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Jones-Drew is big-game back

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Jerami from Jacksonville:
I would like to sincerely apologize to Jack Del Rio, David Garrard and all of the Jags organization and, also, to you, Vic, for the tongue-lashing I gave them earlier in the season. As a season-ticket holder, I was very discouraged and have to admit I lost my passion for my Jags but they have really stepped up and have shown some toughness, heart and guts. I have a new-found passion for this team and just renewed my tickets for the next two seasons.

Vic: Jerami, you didn't lose your passion, you lost your cool. Fans are allowed to do it. That's one of the luxuries and "joys" of being a fan. Coaches must never do it. When they do, they lose their team and they're on their way to losing their job. That's why I say that, more than anything, a good coach is a leader of men. His players look to him for strength. When did you see coach Del Rio lose his cool? After the games against San Diego and Philadelphia? After the blowout on Monday night against the Titans? He never did. That's why his team is playing for the AFC South title this Sunday. This was a masterful job of leading a team through what many thought were dark times.

Robert from Bartram Springs, FL:
I was watching the Heisman this weekend and it got me to thinking: Who do you think is going to be the better NFL quarterback, Newton or Luck?

Vic: I lean toward Ryan Mallett, and I would not have said that at this time last year, but Bob Petrino has done a sensational job grooming Mallett for the NFL. That doesn't mean I think he's the only quarterback in college who's going to be a good pro. Andrew Luck has all of the tools; I'm just not crazy about that little push delivery he has. Cam Newton has awesome tools, but he's got a big transition to make because he's not going to have the same kind of time to throw that the option and his threat as a runner bought him in college. The game is going to get a lot faster for him and he'll be forced to make a major transition. Everybody knows I love Christian Ponder's skill set and natural feel for the position. He has Matt Ryan-like tools and intelligence. There are going to be a lot of guys in the next draft who have NFL starter potential. We've talked about them – Andy Dalton, Pat Devlin, etc. – and we'll talk more about them at the appropriate time.

Kevin from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What is the best or most interesting 1-2 rushing duo you have ever covered?

Vic: I've covered two real good ones: Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier and Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Taylor and Jones-Drew are more dynamic, but it would be awfully difficult for me not to say Harris and Bleier were the best I've covered, simply because they did it for so many years and they played in the same backfield together and, by the way, they won four Super Bowls together.

Daniel from Wichita, KS:
I was wondering who you feel has been snubbed by the Hall of Fame?

Vic: Jack Butler and Jerry Kramer; they should both be in the Hall of Fame.

Mike from Orange Park, FL:
Injured players seem to make the trips to away games and just roam the sidelines in street clothes. I assume they are there for support of the team and possibly for some light coaching to their backups. I was just wondering if that decision to travel with the team is on the player, management or even contractual.

Vic: It's always the coach's call. They're not there to be coaches or cheerleaders. In many cases, those players are there because the coach wants them to stay involved with the team. Or they may be there because their injury is minor and the possibility exists they could at least dress and offer security at their position if someone else should get the flu overnight or twist an ankle getting off the plane, etc. Some coaches don't believe in taking players that can't play. When Terry Bradshaw couldn't play because of elbow surgery in 1983, he became angry when Chuck Noll didn't include him in the traveling party. When asked about it, Chuck said: "If you can't play for us, you can't help us." The message was: Get healthy. That's the other side of the issue and it infuriated Bradshaw. Different coaches do different things, which is fine, as long as it's consistent with the coach's philosophy and personality.

Gabe from Jacksonville:
Correct me if I'm wrong but if the season ended today, next season's schedule would include Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, New England and Kansas City. Sounds like a schedule full of sellouts. How many of those games do you think could be on a national stage?

Vic: Looking at that potential schedule, my first thought isn't about sellouts or national TV games. My first thought is that the Jaguars are going to have a killer schedule. That's a win-the-division-or-else schedule.

Derek from Jacksonville:
If the Jags win in Indy, will there be a celebration at the stadium when they fly back that night? That was a great memory for me as a kid, when they came back in town after the playoff wins. If they do have something at the stadium, how will we be able to find information about it?

Vic: You never know; somebody might do something spontaneous, but my guess is that the kind of celebration to which you are referring, and it's a fond memory for me, too, wouldn't occur until the postseason.

Nishant from Palm Beach Gardens, FL:
The new procedures for reporting and testing for concussions are being used for the first time this season, correct? If so, shouldn't we wait until next year to make comparisons on concussion trends? This year's numbers only provide to show that the old system was giving incorrect numbers (as was the assumption).

Vic: The current system for reporting and testing for concussions is in its second year of use. The same system that was used last year is being used this year, therefore, the data is credible.

