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Jags should be able to run the ball

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

Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
Time to lay it on the line, Vic. Will Jerry Porter be that big-play receiver when healthy? And will he be healthy enough in the next week or two to know for sure?

Vic: I'm gonna give it to you straight, Mike: I don't know. The fact that his name did not appear on Wednesday's practice/injury report would indicate to me that he's ready to play, but to know for sure in the next couple of games if he's the big-play guy the Jags need may be pushing it. First things first: Let's see him play in a game.

Dustin from Savannah, GA:
I know you believe they use Jones-Drew the right way, or at least you did last year, but do you believe we could use him like the Eagles use Brian Westbrook?

Vic: That's a great comparison. Maurice Jones-Drew could be the second coming of Brian Westbrook, even better, but the Jaguars don't run that kind of offense. Philadelphia is a hard-core, West Coast offense that throws the ball way too much to suit Jack Del Rio's tastes. Jones-Drew would be great in a Westbrook role, but what would you do with Fred Taylor in a pass-happy, West Coast offense? Moreover, the Jaguars don't have the receivers to run that kind of offense. David Garrard would be perfect for it. He's an ideal West Coast quarterback. In fact, when he was the starting quarterback for a game in Philadelphia in 2006, I can remember doing an interview on a Philly radio station and referring to Garrard as a "minor league Donovan McNabb." That was before he had the big season last year and then got the big contract this year. He's not minor league now. Maybe the West Coast is in the Jaguars' future, but not now.

Anthony from Jacksonville:
I notice that some third and fourth-round draft picks out-perform first-round picks. Would that be because of bad scouting?

Vic: It's because of the gap between college and professional football. There's a gap that has to be bridged and some players bridge it better than others. There's an old expression: He'll be a better pro player. What that means is that a player's talents will translate better in the pro game, which is more tightly structured. Roles in the pro game are more specific and a guy who can do one thing especially well is going to out-perform a college player who does a lot of things well but not one well enough to be elite in that role.

Chase from Redmond, OR:
Afraid of giving the Broncos their due? Out of all the acknowledgments you make for other teams, you cannot seem to do it for Denver. Our offense is a powerhouse that will make up for our defense.

Vic: Everybody knows I hate the Broncos.

Zach from Osceola, IN:
I live a few hours from Indianapolis and it's true, there isn't anything to do there. It's just not a good city.

Vic: That's not true at all. Indianapolis is a good city and I like it. It's just that I couldn't think of anything there I especially want to see, other than the new football stadium.

Robin from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Could you please tell me if O.J. Simpson has ever done any promotional stunts for the Jaguars or any training with them? I was told he was with them in the opening season. Could you please verify?

Vic: They got you at halftime, didn't they? What year was it? What was it like?

Debbie from Indianapolis, IN:
You tell Alex from Jacksonville there are many exciting things to see in Indianapolis. I am not going to name them all but there are many. Also, the new stadium is very impressive with its retractable roof and window. Unfortunately for you, the press box is way up high and enclosed so you can not hear or complain about the crowd noise.

Vic: I'm looking forward to seeing the new stadium. I'll offer a critique in my game-day blog.

Emily from Jacksonville:
What would be nice is not a hard cover, but some great big sails to shade us during the game, similar to those that the "Extreme Home Makeover" people put in the yard on one of the homes they built for a kid allergic to the sun. Unfortunately, you can tell Stephen from Orange Park that since it's not Mr. Weaver who'd have to pay for it but the taxpayers of Duval County, which owns the stadium, he shouldn't hold his breath. We diehard fans will suffer through the heat, knowing it's many times worse for our players on the field.

Vic: Do you understand how large "The Jack" is? Do you understand that if you covered it with a sail it might fly away? Seriously, though, what weather condition is acceptable? This past Sunday it was too hot, and last year I had a guy tell me he had to leave the game because he had "ice in his eyes," and that was on a 68-degree day. We make fun of the people up north who live in the snow, but I haven't gotten one e-mail from a Buffalo fan at Sunday's game complaining about the heat. In fact, it looked to me like the heat didn't bother them at all. Do we really need a dome? In Florida?

