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Perfect for Halloween

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

Alan from Buford, GA:
Since your inbox will certainly be clogged with anti-Byron, anti-Carl Smith, anti-Scobee, anti-Jack Del Rio e-mails, I'd just like to say that I blame you for bringing up the stellar Jags offensive performance from 1996 vs. the Rams that resulted in a Jags loss. Sunday seemed eerily similar to what you wrote in that article.

Vic: There is no shortage of blame after a tough loss. If you wanna blame me for planting a seed, that's OK, but Sunday's loss in St. Louis really wasn't all that similar to what happened in that building in 1996. In '96, the Rams produced very little offense. In Sunday's game, Steven Jackson rushed for 179 yards and Jamie Martin threw for 200. In the '96 game, it was a case of the Jaguars offense self-destructing. In Sunday's game, it was a case of the Jaguars allowing too much yardage to a team that was playing without its starting quarterback and starting wide receivers. You can't say the Jaguars dominated Sunday's game. They certainly squandered opportunities to win it, but the Rams rushed for 200 yards and that left the Jaguars embarrassed.

Igor from Jacksonville:
What happened? What a horrible showing by the Jags from the get-go. Five missing Pro-Bowlers from the Rams? Awful! We want to be fancy and catch the ball one-handed when we can use two hands and move the chains; flat out bad. Vic, I think this team doesn't deserve to go to the playoffs … what a horrible week! Sorry for the long comments but please understand my frustration. What should I do with myself?

Vic: Start by getting hold of yourself. You're a grown man, for Pete's sake. This was a football game. There'll be another game this Sunday and the Sunday after that, etc. This is your night. You got the all-time best Halloween name. You were born for this, so put yesterday behind you, put your costume on and go get some candy before all the brats in the neighborhood beat you to it.

Mark from Wichita, KS:
I still have hope for the team, Vic, but let's be realistic, aren't we shooting for a wild-card berth now?

Vic: Yeah, I think it's time to focus on the wild-card picture.

Kelly from Jacksonville:
How many "why don't they start Wilford?" questions would you say you got?

Vic: As you would expect, I was flooded with them today and for good reason. Ernest Wilford turned in a sensational performance on Sunday. More importantly, Byron Leftwich appears to have an eye for Wilford and feels comfortable throwing to him. Maybe Leftwich to Wilford is the passing combination the Jaguars have spent so much energy trying to find. If this is a game of production, then what Wilford did yesterday shouldn't and won't be ignored. In my opinion, the Jaguars need to make the wide receiver position more competitive. Wilford is doing that. I also wouldn't mind seeing Cortez Hankton introduced to the competition.

Logan from New Bremen, OH:
What was going through Del Rio's head? It was stupid going for it on fourth-and-one on the St. Louis 25-yard line.

Vic: They saw something they wanted to go after. Jack Del Rio took responsibility for the play-call after the game and explained that it was a calculated risk. We asked Byron Leftwich about it and he began to explain that they saw something they wanted to go after, then he stopped his explanation because players aren't supposed to give away information on strategy. Everybody knows I'm not a big play-calling guy. Call whatever you want; just make it work. If you're saying they should've tried a field goal or run the ball on fourth down, I understand the logic because those would be the conservative calls. I'm not a throw-it-deep-on-fourth-and-one kind of guy, but I'm having trouble getting all wound up about the call because Josh Scobee had two other chances and missed and Greg Jones actually lost yardage on his third-and-one try. How many chances do you get? Why couldn't the middle of the Jaguars offensive line get any push on third down?

Robert from Chicago, IL:
What a disappointing loss. Good teams do not lose that game. What happened to stopping the run? Early in the year, I chalked up the suddenly porous run-defense to focusing on pass-defense. Now I'm starting to think it's a deeper problem. So what's the deal, Vic? Why with two Pro-Bowlers and a big free-agent defensive end can they not stop the run?

Vic: You're asking the question of the day and I, too, am starting to believe the problem goes deeper than just focusing on pass-defense. The Jaguars have allowed a 100-yard rusher in five of their last nine games and the run-defense is currently 26th in the league. It is what it is and it would seem to be time to focus attention away from stopping the pass and toward stopping the run. I don't know what the problems were in St. Louis. I know Daryl Smith didn't have a good day, but he wasn't the only guy on the field. Jeff Lageman is our resident expert on film analysis. He'll study the film intently today and I'll ask him what happened. I'll relay Jeff's analysis to listeners on tonight's "Jaguars Reporters" radio show.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Vic, your timeline on the invention of the TV is far off. I really don't know where you are getting your information from. All one needs to do to rubbish your argument is Google "the invention of the television." I read nearly 25 articles and not one single one confirms your timeline; never mind the "I love Lucy" nonsense. The argument posed by Wes from Dallas is factual.

Vic: Nonsense, huh? I suppose you never heard of how Meade monitored Confederate television broadcasts to achieve an intelligence advantage at Gettysburg.

Josh from Sierra Vista, AZ:
So glad to see Fred have a great game and so aggravated that it was wasted. I hate to use any excuse but do you think all the discussion and rumors about the dispute between the city and the team may have had an effect?

Vic: Absolutely not. I tested that theory in advance by asking players last week what their opinions were of the city/lease issue. I couldn't find one player who knew anything about it, other than there was an issue. Byron Leftwich asked me to explain a little bit about it to him. He was the only one. Regardless of your opinion of these guys today following a disappointing loss, they are pros. Their interest is solely on being successful in their careers and they apply themselves completely to that effort. This was not an announced move situation that would include sweeping changes in personnel and coaching, as was the case in Cleveland in 1995. Last week's city/lease issue should not be used as any kind of an excuse for Sunday's loss in St. Louis.

Jon from Van Buren, AR:
Although I would like to blame Scobee for our loss Sunday, I can't. What lost us the game was too many dropped balls, 170-plus rushing yards allowed and the blocked punt for a TD. Do you think we have a kicker problem?

Vic: He had a bad game. One bad game doesn't qualify as a kicker problem. If he has more bad games, you have a kicker problem. Right now, I see a young kicker with a powerful leg and great upside who could've been bailed out very easily on Sunday by his teammates. That's one of the things that sticks in my mind from Sunday. Time and again, the offense had a chance to bail out the defense and the defense had a chance to bail out the offense and special teams had a chance to bail out both and none of the three stepped forward to do it.

Alec from York PA:
A silver lining? Better to lose on the road to an NFC team than to an AFC opponent?

Vic: Absolutely, it is. Losing is never good, but losing an intra-conference game is a double hit for a team chasing a wild-card berth.

Rubin from Wiesbaden, Germany:
I noticed in the game against the Rams that Matt Jones made several attempts at one-handed catches, all of which were unsuccessful. His touchdown in the Pittsburgh game was a one-handed grab. I was wondering if the receivers coach has addressed this? It seems to me he tries to make one-handed catches when it's not even necessary to do so.

Vic: Yeah, and when I made that observation in response to a question a couple of weeks ago I received a slew of abusive e-mails that told me I was an idiot and that I don't have any idea what I'm talking about because I never played the game and all of that crap. The media will no doubt ask Jack Del Rio about it at Monday's press conference. We'll see what he says.

Don from Middleburg, FL:
So what went wrong?

Vic: They left too many points on the field: the two missed field goals, the failed fourth-and-one at the Rams 25 that should've produced at least three more points, and Ernest Wilford's unfortunate bobble of a pass that resulted in an interception. Those plays represent at least 12 more points and maybe more.

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