Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Jeff from Oswego, NY:
You rank all of the AFC South in the top 12 of your power rankings. Is it safe to say we're the strongest division of the NFL?
Vic: I think any division that has Indianapolis in sole possession of last place deserves to be considered the strongest division in the NFL.
John from Jacksonville:
Who/how do you think the Jaguars are going to cover Antonio Gates?
Vic: Who? The strong side linebacker and strong safety are traditionally the two positions with which you cover the tight end. How? With great aplomb or not at all.
Peter from Jacksonville:
To answer Michael's criticism that a third of the stadium was empty before halftime, I was one of thousands of people who crammed the concourses halfway through the second quarter to escape the knee-buckling heat. Otherwise, a lot more of us would have ended up needing EMT treatment for heat exhaustion. It was the hottest game in Jaguars history, for crying out loud. If comparisons are really necessary, let's compare Sunday's loud, post-lightning crowd to those few who stayed for the lightning-delayed preseason game against the Dolphins. Attendance may have been only 95 percent, but the Denver game showed a lot of evidence that this franchise is turning itself around.
Vic: I'm with you, but you're throwing misinformation around and I won't allow that. If you want me to correct erroneous media reports, then I'll have to correct erroneous fan reports, too. Attendance was not at 95 percent of EverBank Field's capacity. Tickets distributed were at 95 percent of EverBank Field's capacity. The turnstile count or actual attendance on Sunday was 58,390, which is 87 percent of EverBank Field's capacity. Everybody wants transparency, right?
Andy from Saint Johns, FL:
The change of the half sack from Middleton to Knighton on Monday, how is that handled by the NFL? Who decides that? How long do they have to decide to change a stat after the game?
Vic: There's no time limit. I remember one year the Dolphins went back through the play-by-play of the whole season to find another few yards for Mercury Morris, to get him to a thousand yards rushing, which they did, right on the button. Under more normal circumstances, if after the coaches watch tape of the game and they want to challenge a stat, they tell their team's PR staff, which alerts Elias. Elias then reviews the play and makes a ruling, usually by Wednesday. Each home team employs a crew of statisticians on game day; the Jaguars have a staff of eight. They take their work very seriously. Of course, I do, too, because stats are very important in my life. I desperately need them to tell me what I've seen.
Jeff from San Diego, CA:
I'm a small guy. I'm going to the Chargers-Jags game on Sunday. I'm wearing my Jags gear. Are you saying I'm going to get stabbed?
Vic: No, that won't happen to you because you're tough. You must protect this house. I'll be watching for you.
Bobby from Jacksonville:
When you were first coming into your profession, did you ever think the NFL would attract the media and become the entertainment it has? If you could go back to the old days of your profession, would you?
Vic: Vito Stellino and I were talking yesterday about the big differences between covering the NFL now as opposed to back then, meaning in the '70's. We decided that the big difference is that we don't interview naked players as much now as we did back then. Back then, it was as though players took off their clothes to be interviewed. Nowadays, they won't do interviews until they put their clothes on. David Garrard even puts on a purple hat to do an interview. The first player I ever interviewed who insisted on putting something on before the interview began is Terry Bradshaw. He had signed an endorsement contract with a toupee company and part of the agreement was that he would be seen at all times on TV with the wig on. I can remember Brad saying, "wait a minute," then putting the wig on and then turning back around to do the interview, wearing nothing but the wig. So what? Jack Lambert didn't even put his teeth back in. Doing interviews in the nude was a natural act. I remember my youngest son asking me what I did for a living. I told him I fly around the country and talk to naked men. He giggled. There was a lot of nudity back then, but not anymore. I'd feel funny interviewing a naked player now.
M.S. from Pensacola, FL:
Does Don Banks have any redeeming qualities?
Vic: He sure does. He's a sportswriter, which means he has several redeeming qualities. He's intelligent, refined, sensitive, fair, can play to a draw or a fade, is a faithful husband despite the awe with which other women regard him, loves children and small dogs, cuts his own grass, changes his own oil, never complains when his neighbors set off fireworks late at night, calls his mother once a week, can soften any mood with a few bars of Sinatra or Bennett and, most of all, is always willing to pick up the tab. Don's a great guy.
Jared from Pensacola, FL:
Do you think if we can make it past the Chargers this weekend we could have a good chance to go 4-0 to start off the season?
Vic: Why stop at 4-0?
Abhi from Jacksonville:
What is the norm for teams that travel to the West Coast and, on that same note, what is the norm for teams that travel East to play?
Vic: Some teams travel on Friday, but I think most teams travel on Saturday. I can tell you this, no team's fans are as concerned about their team's travel itinerary as the Jaguars' fans are. You'd think the whole town was moving to San Diego. Playing on the West Coast is difficult, just as it's difficult for West Coast teams to play on the East Coast. I don't know why it's difficult, it just is. I also know this: The best teams I've covered had the best records on the West Coast and the worst teams I've covered had the worst records on the West Coast, which tells me that how you play out there may have more to do with your team's talent level than it does with its travel itinerary.
Michael from Vero Beach, FL:
Is it just me or does there seem to be bitterness for Jacksonville from the national media for our recent success in ticket sales and stadium deal?
Vic: I think there's a suspicion within the media that Jacksonville isn't a big enough market to support an NFL franchise, but I don't think there's a media-wide bitterness for Jacksonville. As I've said, one of my best friends covers the Steelers and he loves coming here. I talked to him yesterday and he was lamenting the fact that had the Jaguars won one more game and finished in third place in the AFC South last season, he'd be coming to Jacksonville this weekend instead of going to Nashville. I think Jaguars fans have become overly sensitive to media criticism. Hey, we let this happen. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
Kevin from Oakland, NJ:
How are injury report designations governed? What stops a coach from listing a player as "doubtful" when it's likely he'll play, claiming that his 25 percent chance ended up being the case?
Vic: In situations in which a team has been judged to have misrepresented its injury report, the team will likely be fined and might also lose a draft pick.
Thomas from Snellville, GA:
With the Chargers looking to avoid a blackout of their own, how can the Jaguars use that as an advantage going into an important road game like this?
Vic: Make fun of them? Would that make us feel better?
Ryan from Cape Coral, FL:
This Sunday's game is on the verge of a local blackout? That's pretty sad considering this is their home opener. What do you think of this?
Vic: Pathetic, man, pathetic. What a crummy football town. Let's see, how many blackouts in a row is that for them? Let me take a look. Hmmm, it says here this will be their first blackout since Nov. 7, 2004. It says the Chargers are on a streak of 48 consecutive sellouts. Yeah, but they're gonna black-out a bunch of games this year, baby. What a bad football town. LOL.