Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Ed from Kansas City, MO:
I haven't lived in north Florida in years so I don't get to see the Jags play on TV very often, but how can these games not sell out this year? This game was amazing!
Vic: Let me tell you about all of those towels that were waving in Alltel Stadium last night. Once upon a time, there were no towels. When I was a kid, the Steelers were perennial doormats and they struggled to sell tickets at Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium. They were one of the NFL's weakest franchises but everyone knew the ingredients for success were there. All it took was for something to ignite the franchise and that occurred in the 1970's. I view Jacksonville in much the same way. The ingredients for success are there – the only major league sports team in a town that loves football – and it'll only be a matter of time before something ignites this franchise. When that day comes, there won't be any room in Alltel Stadium for other teams' towels. Be patient. It worked for the Steelers.
Billy from Broadneck, MD:
I feel I really need to ask this question. Do you think Josh Scobee is finally the Jaguars' long-term place-kicking solution? He's only in his rookie year and he nearly nailed a 60-yarder. What do you think?
Vic: If you cut Josh Scobee today, do you think somebody would claim him? You bet they would. That's how we know he's the Jaguars' guy for the long haul. What's not to like? He has a powerful leg, gets his kicks up quickly and he has the nerve of a burglar. The two most pressure-packed kicks of the season were his 53-yarder in Indianapolis and his 60-yard attempt against the Steelers and Scobee was at his best in each case. Consistency will come with time. In my opinion, he is the best pick of this year's Jaguars draft class, and that comes from a guy who has never believed in "wasting" draft picks on punters and kickers.
Joey from Jacksonville:
I read your column about this being the best game for the Jaguars. As a passionate Jag fan, I disagree completely. The loss could demoralize the team and cause them to revert to their old losing ways. Since this year is essentially over, do you think the Jaguars will finally admit that Reggie Williams is one of the biggest top-10 busts of all time and find a replacement for him next year?
Vic: I feel your pain, Joey, but you need to toughen up a little bit. As far as the Reggie Williams pick is concerned, I agree that it hasn't gone well to this point, but admitting it was a bust isn't going to make the situation better. They have to continue to work with the kid; make him a better football player. They've invested a lot of money and a high draft pick in him. They won't stop drafting wide receivers, but throwing Williams on the scrap heap isn't going to fix anything. Strong franchises are at their best after tough losses. Let's see where the Jaguars go from here. Don't sell them short.
Sam from Jacksonville:
Why so conservative? With 2:16 left in the game on third-and-three, you have to try to throw and get the first down. Even if you throw an incomplete pass between the play, the field goal and the kickoff you're going to take it to the two-minute warning anyway, so time really wasn't a factor. I think it was poor clock management because we could have pushed it to two minutes even with a throw. Agree?
Vic: A lot of people agree with you on this one. In a postgame conversation I had with Jeff Lageman about this subject, Jeff felt they got too conservative once they got into field goal range. You guys might be right, but I can't help but wonder what kind of questions I'd be getting today if they had thrown an interception and the Steelers had killed the rest of the clock to preserve a 14-13 win. Let's see, would it go something like this: "Why didn't the Jaguars just run the ball and kick the field goal? The Steelers had a rookie quarterback who had never been in that situation before. Why not play it safe, take the field goal and put the pressure on the Steelers and their rookie quarterback?"
Pete from Jacksonville:
In spite of the loss, where do the Jaguars stand in the AFC wild-card race?
