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Jets have favorable schedule

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

Thomas from Jacksonville:
What about the Jets? What would you call their schedule? After their upset of the Patriots, it would appear they could make the playoffs by beating mostly bad teams. Good thing the Jags beat them already.

Vic: It's an easy finishing schedule, though it starts with a game against the Bears, who have to fly back to Newark this weekend for a second consecutive game at Giants Stadium. That's a scheduling quirk I don't think I'd ever seen before. The Jets also have games at home against Houston, Buffalo and Oakland. The Jets have to go to Green Bay, Minnesota and Miami. The Jets are this year's weak-schedule team. Every year, we have a team that rides a weak schedule into the playoffs and the Jets could be this year's team. They could make it into the playoffs with only one signature win; that fluke in New England this past Sunday. Their other wins were against Tennessee, Buffalo, Miami and Detroit. How's that for a murderer's row? The Jets' final six opponents currently have a combined record of 19-35 and none of those six teams has a winning record.

Mitch from Jacksonville:
Because of the recent success of the teal-out for the Steelers game, a black-out has been called for the Giants game. I know you are not a fashion guy but we need help in spreading the word to all Jaguars fans to wear black on Monday night. Since you are a man of such high position, could you please put something on the front page of the website about the black-out?

Vic: Why can't we do a khaki-out?

Connor from Jacksonville:
Why don't the Jaguars use Matt Jones in more vertical routes, not across-the-middle routes he drops?

Vic: If the defense came to realize the Jaguars only use Jones to go deep, what kind of success could we expect him to have? You're being ridiculous.

Anthony from Pittsburgh, PA:
Why does it seem like later-round draft picks and undrafted players produce so much better? My opinion is that first-rounders seem to think their spot is guaranteed and the late-round guys have to work for the chance they are given. Do you agree?

Vic: Yes, I do. I think late-round draft picks and undrafted players are often more motivated than high-round picks, for the obvious reason that they don't have the same roster security that high-round picks do. I also think perception has something to do with how you judge high-round and low-round picks to have performed. Our expectations for the high-round guys are much greater than our expectations for the low-round guys. If Marcedes Lewis, for example, was a seventh-round pick, nobody would be asking when the Jaguars are going to get Lewis involved in the offense.

Anthony from Jacksonville:
Passers pass and catchers catch. The problem is Matt Jones was never a catcher before he came here. I know it's too early to write him off, but I see him taking too many plays off. At the games, he seems to only jog through his routes, and we all know about the drops. I have never seen an example of that freakish speed from him. Can you give me one?

Vic: I haven't seen it either and it's time for Jones to show it. It's time for Jones to show a lot of things. This is the most demanding week of his pro football career. This is his loss-of-innocence week. Patience has worn thin and he is being challenged to show us what he can do. That's when you find out about a guy; when he's being challenged. How will Jones respond? Will he pull up his socks (please, pull up the socks) and run with everything he has? Will he drop his pads and block somebody? Will he cross the middle, take a hit and hold onto the ball? In each case, the answer to those questions has to be yes. This is the week for answers.

Lynn from Jacksonville:
My father used to say, "Let's go (to the store) so we can get back." I never understood the theory behind that but I think it somehow relates to the alien-abducted Jags fans. Personally, I am there to the bitter end.

Vic: Your father said that because he hated going to the store, but why would anybody say that about going to a football game? A football stadium is a fun place. It's not a place you should want to leave. It's a place at which most people want to spend as much time as they can. That's why they start tailgating at sunrise. When we go to other stadiums, we see that, but I don't see it here. The parking lots at other stadiums are full of tailgaters four and five hours before kickoff. When I arrive at Alltel Stadium on the day of the game, I don't see nearly as much tailgating. It's just a different dynamic and I'm not being critical of it, but it's difficult to understand.

Justin from Dublin, CA:
I think the weakness of the Giants defense is their secondary, however, they have a depleted defensive line. Do you think the Jaguar offense will try and attack through the air or on the ground? And what do you think of Eli Manning at this point in his career?

Vic: The Giants' numbers are pretty good: 10th overall on defense; eighth against the run and 14th against the pass. They're 10th overall on offense; third in rushing and 17th in passing. I don't see a particular vulnerability. I think the Jaguars will have to mix run and pass to be successful. As far as Eli Manning is concerned, I'm not sold on him. I think the best thing he has going for him is his coach, Tom Coughlin, because Coughlin knows offense and he's very demanding of his quarterback. The thing about Manning that bothers me is that he falls off a lot when he throws. He's got a chuck-and-duck habit and I've only known one quarterback who could make it work and that was Brett Favre. At this point in time, I like the other two quarterbacks – Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger –from the 2004 draft better.

Jordan from Lincoln, NE:
When I think about this season and how it has gone and how it could go, I can't help but think about the Chargers. They had a break-out season and made the playoffs but then had a very tough schedule, went 9-7 and missed the playoffs, but look at them now.

Vic: Winning isn't incremental. It's cumulative.

Seth from Jacksonville:
Jack Del Rio came here with the reputation of being a great defensive mind and has certainly backed that up. Why are other coaches, such as Tony Dungy and Marvin Lewis, both thought of in the same regard, not doing as well on the defensive side?

Vic: It's not about plays, it's about players. Peyton Manning is Tony Dungy's premier player. Carson Palmer is Marvin Lewis' premier player. When a quarterback is your premier player, the team's salary cap is going to be dedicated to the offensive side of the ball. Jack Del Rio's premier players are all on defense and the Jaguars have more of their cap committed to defense right now than they do to offense. Coaches don't have magic wands. They can't make chicken salad out of chicken feathers. Brian Billick is known as an offensive coach, but the Ravens' calling card has always been defense. The bottom line is the tags we put on coaches are misleading. A good coach can coach either side of the ball. You are what your roster and your salary cap say you are. Dungy's and Lewis' rosters say they're coaches of offensive-minded teams. Del Rio and Billick's rosters say they're coaches of defensive-minded teams.

Nick from Annapolis, MD:
I think it's too hard for us to tell when you are being sarcastic.

Vic: I know. A lot of people think I was being sarcastic about that "in the grass" stuff. Imagine that.

Ron from Jacksonville:
I can only speak for myself, but "if you knew you were going to leave early, why even go to the game?" I didn't plan on leaving early. I was hoping it was gonna be another Jet-like blowout. I went to the game to be entertained and when I wasn't, I left. I bet for most who walk out, the reason is the same.

Vic: That's the one I have the most trouble understanding. You wanna watch a blowout? I was so bored I actually cursed the Jets. What entertains you doesn't entertain me. I'm entertained by competition. I thought Sunday's game against the Texans was entertaining. The issue was in doubt right to the end. That's what I want. I'm not saying you're wrong. We're all allowed to have different tastes, but I will tell you that if you're looking for blowouts, the NFL is probably a bad place to go. College football isn't a good place for blowouts, either. Every sports league in America is doing everything it can to avoid blowouts. I don't think you're out of the norm in Jacksonville. I think a significant portion of the football fans in this town are just like you; they want blowouts. That concerns me.

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