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Rush and cover

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

Yllen from Jacksonville:
Now that everyone seems to be jumping on the Jaguars bandwagon, do you think we will finally get the respect we deserve?

Vic: Please, not the respect thing again. NFL Network spent millions of dollars to give the Jaguars their own TV series this summer. Was that respect? Peter King of Sports Illustrated picked the Jaguars to go to the Super Bowl. Was that respect? The NFL selected Jacksonville to host this season's Super Bowl. Was that respect? All of this whining and crying about a lack of respect is disrespectful of the attention this team and this town have received.

Gary from Jacksonville:
What did the Patriots do to stop Manning and can we do the same?

Vic: I assume you're referring to last year's AFC title game, when Peyton Manning threw four interceptions. Well, the Patriots' plan was built on the execution of two strategies: Rush the passer and cover the receivers. I'm serious. That's what they did. Some people thought the Patriots' defenders mugged the Colts' receivers, but it worked. And the Patriots' pass-rush chased Manning out of the pocket, and he's not nearly as effective throwing the ball on the move.

Robert from Amsterdam, Holland:
Could you help me settle a 20 euro bet my brother and I have. We're both big fans of the Amsterdam Admirals, who play in the NFL Europe League. The Admirals have always had a very pass-oriented offense and the addition of the new pass-interference rules in the NFL have got me all excited because they will work to the advantage of the Admirals. But my brother says NFL rules don't necessarily apply to the Europe League and I say they do. Could you help us out?

Vic: You win. Europe League uses the same rules the NFL does, with the exception of the 50-yard four-point field goal. But understand this: The five-yard chuck rule hasn't been changed. It's the same rule the NFL put into force in 1978. The difference this year is the league has announced a "major point of emphasis" in enforcing that rule.

Hasso from Jacksonville:
Last year, when we played the Colts at home, the game was blacked out so I couldn't watch it. I would like to know how Peyton Manning did in that game.

Vic: Peyton Manning built a 20-7 halftime lead by having completed 18 of 29 passes for 190 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. In the second half, the Jaguars defense got tough, limiting Manning to 10 completions in just 16 pass attempts, for 157 yards, no touchdowns and another interception in the Jaguars' 28-23 win. There was criticism that the Colts got conservative in the second half, but the real burden of blame falls on the Colts' defense, which allowed the Jaguars touchdown drives of 80 and 93 yards. That's how you beat the Colts; control the ball and keep Manning off the field.

Frank from Middlesex, NJ:
I'm not mad at you, Vic, although I thought about it. Our boys are doing so good I just laughed it off. But you still didn't answer my question. Is the offensive COACH getting any heat for these horrible calls, or is COACH Del Rio just as much to blame? If you answer me, I promise I'll start spell-checking my questions, and maybe even ask a few good ones.

Vic: The Jaguars are a young team attempting to discover its true offensive personality. In Tennessee, they tried different things before settling on the one thing they did last year and will probably do a lot more of the rest of this year: Run the ball with Fred Taylor. In the first half, they lined up Jermaine Lewis as a running back in a kind of spread formation. That's pretty juicy, huh? Then they used five-wide on a third-and-six. Can you say three-yard pass? Then, after all else had failed, they gave the ball to Taylor and he ran behind Mo Williams for consecutive gains of nine and 25 yards. Uh, oh, Jaguars. I thought those running plays with Taylor were sheer genius.

R.J. from St. Augustine, FL:
I think I just heard one of the guys from ESPN Radio say we are going to wear the all-black uniforms this week. Is that true?

Vic: That is not true. The Jaguars will wear teal shirts and white pants this week. The Jaguars will wear all black for the Steelers game. Wow! I can't wait. The all-black look sends shivers down my spine.

Jaime from Jacksonville:
I like your power rankings but shouldn't the Jaguars be ranked ahead of the Broncos? I thought we beat them less than 10 days ago?

