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Nothing beats three feet down

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

Andrew from Saint Augustine, FL:
Who do you think is the most productive rookie in our lineup at this point? There are plenty of contenders for this title. It's very exciting to see these young guys get better and better every day.

Vic: Derek Cox had a monster game on Sunday. He led the Jaguars with seven tackles, in addition to an interception and two passes-defensed. Cox is playing a premium position and he leads the team with two interceptions.

John from Neptune Beach, FL:
Wouldn't it be ironic if Fisher and the Titans end up with a higher draft pick than the Jags and pick Tebow ahead of the Jags, just to stick it to Jacksonville?

Vic: I wouldn't worry about that.

Kyle from Jacksonville:
Don Banks at "Who'd have thunk it, but Jacksonville, the team that nobody watches play (either in person or on TV), is suddenly 2-2 and on a two-game winning streak in the AFC South. Maybe the Jaguars should change their name to the Jacksonville Blackouts." I couldn't help but remember you saying how the national criticism of Jacksonville was only going to get worse, but this was hard to hear and read. Is there any way you could describe how bad it will get if the blackouts continue?

Vic: I don't think it can get any worse. There isn't an out-of-town reporter I talk to whose first question to me isn't, "When are the Jaguars going to leave Jacksonville?" This is very unfortunate and I feel bad for all of the football fans in this town who feel humiliated. I cling to hope this will turn around and I'm convinced that a season of blackouts will break the TV habit and drive fans to the ticket window. We're already seeing signs of that happening.

Matt from Bloomington, IN:
How much more pleasant are your Monday mornings after a victory the day before?

Vic: It helps, but there's still so much anger. Jimmy Cannon said he chose to become a sportswriter because he liked being in happy places. Jimmy would've never covered the Jaguars.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
A local morning sports talk show was suggesting the Jaguars rotate the offensive tackles. Don't we have to be a smarter football town than this?

Vic: That's not the answer. You play your best players. It's that simple.

Colby from Denver, CO:
Have there ever been any moderately successful NFL players who were missing an eye?

Vic: Fred Arbanas wasn't missing an eye, but he was the AFL's best tight end when he sustained an injury to his left eye and lost sight in it. He continued to play football and remained one of the AFL's star players.

Rajesh from Jacksonville:
Monday's front page news on shows David's left hand with a play-calling sheet taped to his hand. Is this something new? I thought David was not allowed to change plays called by coaches. Do you care to shed some light on this?

Vic: Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter gave us an example a couple of weeks ago of Garrard changing a play in the Arizona game. It was the wide receiver screen play on third and one. Garrard was given two plays. One of them was a running play and the other one was the wide receiver screen to which Garrard could switch if he didn't like the run. The wrist band provides play and formation information.

Tim from Baton Rouge, LA:
What are the Seahawks' strengths and weaknesses?

Vic: The Seahawks are 13th in overall offense (24th in rushing and 11th in passing) and 16th in overall defense (20th against the run and 17th against the pass). They're kind of middle of the road, a team trying to find its identity under a new coach.

William from Jacksonville:
The tickets on the dresser didn't work. It turns out she has a mild interest in rooting against the Cowboys because her grandfather didn't like them and now she doesn't like Jerry Jones. After I explained how Jerry is trying to kill leaguethink, she really doesn't like him. I'll be going to games with the boys.

Vic: Time away from home has saved a lot of marriages.

Edward from Jacksonville:
We had a blast taunting Fisher at the end of the game last week, however, as I was driving home, I started feeling guilty for engaging in the behavior. Should I?

Vic: You weren't feeling guilt, you were feeling humiliation. There's a difference. Guilt is what you feel for what you've done to somebody else. Humiliation is what you feel for what you've done to yourself.

Nick from Las Vegas, NV:
What are the challenges the Jaguars will face from a time-zone change perspective going to the opposite side of the country for a late-afternoon game against the Seahawks?

