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Patriots are team of the decade

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

Kevin from Jacksonville:
What team do you think is the team of the decade, Steelers, Patriots or Colts? Sure, the Steelers and Pats both have multiple Super Bowl victories, but the Colts have won the division for how many years straight now?

Vic: The Colts didn't win the division title last year; the Titans did. The Colts won the division each of the previous five years, which makes the Colts the AFC South team of the decade. The Patriots are the NFL's team of the decade. As far as I'm concerned, they've already clinched that distinction. Even if the Steelers were to tie the Patriots with three Super Bowl titles in this decade, I would give the nod to the Patriots due to their two AFC title-game wins over the Steelers.

Erik from Jacksonville:
With a South Philly accent a friend remarked, "I don't have health insurance, I don't have a pension, but I've got my Eagles season tickets." Here in Jacksonville we're giving away free hotdogs, popcorn and Coke with a season ticket purchase to get buyers? We are in big trouble.

Vic: Maybe the Jaguars need to throw in an "Ask Vic" coffee mug.

Matt from Jacksonville:
Everyone seems to have high expectations for the Jaguars this upcoming season. Well, if you feel so strongly, buy tickets. I believe the low ticket sales show the expectations can't be that great.

Vic: I tend to agree with you, but the expectations for last season were through the roof and we were having these same ticket-sales discussions. I'm not so sure that expectations are the determining factor in ticket sales.

Jonathan from Jacksonville:
Do you think that if we lose the first four games it's possible for our team's morale to fall apart like it did last year?

Vic: That won't happen this year and it's because of the difference in expectations. The expectation last year was for a championship season and when you fall behind early in that kind of season, it can be demoralizing. The expectation this season is for rebuilding, re-tooling, etc. Whatever you wanna call it, it's about rediscovering the level of performance that will turn this team back into a playoff contender. Players know jobs are on the line. They know this season is about establishing themselves as fixtures in this team's future. In other words, this is about building for the future and that kind of attitude isn't going to cause a team to quit a month into the season. Go back to 2003, when the Jaguars were 1-7 at the halfway point in the season and then won four of their final eight games and played their best football of the season. Why didn't they quit when they were 1-7? Because that season was about building for the future.

Matthew from Rustenburg, South Africa:
I love your honesty and I don't always agree with your opinions but I have learned much about the game of football through reading your stuff. I wanted to know your opinion of Jones-Drew.

Vic: I see him as the running game version of Brian Westbrook.

Ron from Stowe, VT:
Now that most of the OTAs are in the rear-view mirror, are their any differences you can see from last year's team? What I mean by that is can you generally see players working harder, more competitiveness, having better attitudes toward each other, totally buying into the coaching and the message, etc.? Has anything gotten worse? Has Jack Del Rio, from a coaching perspective, changed anything, or are the OTAs conducted the same way year in and out?

Vic: Attitude isn't generally something you can see on the field. It's something you sense in the locker room, so to speak, and along those lines I can tell you that I have detected a more dedicated attitude in the player interviews I've conducted. I got a strong sense of that in interviews I did with Rashean Mathis, Reggie Hayward and Derek Landri. I think David Garrard is expressing his commitment in the form of a new body type. Vince Manuwai has told me he's "on a mission," referring to his rehab from knee surgery. I'm happy to report, by the way, that Manuwai has made major strides since mini-camp. When I saw him running at mini-camp, he was clearly dragging his leg. I see none of that now. As far as on the field, what I've seen is the kind of energy associated with a young team. The Jaguars had a five-man draft class last season and small draft classes are bad for energy because teams are re-charged by their rookies. The Jaguars have a nine-man draft class this year and there are 25 rookies overall on the field. The newness and freshness that rookie crop has brought to the field this spring is palpable. The short answer to your question is that I like what I see this year. The Jaguars look young and fresh. The team I watched play last season was old and stale.

John from Starke, FL:
I've been a season ticket holder since the beginning but, as a disabled vet, I have purchased handicap seats. My question is do handicap seats count toward the blackout rule?

Vic: No, they don't. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), military and Honors Rows seating is subtracted from the general bowl seating capacity to give the Jaguars a blackout number of about 50,100.

Joey from Jacksonville:
I thought John Henderson was being a smart butt and rude when he said "I'm in." I don't know why you are sticking up for him. I think he has a chip on his shoulders. I would be really happy if you could answer my question. Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Vic: Would you prefer that he say "I'm out?" Henderson was making a point of letting everyone know his dedication to the team and to Jack Del Rio's program is complete and that he has bought into the selflessness Del Rio is demanding of his players. It's a good thing, Joey.

Justin from Dublin, CA:
I was curious if Brett Favre would have decided not to make himself available to the media after the Monday Night game in Oakland, what your reaction would be?

Vic: Life isn't black and white. There are circumstances that have to be considered. A death in the family is one of those circumstances. Allowances must be made for emotional distress and physical injury. I wouldn't expect a guy who just broke his leg to conduct a postgame interview with the media. I'll tell you, however, that Colin Montgomerie came to the press tent after nearly dying from the heat in the 1994 U.S. Open. I'm not supposed to like a guy who does that? I know of no emotional distress or physical injury that kept James from meeting with the media following the Cavs' loss, and I'm not buyin' that stuff about this was his way of letting the fans know he was upset about the loss. Hey, be a pro, OK? Let me tell what the difference is between what James did and what they do in the NHL. After the Caps suffered a devastating game-seven loss in the second round of the playoffs, they not only did the handshake thing without one player missing from the handshake line, they then gathered and raised their sticks to their cheering fans. That's what I want. I wanna see honorable behavior, not sulking.

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