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Pass-protection is everything

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

Ryan from Jacksonville:
Two rescinded fines in as many weeks. Is the league reacting without thinking it fully through?

Vic: I don't know what's going on in the National Fines League, but I do know that I agree with Paul Spicer that it's wrong to fine guys for acting as peacekeepers. What kind of rule is it that encourages strong and able-bodied men to cower in the face of adversity; to slink to the sideline instead of assisting the officials in trying to restore peace and, in the process, attempt to bring to a quick conclusion a loss of emotional control? In my opinion, that kind of rule is arbitrary and capricious and flies in the face of all good logic and human caring. In my opinion, the league needs to rethink its position on this nonparticipation rule immediately. Blessed are the peacemakers, right?

Jay Dee from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
This is a huge game. What would a win do for the possibilities for the rest of this season for the Jaguars?

Vic: Do you really need to ask? With a win, the Jaguars will even their record and cling to hope of making a late-season run at the playoffs. With a loss, fans' thoughts will turn on Monday toward what has to be done in the offseason.

Jon-Michael from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars will still be in the playoff race?

Vic: We'll find out on Sunday.

Rocky from Jacksonville:
I disagree with Dr. Charles from Ponte Vedra Beach. It was a funny and harmless response to a hater. Get a sense of humor, Doc.

Vic: Oh, no, there can't be any humor. Everything is very serious and we're all very fragile and angry. People must be permitted to call me a jackass because I am a member of the hated media. Never mind that they're too cowardly to even put their real name on it. Hey, I put my full name and my picture on it every day.

John from Austin, TX:
Perhaps your response to Brandon should have been a little more specific. Although Winslow had fantastic stats, his fourth-quarter lapses were the primary reason the Browns lost. Winslow killed a potential game-icing Browns drive with a pass-interference penalty, he fumbled the ball away on the Browns' next possession and at the ultimate crunch time he let a fourth-and-two pass slip right through his hands.

Vic: Some people call it the low road. I call it the truth.

Dustin from Jacksonville:
How many times has an NFL team attempted to win a game with a two-point conversion and what is the success rate?

Vic: Since the two-point conversion rule was instituted in 1994, there have been seven teams that have attempted a two-point conversion when trailing by one point with two or fewer minutes to play in regulation. Three of those teams converted. Tom Coughlin was the first to try in 1995 with the Jaguars, at Tampa. There were 37 seconds left in the game and the try failed. Mike Tice was the first to succeed in such an attempt, as coach of the Vikings in a game at New Orleans in 2002.

Tim from Jacksonville:
Those who are in control always resist change. It's good to be in control. Why would anyone with power want to do anything that might threaten it, unless it gains them even more power?

Vic: You got it. That's what it's all about. It's all about self-preservation.

D.J. from Orlando, FL:
I just wanted to say I love "Ask Vic" and I really hope the Jaguar nation comes out in full force Sunday afternoon. If we win this game, the confidence of this team will return and who knows what can happen after that.

Vic: I don't even wanna get into that no-show stuff. If it's bad on Sunday, I'm gonna find a way to ignore it because I don't wanna hear the excuses.

Gary from Jacksonville:
I read that Kevin Smith from the Lions was saying that a few of the Jags players were telling them him how bad the Lions were. What do you make of that?

Vic: If Smith plays long enough in this league, he'll hear a lot worse. If I was a teammate of Smith's, I would've preferred that he not say anything. I mean, come on.

Malachi from Lebec, CA:
What makes Kerry Collins so good is that offensive line. Being a "big, athletic guy with a great arm, a lot of durability and a true veteran's mind for the game" meant nothing in Oakland. It's all about the protection, Vic.

Vic: You're absolutely right. Pass-protection is everything. I don't care who the quarterback is, if you give him a feeling of comfort in the pocket and time to survey the field, he'll find an open receiver and deliver the ball. In contrast, even the best quarterbacks can't get it done on their backs. Collins has been sacked four times this season. That's fantastic pass-protection and it's directly attributable to his success. Now look at Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers are 31st in the league in sacks allowed per pass play with 31 total sacks allowed. Is it any wonder that Roethlisberger is playing with a separated shoulder, a sore hand and is struggling statistically?

Koop from Jacksonville:
Matt Ryan came out of Boston College last year and has put up an 89.9 passer rating, 1,909 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. Could you list the last few rookie quarterbacks that had such an impact in their first year?

Vic: The two that immediately come to mind are Dan Marino in 1983 and Roethlisberger in 2004, but there's a big difference between the circumstances. Marino and Roethlisberger were the missing links on good teams. They had strong offensive lines and receiving corps. They joined teams that were ready to go. Ryan, however, is the centerpiece of a rebuilding project. He's playing behind an offensive line that has a rookie at left tackle and the Falcons are 21st in the league in sacks allowed, so it's not as though Ryan is getting great protection. The success he's had this season is extraordinary.

Andy from Jacksonville:
As a Jaguars season ticket holder, I can tell you that the atmosphere of a one o'clock game is different than one at 4:15. Maybe it's just me, but the fans get a little crazier with the later starts. There is just something about it, like more of a football feel. Do the players feel the same way or do they just see it as a longer wait until kickoff on game day?

Vic: Most people would agree with you. Most coaches like later starts for home games because they know there will be a little more energy in the building, but I don't think the difference is overwhelming.

Logan from Saskatoon, SK:
Last season, when opponents were selling out to stop the run, the Jags came out passing first; passing to set up the run. Is that the best way to establish our running game Sunday?

Vic: Do it any way you wanna do it but eventually you have to block somebody and move the line of scrimmage. Game-planning is great, but eventually the plan will become evident to the opponent and at that point the difference in the game will be determined by who blocks and tackles better.

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