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Silence can be scary

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

Scott from Jacksonville:
Do you really think the Jaguars have a shot at beating the Colts? If so, what do you think we will need to accomplish?

Vic: They'll have to stop Peyton Manning. There's no other way. The Colts defense is playing at too high of a level to win a shootout. You have to stop Manning.

William from Jacksonville:
Vic is blogging now? Vic is actually fired-up about blogging? This is high-tech stuff we're talking about. I think all of us old-time "Ask Vic" readers can accept it but there's one big fear. Since you have embraced high technology, does this mean you'll be upgrading the wardrobe and joining the well-dressed, $75 haircut, too much aftershave crowd?

Vic: No way, baby. Same old Vic; khaki pants, boys regular and Aqua Velva.

Jason from State College, PA:
I was at the game on Sunday, in the upper deck, and got hit with a few snowballs, like some of our players. What do you think of the raw hatred Browns fans have for the opposition? Do you believe it is because they haven't won a Super Bowl?

Vic: No, I think it's because there was snow. I think one of the problems in Cleveland is that for a long time throwing dog bones from the "Dawg Pound" was improperly regarded to be acceptable behavior. Cleveland's a good town. I like going back there to cover football.

Chase from Milford, MA:
What is your prediction for Sunday's showdown? Even without Leftwich, can the Jags beat the Colts and how will they do it?

Vic: I'm not ready, yet, to offer a prediction. I wanna see the hype play out this week. I'll make my prediction on the "Game Preview" video Cole Pepper and I do that appears on Thursday afternoon.

Brian from Terre Haute, IN:
Like many of your readers, I too enjoy the new blog. You mentioned that it may have been hard to follow for those without access to TV or radio and so I wondered if your readers are aware that runs real time play-by-play during the game. I had their site and yours open. It is the next best thing to actually seeing the game.

Vic: Thanks for the suggestion.

Alex from Las Vegas, NV:
How could the 1999 Titans have been a wild-card team when they played the Bills in the "Music City Miracle" at home?

Vic: A lot of times I don't give all of the details because I expect you to either know them or do a little research. In 1999, there were only three divisions in each conference. That meant three division title winners and three wild-card teams in each conference's playoff field. The top wild-card team, the number four seed, got homefield advantage in the wild-card round of the playoffs. The '99 Titans were the number four seed. The current format includes four division title winners and they are the only homefield teams. That's why I stated the opinion last week that if the NFL is going to weight division titles as heavily as they have in the current playoff format, I think all teams in the same divisions should play identical schedules. Now let's please move on from this.

Kevin from Canandiagua, NY:
If you were in the Colts' shoes, what would you do, try to go undefeated or rest players for the playoffs?

Vic: In the past, I have always stood on the side of rest players. I felt the Colts were well within their rights to rest players against Denver in last year's regular-season finale. It would certainly be within their rights to do the same thing this year against San Diego and Seattle, even though that could have a potentially devastating effect on the playoff picture in both conferences. In my opinion, however, the historical importance of an undefeated season in the 16-game era is too great to dismiss; it becomes almost disrespectful to do so. I think the Colts should play for the undefeated season. I understand the physical risks, but how do you say no to the possibility of being recognized as the greatest team of all-time? I would certainly respect the effort and applaud it.

Scott from Port Charlotte, FL:
Why do you get criticized so much for your opinion?

Vic: I've never been able to understand that, especially since my opinion, of course, is always right.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I am still confused as to why Anthony Maddox's light shove to Charlie Frye's chest was a roughing-the-passer penalty?

Vic: I understand the NFL's emphasis on protecting quarterbacks, since they make so much money, but if they're going to continue to penalize defensive players for brushing up against the quarterback's facemask, then I think they have to at least eliminate the word "roughing" from the penalty terminology. I think they should just call it a pass-rush violation. Roughing is what pass-rushers used to do when quarterbacks were live to the ground and spearing was an acceptable technique. Out of respect to the warriors that once played the position, the penalty terminology should be changed.

Steve from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Regarding trash-talking, I cannot believe you don't think it works. You might not like it (because you are old) but getting in a person's head, knowing they have the physical capabilities to do something good, the mental aspect of trash-talking can take it away in a snap. "I saw your mom kicking a can the other day and I asked her what she was doing and she said moving." See, I'm in your head. "You can't even think about writing a story on that computer with those old wrinkled hands and old crusty nails." Remember, we love you; just trash-talking, of course.

Vic: What if all you did was sharpen my focus on a day when I was thinking about the dent my wife put in the fender or the carpet the dog wet on? What if all you have is talk and nothing to back it? Some people have a switch and they know how to use it. Not everybody is so feeble-minded that they can be talked into losing control. Some people become scary when they go silent. They speak with their eyes. I knew a football player who tried to shoot down a helicopter. He rarely spoke but he was the most frightening man I've ever seen. I can't ever remember anyone trash-talking to him. Trash-talking only works on inferior players, which means it was unnecessary. Actions speak. Be a man of dignity. Let your performance speak for you.

Robert from Gainesville, FL:
I don't know if you've seen this ( Fan Forum), and I know you'll probably just say that it's nothing to get worked up about, but when I read some of the things they said about you … I don't know, I can't really put it into words, but it really just made me sad. I have a lot of respect for you and I think you do a great job here on, and so I guess when I saw some of the things they said about you I took it personally. Maybe you can brush it off but I couldn't.

Vic: If you're going to be a sportswriter, you better have extra-thick skin. I try to follow two rules: 1.) Always believe in what you're writing or saying. 2.) Be willing to admit you were wrong. The first rule is very easy to uphold. I can't ever remember expressing an opinion I didn't believe to be true. The second rule is a little more difficult because we all have egos and we hate to admit we're wrong, but I've swallowed hard plenty of times and I'll do it plenty of times more. What the fans think of my opinion is out of my control. What I know for sure is that some will like it and some won't. My skin is very, very thick.

Chris from Jacksonville:
Is every seat sold for the Colts game? What percentage of fans do you think will be Colts fans? I hated seeing all the Bengals and Ravens fans earlier this year.

Vic: Every seat for Sunday's game has been sold. That will make this only the second game in Jaguars history for which every ticket has been sold. The other one was last year's Steelers game, for which 76,877 tickets were sold. The seating capacity for Alltel Stadium this year is 67,164. Very few tickets have been purchased by Colts fans. The Colts are not known to be a team that travels well.

J.D. from St. Augustine, FL:
By my count, the Jaguars are 22-14 since Fred Taylor ran over Mike Doss on Nov. 9, 2003. What significance does that game (and even that run by Taylor) hold in Jaguars history?

Vic: The Jaguars went into that game 1-7. It looks as though it was the turning point in the Jack Del Rio era, doesn't it?

Jerad from Las Vegas, NV:
Was Braylon Edwards' potential severely lessened or will he be able to recover fully? Some injuries never go away, you know.

Vic: ACL tears were once considered to be a death-knell injury for football players. It was the injury from which most players never recovered. Those days, fortunately, are gone. Almost all players who've undergone ACL surgeries make full recoveries. It's usually considered to be a two-year recovery, so I think we should expect that Braylon Edwards will be less than fully recovered next season, but I expect that he'll make it all the way back within two years. He's a talent.

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