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Put the finger on the problem

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

Dustin from Kissimmee, FL:
That was fun, though creepy. How about a grumpy Vic day?

Vic: That's a very easy request to fill today.

David from Maplewood, NJ:
A submission for the top 10 reasons I didn't go to the Titans game: "Since there would be no sun, I decided to go to a tanning booth instead."

Vic: Just OK.

Jason from Abilene, TX:
Letterman reason number nine: "Our coach isn't named Steve Spurrier. If he were, I'm sure the Jags would have won at least a couple of holiday bowls by now."

Vic: Just OK, too.

Vince from Jacksonville:
You are going to get tons of e-mails after this game. Vic, give us some of your wisdom and enlightenment to calm us fans down because it looked like the only team that beat the Jags was the Jags themselves. Do you agree?

Vic: No, not entirely. The Texans I saw yesterday are a much better team than the one I saw on Oct. 22. They converted eight of 19 third-down plays and one fourth-down try, and those conversions were the difference in the game because they allowed the Texans a 15-minute time of possession advantage. I don't know how you can win with only 22:27 of possession time. That's a very good Jaguars defense the Texans were able to keep on the field, and I think the Texans deserve a lot of credit for controlling the tempo of the game. The flip side, of course, is that all of the passes Jaguars receivers dropped helped the Texans control the tempo of the game. In that sense, the Jaguars did beat themselves, but I don't think we should be so smug so as to not acknowledge what the Texans did to win the game.

Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
Fred Taylor did his part to try to complete his guaranteed win, but why didn't he receive more carries?

Vic: That's a valid question. I would like to have seen more runs, but I would like to have seen more plays overall. The Jaguars only had 55 plays in this game to the Texans' 80. That's a horrible imbalance. Fifty-five plays is like something out of the 1970's when teams ran the ball every play. The two dropped passes by Matt Jones that were intercepted put the ball right back in the Texans' hands and killed drives that might've allowed the Jaguars to establish their running game. The Jaguars just didn't get anything going long enough to stick with the run. They were down 7-0 the first time they got the ball and it seemed as though they were swimming upstream all day. When I look at the play-by-play, nothing jumps out at me and says they should've run the ball more here. If they had caught the ball, I don't think I would be answering this question.

Charley from Paducah, KY:
As an Arkansas fan, I was embarrassed the way Matt Jones played and felt bad for Garrard. As a Jags fan, I think Hankton deserves a shot to start. What do you think?

Vic: I've always been a big Cortez Hankton guy, but one nullified-by-penalty long pass reception isn't reason enough to put a guy in the starting lineup. I need to see some real catches and some real production. Hankton may have a chance now to show his skills. Based on the performance of the guys ahead of him, I think he'll probably get some playing time. I have no doubt Jack Del Rio would welcome a top performance by Hankton and would reward it with increased playing time.

Wade from Winston-Salem, NC:
Can you put a finger on what is lacking? Why can't they perform?

Vic: Put my finger on the problem? Yeah, I can do that. I already have done that. The problem was the wide receivers. Matt Jones turned catch and run into drop and give. Reggie Williams killed one touchdown with a holding call and nullified what would've at least been a field goal attempt to send the game into overtime with an offensive pass interference penalty. In this case, "they" refers to the wide receivers. The defense didn't get the Texans off the field often enough but the defense played well enough to win. The running game was ready to take control late in the game but then came Williams' penalties. David Garrard was victimized by his receivers, of course, costing Garrard a 25.5 passer rating. Everyone is spreading the blame around. They're blaming the coaches for a bad game plan. They're blaming Khalif Barnes for his weekend arrest. By the way, did you see Dennis Norman at left tackle? He was outstanding; another example of the Jaguars' great depth and the ability of this coaching staff to have players prepared to play. If we're going to analyze what happened, then let's be sensible and not get into some wild diatribe about everything the Jaguars do. What happened? They dropped the ball and committed two penalties at crunch time. That's what happened.

Sam from Jacksonville:
After (Sunday's) game, I am trying to maintain a measure of objectivity, however, I can't help but share with you two observations: First, I believe the Jaguars' receiving corps is woefully inadequate. Secondly, playoff teams and those teams that are elite don't lose to the Texans, much less get swept by them.

Vic: Do playoff teams lose at home to the New York Jets? The Patriots did. Do playoff teams need the Bills to miss a 41-yard field goal attempt? The Colts did. Do playoff teams need to rally to beat the Titans? The Ravens did. You're making one of those sweeping observations fans love to make following a loss they consider to be inexcusable. This is a league of upsets and we have a weekly reaffirmation of that fact, but you won't accept that fact when it happens to your team. Hey, was the Jaguars' win in Philadelphia an upset? Do Super Bowl champions lose to the Ravens one week after the Jaguars beat the Ravens 30-3? The Steelers did last year. That's the kind of league this is. It's that way by design. Parity is no accident. Look at the draft order, the waiver wire order. Everything is designed to produce this result. We've reached the point that upsets are expected. Jacksonville, Cincinnati and Kansas City all lost on Sunday and they were front-runners for the second wild-card spot.

