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Picking up the pieces from Sunday

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

Chris from Tampa, FL:
It goes to show that the old saying will never die. Defense wins championships and I know you have been saying that we need a big-play receiver, but I don't see the Titans with a big-play receiver to stretch the field and they are 5-0.

Vic: In my opinion, it'll catch up to them. Teams will clamp down on their running game, as the Ravens did.

Brian from Jacksonville:
I had a great time at Sunday night's game. The loss was a downer but the Steeler fans around us were great. The atmosphere was electric. I sure do wish NFL fans could learn to appreciate the entertainment more and let the folks getting the paychecks stress over the outcome.

Vic: What a great way to say it. That's fantastic.

Tim from St. Louis, MO:
Can you explain to me why the WR quick slant that was successful all game against Houston was not used this week?

Vic: It's because the Steelers didn't load the box with their linebackers on every play. They have four linebackers and a couple of them were usually dropping into coverage on pass plays. Do you remember what I said last week? The Steelers would see the quick slants and take that away because it's not the coverage back that intercepts a quick-slant throw, it's a dropping linebacker and the Steelers linebackers are very active and to be feared. The slant worked against Houston because nobody was dropping. They were all up at the line playing the run.

Josh from Green Bay, WI:
After Sunday night's game, is your biggest concern still having a deep-threat WR?

Vic: I think I know what you're getting at, but it's still a concern. Mike Walker had a catch for 32 yards and Marcedes Lewis had one for 24, but that was it. Everything else was nibbly stuff. The Steelers had the 48-yard touchdown bomb to Nate Washington. That's the true definition of a deep ball and I think it helped the Steelers' running game. The Jaguars need more plays like the one Walker made. The farther away from the line of scrimmage you can chase defensive backs, the more running room there's going to be at the line of scrimmage. At this point, however, it would seem that defense has become the number one concern.

John from Starke, FL:
Sunday night was special except the final score. "The Jack" was full. I was amazed at the amount of Steeler fans but they were great fans. I wished them a good time in Jacksonville and they responded that Jacksonville is a great city and they loved coming down here and were looking for a great game. The respect for not only our team but our city was refreshing.

Vic: That's nice to hear. It gives me hope. Steelers fans love to come to Jacksonville. They were all over the beaches this past weekend. I think Jaguars fans like to go to Pittsburgh, too. I wish the two teams were still in the same division. Playing against the Steelers twice a year would be good for the Jaguars. If there are two things I could go back and change, it would be to size "The Jack" to fit the market from the beginning and to stay in the same division with the Steelers when the NFL realigned in 2002.

Joel from Atlanta, GA:
There wasn't one moment on Sunday night when the Steelers seemed like they were looking forward to their bye week. That's a product of good coaching and strong leadership. What should we expect from this Jaguars team when they encounter a similar situation in Denver this weekend?

Vic: Expect the best they've got to give. Expect the same effort the Steelers gave on Sunday night. The Jaguars have won the game immediately preceding their bye week each of the last three years. Don't worry about this team's effort. Jack Del Rio is vigilant about it. Yes, Mike Tomlin did a great job preparing his team, especially coming off a short week and a body-bag game against the Ravens.

Andy from Jacksonville:
Is Hines Ward a dirty player? What is your take?

Vic: He's a great football player and has been for a long time. He's everything I want in a football player, which is to say he gets it done at crunch time, as evidenced by Sunday night's game-winning catch, not to mention his Super Bowl MVP. He's a wide receiver who hunts heads, instead of letting the head-hunting defensive backs hunt his head. Dirty? I don't think I've ever seen him flagged for a late hit. Vicious? Yes, he is. One day someone's gonna get him. It happens to all of them. They get old and lose a step. There's no avoiding it. But no one has gotten him yet, and he's got a lot of notches in his gun belt. If he was playing for the Jaguars, you'd love him.

Pete from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
"I've never seen a player kill one team as Mathis kills the Steelers." What about Rolle vs. Jags?

Vic: Yeah, you're right. Samari Rolle did to the Jaguars what Rashean Mathis continues to do against the Steelers.

Wesley from Jacksonville:
Can you tell Kyle from Spring Valley, CA, that many Jaguar fans still think you're a Steeler homer?

Vic: I feel like those Doublemint twins. I'm a Steelers homer. I'm a Jaguars homer. I'm two homers in one.

Ryan from Gainesville, FL:
Are you able to explain going for that second fourth down? Was Scobee hurt? It was definitely in his range.

Vic: Here's Del Rio's explanation: "We were beyond field goal range, based on the wind. I'd rather take a shot at a possession rather than punt and have it go into the end zone." Scobee would've been kicking into a rather stiff wind.

Steven from McAllen, TX:
Do NFL coaches penalize players for penalties in a game like they do in high school (that's what my coaches did)? If they don't, they should. I've been a Jaguars fan for two years now and let me tell you, I have never been so disappointed with the amount of penalties we had Sunday night. I think that if Jack Del Rio would make the guys run laps or some other type of extra work, the players would think twice about talking smack during a game. What are your thoughts?

Vic: You'd lose that player and possibly your team forever. These are professionals and they are not to be treated as amateurs. They know what's at stake: their job. That's the ultimate punishment lap.

James from Jacksonville:
How long do you think it will take Rich Rodriguez to get Michigan back to contender form?

Vic: If I was a Michigan fan, my big concern would be that Rodriguez is attempting to give the Wolverines a make-over that may not fit their tradition or image. Michigan is starting to look like West Virginia. I think Rodriguez will turn Michigan into a vaunted offense but, in the process, I think their defense will decline and that's just not Michigan football. Already, they're starting to look soft. They're starting to look like a finesse team and it's really hard to swallow. It doesn't go with the helmets and it doesn't go with the song.

Brandon from Ashburn, VA:
When did the Steelers "Terrible Towel" thing become as famous as it is? As funny as it is that a piece of cloth is the best thing that resembles your team, it is pretty cool on the other hand when people see a yellow towel they automatically think of the Steelers. Do you think our Jaguars will ever have something like that?

Vic: It's not the towel, it's the guy who invented the towel back in 1975. I'm talking about my old friend Myron Cope, who passed away last winter. The towel rode his popularity and as long as they continue to wave, Myron lives on. He is and always will be the towel. Can it happen in Jacksonville? Sure it can, but it's not something you can force. It has to be spontaneous.

Enrique from Jacksonville:
I can't even bring myself to read any Jags headlines or even read past the first few questions of "Ask Vic." Sunday night's loss has really disheartened me.

Vic: You'll recover. What you're going through is what I saw on Jack Del Rio's face at Monday's press conference. He was disheartened. The loss hurt. In a game between two teams, one team and one fan base has to suffer the pangs of defeat. Recovery happens, however, and we push forward. This season is far from over. All the Jags have to do is win and all will be right with the world. Hang in there. The real season doesn't start until December. Just get to December in playoff contention. That's all I ask.

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