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Missing the point

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

Joel Martinson from Orange Park, FL:
I was on vacation for eight days without and I am trying to get the feel back. I really missed "Ask Vic" and; didn't realize it until I had no internet access. I only saw the final score for the San Francisco game and would really like to capture the feel. Are your blogs retained from past games?

Vic: A blogs archive doesn't exist right now but I was told that will change very soon, maybe this week.

Dan from Thousand Oaks, CA:
If Houston beats San Francisco this week and all the other teams in the Bush sweepstakes lose, there would be a five-way tie. I hear that whoever had the toughest schedule would get the first pick, but shouldn't the team with the easiest schedule get first pick since they were the worst?

Vic: Ties in the draft order are broken by strength of schedule, from least difficult (first pick) to most difficult (last pick). As it stands right now, the 49ers have played the most difficult schedule; .573 strength of schedule. Understand, please, that these strength of schedules are going to change dramatically after the final week of the season, especially Houston's and San Francisco's, for the obvious reason, but I'll answer your question based on the way it stands right now. If Houston, San Francisco, New Orleans, the Jets and Green Bay all finish the season tied at 3-12, and if you applied their current strength of schedules, New Orleans would have the first pick of the draft, Green Bay would be second, the Jets third, Houston fourth and San Francisco fifth. According to the current strength of schedules, that's what a Houston win over San Francisco would mean; falling from the first pick of the draft to the fourth. A loss would certainly be more advantageous to the team's future, wouldn't it?

Shane from Jacksonville:
Do you think we're making a bigger deal about this quarterback situation than it really is?

Vic: It's not that we're making too big of a deal out of it, it's that I think we're missing the point. It's all about whether or not Byron Leftwich is physically able to return. Is he physically able to play at his highest level? If the answer is yes, there's no debate. He is this team's starting quarterback. That was decided long ago. If he was physically able to return but he was held out, then he couldn't be considered the Jaguars' starting quarterback. As I said on the radio show on Monday night, I know two things to be true: 1. Leftwich is the Jaguars' starting quarterback; 2. David Garrard's ability to make plays with his feet is undeniable. I can understand why each quarterback has fans who remain committed. Only one guy, however, can play, and Leftwich will be that guy if he's ready to go.

Ed from Orange Park, FL:
I know it's a little early to be thinking about draft picks, but what is your opinion of DeAngelo Williams?

Vic: He's outstanding but, honestly, I think I could've run through that Akron defense.

Loftur from Reykjavik, Iceland:
Of the teams with the worst records this season, who do you think will have the biggest turnaround in 2006?

Vic: I think Houston will. Somebody's gonna go in there and do a little bit of this and a little bit of that and get a lot of results. The Texans aren't that bad.

Jaime from Jacksonville:
Looking at the last two games, I was concerned for the amount of near interceptions that were dropped by the opposition. I know David is coming off his best performance but I saw five passes that where easy interceptions last week and two the week before. What do you think a playoff team would do with those kinds of opportunities?

Vic: I counted five total the past two weeks and two of them would've been returned for touchdowns. That's why San Francisco and Houston are a combined 5-25; they haven't made those plays. Teams in the playoffs will make those interceptions and take them back for touchdowns and, of course, you can't win against teams returning interceptions for touchdowns. Those near interceptions, in my opinion, are the only blemishes on Garrard's record. He did a great job filling in at quarterback.

Mike from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The new language is catching on. On the postgame radio show, Jeff Lageman was interviewing Rashean Mathis and when the interview was over, Mathis said, "Thanks, baby, thanks."

Vic: I've started replacing all of my "you knows" with "baby." It's amazing! Instead of sounding like some wrong-side-of-the-track goon from Pittsburgh, I now sound like a with-it dude from "Coolville." Why didn't I do this years ago?

Robert from Las Vegas, NV:
Who do you think is the Jags' biggest rival, the Titans or the Colts?

Vic: The rivalry with the Colts is nouveau. It'll rise and fall with the teams' records. The rivalry with the Titans, however, is forever.

Eddie from Cocoa, FL:
Can you tell me what was up with Jack Del Rio's postgame interview in Houston? It's the first away-game interview I can remember in that poor of a location. It looks like Del Rio is standing in a bathroom stall and there's elevator Christmas music playing loudly in the background. Are the Texans facilities that bad?

Vic: The Texans' facilities are sensational and the postgame interview room wasn't bad except for the music in the background. The room sits under the stands and it's not enclosed, so it's subject to stadium noise. What you heard was Christmas music that was being played in Reliant Stadium for the fans as they left the game. The only problem was that most of the fans had long since left and were at home opening their Christmas presents when the Del Rio interview began. In other words, they could've canned the music long before the interview began.

Malosi from Valencia, CA:
As a Jags fan, my preference for which team we play is based on Tedy Bruschi's health. I am a strong believer in team chemistry and if he's healthy I would rather play the Bengals. I know you're a Brady fan but I think the Patriots are lost without Bruschi.

Vic: He is to the defense what Brady is to the offense, it would seem.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Kudos to James Harris and Jack Del Rio for building a team with depth. It seems as though they find a way to plug players in when starters go down. Can this be managed long term or at some point does the salary cap catch up to you and slowly deteriorate your depth?

Vic: It can be managed long term, as long as you don't get into a lot of large-bonus contracts. You're going to have big-money guys at the premium positions, but you can't have big-money guys at the other places. That's why the Patriots have been so good at managing their salary cap. They refuse to get held hostage at safety, wide receiver, guard, center, etc.

Brian from Rowland Heights, CA:
I understand we need a play-maker for a great playoff run. In your opinion, who has stepped up the most, overall this season, to be that play-maker?

Vic: As I said, I don't think anyone has stepped up this season and established himself as this team's offensive play-maker. I think that is yet to come. I'm hoping Fred Taylor took steps in that direction in Houston.

Jon from Durham, NC:
With Garrard's performance, what kind of trade possibility exists?

Vic: Someone will be interested. After talking to some scouts recently, I have no doubt there will interest in trading for Garrard, but I'm not expecting a high pick to be offered. High draft picks are just too precious. That causes me to think Garrard might be more valuable to the Jaguars as a player instead of in a trade. Where would this team be today if it didn't have him?

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