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One more stab at it

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

Joe from Jacksonville:
I've noticed you praise Marcus Stroud like's he's the next Warren Sapp. I agree he has the potential, but look at what he's done. This year, I don't remember him having one pressure. He's not stopping the run, either. So I was wondering, what does he have that makes you like him so much?

Vic: Marcus Stroud is credited with one pass-defensed and three quarterback pressures this season. Joe, you may have me confused with someone else. At least, I know you haven't read or heard any praise from me recently.

Matt from Storm Lake, IA:
Is it time for a new kicker or is Seth Marler going to be OK? He missed two field goal attempts in the game against Indianapolis.

Vic: In my opinion, Seth Marler's talent is worth the wait; I think he offers much more upside than Hayden Epstein did. Marler has a strong leg, appears capable of doing both the kickoff and placement kicks, and has an impressively-even disposition. All he needs is time, and it would appear the Jaguars have time on their side. By the way, I love the name of your hometown.

Jeff from Fillmore, UT:
Just curious, Vic, how come we don't see the option used in the NFL? It seems like it works great in college. Why can't or don't we use it in the pros? I saw Atlanta use an option-type play with Dantzler, and they scored their only touchdown.

Vic: The option is not a viable offense in professional football for a few reasons: Most quarterbacks don't run well enough to make defenses respect the option to run; most coaches don't want to give defenses the opportunity to break the highest-paid guy on the team in half; the option is too high-risk for a game that values ball security more than anything else; and to really run the option efficiently and effectively a team has to spend a lot of time on it in practice. There are some quarterbacks, such as Michael Vick, who can make it work, but it's just not meant for the pro game. As far as a little razzle-dazzle in the offense, I like what Pittsburgh does with Antwaan Randle El, a former option quarterback who is now a wide receiver. I have no problem with a little bit of that stuff included in the offense.

Pete from Jacksonville:
I know it was considered garbage time with the point deficit, but it looked as if the offense was re-energized with Byron Leftwich taking over as quarterback. Was the defense as vanilla as Buffalo last week? If not, should a change be made sooner than later since Brunell is not in the plans for the future?

Vic: There was just over two minutes to play and the Colts had victory in hand. It was the same situation as in the Buffalo game. As far as starting Byron Leftwich, I think it could happen this Sunday in Houston. Mark Brunell sustained a left elbow injury yesterday that required stitches. Everybody knows Leftwich is this team's future at the position.

Bill from Springfield, VA:
With an 0-3 start, what is there to be positive about that can help carry the season, or is the season already lost?

Vic: I don't like the idea of giving up on a season after three games. You want positives? The greatest positive of all would be an all-out effort in the face of adversity that would rally this team to respectability. The Jets did that in 1999, after losing Vinny Testaverde for the season in the season-opener, going 0-3 and 1-6, then rallying behind little-known quarterback Ray Lucas to win seven of their last nine games and finish 8-8. It earned the Jets a measure of respect that became one of the team's building blocks for the future.

Joe from Jacksonville:
Vic, I read your column daily, find it most amusing and very informative, but I think it's time to change and put the youngsters in. We're going no place this year. Let the true rebuilding begin. But I would like to take this short moment to express my thanks to Brunell for the wonderful seasons he has given us Jags fans in the past. It's time now to switch. Do you think the time has come to do it?

Vic: Joe, I'm having trouble getting across my position on this matter. I'll take one more stab at it, then I'm going to shut it down on these put-the-kids-in questions. Here goes: I wanted to see the Jaguars commit to that type of program before the season began. But they didn't, which means the gains to such a program can not now be fully realized. Moreover, in my opinion, once a team makes its final roster, it is bound by the integrity of the league's competitive balance to play the players who give the team its best chance of winning. Surrender is not an option. The NFL does not play for next season; it plays for this season. If Byron Leftwich is judged to be this team's best quarterback, then he should be playing. The same principle should be applied at every other position. I understand and respect the logic of what you're suggesting.

Daryn from Gainesville, FL:
Do you see any similarities between this week's game in Houston to the game at Houston in 1995?

Vic: I think I know what you're going for -- Mark Brunell rallied the Jaguars to a victory and became the team's starting quarterback, and maybe that'll happen this week with Byron Leftwich -- and you can bet that'll be the lead in my game story if that happens, but I think that would be more romance than reality.

Alex from Honolulu, HI:
As one of the few Jags fans in the 50th state, "Ask Vic" has quickly become my favorite site. Being 0-3 is nothing to be proud of, but I'll try to be optimistic about the situation and look forward to drafting high in 2004. Roy Williams, welcome to Jacksonville.

Vic: The way things are going, that would appear to be a very logical projection.

Bobby from Orange Park, FL:
I'm looking at the defensive stats against the Colts and there must be a mistake. The $6 million man didn't even make a tackle? Vic, please give your opinion on Douglas. Is this guy a major bust?

Vic: You're asking a legitimate question. Hugh Douglas gets paid the big money to sack the quarterback. It's got to start happening or the answer to your question will become painfully obvious.

Gil from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Vic, I've always been impressed with Fred Taylor's ability as a running back. However, I don't think he's a good fit in our version of the "West Coast offense." He doesn't seem to me to be that great of a receiver, and that would seem to be a prerequisite for this offense. Do you think he'll make the adjustment over time?

Vic: In my opinion, Fred Taylor catches the ball much better when he is standing still. You're right about his lack of ideal pass-catching skills, but Fred Taylor is a sensational running back and those skills fit perfectly in any offense. Why is it so important to throw him the ball. Just hand him the damn thing.

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