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More anxiety than woohoo

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

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Could you give us the stats for Hugh Douglas this year? Hypothetically, if those same numbers had been posted in Jacksonville, would Del Rio's decision to cut him be seen as a good or bad one?

Vic: Hugh Douglas recorded three sacks in a backup role for the Eagles. Clearly, the Jaguars' decision to release Douglas was correct. It saved the Jaguars $3.345 million in salary.

Andrew from Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
ESPN seems to be predicting a Patriots win against the Steelers this week, citing the fact that Roethlisberger is a rookie. Isn't that getting repetitive? He's still undefeated as a starter. As good as Brady is (I think he is the best QB in the league), he still makes mistakes every now and then, with the Dolphins game as an example. Does the rookie thing really matter?

Vic: It must matter because no team has ever gone to the Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger, in fact, became only the second rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to win a playoff game. Shaun King is the other one. The bigger issue this week, in my opinion, is Roethlisberger's health. Jeff Lageman said to me yesterday that he thinks Roethlisberger is injured. Everyone seems to be focusing on a suspected thumb injury, but that may be just a smokescreen. Let's not forget that Roethlisberger sustained what was reported to be "bruised ribs" in the next-to-last game of the season. That fact won't be lost on Bill Belichick. He'll test those ribs on Sunday.

Shane from Washington, DC:
Having read what you said about RB Brian Westbrook getting 73 catches in the Eagles' version of the "West Coast offense," did the Jags' version of the same offense ever really have a chance, given that our RBs don't catch and our TEs are only slightly more effective with their hands?

Vic: I never thought the Jaguars' talent on offense lent itself to a "West Coast" philosophy. Maybe that's why the Jaguars didn't appear to run the "West Coast offense."

Kent from Oviedo, FL:
What are the reasons Jacksonville lost their two AFC championship games?

Vic: In the 1996 AFC title game at New England, the Jaguars were in position to tie the score at 13-13 in the fourth quarter with the Jaguars facing a second-and-goal from the five-yard line. Mark Brunell's pass in the end zone for tight end Derek Brown was intercepted by Patriots safety Willie Clay. The Jaguars got the ball back with 2:26 to play but a James Stewart fumble was returned 47 yards for a touchdown by the Pats' Otis Smith. In the 1999 AFC title game, the Jaguars collapsed in the second half after holding a 14-10 lead at halftime. Tennessee took a 17-14 lead in the third quarter, then Brunell was sacked for a safety and Derrick Mason returned the free kick 80 yards for a touchdown. That was all she wrote, as the Titans scored 23 unanswered points in their 33-14 win.

Emilia from Seattle, WA:
I would like to get your comments on what the feeling is in Jacksonville, with regard to hosting the Super Bowl. Do you sense a nervousness about getting ready to host the world? Is it "woohoo, let's get the party started" excitement, or is there a different feeling altogether?

Vic: I ran out of woohoo a long time ago, but I think there's some woohoo in Jacksonville right now. I haven't detected an overwhelming amount of woohoo, but I expect woohoo will increase as we get closer to the big game. Anxious is probably the best way to describe Jacksonville. There's a significant degree of anxiety for how Jacksonville will be perceived, and I think the major source of that anxiety is for the weather we'll have the week of the Super Bowl. Jacksonville can be a mixed bag.

Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
Can you tell us which team made it to the Super Bowl the quickest from starting in the league and what team took the most time? Are the Jags on the plus side or negative side of being in the league and not making the Super Bowl?

Vic: Your specific questions are not answerable because some NFL teams were in existence for 35 years or more before there ever was a Super Bowl, whereas the AFL wasn't even a decade old when the game was first played. Let's put it this way: The Cardinals are the oldest franchise in the league not to have played in a Super Bowl. The Browns haven't been there and neither have the Lions. Those are really old franchises. Comparatively speaking, Jaguars fans' 10-year suffering is minor.

Art from Jacksonville:
With time running out on the Vikings' season, Daunte Culpepper threw a touchdown pass on a play in which the Eagles jumped offside. The Vikings declined the penalty but the Eagles challenged the call. The challenge was then denied. What if the call had been reversed and the play was ruled an incomplete pass? Would the Vikings have been permitted to accept the penalty and replay the down?

Vic: Yes.

Dave from St. Marys, GA:
What's up with the NFL experts trying to show how it would be good for Minnesota to trade Randy Moss? It might be good for the Vikings to get rid of a non-team player, but what good would it do the other team involved in the trade? The only coach I could see being interested in Moss would be Denny Green.

Vic: Let's see, Denny Green is going to trade a first-round pick for a wide receiver who's due a $7.25 million salary in 2005, after having selected Larry Fitzgerald with the third pick of the '04 draft, and Bryant Johnson in the first round and Anquan Boldin in the second round of the '03 draft. That trio combined for 163 pass receptions in '04. You might argue that not only doesn't Green need Randy Moss, but trading for Moss would leave the Cardinals with a ridiculously disproportionate amount of money on their salary cap at the wide receiver position. Of course, you could also argue that Moss would be a great influence of veteran leadership on a young receiving corps. Yeah, baby, do the deal.

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