Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
John from Stella, NC:
So let me get this right. Our expectations were too high. So fans aren't supposed to have high expectations, we're not supposed to be angry when they lose, we're not supposed to give other fans a hard time but we're supposed to throw our money away on tickets? I don't understand, Vic. Maybe it's because I expect too much.
Vic: Here's my advice: The next time you wanna give "other fans" a hard time, find a real big one who's as angry as you are. That might help calm you down.
Kristi from St. Augustine Beach, FL:
Chuck Noll said, "A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning." Your thoughts?
Vic: Chuck enjoyed teaching. He got his greatest enjoyment from teaching young players how to play professional football and then seeing them blend their learning to become a winning team. Losing is inevitable, especially at the pro level. Look at Joe Paterno's postgame press conference following his team's one-point loss to Iowa. His team's pursuit of a national championship was lost in that one game by just one point. The frustration must have been fantastic, but Paterno was calm and gracious in his postgame remarks. Why? Maybe because his main enjoyment isn't winning, it's coaching young men, or maybe it's because even though winning is his main enjoyment and his frustration and disappointment were fantastic, he's too proud to make a fool of himself in public. When did you ever see Vince Lombardi lose his cool and lash out in a press conference? When did you ever see Paul Brown, Tom Landry, Don Shula, Bill Walsh or Noll lose their poise? That's what made them great coaches. They were able to manage their frustration. We need more of that in today's game.
John from Jerry City, OH:
Do you think coach Del Rio is regretting the loss of Marcus Stroud yet? This year's defense seems to be less physical. Was there anything that could have been done to keep him?
Vic: They could've kept him but they were able to trade him for third and fifth-round picks. I think it was a great trade. They got outstanding value for a player whose best football appeared to be behind him. He was on the books to earn $5 million in salary this year and that was becoming difficult to justify for a player who was unable to practice the past two seasons. The third and fifth-round picks were used in draft-day trade-ups that were used to acquire Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, who are expected to become this team's pass-rush of the long-term future. Stroud has 2.5 sacks. He's been a good player for the Bills but the Bills are 18th against the run so I don't think you can say he's been a difference-maker for them. In an offseason of some nasty-looking personnel moves, I think trading Stroud is one of the Jaguars' good ones. Why? Because it's a young man's game. The issue now is whether or not Harvey and Groves are going to develop into the players the Jaguars expect them to be. If they do, they will be in their prime years long after Stroud is past his.
Aaron from White Hall, AR:
You could tell the Jaguars were lost without having Matt Jones to pass to.
Vic: You guys never give up, do you?
Leigh from Jacksonville:
I feel like my boyfriend cheated on me after Sunday's loss. It was horrible. I think it's time we looked at the coaches as well as the players. Last year, we had a different offensive coordinator. His team is doing well with a rookie quarterback. Your thoughts?
Vic: You got the wrong coordinator. Mike Smith was the defensive coordinator last year and he left to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons after Tom Brady completed 26 of 28 passes against the Jaguars in the playoffs and all of the fans said Smith's defense was too soft. Dirk Koetter was and still is the Jaguars offensive coordinator; yeah, the same guy everyone was praising last year when the Jaguars were mowing teams down with their running game and David Garrard rose to the top of the league's passer rankings.
Christopher from Savannah, GA:
When do we hold the head coach accountable? I think the play-calling and time management have been the major reasons for losses this season.
Vic: Time management was certainly a problem on Sunday. The Jaguars needed to find a way to make the second half go away. Seriously, though, the head coach is always held accountable, so let's make that official right now with this official proclamation: "I, Vic Ketchman, on this 19th day of November in the year 2008, officially hold Jack Del Rio accountable for not calling better plays and for not making games last longer." Does that help? Do you feel better now?
Nick from Jacksonville:
On Saturday it finally happened. In celebrating an interception, one of my Seminoles, Darius McClure, jumped up for the fanny bump and came down awkwardly, resulting in a torn ACL that ended his season. I feel bad for the kid.
Vic: Are you serious? Did that really happen? If it did, then I'm done doing the fanny bump with my wife. After I cut the grass or after she cooked a really good dinner, we'd jump up and bump into each other. We kind of liked it but I'm not gonna risk tearing my ACL. Look how long Tiger hasn't been able to play golf.
