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Jaguars will be physical on Sunday

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

Mark from Panama City Beach, FL:
Out of curiosity, I e-mailed the webmaster to Jim Thorpe's official website. He told me he had the largest spike of hits in one day than ever before. I explained to him how you invited your readers to look up Jim's history. His reply: "That Vic guy possesses a lot of power over the information highway"

Vic: Good for you guys. I'm so proud that you all care enough about pro football to have done some research on a man who is one of the greatest players in football history.

Brandon from Prestonsburg, KY:
David Garrard is seeing what Steve McNair did when teams were going with the "Dare McNair" strategy.

Vic: Yeah, but for a different reason. McNair had big-play receivers. Defenses dared him when he was young because he had a penchant for throwing interceptions. In Garrard's case, defenses are really daring his receivers. Defenses don't believe Garrard has receivers to be feared.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
I need a senior quote for my high school yearbook and I want it to be attributed to you. What do you got for me?

Vic: As you go through life and climb its ladder to success, you might wanna put your money in your mattress.

Michael from Jacksonville:
If the Texans had such a poor run-defense and the Jags running game is back, why did the coaches give up on the run so early?

Vic: Do you know what nine in the box means? These weren't the Colts. Yeah, the Texans were 27th in the league against the run, but they're not as bad as the Colts. Nobody can be that bad. The Texans were not going to allow the Jaguars to run the ball. They could've run the ball on every play all day and the result would've been the same. They dared the Jaguars to pass and David Garrard made them pay. That's what you have to do.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Was that the single wing on the fake-punt play?

Vic: No, it wasn't. It was just a direct snap to Montell Owens. Greg Jones was in the backfield with him. That's all.

Mike from Lake Worth, FL:
I'm a dedicated football fan dealing with two 2-2 teams, the Jaguars and my alma mater, the Miami Hurricanes. No matter how many times I tell fellow fans and friends that it's about players, not plays, they still want coordinators fired every week. Has fantasy and video football ruined everyone's understanding of the game?

Vic: Not to change the subject, but I watched the Miami-North Carolina game and the television coverage of that game made me chuckle. All they kept talking about was whether or not Miami had its swagger back. Never mind that not one Miami player ever did anything in that game to hint of swagger. I saw no taunting, I saw no look-at-me celebrations, etc. I also saw a team that slowly faded in the game, yet, right to the end, the announcers kept talking about Miami getting its swagger back. The guy in the ESPN studio even did it. What was this, a preconceived storyline? I'll tell you what it was. It was silly.

Doug from Jacksonville:
After Sunday's game, watching the defense, they just don't seem to have the swagger of last year's team. Last year's defense was dancing and loose during the game, getting the crowd involved. This year's defense has not shown the same. The defense seems stiff and not relaxed on the field. I am hoping they can get back that same swagger from last year because they are making the games way too close and won't be able to do that all year against good teams.

Vic: Now I get it.

Loftur from Reykjavik, Iceland:
Why do most kickers prefer to kick when the ball is on the left hash?

Vic: Most right-foot kickers draw the ball, which means they move it slightly from right to left as it is airborne. That's the result of an inside-out swing of their leg and the left hash promotes that kind of leg swing. If you watch a golf tournament, you'll see righthanded golfers who want to move the ball right to left move to the far left side of the tee box. The right hash promotes a fade or left to right movement of the ball. I guess Josh Scobee doesn't care; he can do what he does from either side.

Andy from Jacksonville:
I was watching the Texans defense. They seemed to guess right every time; put nine in the box against the run but play a straight-up 3-4 against the pass. Is there something the Jags are giving away on the offensive side of the ball, indicating run or pass?

Vic: Yeah, formation. The defense is reacting to the formation. You're not going to play nine in the box against three-wide or four-wide and you're not going to drop seven against two-tight. That's why nothing beats base. If you can play base and run the ball or pass the ball with equal aplomb, nobody can pencil-whip you.

Aaron from Reno, NV:
So what week did you think coach Linehan would get fired?

Vic: "St. Louis is mired in a soon-to-crash Scott Linehan era." That was my prediction in my 2008 NFL preview column.

Drake from Orange Park, FL:
Every time the Jags receivers run that hard slant, I get picksixitis. How long do you think the Jags can get away with that until DBs start to jump those routes, or do you think Garrard is reading the coverage and taking those passes because they're available?

