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Play-calling upsets fans

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

Matt from Jacksonville:
This was a tough loss. It was tough because it was hard fought but, in the end, the Jaguars faced the number four defense and, on the whole, a much more mature team. Of all the games to lose, this was the one we could afford to lose. I'm disappointed, but not that much.

Vic: The Jaguars ended the day in the same position they were in when the day began, tied with the Colts for first place and a game ahead of the Titans. The only difference is that now Houston has joined the Titans a game behind the Jaguars and Colts. All of this is why I said this was not a must-win game. Either way, the Jaguars would've had to win in Indianapolis. That's the key.

Jim from Pekin, IL:
What's your opinion on big blitzes, which I define as rushing six or more players? Before the snap on the game-winning TD to Boss, as I watched the Jaguars defense line up, I yelled at my television set, "Oh, no, don't blitz." They blitzed seven and the result was an easy touchdown, game over. Why do teams go blitz wacky like that?

Vic: If they had rushed four and dropped seven, you would've yelled at your TV, "Come on, blitz." Whatever it is a team does, they have to make it work. That's why it's players, not plays. My advice to you is: Don't yell at your TV.

Bobby from Virginia Beach, VA:
Do you think Garrard is responsible for the interception at the beginning of the second half? I know he is the leader of the offense and is inclined to take responsibility, but Sims-Walker is a wide receiver in the NFL and that catch should have been made. It wasn't that poor of a throw.

Vic: It was a little behind Sims-Walker, but I think I saw Sims-Walker looking to the inside to see where the safety was, and he didn't get his head turned back toward the ball in time to get a good look at it. I have to believe that if Sims-Walker is looking at the ball all the way, that's a catch he makes.

Luis from Jacksonville:
I had picked the Jags to lose just because of NY's pass-rush and us not having our starting left tackle, but I must say, it wasn't a factor until the last 3-4 plays of the game. Can you give us your take on what you expected and what you saw out there?

Vic: I did not expect the Jaguars to play as well as they did or keep the game as close as it was. I saw a Giants team with single-digit rankings all over the place, and I saw a Jaguars team that was severely challenged at the two tackle positions, which just happened to be across from the two positions of greatest strength on the Giants defense. It was not, in my opinion and in the opinion of a lot of other people, a promising matchup for the Jaguars. Jack Del Rio and his staff, in my opinion, did an outstanding job preparing for this game. Dirk Koetter was masterful in stretching the Giants sideways, making the ends run laterally instead of up the field. The Jaguars also did a lot by formation. They moved personnel and threw a lot of shifting and motion at the Giants, all with the intent to create hesitation and keep the pass-rush on its heels. It took the Giants nearly the whole game to figure it out.

Michael from Jacksonville:
Again this game is proof that this coaching staff does not have the killing instinct. How many years have we seen this? Domination in one half and then get out-coached in the second half? How many times we abandon what works and act like we have Tom Brady as a QB and start throwing the ball all over the place? Run the (bleep) ball when you have three minutes left. Run the ball right out of the halftime on the first play when you have done it in the entire freaking first half. This is not about personnel, Vic, all the time. It's the play-calling and putting the players at the wrong place and at the wrong time, because the same personnel was dominating the first half, so get over it.

Vic: I'm over it. I think you need to calm down.

John from Jacksonville:
Is Cortland Finnegan's locker next to Randy Moss' locker?

Vic: When are the Jaguars going to wise up and start signing guys like Moss and T.O.? I mean, look what they've done for the Titans and Bengals.

Elmir from Jacksonville:
Can you ask the coaches why they stopped running in the second half?

Vic: I'll ask Jack Del Rio just for you, Elmir, when we meet with coach Del Rio this afternoon. I'll put his answer in my story.

Brian from Greenwood, IN:
How much did the Jaguars miss Aaron Kampman?

Vic: They had no sacks. Is that a good answer?

Jason from Brooklyn, NY:
So what are your thoughts on the New Meadowlands Stadium? How does it compare to the new stadium in Dallas?

Vic: It doesn't have go-go dancers, but it does have four giant-sized video boards that are handsomely displayed in the four corners of the stadium. I'm not sure four are necessary; two would've probably sufficed. It's a nice place, but it's awfully colorless. A blue and green color scheme would've been better than the all-gray look. I like New Meadowlands better than the one in Dallas, but that's mostly because I consider the one in Dallas an abomination. I don't like New Meadowlands nearly as much as the other new ones in the league.

Brad from Jacksonville:
It looks more and more likely the only playoff team from the AFC South will be the division winner. This Tennessee game is huge.

