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No one way to do it

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

Mark from Interlachen, FL:
I seem to remember the Cleveland Browns making the playoffs in the mid to late 1980s with an 8-8 record. This is unlikely to happen very often, but was there ever a time when a team with a losing record made the playoffs during the 16-game season era?

Vic: The Browns won the AFC Central Division in 1985 with an 8-8 record, the worst record by any postseason team in NFL history. That was Bernie Kosar's rookie season. Of course, the Browns exited the playoffs after one game.

Todd for Reno, NV:
I haven't heard much about Brad Meester's move from guard to center. In your opinion, do you think he is making a smooth transition? Do you see him as an upgrade over John Wade and Jeff Smith?

Vic: All indications are Brad Meester has made a smooth transition and the Jaguars are better at the center position than they have been in the past. But it really wasn't much of a transition; Meester was a center in college and moving to guard in the NFL was a much more difficult transition for him.

Drake from Jacksonville:
I know players receive millions of dollars and, as you've stated in the past, this is a business and the business is winning, but what is your opinion of loyalty in professional sports?

Vic: Loyalty is critical to the success of any sports franchise because the foundation of a team's fan base is built on emotion. Brooklyn was devastated when the Dodgers left. So was Baltimore when it lost the Colts and Cleveland when it lost the Browns. Entertainment business? No way. This is a loyalty business. In my opinion, people don't buy season tickets year after year after year because they want to be entertained. They buy season tickets because they are in love with the team and they want to see it win. Passionate fans don't care if their team is exciting or boring. All they care about is winning. If the team loses, there is great despair. That's the kind of emotion on which the NFL's most successful franchises are built, and fans want to know their favorite players feel the same way and will never waver in their love of the team. That's the bond, and that's what's making this era in professional football so difficult for loyal fans to accept. The salary cap and free agency do not promote lasting relationships between teams and players, and the burden is on fans to accept this circumstance without feeling a sense of rejection. That's why, more than ever, the bond between fan and team has to be stronger, because player movement will continue to threaten the loyalty factor. Focus your loyalty on the team, Drake. Players will move on, but the team will stay here.

Lisa from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
How are the preseason games scheduled? Does the team have a say in when the games will occur or does the NFL set the schedule like the regular season?

Vic: As of last season, the NFL has taken over the task of arranging its teams' preseason schedules.

James from Ashcroft, British Columbia:
I don't know if you take time to view other team's websites, but today I was channel-surfing when I happened to come across CNN discussing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers website. The website has referred to the Tampa Bay defense as the weapons of mass destruction in a cartoon animation at the start of the website. I have recently viewed the website and found it to be quite funny. CNN is saying this is an insult to the president. What are your thoughts?

Vic: I found it amusing, too. CNN needs to lighten up.

David from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Your "the plan" column was excellent. I agree 100 percent. If Alltel doesn't renew their naming rights with the Jaguars, I think Waffle House would be an appropriate partnership. I understand the importance of being flexible and reacting to the environment in which one works, but I think the Jaguars are making a mistake by not committing to a strong stance on either side of the "win now" or "build for the future" fence. Are my thoughts on this issue too simple-minded? Am I missing something?

Vic: Obviously, I agree with you. But what's most important is that we all understand there's no one way to do something. Maybe we're right, maybe we're wrong. We'll find out. But there's nothing wrong with having an opinion. It's what makes sports fun. By the way, I like that "Waffle House" reference. I'll find a way to steal that and fit it in somewhere along the line.

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