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Jaguars' 6-4 worthy of respect

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

Jordan from Jacksonville:
On Monday night, the announcers were saying this was probably the coldest Jaguars home game in history. Is that true or was there one even colder?

Vic: The game against Cleveland on Dec. 24, 1995, immediately came to mind. I checked it out and, yes, it was colder. It was 42 degrees at kickoff for that game. It was 45 degrees at kickoff on Monday night.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Can you please explain this so-called zone-blocking scheme that Denver employs regarding its running game? If it's so effective, why wouldn't every team in the league attempt this scheme?

Vic: The Broncos' offensive linemen will all step in one direction and block the defender that is in the gap to which they are stepping. The running back will look for one running lane and make one cut. It's a running game based on the old Vince Lombardi principle of "run to daylight." The negative to it is that you need smaller linemen who are mobile enough to be effective in space, and smaller linemen aren't what you want in pass-blocking. The thing I don't like about zone-blocking is that it's not a physical run-blocking scheme. It's finesse and it really doesn't establish the attitude of physical dominance and control that I think should be the desired byproducts of a running game.

Dave from Jacksonville:
What do you think Troy Smith's career will look like as a pro?

Vic: If you want a quarterback with a strong and accurate arm who is a threat to run, Smith is your guy. He's got pocket skills, a nice motion, toughness and big-play ability running or passing. The only thing not to like is his lack of height, but what's the difference between a 6-5 quarterback who releases the ball from under his chin and a 6-1 quarterback who holds it nice and high? I don't know what Smith will do in the NFL, but based on what I've seen, the only thing not to like is that he's a little short for the position.

James from Smyrna, DE:
With the current state of the Jaguars receiving corps, do you think the Jags would even consider using another first-round pick on a receiver, or do you think they might pick up a veteran free agent?

Vic: You take the best player available, regardless of position. If you're afraid to draft, you have no chance to succeed.

Howard from Homestead, FL: :
I have to admit, I've been such a Byron backer that until Monday night I always saw Garrard as "just a guy," a downgrade at the QB position to say the least. However, seeing him play Monday night showed me the flashes to think, just maybe, he could win a few games on the playoff level.

Vic: That's what we're going to find out. He's playing at a very efficient level. He'll probably need to take his game up one notch between now and the playoffs if, in fact, this team is headed to the postseason.

Jon from Jacksonville:
Do you think this season has increased or decreased the level of respect for the Jaguars?

Vic: It has greatly increased my respect. As I've said, I don't need statistics to tell me what I've seen. That 12-4 record was nice but last year's team didn't have to overcome anything near the adversity this team has overcome to date. I am in awe of what Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith and the defensive staff have done to overcome their injuries. The Jaguars finished sixth in overall defense last season. They're third right now and they've played most of the season without Reggie Hayward, Mike Peterson and Marcus Stroud. We talked about the Jaguars becoming an elite defense, but I never would've thought they could've done that without those three guys, but they have. The Jaguars defense is elite; no question about it. Offensively, they have overcome a change at quarterback and a pass-offense that is 23rd in the league. In my opinion, this is a 6-4 that's worth more than last year's 12-4. I'm not guaranteeing the Jaguars will make the playoffs, but I know what my eyes have seen and my eyes have seen a power football team that only needs to become more explosive in the passing game for the Jaguars to become a championship contender.

Ken from Jacksonville:
Any thoughts on Cortez Hankton's night on Monday?

Vic: He caught a pass along the sideline and took a hard hit without bobbling the ball. I think he earned more playing time.

Bob from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
College players do get paid. They get paid with knowledge, or at least a brush with it.

Vic: Though scholarships fit every IRS criterion to qualify as income and, thus, taxable, they remain tax-exempt.

T.J. from Miami, FL:
Since the Chiefs beat Denver, what has to happen for Jacksonville to make the playoffs?

Vic: The formula remains the same for beating the Chiefs for the final wild-card spot if, in fact, it's the Chiefs the Jaguars have to beat for the final wild-card spot: Go to Kansas City no worse than one game behind the Chiefs, then beat them. The Jaguars would win the wild card based on the head-to-head tie-breaker. Understand, of course, that the circumstances could be very different. What if more than one team finished tied? If it was the Jags, Chiefs and Jets, the Jags would win because they'd have a head-to-head sweep, but if you stir in a team each team hadn't played, then you go down to the next tie-breaker. Denver, for example, is a team the Jaguars haven't played. KC's win over Denver clouds the situation. It's not as simple as the Jags and the Chiefs now.

Lee from Stuart, FL:
Just think where this team would be if it had drafted Lee Evans and Mark Clayton instead of Reggie Williams and Matt Jones? Both were drafted after the Jaguars selected and both have over 50 catches this year.

Vic: You can play what-ifs forever. What if the Jaguars had drafted Terrell Suggs and Ben Roethlisberger instead of Byron Leftwich and Reggie Williams? What you're forgetting is that changing one situation may have changed all situations. Had they drafted Evans or Suggs, they may have been in a different draft position the following year, and that may have changed who was available to them. Here's another game you can play: What if they hadn't drafted Bobby McCray in the seventh round?

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