Andrew from Washington, DC:
Brandon Jones wasn't celebrating criminal behavior. He was celebrating a TD and he knew they'd cuff him for it no matter what. The flag thrown on Uche Nwaneri after Jones-Drew's first TD was absurd.
Vic: Jack Del Rio doesn't agree with you. "Ours was a clear violation and theirs was a clear violation and it was called," Del Rio said of Jones' and Nwaneri's post-touchdown demonstrations. Hey, but what does Del Rio know, right? He's just a former star California high school athlete who was drafted out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays, decided to go to USC and become a star linebacker for the football team and catcher for the baseball team, played 11 years in the NFL and is now in his sixth season as a head coach. How can a guy acquire the expert perspective of a fan when he's busy with all that other stuff, right?
Patrick from Nashville, TN:
The Titans proved they are a great team by going 10-0. Who were the "big-play" wide receivers when Baltimore won their Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer?
Vic: The "big-play" receivers were Shannon Sharpe, who caught touchdown passes of 58 and 96 yards in the playoffs, Brandon Stokley, who caught a 38-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the Super Bowl, and Qadry Ismail, who had catches of 53, 46 and 40 yards during the regular season. Imagine what they would've done if Johnny Unitas had been their quarterback.
Scott from Boise, ID:
You seem convinced Khalif Barnes won't be back next year. Why?
Vic: His contract voids shortly after this season ends and there have been no attempts to re-sign him. Maybe they will; I don't know. Maybe the Jaguars will let him test free agency first and then try to sign him; I don't know. I'm just giving you the facts as they stand right now.
Pat from Point Edward, Ontario:
You said you don't watch tape and that you don't know the scheme. Which positions would you be able to watch tape of and properly assess?
Vic: Without asking questions of assistant coaches, none. How would I know if a guy ran a wrong route or the quarterback made a bad read? How would I know if the end and the tackle had a twist on and one of them didn't execute it? How would I know if a guard was supposed to pull or the fullback was supposed to drift into the flat instead of curl up just across the line of scrimmage? I can determine who's winning the one-on-one battles from watching the tape, but the best information I can get is from the assistant coaches. They know what was supposed to happen.
Brandon from Jacksonville:
The real problem with the Jaguars is not coaching, it is not the receivers and it is not the secondary. The Jaguars are losing at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, plain and simple.
Vic: I wrote this once before but I think it bears repeating. It has been my experience in the 37 years I've done this that when a team has a down year, it's usually because its talent level has declined. The worst thing a team can do, in my opinion, is to go into denial, stand pat, put a new spin on the next season and try it again. No one's quite sure if it was Benjamin Franklin or Albert Einstein who said it first, but there's no doubting that Wayne Weaver made it popular: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." The Jaguars will need to make personnel changes in the offseason. I think that's obvious and, yes, it'll start up front. They need big guys in a big way.
Jimmy from Jacksonville:
Do you know of any good players in the NFL that came out of the CFL?
Vic: There are a lot of them. My all-time favorite is Cookie Gilchrist, who was the Babe Ruth of Canada, where he was fullback, linebacker and placekicker. He was an unstoppable rusher in the CFL and then, with the Buffalo Bills in the new AFL, he became the first player in AFL history to rush for a thousand yards in a season. He was the dominant rusher in the AFL's early years. He's my all-time favorite CFL and AFL player because he's from my high school. When I was a kid and he drove through town in his Cadillac convertible, the kids would say, "Lookie, lookie, lookie, here comes Cookie."
Sean from Jacksonville:
I am always puzzled by your seeming amazement that fans are so fanatical.
Vic: I'm not amazed at their passion. I'm fine with that. I'm amazed at their willingness to freely express their emotional weakness and, in the process, sacrifice their dignity. What's in my inbox every day, because of the Jaguars' failures on the field this year, has become embarrassing. The whining, crying, blaming and weekly I-quit crap is childish. I'm spending half my day reading e-mails that are nothing more than therapy sessions, and that's gonna stop because I'm gonna stop doin' it. It's up to you, folks.