Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Kelly from Palm Coast, FL:
Not to be a downer, but isn't it also true that those top four offenses are there partially because of us?
Vic: That's a fair statement, but let's not forget that Kyle Orton torched the Colts and Titans and that the Colts put a whipping on the Giants, who have the number three defense in the league.
Pat from Jacksonville:
How do you defend the "West Coast offense?"
Vic: First, you stop the run and make your opponent one-dimensional. When they pass, jam the receivers at the line of scrimmage to disrupt the rhythm of the passing game and, most of all, make sure of your tackles after the catch. The passing attack in the "West Coast offense" relies on rhythm and runs after the catch.
Ron from Virginia Beach, VA:
Where exactly do teams get their tapes on other teams when studying their opponents?
Vic: The league employs an elaborate and sophisticated video-exchange department that requires all of its teams to provide copies of its games to what's known as the "dub center," where the copies are duplicated and distributed to all teams by no later than noon on Monday.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Do you remember there used to be a bunch of guys who would kick the ball barefooted? Why did they do that?
Vic: I covered a guy in the '80's who punted barefoot. He was from Texas. His name was Goodson or Goodman or something like that. I can remember him punting the ball in frigid weather and there would be this painful sound of the ball striking his foot and I would think to myself, "Why would a guy do that?" One day it dawned on me. There could only be one answer: He hated his foot.
Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Kyle Orton is a quarterback who receives criticism because he doesn't have a cannon for an arm. Wouldn't a team like the 49ers love to have a guy like Orton?
Vic: There's nothing wrong with Orton's arm. He's got a good arm (that's according to the scouts, by the way, not me) and he's a very accurate passer. I'm starting to wonder if Orton might not be the next Tom Brady, which is to say a guy who slipped all the way to the fourth round for no good reason. From what I understand, he had some issues with the coaching staff at Purdue and may not have gotten the greatest of recommendations. The bottom line is that he's having a great year. Here's the crazy part: Josh McDaniels hit a major home run when he identified Orton as a quarterback for whom he should trade. It was a great trade. So why, after working with him for a year, did McDaniels change his mind and draft a quarterback in the first round, and don't tell me that was a BAP pick cause I won't buy that? McDaniels got it right the first time. He should've trusted his instincts.
Marcio from Coral Springs, FL:
Week after week you defend the Jaguars and Jacksonville. Is it safe to say you love this town, or do they pay you that much?
Vic: It's just a general lack of journalistic integrity, Marcio. I've lied my way through 39 years of reporting and you were able to see right through it.
Scott from Honolulu, HI:
I am a very proud father-in-law today, Vic. Today, you answered a post by my son-in-law. The great part is that although he's a big Jags fan, up until a few weeks ago, when I told him about it, he had never heard of "Ask Vic." Now he reads it every day and he's asking questions. He's young and has much to learn about the game (like who Jim Brown is; not kidding), but I know if he keeps reading you he'll learn a lot.
Vic: The Jaguars have become the team of the Hawaiian Islands. We even had a news crew from Honolulu here this week to do a story on Tyson Alualu and Vince Manuwai. Send the Jaguars all the players you have over there because they can play and they're good guys, too. Find me another Vince Manuwai. I love that guy.
Michael from Columbus, OH:
When it comes to respect, the national media (NFL Network and ESPN) have been giving the Jaguars love all week. The Jags absolutely cannot afford to lay an egg in Buffalo.
Vic: The national media has been incredibly complimentary of the Jaguars this week, yet, I think you're the only person who has acknowledged it. Jaguars fans are so paranoid they don't know how to feel good.
Bill from Middleburg, FL:
Is the reason for Mike Thomas' success because he runs great routes or because Mike Sims-Walker is being double-teamed?
Vic: It has nothing to do with what Sims-Walker is doing. It has everything to do with the way Thomas is playing, which is to say fearlessly. He crosses the middle without fear. Never underestimate the value of courage in this game. The most courageous players are the best players.
Ancil from Charleston, WV:
Tom Brady is a terrific quarterback, but I think he's going to miss Randy Moss more than Peyton Manning would under comparable circumstances, which makes Manning, in my book, a superior quarterback. Your thoughts?
Vic: Brady won three Super Bowls throwing the ball to Troy Brown, David Givens and Deion Branch, who was traded to Seattle for a first-round pick and whose numbers have steadily fallen since then. How many Super Bowls did Brady win with Moss? I think they'll manage without him.
