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No place for quitters

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

Alan from Orange Park, FL:
I'm not saying Reggie Williams is a bust. The pick just did not provide the immediate strength the offense needed. It looks like our draft this year must once again focus on the defensive end and wide receiver positions. Do you agree that this was probably the difference-maker?

Vic: The Jaguars did not significantly upgrade their production at wide receiver this year. They got 13 touchdowns from wide receivers in 2003 and have 12 this season. Yeah, I think the failure to upgrade at wide receiver is one of the things that held this team back this year. The position must be addressed, especially considering Jimmy Smith's age, but you shouldn't force it. In other words, if you pick a guy based on need and not on his true value, you're going to pay the price. That's true at any position. I think wide receiver might be a position that's better to address in affordable free agency.

Tony from Suwanee, GA:
I lived in Jacksonville from 1996-2000 and was a season ticket holder in the north end zone while there. I remember a game on a cold December night vs. Seattle that had similar implications as this past week's game. If I recall correctly, the place was packed, as were most games back then. It seemed the city of Jacksonville was passionate about the Jags back then. What happened?

Vic: Your memory is OK on some things and not on others. Yeah, it was a Sunday night game. Tony Brackens had a big game, the Jaguars won and that left them at 8-7. The following week was "Morten's miss" and the Jaguars made the playoffs. Your recollection of the crowd is off. The official attendance was 66,134, which hardly constitutes "packed," and I wouldn't say "most games" were packed back then. The previous home game was against Cincinnati and it drew 57,408. Of course, it rained.

Mike from Middleburg, FL:
Let's face it. We do not deserve an NFL team, no matter what anybody says. Jacksonville will never have the fan base because they would rather be golfing or the fish are biting really good. I can think of five other cities that would appreciate an NFL team a lot more than we do. I hope the NFL will just take the Jags to another city and get it over with. I am tired of all the embarrassing moments that have been shown throughout the league. Please just take it away.

Vic: What's this? Do I have to get out the violin, Mike? It's time for Jacksonville to rally, not quit.

Ron from Jacksonville:
I just want you to know that you guys have convinced me. I'm buying season tickets next year. I'm tired of hearing about how fans never show up and I'm tired of not being part of the solution. This election year, a lot of campaigning went toward getting out the vote. Well I say we get out and show up. Also, is there a payment plan that you can get on so that you don't have to fork over all the money in one lump?

Vic: I'm forwarding your e-mail to the ticket department. They'll contact you. Let me know how it turns out.

Jonathan from King George, VA:
I made the trip from Virginia to see the game and I came away with a clear understanding of Leftwich's game. He is not an effective QB when he does not have Taylor in the game. Is my observation wrong?

Vic: Don't make the mistake of judging Byron Leftwich based on Sunday's loss to Houston. He was clearly off his game.

Eric from Jacksonville:
How does the new Quinn Gray deal move cap room from this year to next? If it's not likely to be earned, which clearly is the case, why would it count on this year's cap at all?

Vic: Any incentive that is added after the start of the regular season is considered "likely to be earned."

Gerry from Jacksonville:
Last Sunday, the Jaguars looked like a team that had a bad week of practice and got caught off guard, looking past their opponent. Did you get any feeling about this during the week leading to the game?

Vic: None.

John from Orange Park, FL:
I know you are all about the draft, as I am, but I feel one of the biggest needs this team has is at offensive left tackle. Would you try to go after Walter Jones as a free agent? I have read that Seattle will not franchise him this year.

Vic: It's too early to comment on specific players, but, yes, the Jaguars need to address their situation at left tackle. As you probably know, I don't like signing expensive free agents. I much prefer finding stars in the draft and finding filler players in free agency. The Jaguars will have a lot of salary cap room for 2005, however, and if you're going to spend big money on a player, left tackle is a premium enough position to warrant the cost. Understand, of course, the price tag would be very large.