Patrick from Jacksonville:
I'm not in panic mode, yet, but I am disturbed with players not taking responsibility. When Garrard threw the interception, I loathed the fact he was making the tip sign. Who cares? He shouldn't have made that pass.

Vic: I didn't see him make the tip sign but I've been told he did and that disturbs me, too, not because David Garrard was trying to make an excuse for throwing an interception, but because he felt the need to explain what happened. That would indicate to me he's feeling some pressure and that's not conducive to playing well. A quarterback must have complete confidence in his status as the team's offensive leader.

Carl from Jacksonville:
There was a Bills player lying on the field during kickoff?

Vic: Yeah, number 22, Fred Jackson. At first, I thought the heat got him.

Nick from Indianapolis, IN:
Outside of the stadium, there's nothing to see in Indy, but St. Elmo's steak house is good.

Vic: I went there once. I was sitting in the middle of a big room with a million people all around me; very intimate. I ordered a steak and that's what I got, a steak and a lonely-looking baked potato, the two of them lying on the plate like two shoes on a bathroom floor.

Richard from Jacksonville:
I'm worried you might be peaking too soon in the season. Last week and so far this week you are in journalistic playoff form.

Vic: I'm throwing the ball too much; too many blitzes and trick plays, too. It's too early in the season for that stuff. I need to get back to run the ball, stop the run.

Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
My mom just passed away today and she could never understand why I got so intense about football. Well, guess what. When something like this happens, football is the least important thing. Good luck, Jags. I just lost all my intensity.

Vic: I was the same way when my father passed away. We need time to grieve. After a while, you'll feel yourself getting back to normal. You'll start feeling a greater need to celebrate her life than mourn her passing. The human spirit is indomitable. You'll recover. When you do, we'll be here for you.

Ted from St. Augustine, FL:
There are no sights to visit while in Indianapolis, but let's be fair, Vic, Terre Haute, home to one of the country's largest railroad tie plants, is just a short two-hour drive from downtown Indy.

Vic: Now that's something I'd like to see. I love railroad ties.

Trip from Jacksonville:
How about an "Ask Prescott" question? What impact is the meltdown of the U.S. financial markets having on NFL team owners whose franchises are all highly leveraged and dependent on credit?

Vic: I posed your question to Jaguars CFO Bill Prescott and here's his answer: "Fortunately for the Jaguars, we did long-term financing in 2001 for in excess of 15 years, so we are not affected by these turbulent financial markets from a financing standpoint. For any NFL team seeking financing or refinancing of their debt, they will face increased interest rate spreads just like any other company with a strong credit rating in this market. The NFL and its member clubs have maintained a strong credit rating in these turbulent times."

Eric from Jacksonville:
Bob Sanders has a high-ankle sprain, which makes him inactive for the Jags game. How much of a difference will this make?

Vic: The Colts lost a great player. It won't make them better. There will be no excuse for not being able to run the ball against a team that is 28th in the league against the run and without its best player. Maurice Jones-Drew wants the ball, so give him the ball.

Mark from Charleston, SC:
What was the knock on Lee Evans coming out of the draft?

Vic: He was recovering from knee reconstruction.

Chris from Conway, AR:
I know this is off subject, but it's got to be said. I live in one of the poorest states in the nation, my 401k has lost money; this isn't a disaster. Life is good. We have football, freedom and, believe it or not, ample opportunity. Our economic crisis with 6.5 percent unemployment is a situation the rest of the world would give everything to have. Americans need to quit whining and realize the extent of their wealth, financially, politically and socially. Please go abroad and visit some other countries outside of the tourist areas.

Vic: I'd love to but I invested all my money in my 401k and I can't go anywhere but home, I hope.

Scott from Aurora, IL:
I am a Michigan fan. It saddens me that the Big 10 seems to be falling from grace because they still play the power game.

Vic: You got it. Rich Rodriguez is going to try to change that at Michigan, but the spread isn't the offense of choice in bad weather and Big Ten teams have to build their teams to play in bad weather. That's the disadvantage the northern teams face. They have to build a team to play in bad weather, but then have to play bowl games in good weather against teams that have the advantage of being able to build their team to play in only one weather condition, good weather.

Bill from Orange Park, FL:
Can I push the panic button on our nation or do I have to stay the course?

Vic: I can't help you now. Good luck.

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