Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
John from Jacksonville:
Thanks for the information and insight you provide in this column. My question is regarding the style of football you prefer to watch. Do you prefer to watch a game in which both teams provide a well-played defensive struggle, or both teams provide a well-played offensive juggernaut?
Vic: I prefer defense. To appreciate offense, I need to know there's resistance.
Keith from Jacksonville:
On Friday you had a question about a non-QB having to play quarterback, because all others were injured. If memory serves me correctly, didn't Tom Matte start a playoff game for the Colts way back when?
Vic: In 1965, the Colts lost in overtime at Green Bay in the Western Conference championship game, and Tom Matte was the Colts' starting quarterback in one of the great postseason games in NFL history. Matte, usually one of the Colts' two starting running backs, played quarterback at Ohio State and was forced into action when the Colts lost Johnny Unitas and became depleted at the position late in the season. The Colts picked up a veteran named Ed Brown, but Matte did a good enough job that coach Don Shula decided to stick with Matte at quarterback. In the 13-10 loss to the Packers, Matte was five of 12 for 40 yards, but he rushed 17 times for 57 yards in a roll-out offensive attack that kept the Packers off-balance. The Colts held a 10-0 lead at halftime. Two weeks later, in a game between conference championship game losers known as the "Playoff bowl," Matte quarterbacked the Colts to a 35-3 win over Dallas.
Ed from Cleveland, OH:
In response to the Dungy story: If I remember correctly, a few years back Tim Couch and all of the Browns' QBs got injured and Kevin Johnson played QB. Am I correct?
Vic: Kevin Johnson stepped under center for four plays against Philadelphia in 2000. He completed one pass in three attempts and threw an interception.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
I could care less about the "perception and reality" of this year's and last year's teams. The 2002 team was in its last year of decline and the 2003 is moving up. My question is, how does this team compare with the 1995 Jaguars? The players/coaches are on a much more level field in that context: first-year head coach, young QB replacing an aging QB, young teams, etc. What do you think?
Vic: The 1995 team was an expansion team. It was the Jaguars' inaugural season. There were no expectations other than for losing. This year's team was assembled to be a playoff contender. Jack Del Rio confirmed that fact last week. I see very little comparison between 1995 and 2003. And I disagree with you about last year being the last year of decline. In my opinion, the Jaguars took their first significant steps forward last season when they gutted their roster and repaired their salary cap.
J. from Jacksonville:
I agree with your thoughts on Brunell being a sideshow act. I think a lot of fans are forgetting the Jaguars are also a business owned and played by professionals. In this final quarter of the season, who do you think will go after Brunell? Is there a starting position out there?
Vic: I think Dallas and Miami will be the first two teams to express interest. There will be others. But I add these words of caution: There's no guarantee Mark Brunell is going to move on to a new team as its starting quarterback. Cleveland fans thought that would be the case with Bernie Kosar when Bill Belichick shocked Browns fans by cutting Kosar. As it turned out, Kosar never again reached the level of a full-time starting quarterback.
Joe from Jacksonville:
Vic, it's been a rough year, but through it all I supported the Jags. The true fan has to know and realize it takes time to rebuild. Like you, I believe Jack Del Rio made the correct choice to leave Leftwich in as the starter. The more reps he gets this season will better prepare him for next year. My question is: Where do you think the Jags will be looking to draft this year; still take the best player available in the early rounds, filling needs later on?
Vic: "Shack" Harris professes to ascribe to the "best available player" philosophy, and it sure worked in this year's draft. I would imagine they'll stick with it.
Lane from Orlando, FL:
I've got a what-if question for you. If a field goal attempt went just above the upright and the officials ruled it no good, could the coach of the kicking team have the kick reviewed by instant replay?
Vic: Field-goal attempts are not included in the review process. If they were, the Texans certainly would've red-flagged Seth Marler's 35-yarder yesterday.
Tim from Crescent City, FL:
I agree with you about giving Mark Brunell a gift start. Leftwich is the future of this team. Do you think because Brunell has played such an important role to the franchise that they may do something like: Not give his number eight jersey out any more? That would be an honor, wouldn't it? After all, if I'm not mistaken, this is what the Steelers did for Franco Harris. His number 32 is not retired, but they do not issue it any more, right?
Vic: It's called taking a jersey number out of service, and I like it more than retiring a number because it allows for options. I don't think you'll see number 71 or number eight in service for awhile, and I like that very much. Subtle gestures are often more meaningful than those that are accompanied by great ceremony.
Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
Where do you think the game of football will be in another 25 or even 50 years? From the days of leather helmets to moving the goalposts, through changes in the 1970s until now, what do you see that might change?
Vic: The game, on all levels, is most concerned about player safety. I have to believe that concern will continue, and probably even intensify, and at some point the physical aspect of football will have been significantly lessened.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Last week you had a question about a game where all of the QBs were injured. Don't forget the Monday night "body bag" game between the Redskins and Eagles. So many Washington QBs were hurt that they had to use a rookie RB/KR named Brian Mitchell at QB.
Vic: Didn't Garo Yepremian play quarterback for a play in Super Bowl VII?
Cortez from Orlando, FL:
I have a problem. I am a season ticket holder and have decided to start a new era by taking my new gal to the games. She has no knowledge of the game, but I thought it was a good pick because she is from Oklahoma, so I thought the foundation was set. But when we are losing she always asks questions, saying what happened and what caused him to do that? I give her the Chuckie stare and she gets mad. Should I be patient and look forward to next year, or should I look into free agency? Please be quick because I have season tickets renewal soon.
Vic: Cortez, keep the tickets, get rid of the girl. Obviously, the two of you have very little in common. My information is that next year's free agency crop will be very strong and you should be able to get what you need without overspending.
Jim from Ridgecrest, CA:
Great column and thanks for all the great info. Could you please explain the rules of the coin flip? If a team wins the coin flip at the beginning of the game, they win the choice to receive the ball or choose an end. If a team decides to choose an end at the beginning of the game, do they automatically get to receive the kickoff at the beginning of the third quarter, or does the other team then have the choice? I'm trying to find out if it's possible for a team to receive the kickoff at the beginning of the game and to start the third quarter.
Vic: Jim, as Jack Del Rio would say, you're getting out ahead of the story. Let's back up. When you win the coin toss, you have won the right to make one of three choices: Kickoff, receive or defend a specific goal. The option you don't want to choose is to kickoff, because your opponent will probably exercise his option to defend a specific goal, which means he'll get the ball and the wind to his back when he has the ball. If you win the coin toss and you want to kickoff, the better option is to defend a specific goal. That forces your opponent to receive, or he'll be giving you the ball and the wind to your back. In normal circumstances, the team winning the coin toss would elect to receive and their opponent would exercise its option to defend the goal that would put the wind to their back for the opening kickoff. The first option to begin the second half belongs to the team that lost the coin toss before the start of the game. Remember, you won the coin toss and elected to defend a specific goal, now they have first option and they've elected to receive, which means they will have gotten the kickoffs to start the game and to start the second half. Now it's your option, and you will pick which goal to defend. Rule of thumb: If you win the coin toss, take the ball. If you don't want the ball, at least get the wind. Never elect to kickoff.