Vic: I've covered teams that have done it every way imaginable. I've covered teams that have gone out early on Friday, late on Friday, early on Saturday and late on Saturday. The thing I think that makes playing across the country difficult is that you don't play there very often so you feel as though you're in a strange country. It just never feels right. When the Jaguars play in Tennessee, Indianapolis or Houston, I think they feel as though they're in a familiar place. They know where to go and what to do and the layout of the hotel and the feel of the weather, the locker room, the path to the field and the feel of the turf. My feeling has always been that the more you play somewhere, the better you'll play there. This will be a strange, new stadium for the Jaguars this Sunday. It'll be a tough assignment and I think the decision to go out on Friday is logical. The players will get a day in Seattle under their belt to familiarize themselves with the time change and the change in climate.

Aaron from Gainesville, FL:
How much of this win is accredited to improvement by the team or just a better job at play-calling by the coaches? Maybe it's just gelling?

Vic: Play-calling and game-planning are important, but it still comes down to playing and that's where teaching is more important than play-calling. These coaches are teaching these players how to execute their assignments. Then they are putting the players into schemes in which they fit and giving them plays at which they can succeed. Play-calling is the last rung in the ladder. Why didn't they call the same plays four weeks ago? Probably because the players weren't ready to make them work. These weren't new plays on Sunday. They were in the playbook a month ago but, for example, Mike Thomas wasn't ready to go back then. That's why it's always players, not plays. You have to have players who can make your plays work.

Joe from Jacksonville:
Can we be a more dominant passing team having the receivers spread over the field as we did against the Titans?

Vic: Spread offense and one-back and empty sets are all the rage. It's where the game is and where it's going to stay because the rules favor it. That doesn't mean you can't run the ball. What it all means is you have to be capable of using every square inch of the field. You have to make defenses respect the whole field so they can't load up on any one part of it. That's contemporary offense. I've always been a big run-the-ball guy, but I can remember saying years ago that I was all for spreading the field and running it. Why not create the same open spaces for your running game that you create for your passing game? Spread the field, increase the line splits and run it. That's where I see football going, but doing that will require having a mobile quarterback.

J.D. from St. Augustine, FL:
The salary demands set by the market for a 4-3 right defensive end has to be the elephant in the accounting room for small-market teams. If it's all about the money, then the 3-4 also has serious business advantages for a small-market team, right?

Vic: Not really because all you're doing is moving the money you're paying your right defensive end to your rush linebacker. Sacks are sacks. No matter who gets them, you're gonna pay for them. The reason teams are making the switch to the 3-4 is because premier, pass-rushing defensive ends are especially hard to find, usually require a first-round investment and represent a significant bust risk among high picks. In contrast, a lot of the rush-backers come out of nowhere, such as James Harrison, an undrafted guy. Oh, he's getting paid for being a star, but it came after he proved himself and required no draft risk, and that's good for teams in any size market.

Fred from Jacksonville:
Could you help me with the referee's explanation to the crowd of "three feet down" on Sims-Walker's TD catch?

Vic: It's just officialspeak for having caught the ball, gotten both feet down in bounds and having taken a step. I knew as soon as I saw Mike's catch on replay that it was going to be reversed to a touchdown. He demonstrated possession, got two feet down and with the step he took he made what's called a football move. At that point, it was a touchdown. He didn't have to control the ball to the ground. The football move he made ended the play. That's why "three feet down" was so important in explaining the reversal.

Dave from Ada, OK:
No wonder Garrard felt like '07. The picture on captured some fine tooth and nail blocking.

Vic: Yeah, I saw that.

Brad from Jacksonville:
You told us not to taunt the Titans with teal towels, so the NFL handed out pink towels instead. They worked just as well. The Titans are now 0-6 and have been outscored 144-85 since they stomped on the "Terrible Towel" on Dec. 21 at LP Field.

Vic: The "Towel" obviously supports breast cancer awareness. With a visit from the Colts upcoming, followed by a trip to New England, the "Towel" may be 8-0 before the Jaguars go to Nashville. If I was Jeff Fisher, I'd hire an exorcist or make a public apology to the "Towel."

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