Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Don from Jacksonville:
What is the main reason the Jags defense has turned things around (from earlier this season)? Is it technique Del Rio has brought and taught? Is it because players were in danger of losing their jobs? Are we running different schemes? Thanks, Vic; great column. Keep it up.
Vic: Credit has to go to Jack Del Rio and his staff. Last summer he said, "We will stop the run." And they have. That's where the change is. The Jaguars were 13th against the pass last season, and they are currently 15th. The Jaguars had 37 sacks last season, and they currently have 20. But the Jaguars were 25th in the league against the run last year, and they are currently second, just 68 yards behind league-leading Tennessee. Clearly, Del Rio's stop-the-run scheme, or his application of the scheme, or his teaching of the scheme has allowed for the change, but players make schemes work. All the plans and schemes in the world aren't worth anything if you can't execute them. The Jaguars are executing them, and that means there must be some talent on this defense, and when you're talking about stopping the run, the first place you look is defensive tackle. Marcus Stroud and John Henderson appear to have been pretty good draft picks.
Sid from Richmond Hill, GA:
I'm starting to think the Jaguars offense is not really a "West Coast offense." It seems like we have a more power running game with some longer downfield throws; a much more physical game. I thought the "West Coast offense" was more short routes with an emphasis on timing; a finesse approach.
Vic: Sid, there's two things you can do with the football: You can run with it, or you can throw it. Bill Walsh would have us believe he invented a third thing. Is there any chance the "West Coast offense" is just a catchy name? Is there any chance the "West Coast offense" had a special look to it because a special quarterback named Joe Montana was running it? Once you get past the formations and shifts, I see very little difference from one team's offense to the next. They all have one thing in common: They do what their personnel allows them to do.
William from Jacksonville:
I was impressed with Jack Del Rio's comment regarding Tony Brackens. I could see a lot of coaches (and front office folks) skimming some playing time from a player if they were facing a $4.3 million dollar incentive payout. Del Rio addressed it publicly, that if Brackens earns it, he gets it. That speaks volumes about Del Rio and his integrity. Your thoughts?
Vic: I thought the same thing when he made his remarks. He absolutely said the right thing. But I don't agree that a lot of coaches and front office folks would skim playing time from a player in an incentive situation. When a team strikes that kind of deal, it is capitalizing on the player's trust in the team, and teams aren't likely to betray that trust because it would be negotiations suicide. It would be the last time a player would be willing to incentivize his contract.
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
I will be at Gillette Stadium Sunday having a "blast." If the Jags can pull off this upset, I see the confidence level going sky high and possibly winning out the season. What do you think?
Vic: It's the biggest game of the year, because it's the game by which we will measure this team's progress and prospects for next season. A win would make this team one of next summer's preseason favorites.
Robert from Neptune Beach, FL:
Love your column, Vic. It's a daily read for me and the first NFL-related site I visit each day. The offensive line seems to be coming together and playing very well as a unit. How likely is it the Jaguars will be able to keep this (mostly) home-grown group together over the next several years?
Vic: It's not even an issue. The offensive line is the most stable and encouraging area of the team.
Alan from Jacksonville:
Is there a Jaguars fan club that organizes groups to go on away games? I try to make all I can, but find myself going to Foxboro by my lonesome. You have so many great people commenting on your column, there's gotta be a way to get some of us together.
Vic: Are you suggesting an "Ask Vic" travel club? Let's do it. I nominate you for president.