Kevin from Uxbridge, Ontario:
I've been hearing a lot of experts question whether or not the Steelers should have given up a safety against the Ravens. Is there any situation in which you find it advisable to give up points, no matter the score, or is that just video game mentality?
Vic: It would've been nuts to take a safety because then all the Ravens would've needed is a field goal to win. When do you take the safety when you're backed up against your goal line, you're leading by one score or less and there's enough time on the clock for your opponent to mount a drive? When you're leading by six points.
Steve from Jacksonville:
While reading When Pride Still Mattered, I came across this interesting quote from Vince Lombardi: "You know, I think that spread formation is a lot of junk. You play this game with your power. You do what you do best and you do it again and again." Still true and, by the way, this book should be required reading for every NFL fan.
Vic: The game misses Lombardi. We don't have a man of his stature in the game today. I see it as a problem. We need an icon who is also a man of strength and virtue.
Adam from Chandler, AZ:
It seems to me not just sports media but the media in general has become less credible as they place more importance on ratings and less importance on the truth. I remember all of your stories about the time you spent in journalism school and the "truth is the pure defense," but I just wanted to know how you personally felt as one of the few remaining who seem to place the truth above all else in their reporting.
Vic: You're reading the wrong people. My profession is full of men and women who are dedicated to the truth. You wanna know what I think the problem is? I think the problem is the reader looks for media to hate. I think the problem is the reader wants to be angered so he or she has basis for lashing back at the media. Conservatives read and watch the liberal media so they can find content they consider incorrect and inflammatory, and liberals read and watch the conservative media so they can do the same thing. Don't read and watch that which supports your views. Read and watch that which reports the truth. I'm not sure, however, the American reader and viewer is objective enough any longer to know where to find the truth and who to believe. That's the problem.
Mike from Orange Park, FL:
I understand the naming of schools such as Michigan State, Florida State, etc. Do you know the reasoning for including the word "State" in the names of schools that are not named for the state in which they are located, such as Kent State?
Vic: It's because they are state-funded institutions.
John from Jacksonville:
It figures. Buffalo has their first blackout in four years this weekend against the Jags. This should keep the media perception of Jags blackouts continuing, even when the blackout isn't in Jacksonville.
Vic: We do have a tendency to turn out the lights wherever we go.
Bob from Somerset, PA:
I have been watching old footage. Is it my imagination or did the running backs catch more passes in the 1970s? If that is true, why was that the case and what changed?
Vic: The running backs today are more involved in the passing game than the backs were back then. Lenny Moore was the first true back-out-of-the-backfield receiver. He had great hands and a knack for getting open and he had a quarterback who knew how to use him. Moore, of course, was a star in the '50s and '60s. The Lenny Moore of the '70s was Lydell Mitchell, another Penn State back who played for the Baltimore Colts. Bert Jones was the Colts quarterback then and I think the Colts tried to recreate their past by casting Jones as Unitas and Mitchell as Moore. Mitchell had 72 and 71-catch seasons, which was a phenomenal number of receptions back then. Why did the running back emerge as a pass-catcher in the '70s? Because the rules allowed for bump-and-run coverage on wide receivers and for defensive linemen to use the head-slap technique and offensive linemen weren't permitted to use their hands to block and, by the way, holding was a 15-yard penalty back then. The rush was on and quarterbacks needed an outlet receiver. Backs would stay in to block, they'd count to two and then start drifting into the flat or across the line of scrimmage, depending on the positioning of the linebackers.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Not as impressed with the Patriots as you are. Trading players such as Seymour and Moss for unknown draft picks isn't always the smart move. They sure could use Seymour now. Pittsburgh does it the best. Pick your guys for your system, groom them, then play them until they can't play. It works.
Vic: I'm OK with that way, too.
Austin from Jacksonville:
Seeing the picture of Jack, with tears in his eyes, being embraced by his son after the Jaguars' win last Sunday, really struck me. It moved me to tears. I imagined what his son must have felt after hearing this city scream for his father's job and say awful things about a man he so admires. I hope the image made an impression on others as well.
Vic: If you watch instead of envision, and if you listen instead of speak, you will experience real-life drama and confrontation in this great game. The true connoisseurs of football embrace the poignant and reject the bluster. I trust you will enjoy Sunday's game for what it is, a genuine human confrontation.