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More muscle needed

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

Jay from Denver, CO:
I can only imagine the distasteful e-mails you are getting after that loss. I feel sorry for you, Vic.

Vic: What's going to happen is the column is going to get stale. It's just turning into a place for angry people to do their little double-chinstrap pulls. There's really nothing I can do about it. I can't answer the questions and ask the questions, too. I'm not even getting questions. I'm just getting senseless anger, as though that's going to fix anything. What is it with people and their inability to control their emotions? That's a question I wish I could answer.

Joe from Green Cove Springs, FL:
I think it's time to make some changes on defense starting with roster moves.

Vic: Since the first of the year, the Jaguars have made 76 roster moves involving defensive players. Tell me what you have in mind.

Jeff from Woodstock, GA:
I know this is a pretty lame question, but I've always been curious. How does one go about moving an NFL team across the country? I'm sure it has to be a chartered flight, but is it like a 747? How do you fit those big bodies into those little seats? Do you disembark the plane out on the Tarmac directly into buses?

Vic: Those are not lame questions. The Jaguars flew a 767 to Seattle. It offered a lot of comfort and the ability to pack a lot of equipment in the belly of the plane. You also want a plane that doesn't need to stop for refueling. Upon landing at their destination, the team walks off the plane and into buses that are parked next to the plane; de-planing usually occurs near a cargo area. For the return trip, players, coaches and the travel party go through the security check at the stadium, where they board buses for the airport. The buses go directly to the plane which, again, is usually in a cargo area of the airport. The equipment is trucked from the stadium to the plane and the equipment guys throwing the stuff into the belly as everybody boards the plane. I try to get on as quickly as possible and start my writing. The equipment guys did a fantastic job of getting us off the ground quickly after the game in Seattle. We were in the air fewer than two hours after the game ended.

Adel from Jacksonville:
I completely understand the concept of players, not plays, but isn't it well-known that when you have your outstanding playmakers missing as we did with Walker, that you compensate with more intricate schemes, especially in the passing game? It's quite similar to the idea on defense when you don't have the players necessarily to rush the passer, so you come with more exotic blitzes and coverage. If so, why don't we do that?

Vic: It's just the opposite, on both sides of the ball. As you lose your front-line players, you have to cut back on your game plan because you've suffered a decrease in your team's talent level, thus, a decreased level of what you can do. All blips aren't the same. Some blips are bigger and faster than other blips and the faster, bigger blips can do more than the smaller, slower blips.

Stacie from Gallitzin, PA:
My boyfriend and I have been debating this for over a month now. I have never seen a portable toilet on the sidelines. My boyfriend is trying to convince me that players urinate in their pants during the game. This serves two purposes: They don't have to take time out of the game and the smell keeps their opponents away. I don't believe him. Is this true?

Vic: I have a feeling your boyfriend read a book I remember having read years ago. It may have even been Jerry Kramer's "Instant Replay." Anyhow, it talked about a middle linebacker in the league who was feared because everyone thought he was nuts. The linebacker found that it helped his cause to be perceived as being nuts, so early in every game he would yell out, "Look, I'm peeing myself," and then he'd jump onto the pile and rub himself on everyone. I have also heard other stories of men opting not to go to the locker room to take care of business, and I once told the story that the first high school game I ever played in was because the starting halfback messed his pants and had to come to the sideline. I played one play and then he went back into the game, the meaning of which I decided was that the coach would rather have the other guy play with a pants full than have me play.

Forrest from Jacksonville:
I understand JDR had to stand his ground, but wouldn't a fine have sufficed? Fine him the amount of his game check and if he doesn't perform, then pull him.

Vic: The CBA provides guidelines for fining a player and for how much a player may be fined in certain instances. This is sensitive subject matter. It's not like the old days when a coach could just arbitrarily and angrily do as he pleased.

John from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Is there a statistic that measures how long a quarterback holds the ball before he throws it or is sacked? I think we have the perfect storm of receivers not getting open, a quarterback who has trouble seeing over his line and a quarterback who isn't a quick thinker.

Vic: That's pretty harsh, John. Do we really want it to turn to this? I don't. I really don't. Believe me when I say this, and I am in no way attempting to be glib or sarcastic: If this continues, there will have to be changes to this column.

Jeff from Fillmore, UT:
Can you please explain the one-point safety rule? Is it applicable to both college and pro football?

Vic: I saw it called in a college game a few years ago – I think it was one of the Texas teams – so I assume it's the same or similar in college to what it is in the NFL. It's popularly referred to as a "try safety." Here's an example: During a PAT kick try, the holder fumbles the ball and a defensive player kicks, bats or muffs the loose ball on his two-yard line and the ball goes through the end zone and out of bounds; award one point to the offense.

