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QBs must be efficient, effective

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

Melissa from Indianapolis, IN:
The Colts happened to play the Jaguars when the Jaguars had a short week after a tough game against the Steelers. Now they get the Patriots on a short week after a tough game against the Vikings. Coincidence or a generous favor from the NFL?

Vic: I don't know, but I saw it way back and I was immediately suspicious. Do you think Bill Belichick is suspicious, too?

Steve from Jacksonville:
How long does it typically take for a really good quarterback to develop and what defines a really good QB? If Byron is that type of QB, what should we be seeing from him and when?

Vic: In my opinion, quarterbacks are defined by their efficiency. Winning is always the most important thing, but no one is going to consider a winning quarterback to be "really good" if his team wins in spite of his inefficiency. In my opinion, a "really good" quarterback has to be an efficient and effective passer. Great quarterbacks are efficient and effective for the majority of their careers. Then there's another category: championship quarterback. We know what they do. Byron Leftwich is at the point in his career that he should be an efficient and effective passer. He was last year and he has been in four games this year.

Bryan from Docters Inlet, FL:
Do they keep a statistic that tracks the average number of plays per drive? I was just wondering how David Garrard's number of plays per drive compared with Byron's. It seems like David has more long drives than Byron. It seems like we have better field position throughout the game when David's starting because he keeps the drives going.

Vic: I don't know if they keep that stat and I'm not going to check to see if they keep that stat because it's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. A guy called the radio show on Monday night and made the observation that the Jaguars throw fewer passes when Garrard is the quarterback. I asked him for a statistic to support his claim. He had none, so I told him to call the Wednesday show and I would have the stat for him. He called back and I gave him the stat, which even surprised me how little difference there is between the two quarterbacks. When I gave him the stat, he paused and was clearly not satisfied. So he directed his next question to Jeff Lageman: "Don't you think the Jaguars play harder for Garrard?" Lageman said "no," but I could tell the caller still wasn't satisfied. It's real simple. If you prefer Garrard, just say you think he should be the starting quarterback because he's a better runner. That's a fact and I'll accept it, but please stop with all of this other nonsense.

Tom from Jacksonville:
Which QB has the best points per possession average? That should settle the controversy.

Vic: They're tied. Prove me wrong.

Donnie from Jacksonville:
Thanks to you, I don't need to look at any other websites for my football news. What's your favorite golf course in this area?

Vic: The Hampton golf courses, North Hampton and South Hampton, are great courses and they have treated us wonderfully in hosting the annual "Ask Vic" golf tournament. They are my favorite courses because they are great layouts, they are always in top condition, they are affordable and they have treated my readers so well.

Jason from North Pole, AK:
Peyton Manning or Dan Marino?

Vic: You got me with that one. As I said a week or two ago, I'm a homer for Pittsburgh quarterbacks, so I must really respect what Manning can do because I can't pick between the two. They are both fantastic passers of the football. I wish Marino had won a Super Bowl and I'm getting to the point that I'd like Manning to win one, too, just to get it out of the way. It would be a shame for him to end his career without a title.

Austin from Gainesville, FL:
What time do you rise and shine to start the column? And is it bacon or sausage in the morning?

Vic: During the season, I'm an early riser. I'll get to work at 6:30 a.m. In the offseason, everything slows down and shortens. One of the first things I do when I get to work is get a bowl of oatmeal. It's a breakfast choice that transcends taste.

Scott from Houghton, MI:
The Colts are doing something I haven't seen them do in recent years, winning close games. I don't like to say it, but the Colts may have what it takes this year.

Vic: They very well may have what it takes, but they also have the worst run-defense in NFL history, and that's a fact, not an opinion. Bad run-defense is not the thing of which postseason success is made. They've got to fix it between now and playoff time.

Joel from Orange Park, FL:
I know you are tired of this. I have been pondering this now for a while. I am pretty sure Byron's ankle did not respond well Wednesday and that is why is he not starting, but it was hinted on the radio show Wednesday that Byron might not be in the coach's full favor right now and I think that assumption comes from the Houston game. Do you think it might be from another game, specifically last January, when it appeared to most people Byron was struggling because of injury and rust?

Vic: I've taken questions posed from every angle possible. I wish I had hard answers for all of you but I don't. I think, however, it's now obvious a change is being made at quarterback, and all coaches make changes for the same reason: because they think it gives the team the best chance to win. There have been no proclamations, therefore, the coach maintains a lot of wiggle room on the quarterback situation, and that means we all have to hang loose because the circumstances could change abruptly at any time. I don't feel the need to obsess on this because the information we need will accumulate weekly over what's left of the season. The real issue for me is what this team is going to do at the quarterback position in the offseason. That's the big picture and I can tell you I am intensely interested to know what the long-term resolution at QB is going to be.

Scooter from Jacksonville:
I'm sorry, but isn't the most obvious way to win a game to score points no matter how you score them?

Vic: You have to score points to win, but it better not be at the risk of turning the ball over. Turnovers cause teams to lose. NFL coaches are conservative in their offensive game plans because avoiding turnovers is their number one thought. If it comes down to a decision between punt and play defense or attempt to make the first down by doing something risky, they almost always will punt and play defense. The obvious way to win a game is to score points, but be careful how you do it. Don't turn the ball over. What we saw in Philadelphia last Sunday is, in my opinion, the way Jack Del Rio wants this team to play.

Duane from Chicago, IL:
I was wondering if you know of any team in history that won the Super Bowl with a quarterback controversy at the midpoint of their season, or toward the end of their season?

Vic: I covered one, the 1974 Steelers, who began the season with Joe Gilliam at quarterback, then made the change to Terry Bradshaw at midseason, then started Terry Hanratty in a game in Cleveland late in the season, then made the move back to Bradshaw for good and went on to win Super Bowl IX. It was a major quarterback controversy because it involved a quarterback who was the first pick of his draft, and lost his job in training camp when he didn't cross picket lines during a player strike, in one of America's union hubs. Teams can overcome quarterback controversies. It's not what you want but it can be done. My advice is to keep an open mind. All of this will play itself out.

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