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Let's set the record straight

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

Terrence from Silver Spring, MD:
Were we seriously thinking about dumping Greg Jones? This dude is legitimately the best blocking fullback in the league. Did you see the hits he made? Kudos to GM Gene for making it work.

Vic: I was walking into the building alongside Greg on Monday morning and I said to him, "You should've played in the '70's." He asked what I meant and I told him that he was perfect for the '70's game, which was all block and tackle. He would've been the perfect halfback in a split-backs set; run a little, block a lot.

Gary from Puyallup, WA:
It seems that basketball on grass had a tough time scoring points in the NFL's opening week. Do you think defenses are catching up with the offenses, or was week one just a fluke?

Vic: I think what we saw was the result of teams not playing their starters much in the preseason.

Chris from Norman, OK:
Like the Jaguars of 2007-08, did the Jets get too giddy during the offseason? LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie?

Vic: One of Chuck Noll's favorite sayings was: You never arrive. The Jets would do well to embrace that philosophy.

David from Tuscaloosa, AL:
What would you do if you were Andy Reid?

Vic: I'd play whatever quarterback I believe gives my team the best chance to win, but I would also keep in mind that before the next draft rolls around, I have to come to a long-term decision on Kevin Kolb. If he's not "The Man," then the Eagles need to find him in next year's draft.

Chris from Jacksonville:
When did fly-overs start as a tradition at football games?

Vic: The idea was born in the 1976 season's playoffs. I had just walked out of the postgame locker room in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium and into the dugout, which is what you had to do to walk across the field to get to the buses. When I got into the dugout, I noticed that a plane was stuck in the upper deck of the stadium. I asked a security guard what happened and he said some screwball tried to land the plane on the field. At that point, I believe some erstwhile and ambitious marketing guy got the idea that fans might enjoy seeing a plane appear as though it's going to land on the field, but then just fly past. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Andy from Jacksonville:
Watching college football last weekend, I kept hearing the announcers refer to a "pistol formation." Can you explain what this is?

Vic:The quarterback is in a shortened shotgun formation, with a back to his rear, instead of next to him. The intent is for the formation to be an aid to running the ball. Some credit the formation to an offensive coordinator at West Alabama. Others credit it to Nevada Reno head coach Chris Ault, who employs it successfully today. Everything is cyclical. The next great coaching genius will come from a coach who invents the block and the tackle.

Michael from Jacksonville:
"The Jacksonville crowd was announced as 63,636, or 95 percent of stadium capacity. Even in the first half, before the weather turned bad, about a third of the stadium was obviously empty. At least Tampa was honest, announcing the gate as 47,211 at Raymond James, or 72 percent of capacity." This is a direct quote from Greg Easterbrook's "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column.

Vic: OK, let's set the record straight. The Jaguars did not announce the attendance to be 63,636. They announced that figure to be the tickets distributed for the game. I assume 47,211 is the number of tickets distributed for the game in Tampa, since I was told a year ago that the Steelers are the only team in the league that announces actual attendance, instead of tickets distributed. So, accusing the Jaguars of dishonesty is unfair. Secondly, I disagree with the estimate that a third of the stadium was empty before halftime. It wasn't, in my opinion, that much. I did note, however, that a significant portion of the crowd did not return to their seats in the second half. The reason for those people leaving, unless they all decided to cool off by pushing their sweaty bodies against each other in the "Bud Zone," was the heat. If you wanted to take a swipe at Jacksonville, last year's home opener was the time to do it. I don't think Jacksonville deserved to be spanked for its performance this past Sunday.

Mike from Smithfield, UT:
I am going to the Chargers game on Sunday and I would like some advice. I consider myself good-natured, easy to get along with and well-mannered. I am a large man and I am going to the game alone. Should I worry about being assaulted if I wear my Jaguars gear?

Vic: I think they stabbed a Jaguars fan the last time the team played there, but I think he was a small guy, so I wouldn't worry much about it.

