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Let the receiver run under it

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

Ed from Jacksonville:
Why don't people attending the game receive any vital information that pertains to the game? We never know who's inactive. Garrard was replaced. I thought it was because of performance and didn't learn he was hurt until the next morning. The people at home get more for their money than we do at the stadium. They could make an announcement or put it on a message board, but they are filled with useless stuff.

Vic: This is a legitimate complaint that you have just brought to the attention of the Jaguars front office. I have seen the use of field reporters who provide such information to fans; the problem with that, of course, is that you're also informing your opponent. As ticket-buyers, however, you should not be penalized for being in attendance. You should be the first to receive that information and more. Maybe a service should be provided to the cell phones of season-ticket holders. It could include my in-game blog, which provides such information, or special alerts from my in-game blog, such as injury information. I don't know how it should be done, just that it should be done. One of the keys to selling tickets in the future is going to be adding value to the tickets.

Chris from Jacksonville:
A helmet-to-helmet hit by Dick Butkus would have been praised. What would he say?

Vic: He would say: Why wasn't the league as concerned about the players' safety when I played professional football?

Greg from New York, NY:
I watched Western Michigan come out in the "Polecat" formation against Notre Dame last week on fourth and one and sneak it up the middle with very little resistance. Do the Jags spend any time actually practicing against these crazy formations, or is it something that is just briefly mentioned in team meetings?

Vic: There aren't a lot of teams in the NFL that run the "Polecat." The "Wildcat" was hot a few years ago, but its ranks have been reduced and it would appear the "Wildcat" craze has burned out. I can't help but wonder if Cleveland will continue to use it. Asked what he was thinking as Josh Cribbs lie on the ground following a hit that knocked Cribbs out of this past Sunday's game, James Harrison said: "That's the end of the 'Wildcat.'" It was a legal hit, too. That's how you defend the "Wildcat."

Eric from Jacksonville:
Over the past few weeks, it's obvious to me opposing teams have decided to exploit our secondary, primarily David Jones. What effort is the coaching staff making to minimize the damage being done to our secondary?

Vic: In the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, which was effectively the '86 national championship game, Miami had moved inside the Penn State five-yard line. During a time out prior to the fourth-and-goal play with 18 seconds left on the clock, middle linebacker Trey Bauer went to the sideline to talk to Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. As Bauer approached, Sandusky stuck out his right hand and said: "I can't help you now. Good luck."

Daniel from Orlando, FL:
I noticed on the offensive pass-interference called on Underwood that he had good separation, but David either got the ball there late or underthrew it. David has plenty of arm strength, so it's hard to think he underthrew it. Does his inability to complete the deep pass stem from poor timing with his receivers or a lack of touch on his part?

Vic: He threw the deep ball too late; that's what I saw on the play you're describing. I wouldn't say Tiquan Underwood achieved separation – at the most he had a step on the defender – but Underwood has the speed to run under a ball and, in the process, pull away from the defender. I saw Underwood break deep and I turned my eyes to Garrard, who I saw hesitate before he launched the pass. The hesitation caused the underthrow. He's got to trust his receivers to run under the throw. Don't think in terms of putting it in their hands; think in terms of them putting their hands on the ball. Just lay it out there and let them run under it. Garrard has a guy who can do that. Just throw the darn thing.

Franklin from St. Augustine, FL:
My four-year-old daughter said, "The Jaguars let that blue team pass the ball. They let that team have the ball." I said, "Yeah, the Jags are just not a good team, honey." And then she said, "Yeah, but they are our team." For all of our sakes, I hope they can figure this thing out.

Vic: Oh, that's a cute story.

Logan from Bell, FL:
Football is played with reckless abandon. How does a player play with reckless abandon if he has to worry about a $75,000 fine and a possible suspension? These helmet-to-helmet hits are unavoidable. This crackdown is going to affect the quality of the game.

Vic: Just take off the mask; that's all. All of this will end. Just reduce the mask to a single bar; that might do it.

J. Robert from Jacksonville:
I heard you blow up on someone for talking about moving the pocket for rollouts and blow up on another guy for talking about having Garrard run the ball because of durability. How did having him do standard drop-backs work out Monday?

Vic: You want your starting quarterback to end up like Josh Cribbs? You better think about that because when your quarterback is running the option, there are no rules to protect him.

