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Just catch the ball

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

John from Neptune Beach, FL:
What would the perception of the Jags be if they played their same schedule with the same results but in reverse order? It seems to me the Jags would be talked of as one of the elite teams in the league. The loss to Denver would be magnified but the 10-3 Colts game and the wins against Pittsburgh, Seattle and Cincinnati would be more prominent.

Vic: You're right, especially about the win over Seattle. The Jaguars beat Seattle before the Seahawks had surfaced. Late-season wins always seem to be valued more and I think that's because interest peaks late in the season. If you wanna make a statement, December is the time to do it.

Fuzzy from Callahan, FL:
I know they have been a problem all year but the amount of dropped passes seem to have escalated since the change at quarterback due to injury. Would the cause be the timing of the pass, velocity of the ball or the angles from which the ball arrives? How much of a role does confidence play?

Vic: How about the hardness of the hands? What part does that play in the dropped passes? Here's another question: Why is everyone trying to find a reason not to blame the receivers for not catching the ball? Just catch the ball.

Keith from Jacksonville:
What about the Bengals signing Carson Palmer to a contract extension through 2014? Are they breaking the CBA?

Vic: You can sign a guy for as many years as you want, but you may not prorate the bonus portion of that contract beyond 2009. That's the way it stands until the owners and players agree to a CBA extension. The Bengals had the salary cap room to do what they did.

Joe from Jacksonville:
It's starting already; rumors about Jack Del Rio. Do you have any insight of any plans to increase his pay and lengthen his contract? I would hate to see the Jaguars lose him now after things seem to be starting to come together as a team. Wouldn't it be best for Weaver to just sign him and end this; let this be one less distraction heading into the playoffs?

Vic: I'll leave that to Wayne Weaver. I'm sure he has a plan. What I can't understand is why anyone would start these rumors or why anyone would put any stock in them. Jack Del Rio is under contract to coach the Jaguars for two years beyond this season. When did two years left become no years left? He can't go anywhere else in this league and he said two weeks ago he wasn't interested in coaching on the college level.

Derrick from Jacksonville:
No one is even mentioning the Jags as serious contenders in the playoffs. I hope we draw the Patriots because I really think we will beat them. Do you think a win in the playoffs would legitimize the Jags in the eyes of the NFL media?

Vic: For the umpteenth time, yes, I do. Maybe you could answer a question for me: Why is everyone so obsessed with getting respect from a media for which they seem to have no respect?

Ron from Daytona Beach, FL:
How does Leftwich look in practice since he has been back and who do you think will start in the playoffs?

Vic: Jack Del Rio went on the "Jaguars This Week" radio show on Wednesday and said Byron Leftwich was not especially impressive in Wednesday's practice. Del Rio, of course, was speaking about Leftwich's ability to move on his injured left leg. Del Rio said David Garrard would've been the starting quarterback if the decision was based on Wednesday's practice, but added that more days of evaluation were available to him and that he would wait and watch. My understanding is that Leftwich was improved in Thursday's practice. Who do I think will start in the playoffs? It would be irresponsible of me to answer that question because I might be misleading you. Media is not permitted to watch Jaguars practices so I have no idea of Leftwich's condition other than what I've been told. I'm trusting Del Rio to give us an accurate report on Leftwich and to this point in time I have no reason to believe Del Rio has misrepresented the situation in any way. He has told us that if Leftwich is able to play, he will play. We'll find out on Sunday where that stands. I will say this: If Leftwich doesn't play this Sunday, I wouldn't expect him to be the starting quarterback in the Jaguars' wild-card playoff game.

Mike from Orange Park, FL:
I have only one question and I dare you to answer it. Why is it I get more info about my Jaguars from national media outlets than from the Jaguars website?

Vic: I guess it's because I'm not doing a very good job.

Ray from Westminster, CO:
There's a lot of buzz about the Jags taking a running back in the first round. What are your thoughts?

Vic: What if all the running backs available stink? What would the buzz say about that?

Nathan from Tampa, FL:
Is Jimmy Smith the greatest player to put on a Jaguars uniform?

Vic: I think he is. We know who the contenders are: Smith, Mark Brunell, Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor. In my opinion, the length of Smith's career and his consistent production make him the most esteemed player in Jaguars history.

Dan from Jacksonville:
Since Matt Jones is a former quarterback, why not use him more often in that spot?

Vic: When I think back to this season, this is how I will remember it. This is the question that has defined this season. Why don't the Jaguars use Matt Jones as a quarterback? I thought I knew the answer to that question, but now I'm not sure. Maybe you're right. Maybe he should be playing quarterback.

Sean from Palm Coast, FL:
I don't understand why the Jaguars can have a better record than the Bengals and Patriots and not have a higher seed.

Vic: If you don't understand it by now, I don't think there's anything I can say or do to help you.

Hal from Springdale, AR:
Given Matt Jones' performance this year, is there any possibility of him being traded or do you still feel he's a 2-3 year development project?

Vic: In March, the Jaguars will give Matt Jones $5 million worth of guaranteed option bonus money. Considering that all of that money would accelerate onto the Jaguars' 2006 salary cap if they traded him, I think you can lump him into the "2-3 year development project" category.

Kelvin from Atlanta, GA:
When TV commentators are set-up while reporting the games they seem to be right in the elements just like the players. On Sunday night football, they were dressed in winter jackets and wool caps and when they spoke I could see their breath. Is this always the case for them?

Vic: All of the TV reporters I know breathe while giving their reports.

Cory from Jacksonville:
Do we need extra points? Can't we just have seven? Extra points seem, well, pointless.

Vic: Yeah, a lot of things seem pointless.

Christian from Orlando, FL:
I know it has nothing to do with the importance of these next few weeks, but don't you think it would be cool if the Jags made uniforms that were the goldish color like the jaguar on their helmet with their black pants?

Vic: And they could take the logo off the left side of their helmets, too.

Ken from Daytona Beach, FL:
Were you feeling all right yesterday, only posting five questions? That had to be the shortest column I've ever read. Were all the questions that bad that you couldn't just post a few more to take up space?

Vic: I've posted a few more for you today to take up space. Yesterday, I took one of the vacation days I will lose at midnight on Saturday. I have a son who I see once a year and I used yesterday to spend time with him before I took him back to the airport. I did, however, get up very early in the morning and knock out a short "Ask Vic" so that my faithful readers might have something to occupy that portion of the day they dedicate to my rants. This morning, I opened my inbox to a raft of venomous comments and questions about my job performance on Thursday. So, as we turn into 2006, permit me to say this: I was handed a sheet of paper this morning that detailed my vacation time for the new year. I think I deserve to use that time.

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