Bill from Dunnellon, FL:
I saw that the 2011 Hall of Fame nominees were posted. There are plenty of pre-NFL pro football pioneers who should be considered, such as Latrobe's John Brallier, Greensburg's Lawson Fiscus and Massillon's Peggy Parratt. Are we neglecting our heritage by electing only modern era stars every year?

Vic: I lived in Greensburg for 20 years and I covered Steelers training camp in Latrobe for 23 years, so I know all about "Doc" Brallier, the first-ever pro football player, and Fiscus, who was the Jack Tatum of his day. Hey, pro football was a nasty sport back then. Parratt's story was common to a lot of players back then who played for several teams under aliases. I don't think those men deserve to have busts in the Hall of Fame, but I also think their stories need to be more celebrated. We're missing something by not knowing more about the early years of pro football. I don't think football has done nearly as good a job with its history as baseball has. The pioneer owners were great sportsmen, but they were lousy historians. Many of the heritage teams' media guides are thin on historical facts. The Steelers media guide doesn't even provide yearly statistical information for the years prior to 1969. When you walk into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there's a plaque that tells of the first-ever pro football game having been played between the Jeannette (Pa.) AC and Brallier's Latrobe (Pa.) AA team, but there's not enough details dedicated to those early years which, by the way, may have produced the greatest player of all-time, Jim Thorpe.

Stephen from Jacksonville:
Penn State plays Kent State this weekend. Who will you be rooting for?

Vic: I root for Kent, always. It gave me four of the best years of my life and friendships I will treasure to the day I die. They're coming to Jacksonville this season for another reunion. They'll be at the Cleveland game, so when you see on the scoreboard, "Happy reunion to the guys from Musselman Hall," that's my boys.

Neil from Gloucester, England:
Despite selling out the stadium for the Broncos game, Jerome Bettis made a comment that Jacksonville had run its course as an NFL town. Why would he say that?

Vic: I guess he believes it. I don't believe it. I believe we're going through a rebirth right now, but it's going to take time to erase the stigma last season's seven blackouts created. By the way, Sunday's game was not a sellout; facts are facts. Do you remember the warning I issued last summer? I don't remember the exact words but I remember having written a stern warning about what the national media would do to this town if the stadium would, in fact, be as empty as it appeared it would be. I knew this was coming and we're living with the fallout now and it's going to take a long time to repair our image. If we can get through this season without any blackouts, we'll be on our way. That's got to be the goal. This is it.

Tim from Fresh Creek, The Bahamas:
Are you able to post your "Quick Hits!" any time from your phone or laptop? Is it allowing you to share information with us fans that you previously might have forgotten if you had to wait until the next morning to write about it?

Vic: From my laptop, yes, but I'm not a cell phone guy. I've got one but I doubt that I have it on other than for the ride to and from work every day. The "Quick Hits!" is what we used to call "cleaning out the notebook." It's a way of getting information to you without having to put it into a story or tweeting it. I'm not a tweeter. Why should I have to go another site to talk to my readers? The Jaguars encouraged me to tweet last year and I started doing a little bit of it, and then I stopped and started campaigning for a tweet-like format on our own site. "Quick Hits!" is it. I really like it. It's a 24-7 game blog without the game.

Brad from Vancouver, BC:
I would like to find out the Jags philosophy regarding the fact that we don't hear the players griping or spouting off to the media the instant that something doesn't go their way. I know it's early and I'm not naive to think there aren't or won't be player issues but it seems like they're handling issues internally and not in the press. Whatever the club is doing, it's working.

Vic: What they're doing is avoiding players who have a propensity to create distractions. Get good guys. You won't regret it.

Ryan from Vidalia, GA:
Not only are your power rankings for the week out but so are the eight "experts" from Gil Brandt has the Jaguars at 16 and the other seven have the Jags between 20-22. I noticed you had the team at 12 so what do you think about their rankings?

Vic: I probably favored the Jaguars a little more than I should have, but I wanted to challenge them. If they win in San Diego, then my ranking for them will have been validated. If they lose, then they'll fall in next week's rankings.

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