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Jags have young lions

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Bharat from Jacksonville:
It seems like the beginning of the end is nearing for the Titans. Their salary cap woes are limiting their depth and injuries are taking their toll on the team. Is it just me or does this seem similar to what we went through a few years ago, trying to stretch our window of opportunity? Can I take solace in the fact that you were right and the Titans are going to be in trouble at year's end?

Vic: That's my take on it. Jeff Fisher is a great coach. Maybe he can find a way to keep them on top. If he does, he'll get my vote for coach of the year.

Ed from Kansas City, MO:
For those of us listening over the internet, would you please describe the various ways the Jaguars' pass-rush affected the Bills?

Vic: Lionel Barnes got a sack and the Jaguars believe Drew Bledsoe may have committed intentional grounding on one throw-away. The Jaguars' pass-rush forced Bledsoe to throw the ball away on a couple of other occasions, and Marcus Stroud and Paul Spicer each deflected a Bledsoe pass. Mike Peterson blew-up a play on a blitz. The Jaguars used a lot of sexy pass-rush schemes they couldn't use last season because they didn't have the personnel that allowed for it. In my opinion, the most noticeable improvement in their pass-rush was the energy they got Sunday that they didn't get last year.

Andrew from Baton Rouge, LA:
Please tell these fans who are criticizing the Jags to calm down. We have a great defense that is going to help us until the offense catches up, just like you said we needed, and we won the game. I don't know about you but I can remember losing tons of games in the last minutes from 2001-03. Finally we won one; that has to say something.

Vic: You're right.

Wade from Winston-Salem, NC:
Clear something up for me, because I don't understand how Troy Edwards took a step forward on Sunday. I'm not saying you're wrong, I just didn't see it. What I saw was a veteran nullify a first-and-goal with an illegal motion penalty and drop a game-winning touchdown pass. Granted, he had five catches for less than 40 yards, but was there more than those of us watching on TV couldn't see?

Vic: I consider it a step forward that someone other than Jimmy Smith led the Jaguars in pass receptions. This team is desperate for a legitimate number two wide receiver to emerge, and I felt Edwards emerged. He made a beautiful leaping catch early in the second half. All five of his receptions were in the second half and he made two critical receptions in the game-winning drive, including a fourth-and-two catch that kept the drive going. James Harris talked about finding guys who make plays. In my opinion, Edwards made plays on Sunday, and that's why I consider him to have taken a step forward.

David from Jacksonville:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but after the game-winning touchdown it was 12-10 and we had to kick the extra point. If Buffalo blocked that kick and returned it to our end zone, wouldn't that have been two points for them, which would've tied the game?

Vic: That's college football. In the NFL, the defense can not score on any conversion attempt. The play is whistled dead the moment the defense gains possession of the ball.

Phil from Winter Garden, FL:
My question from two weeks ago never made it to print, but this one is 14 days later and just as insightful. Can Del Rio afford to keep Leftwich in the game for four quarters and not have him move the ball? Leftwich cannot move the offense. What should Del Rio do?

Vic: Insightful? You'll have to get in line with this question, Phil.

Desmond from Tampa, FL:
With the amount of play-makers the Jaguars have – Jimmy Smith, Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford, Troy Edwards, Jermaine Lewis – do you see the Jaguars coming out like the Patriots, spreading wide in a three, four, five-receiver set/no huddle and making defenses respect the deep ball and drawing less defenders at the line of scrimmage?

Vic: No.

Justin from Jacksonville:
I have told everybody that Josh Scobee will be the man. Now that he has shown his skills and all, what are your points on this young kicker?

Vic: He's a cocky kid, which means he puts pressure on himself he has to confront every day. A lot of kickers believe that kind of approach keeps them sharp. I don't like to spend too much time examining kickers because they're all kind of nuts. Just kick it between the pipes and everything will be fine.

Joseph from Pensacola, FL:
There was what seemed like a broken play in which Paul Spicer pounced on Bledsoe for a loss. Can you tell me why it was listed as a running play instead of a sack?

Vic: Because it was supposed to be a running play.

Will from New Orleans, LA:
What is the point of the swinging-gate formation used during extra-point attempts?

Vic: It's a college tactic that forces the defense to be prepared for the formation. If they're not, it's a walk-in two-pointer. Remember, preparation time in college football is restricted, so opposing coaches like to stir in these little do-dads to eat up the opposing team's preparation time. You don't see much of the swinging-gate in the NFL because it could get your quarterback hurt.

David from Jacksonville:
Someone asked me about a scenario where a safety is worth one point. The NFL rulebook references this one-point safety for a try attempt: "After a touchdown, the scoring team is allowed a try during one scrimmage down. The successful conversion counts one point by kick; two points for a successful conversion by touchdown; or one point for a safety." It goes on to say the defensive team can never score on a try. If this is the case, how in the world does the offense score a one-point safety on a try attempt?

Vic: The offense is awarded a one-point safety on a try attempt if the following occurs: The offense's placement holder bobbles the snap from center and one of the defenders muffs, bats or kicks the ball out of the back of the end zone.

Nate from Tampa, FL:
Who do you think made a statement at left end? Is Barnes going to hold the job, or do you think McCray or Meier made a push to start?

Vic: I thought they all distinguished themselves. This is exactly what you want; young lions chasing the same meat.

Thomas from Jacksonville:
Thanks for putting your time into this informative column. I am very excited about Leftwich and his poise. Do you think he is improving on his slow, winding release, and how important is it that he correct it?

Vic: It didn't seem to be a problem this past Sunday, but, frankly, I'm starting to believe Byron Leftwich's mechanics are what they are and the Jaguars are going to have to find a way to live with them. There have been a lot of quarterbacks with throwing-motion quirks. Bernie Kosar threw the ball so side-armed that sometimes he appeared to throw it under the arms of rushers. Whatever it takes. I think it's time, however, that we all get off this mechanics thing. We're starting to sound a little stuffy.

Lynn from Jacksonville:
What was the most surprising aspect of week one? What was the greatest disappointment?

Vic: Just when everyone was expecting that this would be the season Curtis Martin goes over the hill, he rushes for 196 yards. He is an amazing player. On the disappointment side, it had to be the Colts. They just can't get it done.

Ansar from Jacksonville:
Have you seen any signs of efficiency in Leftwich, having been drafted as high as he was?

Vic: I thought one of his high moments Sunday was his decision to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone on a third-down play that preceded Josh Scobee's second field goal. That's the next level of efficiency he must achieve; not making mistakes that cost the Jaguars points. They have the defense to keep the game close. It's important that he not give the other team cheap points, or cost his own team points.

Lee from St. Augustine, FL:
After the touchdown was awarded to the Jags with no time remaining, they had already won the game. Why kick the extra point?

Vic: So no one accuses the NFL of manipulating the point spread.

Mike from Jacksonville:
When Del Rio awards a game ball, what does that mean? Do the players literally get a trophy football, or is it a figurative pat on the back?

Vic: They get a real ball equipment manager Drew Hampton has decorated to proclaim the player's feat.

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