Vlad from Jacksonville:
"You have to be totally committed to the game and the pursuit of winning." If that's the case, then why only punish guys for off-the-field actions? Why not punish them when they screw up on the field, too? I understand that a player can get beat being aggressive, but the two-hand touch tackle by Rashean Mathis was a disgusting effort and should be unacceptable from a so-called veteran leader. Oh, I know, they're professionals, right? Punish him and you run the risk of losing the team. Give a shot on the next drive to a guy who is willing to give it his all.

Vic: This isn't high school football. Yes, they are professionals and if they don't play well, they will eventually be cut.

Adam from Jacksonville:
You say this team cares. Nonsense! Sunday on the fourth-and-one stop, Garrard was literally on the sideline laughing.

Vic: I saw that on TV and I turned to Ryan Robinson and said I'll get e-mails about that. David Garrard needs to learn how to do that gather-everyone-around-you-and-yell-at-them thing. People like that.

Joel from Jacksonville:
I am not a medical person but my mother lives near Seattle and I have flown out for short periods and the secret is to not try to adjust, but keep your East Coast schedule.

Vic: I never changed the time on my watch and it didn't work. The sun wouldn't cooperate and neither would the people next door who decided they didn't want to turn their TV down and talk softly at eight p.m.

Bill from Woodbury, MN:
Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, I happen to know you were 37,000 feet over the SW corner of Missouri as my head hit the pillow Sunday night, and not scheduled to land until 1:50 a.m. Despite that, I had breakfast this morning as I read your editorial, and read "Ask Vic" during lunch. We are not appreciative enough of what you bring to us, a value many teams only wish they had. Paycheck aside, it is also clear that you care about what you do, and your readers.

Vic: That's very nice of you to say. This was a tough trip and when I got back to my office, I had an angry message on my voice mail. It was my wife and she was furious at a local TV station for having used a tag tease that said, "Jaguars crash." She saw it and panicked, then waited for the news that accompanied the tag, which she found to be about Quentin Groves' accident. I kind of feel loved, you know.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
First, if anyone ever accuses you again of being biased because the Jaguars are your employer, I'll slap them myself. Your Monday editorial is what makes me a better football fan. Question: When you say to continue drafting linemen, are you losing faith in who we drafted already?

Vic: No, I'm not. What I'm telling you is that three isn't nearly enough. This team needs to spend a lot more picks on linemen on both sides of the ball and, when I say linemen, I'm including everyone in the front seven on defense. This team needs more muscle.

Jesse from Jacksonville:
I'll tell you why the Jaguars are having a difficult time defending the short pass: the linebackers are too slow and do not cover well. If you are going to run a 3-4, you need fast, versatile linebackers. They are integral to running a successful 3-4. They also provide the bulk of the pass-rush. Do you agree?

Vic: Of course, I agree. I've been saying it since last winter when it first surfaced that the Jaguars had hired a defensive coordinator with a 3-4 background. You don't just snap you fingers and turn your defense into a 3-4. Justin Durant was out and Clint Ingram was on a bad ankle Sunday. Those injuries forced Brian Iwuh and Russell Allen, both of whom are undrafted players, into the lineup. Figure it out. It's rebuilding. That's all. Come on, folks, show a little football savvy.

George from Jacksonville:
Honestly, a long plane trip keeps people from blocking and tackling? This should be a tough league for tough men.

Vic: There have been seven games so far this season between teams from the Eastern and Pacific Time zones. The home team is 5-2 in those games, having outscored the visitors 216-141. The two road teams that have won are Atlanta and Baltimore, both of which were playoff teams last year.

Jimmicane from Cardiff, CA:
Please don't ever blame traveling across country as an excuse for losing. That is the most over-exaggerated, ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I travel on airplanes on a regular basis and a three-hour time difference doesn't feel like anything. It's embarrassing.

Vic: Home teams in games between Eastern and Pacific Time zone teams were 19-12 in 2008. The Chargers have never won a regular-season game in Pittsburgh; they're 0-14 lifetime in Pittsburgh and have won only once in New England since the Boston Patriots changed their name to the New England Patriots (1973). The Steelers are 1-6 in games in Seattle and I can tell you horror stories about games I covered there when I covered the Steelers. I've been flying across the country with football teams for a long, long time, and I think I'm more than qualified to offer an opinion on what coast-to-coast travel does to a team and, yes, sometimes it has been embarrassing.

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