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Jaguars will stop the run

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

Fred from Jacksonville:
How can the Jags stop the Bettis-Parker combo? Is it realistic to think eight men in the box will do the trick?

Vic: I have no doubt the Jaguars will stop the run this Sunday. In my opinion, they will stop the run because: 1.) they understand it's the number one challenge when you play the Steelers; 2.) the Jaguars have the talent to answer that challenge.

Brian from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I just read your column and your six most memorable games. I was surprised the playoff game vs. Miami, when we scored 62 points, did not make your list. It was Marino's last game and a great offensive and defensive performance by the Jags. I think it was definitely one of the best football games I have been to and I have been to almost every Jags home game since 1995. Why did you leave that game out?

Vic: That's not my kind of game. It was over in the first quarter.

Mike from Middleburg, FL:
Why is the city so set on a specific amount for the naming rights to Alltel? Can't they set a percentage and split whatever the Jaguars get to name the stadium? If the city owns the stadium, why is it the Jaguars' responsibility to find a title sponsor?

Vic: The current agreement between the Jaguars and the City provides that they split the naming rights fee 50/50. As part of the City's recent global lease amendment proposal, they wanted to make the number they receive a fixed amount guaranteed by the Jaguars. Many other NFL teams receive 100 percent of the naming rights. In the case of Jacksonville, the 50 percent share of the naming rights paid to the City was one component used to finance the City's original investment to renovate the old Gator Bowl in 1993. Those are the facts. The why part of your question goes to negotiations.

Kyle from New Jersey:
In one of your earlier columns you stated that being upgraded from "doubtful" to playing in a game could draw attention from the league. Do you think that would happen if Roethlisberger started this Sunday?

Vic: Millions of TV viewers saw Ben Roethlisberger's knee bend the wrong way in this past Monday night's game. I don't think anyone doubts the legitimacy of the injury or contests the "doubtful" classification he was assigned on Wednesday's injury report. This would obviously be a different situation from a player being tagged "doubtful" with an injury that can't be substantiated. The league doesn't penalize teams for having tough players. It penalizes teams for misrepresenting its players' injuries and game availability. Roethlisberger wouldn't fall into the latter category.

Joe from Mayport, FL:
I'd appreciate it if you could tell me in what year we played the game in which we blocked a Steelers field goal and returned it for a touchdown to end the game? I remember vividly our guy running down the sideline and Bill Cowher wanted to tackle him down. Hope you answer this question.

Vic: It was Sept. 22, 1997. The Jaguars were hosting the Steelers in the Jaguars' first-ever Monday Night Football appearance. The Steelers moved to the Jaguars 22-yard line where, with six seconds to play and the Jaguars holding a 23-21 lead, Norm Johnson's 39-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Clyde Simmons and returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Chris Hudson. As Hudson ran past Bill Cowher, Cowher made a playful mock-punch gesture with his fist. Later that year, the Steelers beat the Jaguars in overtime when Jerome Bettis scored on a 17-yard shovel pass from Kordell Stewart. What that meant was that the final play in each of the two games between the two teams that year resulted in a touchdown.

Brady from Richmond, VA:
Are the Jags going to wear the all-black uniforms at all this season?

Vic: No.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I realize that comparisons are inevitable, but why does every player have to be an Eric Dickerson with Barry Sanders' moves and Larry Csonka's toughness? Why can't they just be described as a truly unique talent?

Vic: I guess we like to be reminded of our heroes.

Alton from Melbourne, FL:
I was under the assumption the questions you choose to answer had to be at the very least, half-(expletive deleted) sensible, however, I now realize that you'll answer any question that some idiot has just pulled out of his or her (expletive deleted). I've asked you some pretty sensible questions and have yet to receive an answer, but you made the decision to answer a real intelligent question on whether or not a college team can beat any NFL team. This just shows me how bright you really are, Mr. Ketchman.

Vic: Congratulations, you made it.

Rich from Jacksonville:
What Steelers running back poses the biggest threat to the Jaguars defense? Are they better-suited to stop a power back like the "Bus" or a quick-burst guy like Willie Parker?

Vic: When the strength of your defense is two mammoth Pro-Bowl defensive tackles, you're better-equipped to stop a power back such as Jerome Bettis than a speed back such as Willie Parker. There are horses for courses, and vice versa. The team that Bettis has battered in his career is Cincinnati, as you might expect. Bettis has rushed for 1,725 yards and 16 touchdowns in 18 games against the Bengals. You don't come softly if you wanna tackle Bettis.

Robert from Orange Park, FL:
What are the odds the Jags get Mayflowers? I think Wayne Weaver has been more than accommodating to this town. Also, I had a discussion with a friend and said, you know, the Jags are probably not a permanent fixture in this town. His reply was "we'll get another NFL team," which baffled me because if this team fails, that's pretty much it for pro sports in this town.

Vic: If you want an NFL team, you better keep this one. I think Jacksonville knows that and I think Jacksonville is responding. Attendance has been solid and improving through the first three home games of this season. I think we all have reason to be encouraged. The City and the Jaguars have work to do; they need to come to agreement on signage and lease issues. I understand the City's need to represent itself and its citizens in a responsible manner. I also think the City understands that there's a point where winning will becoming losing, because no business is going to continue to operate in a climate that guarantees red ink.

R.J. from Jacksonville:
Give us the bad news on Taylor. Why did he get downgraded?

Vic: Fred Taylor was limping in the locker room following the win over Cincinnati. It was a distinct limp and I knew right away he would be a Wednesday watch guy. When the injury report came out and he was listed as "probable," I dropped my antenna. On Thursday, of course, he was downgraded to "questionable," after not practicing for the second day. Injury information is tightly guarded. That's one of the reasons a lot of coaches close practice to the media. Can you blame them? Their jobs are on the line and they're looking for every edge they can get. I don't know what the outlook is for Taylor this Sunday. "Questionable" means there's a 50-50 chance he'll play, so, I'll accept that characterization, largely because I have no alternative.

David from Waukesha, WI:
No division in the NFL makes more sense than the AFC North? What about the NFC North?

Vic: It's a division with great tradition and geography. There is, however, a major difference in the market sizes of its teams.

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