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Patient teams are often rewarded

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

Andrew from New York, NY:
You spoke before about places you liked to visit when you were on the road. I'm obviously not from Jax but I will be there week 11 against the Giants. My question is what places would you recommend I visit as part of my week-long trip to Jax?

Vic: Even in mid-November, the beaches are great. I even like them more in the winter than I do in the summer. The combination of a warm sun and a cool breeze is amazingly therapeutic. One of these days, I'm even going to try surf fishing. The Jacksonville beaches are spectacular. I went to the west coast of Florida recently, walked onto one of those itty-bitty beaches, looked at the water and those itty-bitty waves and said, "It looks like Lake Erie." Nothing beats Jacksonville's beaches and surf.

Billy from Ft. Smith, AR:
What are your expectations for Matt Jones this year? What is your evaluation of him?

Vic: I expect him to catch passes and score touchdowns. I expect him to become a go-to receiver for Byron Leftwich. I expect him to become a major weapon in the Jaguars offense. My evaluation of him is that he's taking steps toward becoming that kind of player.

William from Jacksonville:
I agree with Scott from Thursday. I think we could use a game plan that would rotate both quarterbacks in and out during the game. It would really throw defenses off. Both are good passers. I know NFL and college are different, but Spurrier did it.

Vic: If Spurrier did it, by all means let's do it. It worked so well for him in Washington.

Mike from Whitehall, PA:
In regards to Josh from Greene Cove Springs, it cost me just under $2,000 for four premium seat tickets at FedEx Field to watch Jax play Washington (parking pass included).

Vic: Will Daniel Snyder wash your car while you're at the game?

William from New Orleans, LA:
You have often said the owners are basically giving away their product on TV. How much would you be willing to pay if football games were pay-per-view?

Vic: That's a great question and I often wonder if it'll ever come to that. I imagine the answer to your question would vary from person to person and game to game. I don't know how to give you an accurate answer, other than to say if I didn't cover football, I'd probably buy "NFL Sunday Ticket."

James from Cave City, AR:
In your opinion, are Jaguars fans still doubting Matt Jones?

Vic: I don't know because I don't obsess about any one player. I don't think most Jaguars fans do, either. If I were you, I'd start obsessing about 50-14.

Jason from Jacksonville:
After reading the question and response to Jack in Thursday's column, it got me thinking about all the pressure put on quarterbacks and head coaches to perform and I went and did a little research and found some interesting numbers. The average tenure of head coaches from last year's 12 playoff teams is 5.25 years. Not one of the coaches was in his first year and only three were in their second. Also, of the four teams to make it to the conference championship games last year, the average tenure of the head coach jumped up to nine years. Furthermore, all of the quarterbacks going into last year's playoffs had been the unquestioned starters of their teams for at least two years, with the exception of Simms in Tampa Bay. Why can't fans and owners see that a little patience pays off in a big way with their coaches and quarterbacks? How important do you feel it is for a team to stick with its coach and quarterback?

Vic: I couldn't agree with you more. Patience is a virtue. Impatience is a weakness and success is seldom the result of being weak. The Steelers are the great example of patience and stability in the NFL, but I'm going to give you another example of patience paying big dividends. I'm talking about Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Beamer was 24-40-2 in his first six seasons as head coach. That's a record that's going to get most coaches fired but Beamer wasn't fired because the Virginia Tech program was so low that its administrators had no choice but to be patient. Since he turned the program around, Beamer hasn't had a losing season and has taken the team to a bowl for 13 consecutive years. Virginia Tech is now one of the powerhouse teams in all of college football. That's what patience did for Virginia Tech.

Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Am I overreacting or does it seem the Jaguars have been bitten by the injury bug?

Vic: Yeah, they have but not to a degree that their injuries can't be overcome. Mike Peterson has returned to practice. Marcedes Lewis is nearing a full recovery. Marcus Stroud is a concern but the Jaguars are deeper at defensive tackle than possibly any team in the league and they should be able to hold forth until Stroud is back to full health. The loss of Greg Jones is a setback, but what if Derrick Wimbush emerges as a quality power runner? He's a player whose skills might've otherwise gone unused. Football is a physical game. It's not a matter of if players will get hurt, it's a matter of when they'll get hurt. If you're going to go through an injury bug, early in the season is better than late. Injuries cost the Jaguars any chance of winning in the playoffs last year. We saw a case of overcoming a major injury last night. Charlie Batch wasn't asked to do much, but he did enough. Teams must be able to overcome adversity.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Last night I was flipping channels with my daughter sitting right beside me and I see an "R-rated," sexually-explicit, profanity-filled NFL kickoff concert, not on cable, but on my local NBC affiliate during prime time. This is as bad, if not worse, than the Janet Jackson incident. You told us to "dictate to the media." OK, I'm doing what you said. Tell us just how family-oriented fans can dictate their concerns to the NFL powers that be.

Vic: Did you turn your TV off or turn the channel? That's how the viewing public voices its opinion. I didn't see any of that stuff you've mentioned. Why didn't I see it? Because I stayed in the bedroom and read a book until 8:30 p.m., which was kickoff. I wanna see football; that's all. If everybody had done as I did, do you think the message would've gotten through? The reason that stuff you don't like is on, Howard, is because a lot of people do like it. They do wanna see it and they send that message over and over. Not me. I am the master of what my eyes see.

Geoff from Clermont, FL:
The Dolphins-Steelers game was just another example of a team giving up on the run too early in the game. The Dolphins were up three points looking to take momentum of the game after escaping a threatening drive with a turnover. So what do they do? Totally abandon the run, just as their feature back was getting into a rhythm. I feel that error in play-calling judgment ultimately cost them the game. What do you think?

Vic: I couldn't agree more. Madden said early in the broadcast that Bill Cowher's goal was to make the Dolphins one-dimensional, and that's exactly what happened. The result was two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Lou from Jacksonville:
Have you seen enough of Brent Hawkins to compare him to other players in the league?

Vic: I haven't seen enough of Hawkins to compare him to other players, but I've seen enough of him to know to whom I'd like to compare him: Joey Porter. I think Hawkins has the kind of forward and backward athletic ability to fashion himself after Porter. In other words, I think Hawkins has the ability to drop into coverage, too. In time, I think he might develop into someone who can sack you and intercept you. I don't think of Hawkins in terms of Dwight Freeney. I think of him more in terms of Porter.

Kelly from Rohnert Park, CA:
I recently heard from a co-worker who has been to the Cowboys' stadium that the field is sloped so the center is higher than the sidelines. Are NFL playing fields flat and level, or is there some variation allowed?

Vic: What you're describing is a "crown," which facilitates drainage. Playing fields in domed stadiums don't have crowns. Compared to college fields, NFL fields have very small "crowns." College teams that ran the wishbone had fields with dramatic "crowns," which gave the term "downhill runner" a true meaning. If you're a college team that runs the ball, you want a big "crown." If you like to throw the ball, you want a small "crown." Throwing the ball on a field with a big "crown" makes for high throws toward the sideline.

J.D. from St. Augustine, FL:
What are some similarities between the Cowboys and Jaguars?

Vic: Defense is each team's calling card. They're both big, physical teams. They both have postseason expectations.

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