Vic: He's reading eight and nine in the box. He's seeing linebackers and a safety committed to the line of scrimmage, which means the slant can't be stopped as long as the receiver stays inside the defensive back and the ball is on target. The risk is that a linebacker will fake his charge and fall off into his drop zone without Garrard seeing him do it. That's the concern. The Steelers will no doubt see all the slants and drop a linebacker or Troy Polamalu, according to formation, every now and then. Garrard needs to make sure he sees it.

Sean from Jacksonville:
I left early on Sunday but, in my defense, my wife was sick so we had to leave.

Vic: I hope she's feeling well now. Hang in there. The hot weather is bound to end one of these days.

John from Jacksonville:
I still think there's a problem with David's ability to manage the game and the clock. To me, he has a bit of tunnel vision and the two-minute offense needs a lot of work.

Vic: I don't agree with you. In my opinion, Garrard has been fantastic at crunch time in these last two games, especially against the Texans. Jacksonville is very hard on its quarterbacks. Its expectations are through the roof. Jaguars fans have had some awfully good quarterbacking in this franchise's young history. It makes me wonder what would happen if the team went through a long dry spell at the position.

Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
How do you think the Jaguars will match up with some of the AFC North teams they will face in the coming weeks, such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Cincinnati?

Vic: They should match up well against the Steelers, just as they did a year ago. The Steelers can't protect the quarterback and the Jaguars are desperate to get a pass-rush, which they did in both games at Pittsburgh last season. It's too early to tell what the situation is going to be when the Jaguars play the Browns. Will Brady Quinn be the quarterback? Cincinnati should be a good matchup for the Jaguars because the Bengals are 28th against the run and will, no doubt, have to load the box against the run. That's a strategy with which the Jaguars are becoming familiar.

T-Dub from Jacksonville:
Vic, you are an absolutely worthless employee for the Jacksonville Jaguars. A day after we win in overtime you answer more questions about the Detroit Lions than you do the Jags. Do us all a favor and quit, leaving your job to be done by a Jaguars fan. If you want to keep your journalistic integrity and not show any emotion toward the team you cover, then go work for ESPN. At least there you will be allowed to show your true colors, letting your Steelers, Pats and Trojans flags fly. Good riddance to bad writing.

Vic: The column to which you are referring actually appeared on Friday, Sept. 26, not on Monday, Sept. 29. That is easily determined by reading the date next to the headline. I hope all is well with you.

Mark from Jacksonville:
Why did so many Jags fans leave after Houston went up by four with over four minutes left?

Vic: I don't know, Mark, I'm just a worthless employee. Maybe you could ask T-Dub. I'll bet he'd have the answer.

Felix from Jacksonville:
Monday night, Big Ben did not have a great night. His line isn't protecting him very well nor is he reacting quickly. What kind of sexy schemes will we see Gregg Williams employ this Sunday?

Vic: I imagine he'll send the house. That's what you do when an offense can't protect its quarterback. This isn't new stuff. We saw this last year in the playoff game in Pittsburgh. It's the same line except it doesn't have Alan Faneca now. As I have said, the Steelers are in a rebuilding phase. They have to rebuild both lines. They haven't even started the process, however, because they went BAP in the draft and linemen weren't there when it was their turn to pick. Ben Roethlisberger is facing a feeding frenzy every week. This game will be no different.

Angelena from Rowland Heights, CA:
Based on how Pittsburgh played against Baltimore, and the fact that they have a Monday night game ahead of a Sunday night game, what will be the key for a Jaguars win on Sunday night?

Vic: The Steelers took a terrible beating against the Ravens. They've lost Rashard Mendenhall for the season to a shoulder injury. Willie Parker won't play and it's going to be Big Ben against the world again. Making matters worse, guard Kendall Simmons was injured and a bad line just got worse. Jack Del Rio will have his team ready to go. They will attempt to finish what the Ravens started. In other words, the Jaguars will be physical. The Steelers have a bye week following this game. Their attention will quickly turn to their bye week if the Jaguars break their spirit early.

John from Jacksonville:
I don't think I've ever seen a team tied in a football game with the ball and almost two minutes left in the game not trying to move the ball downfield for a field goal to win. The Ravens virtually took a knee to run down the last 1:40 of the game Monday night. Do you agree with this strategy?

Vic: No, I don't. I thought it was ridiculous; almost as ridiculous as Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser all but agreeing with the strategy. It also sends a message that you have no confidence in your rookie quarterback. Why play for overtime? At that point in the game, overtime has already begun. Even if you win the coin toss, which they did, is your field position likely to be significantly better? No, and it wasn't. John Harbaugh coached scared on that one. It won't win him any points among his players.

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