Jeremiah from Newburgh, IN:
When I go to work, there aren't any fans there cheering me on, but I am still expected to do my job and I'm not paid a million dollars a year. The Jaguars are paid to do their job. The Texans obviously did what they were paid to do. No more excuses. All Jag fans have heard since that 1999 championship loss to the Titans are excuses. With the playoffs on the line, there is no excuse for 21-0.

Vic: You're absolutely right.

Gene from Jacksonville:
I don't care how many people did not show up. What I want to know is where was the team? They are paid to play; fans are not paid to attend. Which was worse, no fans showing up or no team showing up?

Vic: The team not showing up is about the present. The fans not showing up is about the future. Frankly, I'm more concerned about the future.

Bobby from Crawford, TX:
I'm 13 years old. I've been a Jaguars fan since 1995. When will they have a year they will not screw it up and actually make the playoffs?

Vic: Come on, kid, that would've made you four years old when the Jaguars played their first season. Is there something in the water in your hometown?

Ted from Jacksonville:
It was very embarrassing to see, maybe, 7,000 people remaining when Jaxson held up a sign that said, "Thank you, fans." We need some energy in the fan base that even covering seats will not solve.

Vic: Maybe Jaxson should've sent thank-you notes.

Steve from Jacksonville:
My question is what disrespect did the Jaguars players, coaches, fans show the Texans that made them have such a big chip on their shoulder Sunday?

Vic: Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. If I hadn't left my violin in my other pants I would've taken it into the Texans locker room to accompany David Carr's and Gary Walker's interviews. I was all set to praise the Texans, until I heard that whimpering crap.

Skip from Jacksonville:
It was the weather, stupid. It was windy, cold and cloudy. Jags fans stayed home in droves.

Vic: I wouldn't want you to catch a chill.

Charles from Jacksonville:
The weather was great for Sunday's game. There was a guy close to us in the top row that stood up and the wind caught his parka and we have not seen him since. Wouldn't you like them to remove the glass in front of where you sit so you could see better and feel the atmosphere?

Vic: You know what I really want? Just once, I wanna sit with you guys and watch a football game and not have to worry about "no cheering in the press box" or whether or not the score in my first-quarter story is right. Just one more time I wanna go back to what it was like when I was a kid and I came home with cold hands and wet feet. The problem is I won't get a paycheck if I do that.

Gary from Jacksonville:
Love your articles and I listen to you on the "Jaguars Reporters" and "Jaguars This Week" on a regular basis. In looking at this team, I see glaring needs in the secondary and for more playmakers on offense. What, in your opinion, do we need to get to the next level?

Vic: I'm going to delay my answer to your question until after the season is over. We'll have all winter to talk about that kind of stuff.

Durell from Washington, D.C.:
Do you honestly think Byron's head was clear enough for him to play?

Vic: I have a problem with the double message I got from the postgame comments; that Byron Leftwich was clearly affected by the blow to the head he took, but he was cleared medically, passed alertness tests and it was the right decision to play him. In my opinion, it's got to be one or the other, not both. If Leftwich was cleared medically, passed the alertness tests and said he wanted to play – all of which he did – then he should've played. I support Jack Del Rio's decision to play him. I tend to view comments about being affected by the injury as an excuse for a bad performance.

J.D. from Houston, TX:
Do you think the Texans are a better football team? Maybe that's why they slapped Jacksonville around.

Vic: Here's some late-breaking news: Peyton Manning has just thrown another touchdown pass against the Texans.

Tom from Nashville, TN:
OK, a bad time for a bad game, however, after reading some of the reports on coach of the year, I think Jack Del Rio deserves some votes or at least an acknowledgment for the work he has done this year. Who is your coach of the year?

Vic: Jack Del Rio has this team on the rise. He has them in playoff contention on the final Sunday of the season. Yeah, I think he's done a very good job. "Coach of the year," however, is probably going to go to one of these guys: Bill Cowher, Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Mularkey or John Fox.

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