Vic: Yes, the Jaguars did beat the Broncos, but power rankings aren't standings, they are one man's subjective and argumentative opinion of teams' true strength. Frankly, I thought the Broncos out-played the Jaguars.

Alan from Jacksonville:
What are the lowest point totals scored by the Colts since Manning's second season? Who were they against? What were the totals against the Jags so far?

Vic: Buffalo held the Colts to six points in 1999, the Dolphins did the same in 2001, the Steelers held the Colts to 10 in 2002, and the Browns held the Colts to nine in a Colts win in 2003. Of course, the Jets shutout the Colts, 41-0, in a 2002 playoff game. Against the Jaguars, Manning has posted totals of 43, 28, 20, 23 and 23 points. He is 4-1 in those games.

Tony from Jacksonville:
In Sunday's game against Tennessee, there were nine seconds left in the game after the Fred Taylor touchdown and there were still nine seconds left after the two-point conversion. Isn't the clock supposed to start as soon as the ball is hiked?

Vic: Conversion attempts are un-timed plays.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
I don't want to get too far ahead of things, but bear with me. David Garrard is in the last year of his contract, right? More than likely, if Leftwich remains healthy Garrard will leave and go for the big payday and the chance to start on another team. Here's my question: If we're out of the playoffs (or even if we're not), what are the chances the Jags trade Garrard for picks or another player? If so, when does this happen?

Vic: David Garrard is not in the final year of his contract. His contract runs through 2005. If you wanna trade him, you better do it now because the trading deadline is Oct. 19 at four p.m. After that, you can't trade him until the start of the 2005 league calendar year, which begins on March 2. That would be the appropriate time for this team to shop Garrard around for draft compensation. They need him now.

Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
I haven't seen anyone else ask this question but I am very curious. Why did we squib kick after scoring to go ahead against the Titans?

Vic: The idea of squibing or pooching the ball is that it shortens or tightens the field, which limits the space with which the returning team has to operate. You don't want someone running at full speed with the football. That's dangerous. But you have to make sure the ball gets through the return team's front line because you can't allow the returning team to reach the end zone with a "Hail Mary" pass. Remember the Cleveland game two years ago? The Jaguars' kickoff was knocked down from someone on the Browns' front line, and that allowed the Browns to reach the end zone with a "Hail Mary" pass that was ruled a catch (it really wasn't).

Jordan from Syosset, NY:
The Jaguars are great but the reason why they are is because of John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. Do you think these two guys are the reason why we are 3-0?

Vic: Marcus Stroud and John Henderson are at the heart of the Jaguars' success. Tom Coughlin left the Jaguars with two building blocks for the team's future.

Dan from New Hartford, NY:
Sorry to dampen everyone's enthusiasm, but the most dreaded month on the calendar for Jags fans has arrived: October. Do you think this year's Jags will avoid the annual collapse that has ruined several previous seasons?

Vic: Great observation, and it just so happens October is a five-game month and three of those games are on the road. This is a critical month for this team, just as it has been for past Jaguars teams. The Jaguars are 3-12 in October since 2000, and the franchise has only had two winning Octobers in its history: 1995 and '99. I expect this to be the third.

Andrew from Baton Rouge, LA:
I would like to know what your gut feeling is about this team; not a politically correct answer, just your true gut feeling?

Vic: I'm not quite sure what you're looking for here, but here's something I consider to be from my gut: There isn't a team in the AFC South that wouldn't trade rosters and salary caps with the Jaguars. This is a young team that may be over-achieving a bit right now, and its record may be a bit deceiving of what its true position and place is, but if Byron Leftwich turns out to be the real thing, watch out!

Mike from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Was it just me or did we see flashes of Montana and maybe Elway in that last Jaguars drive to win in Nashville? I don't mean to place that level of expectation on him yet, but it was great to see that leadership and execution when it really counted. Am I making too much of Leftwich's success Sunday?

Vic: Yes.

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