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Now we'll find out who was right

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Cormac from Cork, Ireland:
I watched "Radio" on your recommendation and I just want to say, "Thanks, I really enjoyed it." That said, the fact that you did enjoy it suggests a softer side to you than the hardened, gruff and grumpy Vic we see most of the time and I thought your readers should know about it.

Vic: I'm a very sensitive person and I have a particular sensitivity for those who require assistance. I get that from my wife, who's a special education teacher. I am in awe of what she does and I am in awe of her students' families. These are great people who've dedicated their lives to those who require assistance. That's what "Radio" is about. It's a true story about a young man whose life was changed for the better by a high school football coach who cared. Sports has always provided such stories. I recently learned of the story of a top college quarterback whose best friend since childhood has Down Syndrome. The two of them manage a foundation that aids agencies that assist Down Syndrome victims. I am very sensitive to these stories.

Steve from Jacksonville:
This empty seat thing is getting to me. I'm a season ticket holder and I left at halftime because I was soaked and I was watching the Jaguars pound the Titans into submission. I enjoy close, physical games like the 9-0 win over Pittsburgh much more than a Democrats over Republicans shellacking.

Vic: Are you seeking absolution? OK, I'll give it to you.

Mark from Atlanta, GA:
After the won-loss record, what are the primary tie-breakers for the wild card playoff spots? I'm guessing the Jaguars' conference wins over Pittsburgh and the Jets will be big by the end of the season.

Vic: Conference wins are big. In the Jaguars' case, however, the game at Kansas City could trump all tie-breakers because head to head is number one. Conference record is number two.

Scott from Boise, ID:
Why did the Jags have to waive Chad Owens to put him on the practice squad? I thought all practice squad players were already available for another team to claim.

Vic: Chad Owens was moved from the active roster to the practice squad. Before a player can be moved from the active roster to the practice squad, he first must go through the waiver process. When Owens cleared waivers, he was then eligible to be signed to the practice squad. All practice squad players are free agents free to sign with any team at any time. Any team signing a player from a practice squad, however, must put that player on the team's active roster

Steve from Jacksonville:
I can't wait for the return of "Nice Vic" next week. It will be a pleasure to talk about Matt Jones getting his chance at quarterback.

Vic: I declare tomorrow (Friday) "Nice Vic" day. I promise not to be grumpy in answering any question.

Lee from Ormond Beach, FL:
You stated that Byron Leftwich hasn't been treated with fairness and respect by fans and media. Was Mark Brunell treated with fairness and respect by the Jaguars organization?

Vic: Yes, I believe he was. A new regime came in and wanted to put its stamp on its future, and that usually means installing a young quarterback. Tom Coughlin had done that in 1995 by making Brunell his starting quarterback. Every dynasty in NFL history has done that. Lombardi did it with Starr. Noll did it with Bradshaw. Walsh did it with Montana. Johnson did it with Aikman. Belichick did it with Brady. Brunell was 33 in Jack Del Rio's rookie season as coach. Brunell's best years were clearly behind him. How are you going to establish your future with a quarterback who is in his declining years? Frankly, I was surprised that the Jaguars chose to keep Mark and pay him his $6 million salary that year, when they had to know they were going to make the move to Byron Leftwich at quarterback. If you don't think that's fair, then you'd hate what I would've done. Pro football is a bitter business. Winning isn't built on sentimentality.

Vincent from Jacksonville:
I remember during a weekly football show on television that the rules state that only one team (per division) can be selected for a wild card spot in the playoffs. That means of the three-way fight you talk about in the AFC West, only two teams will make it if their records are better than the Jags. Is this true?

Vic: Nope. Both wild cards can come from the same division.

James from Sierra Vista, AZ:
Any chance of the "Ask Vic Poll" returning with more questions?

Vic: We could do that. I'll give it some thought.