Brooks from Orange Park, FL:
If our season were to end after this game, what do you think the organization would do to remedy the situation?

Vic: It would have to take a hard look at its passing game. That's what's holding this team back and that's not a new revelation. I said last summer the wide receivers would determine how high this team can reach. When this seasons ends, the Jaguars are going to have to take a long and hard look at their passing game. The situation at quarterback needs to be resolved. Does the quarterback, whoever he is, have the receivers he needs to be successful? That's going to be a major offseason question. This team is entering the prime of its life. It can't afford to waste time on a position that isn't developing quickly enough. The final seven games of this season should be used to get the answer the Jaguars need on their passing game. Everything else about this team is just fine.

Joe from Jacksonville:
I understand it's your column and you are entitled to put whatever you want in it, but I thought you were hired to do a football column and I liked it much better when there was no mention of politics. I love your insight on football but when I want to read liberal potshots, I'll log onto CNN.

Vic: You're absolutely right. It's my column and I'll do whatever I want in it.

Chris from Scranton, PA:
Please tell me nice Vic is gone forever. Reading (Friday's) column was excruciating.

Vic: Nice Vic will return.

Ancil from Charleston, WV:
How much does this loss hurt?

Vic: It's not the loss that hurts, it's the performance. In my opinion, the Jaguars will likely have to win in Kansas City to win a wild card, provided the team is in the wild card race. The head to head tie-breaker would probably make it necessary to beat the Chiefs and, without getting on a long winning streak, I don't think having to win in KC could be avoided. From that standpoint, I don't think the loss to Houston ruined anything.

Seth from Jacksonville:
One thing was glaring watching the Jags lose: Our last four first-round picks were not a factor.

Vic: And that's a problem because very few teams can sustain winning without a contribution from its first-round picks. It's amazing the Jaguars are getting so much production from late-round picks such as Bobby McCray, a seventh-rounder who leads the team in sacks. Tony McDaniel and Brian Iwuh are undrafted guys. Josh Scobee and Gerald Sensabaugh are fifth-round picks. Vince Manuwai, Jorge Cordova, Scott Starks and Clint Ingram are third-rounders. Every second and third-round pick from the last four drafts is on the Jaguars roster and other than for Greg Jones, who is out for the year with a knee injury, is contributing in a big way. Here's another one. Every fourth-round pick in the last four years is playing in the league, which includes George Wrighster, LaBrandon Toefield, Ernest Wilford and Alvin Pearman on the Jaguars and Anthony Maddox on the Texans. The Jaguars are getting tremendous production out of every round of the draft except the first.

Andrew from Richmond, VA:
What a way to start the weekend with one great laugh. One of your best lines of all time: "8. Be brave against the cold. Temperatures are supposed to dip into the low 70's on Sunday. The Jaguars need their fans to bundle up and be there."

Vic: Actually, the forecasters were way off. The temperature at kickoff was 56.

Bryan from Jacksonville:
Enough already. Kill nice Vic, mean Vic and idiot Vic and go find the Vic that gave us just the facts, man.

Vic: There are many Vics – nice Vic, mean Vic, factual Vic, philosophical Vic, idiot Vic – and they must all survive and be allowed to express themselves individually or, surely, independent Vic will die. A Vic divided against himself can not survive.

Todd from Fruit Cove, FL:
Please never, ever have another "Nice Vic Day." You reminded me of Jack Nicholson in "The Shining."

Vic: Words of wisdom, Lloyd, my man. Words of wisdom.

Tim from St. Louis, MO:
And the number one reason to bail on the Jags-Titans game: "The fair was more exciting than the Titans."

Vic: Oh, I like that one.

Rob from Delona, FL:
You're ragging on the fans that either left the Titans game early or didn't even come at all. How about the fans like me that stayed to the very end? I told myself at the beginning of the season I will never leave another game early.

Vic: I left my merit badges in my other pants.

Derrick from Jacksonville:
Do you have to be so sarcastic in your responses?

Vic: Yes.

Luis from Fruit Cove, FL:
"The re-run of my college team's Saturday game started before the Jaguars game ended," and "The battery in my laptop died and I had to rush home so I could read Vic's blog."

Vic: Very good.

Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
"I injured my ankle getting out of my huge SUV, which I have no business driving because I live in Florida and I don't hunt or fish."

Vic: Watch it. I think there's a political statement in there.

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