Vic: Here's how you win the division title with only 10 wins, which I think is very do-able: Win four of the remaining five games and make one of those wins in Indianapolis. The head-to-head tiebreaker trumps all tiebreakers. I really believe that formula will do it.

Mike from Jacksonville:
"Del Rio and staff did a fantastic job keeping the Giants defense off-balance most of the day." You must be joking. I know you are the Jags' spin machine, but you are embarrassing yourself.

Vic: Oh, please, don't be mean to me. I want everyone to like me. I was just trying to be nice.

Ernie from Granger, TX:
I was watching the Bills game yesterday and noticed that despite the fact that they have been a horrible team for some time now, they still manage to pack the stadium. Great fans, huh?

Vic: They were playing the Steelers.

Jim from Jacksonville:
No question, I'm just very frustrated with the second half total lack of performance.

Vic: Yes, we did not have FULL CONSISTENCY. Losing is unacceptable. Our greatness is great. We are above losing. Tickets will not be purchased until we have FULL CONSISTENCY.

Dean from Rochester, NY:
To add to my earlier e-mail, I saw the Garrard sack more than a minute before it happened in the main "Sunday Ticket" game feed. I had to shut off the "Red Zone" so I could enjoy the full misery of the rest of the game. Please concatenate my e-mail with my previous one in "Ask Vic." I figure my first successful "Ask Vic" should be the first concatenated message.

Vic: I don't do concatenation. By the way, do you see dead people?

Bryce from Columbus, GA:
I do not like criticizing NFL officials, but every time Terry McAulay is the referee for any Jaguars game, it seems as though the calls go against us.

Vic: Did the holding penalty on Kevin Boss that nullified the nine-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham in the second quarter go against the Jaguars? Did the defensive holding penalty that gave the Jaguars a first down and moved the ball to the 29-yard line in the Jaguars' final drive go against them? Is there any chance you're not seeing both sides of the officiating?

Alvin from Jacksonville:
If you see Garrard in the hallway, tell him he holds the ball too long, especially when it's third and forever and they are coming after you.

Vic: I'll tell him as soon as I see him.

Wayne from Jacksonville:
How much of an insider are you? Does the coaching staff treat you like a Jaguars staff member or are you treated like the general media or perhaps somewhere in between? I would like to think that you are given, or have access to, more inside information than the general media but aren't allowed to publish it. I imagine it's a fine line. I apologize for those of us who get on your nerves so badly. Life's too short to sweat the small stuff.

Vic: No problem, I never sweat the small stuff, such as e-mails that question my professional integrity. Wayne, I'm way inside, baby. These guys don't do anything without telling me first because they know I'm the spin doctor. Hey, how can I spin it if I don't know it, right? As I've said repeatedly, everything I say and write is a lie and no one should read this column. All of my effort is an attempt to deceive and confuse the fans for the purpose of driving ticket sales. Media? I'm not media. If you want the truth, you've got to go to the fan sites. That's where you get the pure, raging truth, baby.

Mark from Greenwood, IN:
I was listening to the game with my wife, who is a recent convert to the strategy of football, and she asked me why we were doing nothing but throwing during the last drive and especially after the penalty that gave us the ball first and 10 at the 29. I couldn't think of any other possible reason besides Dirk Koetter having a complete and immediate loss of all reason and common sense. What explanation would you offer her for the play-calling?

Vic: I would tell her that it was because if they had run the ball, guys listening to the game on the radio with their wives would've asked why the Jaguars were wasting plays by running the ball up the middle instead of passing the ball. After all, they'd say, the Giants had obviously made adjustments at halftime and Maurice Jones-Drew wasn't nearly as successful in the running game in the second half as he was in the first half.

Bryan from Jacksonville:
We lost the game due to horrible play-calling, period. It wasn't Garrard. It wasn't the defense. When you rush for over 150 yards in the first half and then completely abandon the run in the second half with the lead, you are asking to lose. We decided to pass the ball the entire second half with a depleted offensive line. What were they thinking, Vic?

Vic: As I said, I will ask coach Del Rio to comment on these play-calling complaints when we meet later today. What I can offer you right now is some statistical information: 1.) Garrard threw 16 passes and scrambled three times in the first half; he threw 19 passes and scrambled three times in the second half. 2.) Maurice Jones-Drew rushed 10 times for 73 yards in the first half; he rushed 11 times for 40 yards in the second half. I'm not saying they shouldn't have run more often in the second half, I'm just saying those are the facts and they tend not to jibe with your perception of "completely abandon" and "pass the ball the entire second half."

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