Jason from Clemson, SC:
Are corners and safeties a dime a dozen like receivers?

Vic: Corners are not a dime a dozen. They are at the greatest of premium. Safeties aren't nearly as difficult to find. GM Gene will find them. Maybe he already has. Let's see how Courtney Greene and Don Carey, two waiver-wire players, develop in what's left of this season. Folks, there are only seven rounds of the draft. When you have to replace everything, you don't have enough picks to do it in two years.

Tim from Jacksonville:
How the heck did Chuck Noll keep his job after three losing seasons? Nobody does that anymore. It's like a rule now: three losing seasons in a row equals a new coach. It's automatic. Even Tom Coughlin couldn't escape the power of the rule. People don't have four years of patience anymore, Vic.

Vic: I'll always remember a story Bud Carson told me a long time ago. He had just been fired as head coach at Georgia Tech when Noll went to Bud and asked him to be the Steelers' defensive coordinator. This was just prior to the 1972 season, Noll's fourth as head coach. In his sales pitch, Noll also said he was on three losing seasons and he couldn't make any guarantees after the upcoming season. Bud asked if he could look at some film, to see what he could do with the defense, and he'd then give Noll a decision. Bud told me he put the film on, saw Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White, Andy Russell, etc., and called Noll and said, "I'll take it." The point of this story is that even though football is a scoreboard business, sometimes you have to be able to see beyond the scoreboard to know the score. If it looks better than the record, it probably is better than the record. Just be patient.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
I'm starting to get the feeling this fan-base loves it when the Jaguars fail. It gives them something to complain about. Even when the Jaguars win, fans complain about something. What's going on here?

Vic: No, this fan base doesn't want the Jaguars to fail. The hyper-critical reaction of fans is nothing more than a fashion statement. It's what the well-dressed fan wears these days.

Brian from Douglas, GA:
No facemasks? Paterno: "I have been saying (it) for 15 years. Then, you would get back to shoulder-blocking and shoulder-tackling and you wouldn't have all those heroes out there. Guys (would) have to worry about broken noses, knocked-out teeth, which we would like to prevent, but you don't get anything for nothing. We used to have one single bar; now we have a weapon." Have you started a movement?

Vic: I hope, because I don't wanna see players suffer head injuries but I also don't wanna see aggressiveness legislated out of the game. JoePa knows. A long time ago, he gave a famous speech in which he predicted that if we don't clean up the game, we're going to lose the youth to soccer. I think he made that prediction back in 1969. No parent wants to submit their child to head trauma.

Ryan from Chamberlain, SD:
It looks like all the Garrard haters will get their wish this weekend. I still believe Garrard gives us the best chance to win.

Vic: He got hurt and the Jags went out back to the quarterback tree and picked what was left. That's what the fans wanted, right?

Chris from Estero, FL:
I know you don't like to hear about the Gators, but I have a story that I feel is relevant. This past weekend, while attending the UF game with my family, I actually had to tell my brother to stop screaming at the coaches. My exact words: "Shut up, we're here to watch the game, not coach it." I'm like you, Vic, I like to watch and, more to the point, I realize there is nothing I can do to change what is happening on the field.

Vic: I've had people tell me that going to a Florida game is a painful experience. They told me the fans rip Urban Meyer for every failed play-call and the officials for every penalty. I've had several people tell me they would never go back, because of the negativity in the stands.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
I love your analogy referencing the Steelers rebuilding process, however, I'm not seeing two future Hall of Famers from the Jags 2009 or 2010 draft classes. Do you? Are you really inferring on any level that Monroe, Britton, Knighton or Alualu could be anywhere near the type of difference-makers Greene, Bradshaw or Blount were?

Vic: That's not what I was suggesting. Since you bring it up, however, let's talk about it. I think we knew right away that Joe Greene was going to be a special player. In his rookie year, he terrorized offenses. As late as Terry Bradshaw's fifth year in the league, he lost his job to Joe Gilliam. That same year, Mel Blount was benched by Bud Carson in the AFC title game and the Steelers drafted a cornerback in the first round the following year, ostensibly to replace Blount. That would also be the year Blount's and Bradshaw's careers blossomed. In year two of Bradshaw's and Blount's career did anyone foresee the Hall of Fame for them? No.

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