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Six teams I respect

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

Wilbur from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What is the Rooney rule?

Vic: The Rooney rule is named for its author, Steelers owner Dan Rooney, and it pertains to minority hiring practices. The rule requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs and it's been extended to include high-level executive jobs.

Kaleb from Jacksonville:
Do you believe Del Rio will or should keep a short leash on Leftwich? If he is ineffective in the first half, will Del Rio switch to Garrard?

Vic: That won't work. When you pick a starting quarterback, you have to commit to him.

Joe from Hockessin, DE:
I've been hearing everybody talk about the Jaguars' weak schedule and how they won't be able to compete against the Patriots. What I want to know is why everyone has been giving the Patriots so much credit the past couple of weeks, saying they're beginning to look like a good team again, even though their four-game win streak included the Jets twice and the Bills. So why is everyone giving Jacksonville so much bull about their weak schedule and how they won't be able to take on the Patriots, when they fail to see the Patriots have had just as weak, if not a weaker schedule?

Vic: Let's start with the facts: New England's strength of schedule is .508; Jacksonville's is .465. The Pats' strength of victory is .400; the Jaguars' is .375. The two teams' schedules were similar in one major way: They were difficult in the first half of the season and not nearly as difficult in the second half of the season. We know all about the Jaguars' first six games, which represented the most difficult first six games in the league. The Patriots went through this five-game stretch: at Carolina, at Pittsburgh, San Diego, at Atlanta, at Denver. Pretty tough, huh? I think what you're asking is why do the Patriots get so much respect? Because they have won three of the last four Super Bowls. Teams legitimately fear the Patriots at this time of the year because they know how good they are at playoff time. That's the kind of respect that's born of performance. You can't get respect by asking for it.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
During the "Fisher Subs" chanting a woman seated in front of me turned and asked, "Who is Fisher?" I couldn't even reply.

Vic: You should've said, "I don't know but apparently he subs."

Mary from Clearwater, FL:
What is a drop-kick? I have no clue.

Vic: You drop it and then you kick it. As long as the ball hits the ground before your foot hits the ball, it's a legitimate point-after-touchdown or field-goal attempt. The same rules that apply to kicks from placement apply to drop-kicks. All you're doing is eliminating the holder.

Josh from Raymore, MO:
Would you start Fred Taylor or Greg Jones this week in New England? In my opinion, I say we start Greg Jones and use Taylor on third-and-short situations. What do you think?

Vic: In my opinion, the Jaguars should start Fred Taylor and use Greg Jones in short-yardage situations. Fred's got that look in his eye. The word is he's been real sharp in practice.

Mark from Rochester, NY:
Was this the first year the Jaguars swept both the Titans and the Texans?

Vic: Yes.

Kyle from Flagler Beach, FL:
How big of a factor will the special teams matchup be on Saturday?

Vic: Nothing is jumping out at me in the stats. The Patriots don't have a touchdown on kickoff or punt returns, though they have kickoff-return longs of 54 and 65 yards. Bethel Johnson is a formidable kick-return guy and Tim Dwight has been a quality punt-returner for several years. The Jaguars have the one kickoff return for a touchdown by Derrick Wimbush, but the two teams seem to be pretty middle of the road in their return games and in their kick coverage. The punters are quality guys; Josh Miller has the stronger leg and Chris Hanson is significantly better in the directional game. Adam Vinatieri is the guy you worry about. He doesn't miss in the postseason.

Ryan from Cedar Rapids, IA:
You sub, Vic. You never answer my questions.

Vic: That's what I'm talkin' about.

Willie from Columbia, SC:
When do the Jaguars have to submit the list of players they want to play in NFL Europe?

Vic: Allocations are due by Jan. 16 or five days after a playoff team's final game.

Hasso from Jacksonville:
I remember you said once that Fred Taylor always had good games against the Steelers because Taylor's cutback ability matched up really well against that defense. How does the Steelers defense compare to the Patriots defense?

Vic: Fred Taylor is going to have his best days against aggressive defenses that tend to over-pursue. Taylor has had big days against Pittsburgh, Miami and Tampa, all of whom have aggressive defenses. New England, like Pittsburgh, is an aggressive 3-4 defense that swarms to the ball. Yeah, I think the possibility exists that Taylor could have a big day against the Patriots.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Now Brady says the Pats get no respect? I guess we can conclude that no team, at any time, anywhere, ever gets respect, right?

Vic: I'll tell you about respect I have for some teams. I respect and appreciate the quality of performance and level of entertainment Notre Dame, Ohio State, Georgia, West Virginia, Florida State and Penn State provided viewers the past two days. They were three great games by six teams committed to playing football the way it should be played.

Scot from Jacksonville:
If the Steelers beat the Bengals, will they then play the Colts?

Vic: Yes, it's always lowest seed at highest seed. If the Steelers and Jaguars each win this weekend, the Jaguars would play in Denver the following weekend. If the Steelers lose and the Jaguars win this weekend, the Jaguars would play in Indianapolis and the Bengals would play in Denver.

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