so quickly. Whatever might be done in the way of acknowledging that it's Brunell's final game, I'd like it to be very tasteful and understated because he's not retiring. There'll be a time for the gushy stuff later, when he returns in street clothes as one of Jacksonville's most esteemed citizens and popular athletes.
John from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
The column on the AFC South was terrific. You really bring up some interesting points that people don't normally hear from the often short-sighted TV announcers. It seems to me the model for this parity-driven league should be the New England Patriots; lots of depth with few superstars eating up precious cap room.
Vic: I am in awe of what they've done in New England. Their accumulation of draft picks guarantees they'll be a playoff contender for a long time. I love their stockpiling of draft picks, and I love the way they've made bold moves (Drew Bledsoe and Lawyer Milloy) for the sake of their salary cap. The Patriots may represent the most soundly managed franchise of this decade, but even they made some free-agency mistakes in 2002. They spent a lot of money in '02 on free agents who did not return value, which proves even the best of them have trouble disciplining themselves against the lure of the quick fix. But I doubt if it'll happen again. The talent they're getting out of the draft – this year's crop is very strong – should make it unnecessary to spend in free agency. In my mind, that's the greatest compliment that can be paid to a franchise.
Juan from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
With the wins this year over the Colts and the Chargers, I believe the Jaguars have now beaten all AFC teams. Is that correct?
Vic: That's correct, as long as you count postseason games. The Jaguars haven't beaten the Patriots in the regular season.
Shaun from Melbourne, FL:
Just wondering what the difference is between a halfback, running back and tailback.
Vic: Those terms refer to specific offensive formations. "Halfback" is a product of the Single-Wing, T-formation days. A backfield consisted of one quarterback, two halfbacks and one fullback; I think you can figure out the reasons for those terminologies. There was a left halfback and a right halfback, and the left halfback was the better runner and the right halfback was the better blocker because most teams ran to the right. "Running back" is a product of the pro-set formation, a 1960s creation that remains the NFL's standard offensive formation. In the pro-set, one of the halfbacks was made into a "flanker" or "wide receiver." The game was developing a greater emphasis on passing the ball, so eliminating one of the halfbacks allowed for an extra receiver. In the pro-set, the running game features a "running back," the team's featured ball-carrier, and "fullback," who is primarily a blocker. "Tailback" is a product of the I-formation, which was a 1960s University of Maryland creation. The Maryland true-I allowed for a straight line to be drawn through the center, quarterback, fullback, halfback and tailback, who was the featured ball-carrier. Of course, he was called "tailback" because he was at the tail of the I. The evolution of that formation later turned the halfback into a wide receiver, leaving the fullback and tailback behind the quarterback. It's a great offense. It allows for power, deception and versatility. My all-time favorite offense, however, is the Wing-T.
Craig from Jacksonville:
The ESPN Sunday Night team did a quick lesson on the yellow line in the first year it was used. As I remember it, you were close with the TV technique and GPS. Actually, they use three cameras and a computer program back in the truck to triangulate the line. That's the only magic. It is similar to a blue-screen trick.
Vic: Are we gonna go back through this again? I thought it was settled. I thought we had agreed it was invisible paint.
Connie from Jacksonville:
You suggest the fans get off this "farewell game" stuff regarding Mark Brunell. Do you have any suggestions then how the fans can offer our gratitude and recognition to Mark for everything he has done, not only for our team but for our community, especially the children in our city, because he surely deserves some kind of recognition from the fans and the fans deserve to be able to show him the appreciation and admiration we have for him? In addition, I'm glad to see someone who is associated with the Jaguars organization still considers Mark Brunell a great quarterback. He will always be my number one player, no matter what team he plays for, and I will always support him and cheer for his success.
Vic: Connie, I talk to Mark almost every day. I sat down with him for a few minutes yesterday to get his take on all of this, and I published his remarks in yesterday's story that appears on the front page of jaguars.com. I assure you he's very aware of his fans' support and he is buoyed by it. I think it's important, however, that this expression you and so many other fans want to make not graduate into overkill. This is professional football. This is a game and a business for tough guys, and Mark Brunell is one of them. Let him leave with dignity.