David from Tuscaloosa, AL:
For every pep talk that wins a game, there's a pep talk that loses a game.

Vic: Yeah, but when is the last time you read a story about a pep talk motivating a team to lose?

Tony from Jacksonville:
I'm heading to Indy on Friday to root the Jags to their first AFC South Division title ever. How is Indianapolis? Any must-see attractions?

Vic: I found an Irish pub that serves great cabbage rolls. That's about it.

Ron from Jacksonville:
That's the only reason I can think of for men taking up hobbies like duck hunting. Standing there at five a.m. in freezing cold swamp water and saying, "At least she's not here."

Vic: We all need to do a little duck-hunting from time to time.

James from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Is there a better clutch running back than Jones-Drew?

Vic: I prefer to use the term "big-game back," and Maurice Jones-Drew has been one. In the last two seasons, he has played in 10 division games and has rushed for 11 touchdowns, has six 100-yard games and a 104.1 yards-per-game average. In nine games against the Colts, Jones-Drew has scored 12 touchdowns, five 100-yard games, a 98.1 yards-per-game average and has scored the sixth-most touchdowns in Colts history, and that includes the years before the team was stolen from Baltimore.

Michael from Silver Spring, MD:
I am graduating from the University of Maryland at one p.m. this Sunday. I worked hard and earned good grades. Instead of watching my Jaguars complete a season sweep of the Colts in Indianapolis and clinch a division title, I'll be waiting my turn to get my picture taken receiving a fake diploma from someone who has to read my name off a card. Should I ditch?

Vic: No, get the picture. Your parents paid a lot of money for it. Make sure you smile real hard and get the presenter to act as though you were his or her favorite student, then give the picture to your parents so they can put it on the wall and cry every time they look at it.

David from Jacksonville:
I think it was Jimmy Johnson that said, "There are three things that can happen when you throw the ball and two of them are bad." I like our chances Sunday.

Vic: Jimmy Johnson? No one's quite sure if Darrell Royal stole it from Woody Hayes or Hayes stole it from Royal, but I assure you that neither Hayes nor Royal stole it from Johnson.

John from Kingsland, GA:
You keep saying something that bothers me and I've got to address it. Why is it "kick the front door in" this Sunday but "anybody but Brady" once we're in?

Vic: Brady doesn't have a front door. He lives in a bomb shelter. You just try to avoid him as long as you can and hope he gets food poisoning when you have to play him. It's the only chance anybody has. He's Johnny Unitas without the high tops and the crew cut. He may be better.

Spencer from Atlanta, GA:
Marcus' dad never took him to a game and bought peanuts from the same 80-year-old woman who lived on the walk from the car to the stadium on a day when he could see his breath. It's a shame. There are few better ways to spend time with family.

Vic: We all have those kinds of warm memories from those days when we bonded with our fathers at the old ballpark. I remember getting out of the car with my dad when he took me to Pitt Stadium, and the same gang of kids each week offered to watch my dad's hubcaps for a couple of bucks.

Mike from Wanaque, NJ:
I see a lot of rankings for the Jags defense and none of them are good. However, when I watch them live, my eyes tell me something different. We seem to play the old-school game of football you talked about where you gain a lead, run out the clock and come out with the win. Are there any stats that show how our defense ranks in the first half of games?

Vic: I saw a stat last Sunday: It was a 158.3 passer rating for Jason Campbell in the first half. That old-school, protect-the-lead thing didn't work very well for the Ravens on Monday night, did it? Those days are over. It might work now and then, but teams that shut it down when they get a lead are playing with danger.

Fabian from Jacksonville:
I was watching the Texans game and I saw that when Ray Lewis was giving his teammates the pregame speech, the cameramen were right in the middle of all of them and I just said to myself that it looks like he's only doing it for the show and not really for his teammates.

Vic: Fans love that stuff. Knute Rockne was the king of it. That go, go, go, fight, fight, fight video was actually staged. Several years ago, a sportswriter from St. Louis who claimed to have been in the hospital room when Rockne visited George Gipp said he witnessed the actual exchange between the two and Gipp never said anything about "tell the boys to win one for the Gipper." The sportswriter claimed Rockne said to Gipp, "Gee, George, it must be tough," and Gipp said, "What's tough about it?" The sportswriter claimed those were the only words spoken between Rockne and Gipp. By the way, no one even referred to Gipp as "The Gipper" back then. Unfortunately, the old sportswriter violated the cardinal rule of sportswriting: Never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

Greg from Jacksonville:
I'll be in Indy on Sunday. What kind of feel does Lucas Oil Stadium have?

Vic: I hate domes but I like this one. It doesn't have a totally dome feel to it. It's a handsome building and I feel as though I can breathe in it. They did it right.

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