Vic: The Jaguars suffered two setbacks in their pursuit of the playoffs: 1.) The Jets' win over Houston makes it apparent the Jets are on their way to winning one of the two wild-card spots, which means the chances of making it into the AFC playoffs as a wild-card team were reduced by 50 percent on Sunday. 2.) The Jaguars were unable to capitalize on the Broncos' and Ravens' losses, and now the Jaguars also find themselves tied with Cincinnati and Buffalo at 6-6 each. The Jaguars are 5-5 against AFC teams. Baltimore is 5-4, Denver is 4-4, Buffalo is 3-6 and Cincinnati is 4-6. In my opinion, the Jaguars' best chance of making it into the playoffs is by getting into a head-to-head tie-breaker with Denver, and that's not all that unlikely. Cincinnati is at New England this week, hosts Buffalo the following week and finishes the season at Philadelphia. Clearly, the Bengals' finishing schedule is not favorable, and neither is Buffalo's, which includes a home game against Pittsburgh on the last weekend of the season. Baltimore has a rough road ahead, with games in Indianapolis and in Pittsburgh. The best-case scenario for the Jaguars is that Baltimore, Buffalo and Cincinnati fade, which I believe they will, and the Jaguars finish in a tie with Denver. You know who would win that tie-breaker, right? Week two, huh? But, it all begins, in my opinion, with the Jaguars winning-out. I don't think nine wins will do it. I think it's going to take 10. By the way, do you remember when everyone was saying it may take 11 wins to make it to the playoffs in the AFC? Now people are saying nine may do it. Stick with convention. Ten is usually the number.
Fred from Portland, OR:
With the Ravens losing to the Bengals, of all teams, and the Broncos losing not only the game but likely their division to the Chargers, you have to admit the Jaguars' playoff chances look better than you thought they would be after a loss to the Steelers.
Vic: "With the Ravens losing to the Bengals, of all teams?" You're living in the past, Fred. The Bengals are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NFL with a sensational young quarterback who was absolutely worth the first pick of the draft. Last week, I heard people say that other than for their wins over New England and Philadelphia, the Steelers hadn't played anybody. I shook my head in amazement. Let me tell you, the Bengals are somebody. Ask Ray Lewis.
Rob from Jacksonville:
Wow! What a great game. I really thought Scobee would pull through and this team should not lose any confidence in him the next time a situation like this comes around. He's capable. We saw a team that wants to win and will battle to the bitter end to do so. Are we still capable of getting in if we win-out?
Vic: Yeah, I think winning-out will do it, but let's not forget about that game in Green Bay in two weeks. You can't just assign wins. You have to earn them and winning on Dec. 19 in Green Bay will be a challenge. It could turn out to be a watershed game for the Jaguars and the Packers. December is great, isn't it?
Pete from South Riding, VA:
That was an amazing game last night, but it really looked as though we beat ourselves again. It seems to me the red zone is the Jaguars' problem right now. We march down the field only to falter in the red zone. What has to be done to change that?
Vic: When a problem persists as this one has all season long, the fix is obviously not a simple adjustment. Something is missing and it's been my experience that when you just can't put your finger on the problem, the problem is usually a lack of talent. The Jaguars need, in my opinion, a pounder. I've said this more than a couple of times and I believe it to be the truth. The Jaguars need a touchdown-runner.
Tim from Chicago, IL:
After watching the Jags go down after such a hard-fought game against the Steelers, I am convinced we need better red-zone play-calling. Agree?
Vic: That seems to be a popular theme, as I expected it would be. In my opinion, however, the Jaguars need better playing in the red-zone. They've used every play in their red-zone playbook. They've tried to pound it in and they've tried to pass it in. They've used play-action and against Detroit David Garrard was sacked on a bootleg. They've even used screens in the red zone and rule of thumb is that you're not supposed to screen inside the 20, but they scored on a screen a few weeks ago and got a first down with a screen against the Steelers. I don't know what the problem is but I know that blaming it all on the play-calling isn't logical. Here's what I'd do: In the offseason I'd get a couple of more good players, and then I'd go "goal-line live" in training camp until the tops of their heads were flat.
Santorum from Jacksonville:
With the loss to the Steelers can everyone finally stop talking about the playoffs for the Jags? The Jags don't deserve playoff talk, they've squandered 5-2 into 6-6 and they're looking like another losing season is going to be this year's result. Has anything really big come this year? Yeah, Leftwich looks OK but he looked OK last year. The team made a very poor pick with Williams at number nine and let Roethlisberger fall to the Steelers for free, and the Jags didn't address any of their real needs (wide receiver wasn't a need, it was a stupid want). Like I said, did anything really big happen this season?
Vic: Here's something big that happened: The Jaguars played a game in December that had people's hearts pounding out of their chests.