John from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I don't think the fans have thought about this. If this quarterback thing unfolds and David Garrard stays at QB and Bryon is in his last year of his contract, Jacksonville could trade him off. How would these fans like a healthy Leftwich on another team coming in here and trying to beat up on us? I've thought about this, have you?

Vic: You bet I've thought about it. You must have missed my examples: Johnny Unitas, Len Dawson, George Blanda, Kurt Warner, Jim Plunkett, Brett Favre and others. All of those guys were either cut, traded or discarded, and then went on to win championships. When you decide to give up on a quarterback, you better be absolutely sure of what you're doing because he can come back to haunt you for a long, long time.

Lee from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I think we are on the verge of establishing our identity: run the ball, stop the run, great pass defense. Offensively, Garrard helps. His ability to scramble and move the sticks with his legs when the pass isn't there may well be an asset toward establishing that identity. Do you agree?

Vic: There are indications that David Garrard meshes real well with the style of football you've mentioned. My only caution is for this fascination with Garrard's running skills. That's not what you want a quarterback doing. A little bit of it is fine, but quarterbacks are first and foremost passers.

Tom from Fairfield, IA:
You have been discussing Byron losing his job to injury. Do you feel it's more that or his not being honest about his ability to perform effectively, and thus hurting the team? Generally speaking, does macho denial tend to trump accurate assessment of injured NFL players?

Vic: I'm astounded that fans continue to struggle with understanding why the change has been made at quarterback. It's real simple. Jack Del Rio has changed from Leftwich to Garrard because Del Rio believes Garrard at 100 percent is better than Leftwich at 90 percent. That's all it is. A year ago, I don't think that would've been Del Rio's decision, but his opinion of Garrard and his confidence in him has grown since then. You know what I think? I think a lot of fans don't want to accept my reasoning because they don't want this controversy to end. I think it's their chief source of entertainment. Del Rio has made a change at quarterback. That's all it is. He wants Garrard in the game because he thinks Garrard gives the team a better chance of winning. I did some quick math and I'll bet that over the last three years I've had 50,000 e-mails that said Garrard is better than Leftwich. So what's the problem? Now we'll find out who's right.

James from Jacksonville:
The empty seats were saying it was raining ice and hard, heavy rain. I have lived in Florida for 33 years and I don't remember the weather being like that. I left the game because I could not get warm and I was tired of ice in my eye. I love the Jaguars and my football team. If you were sitting at the top of the stadium and had lost the feeling in your feet would you have stayed in a blow out?

Vic: James, it was 69 degrees.

Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
If you found out Byron hurt his foot outside of football and you are the only reporter to know this, would you disclose this info if you knew the team didn't want it disclosed?

Vic: I would write the story and send it to my editor, as I do with every story. What he chooses to do with it is up to him. If he doesn't want to post it because the team doesn't want that information revealed, then that'll be his decision, but it will have no affect on what and how I write. That's the arrangement we have. It protects my credibility, which is every reporter's number one concern. In other words, if my name is on it, you can trust the information is being represented as accurately as my reporting skills allow. Hey, Jaxson de Ville's editor didn't kill his "story," right? Maybe the team is more respectful of the right to free speech than you think. This seems to be the week to challenge my credibility as a reporter, and I think I've been very gracious in addressing these insults to my integrity. That's going to stop now. Tomorrow is "Nice Vic Day," but the old Vic will be back on Monday. Before I close the door on this subject, let me offer you these questions about conflicts of interest. What about a political reporter who belongs to a political party? Is that a conflict of interests? Can you believe what he writes about the party to which he doesn't belong? What about a newspaper that accepts advertising from a company or agency on which it reports? Might their reporting be tainted by the revenue they receive? "Ethics" is one of the very prominent courses in journalism school. I still have the textbook. The conflict of interest issue that has been raised was presented to me long before I accepted a position in the media. I was provided a foundation of what to do and what not to do, then I got 35 years of on-the-job experience in these matters. I'll say this one more time in a gentlemanly manner: If you don't think you can trust me, please don't read me.

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