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Stars get you on TV

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

Jason from Jacksonville:
I was just reading some of your older articles and came across your article about the 10 things the Jags had to do to beat the Seahawks and how true they were. I think you hit the nail on the head and the Jags seemed to follow your suggestions, especially regarding turnovers, showing the playbook and stopping Shaun Alexander. Let's hope they follow next week's 10 things as well.

Vic: Let me give you a preview of what will be the number one thing this week: Run the ball. That's how you beat the Colts and the Colts know it. That's why they signed Corey Simon.

Adam from Jacksonville:
This whole small market thing gets annoying. I understand we are small but I think the league could make more guidelines for helping out the smaller teams. Stuffing the teams that are already in big markets down the viewers' throats on a national level gets old. Is it necessary to see five of Michael Vick's 16 regular season games?

Vic: It's not so much about market size as it is about player popularity. If Michael Vick played for the Jaguars, the rest of the country would be getting a heavy dose of the Jaguars. Indianapolis is a small market but the Colts have three Monday night games this year because of Peyton Manning. It's always been that way. The Jaguars don't have those types of high-profile players.

Sol from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Other than the signing of Troy Edwards by Tennessee, which training camp Jaguars have been signed by other teams?

Vic: Chris Thompson was claimed by the Bears and Benard Thomas by the Falcons. It's thought the Titans released Troy Edwards prior to the opener for the purpose of not having to guarantee his salary. Now that the opener has passed, it's expected the Titans will re-sign him.

J.D. from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Does Mike Smith read "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" on Easterbrook has been telling the league for two years that the key to limiting Manning is moving your defense just before the snap of the ball (ala New England).

Vic: Like Baltimore did?

Ronnie from Pleasant Plains, AR:
How good is the rookie running back for Pittsburgh? I read that he did not even start in college. Is that right?

Vic: Willie Parker's meteoric rise to stardom is worthy of study. He knocked the Steelers' socks off in the 2004 training camp, then they gave him a shot in the final game of the '04 regular season, in Buffalo, and Parker responded with 102 yards on 19 carries. With Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley out of action for the season-opener this past Sunday, Parker turned in the league's top rushing performance with 161 yards on 22 carries. Is he for a real? And if he is, what does it say that you could find that kind of player in undrafted free agency? This is not a too-small, too-slow over-achiever. Parker is a 5-10, 209-pound, pads-down guy who ran over a Titans defender at the goal line. Parker may also be the fastest running back in the league and he looks like he may even have potential as a receiver; he went 48 yards with a pass against the Titans. At North Carolina, however, he was a bench-warmer. He had only 48 rushes for 181 yards in his senior season. What it all means to me is that you find football players where you find football players, and there's no rule that says late-round picks or undrafted guys can't become stars. Terrell Davis and Tom Brady were sixth-round picks. Scouting has never been more important and scouting is most important as it pertains to players such as Parker. We all know who the first-day guys are. Put me in the draft room with a couple of my sportswriter buddies, a couple of pizzas and a 12-pack and we'll make the first, second and third-round picks, but what about those second-day guys? That's when you need the scouts, and when they uncover a guy like Parker, it's worth every penny you spent on finding him. Is he for real? We'll find out, but if Parker never does another thing, he's already done enough.

Cory from Jacksonville:
If you could fit 10 million people in every stadium in the NFL and the blackout rule was still in effect, who would sell the most tickets?

Vic: The Giants, with four million people left over.

Ed Nevar from Jacksonville:
Your reply about inactives is fine for most, but as a season ticket holder in my 11th year, it has bothered me that we are not informed who the inactives are.

Vic: If you want to know who the inactives are prior to kickoff, listen to the "Jaguars This Week Extra" segment of the pregame show on the Jaguars Radio Network. Brian Sexton, Jeff Lageman and I provide the inactives for the game during that segment, which begins one hour before kickoff.

Bryan from White Hall, AR:
I love your column. You are not too much of a homer like others. How will the Jags secondary stack-up against the Colts' arsenal of wide receivers?

Vic: How does every secondary in the league stack-up against the Colts' passing game? It's a struggle. The Colts have a sensational passing attack. The Jaguars have a veteran secondary. I expect the Jaguars secondary to limit big plays. I think that's a fair expectation.

Eugene from Jacksonville:
I want to see more of Reggie Hayward in Manning's face this Sunday. I want to see some worth out of a free-agent pick up for a change. Do you think Reggie Hayward can have a breakthrough game for us this week?

Vic: I think he was signed with this game in mind. You have to pressure all quarterbacks, but especially Peyton Manning. Yes, Reggie Hayward bears the responsibility for putting pressure on Manning.

Malosi from Valencia, CA:
I think the Jags should run right at Freeney early and often to neutralize his speed and pound him early. How would you try and beat the Colts defense? Don't say time of possession.

Vic: What do you mean don't say time of possession? You just said it. You run the ball. That's one half of the equation for achieving a time of possession advantage. The other half is converting on third down, which will involve short-yardage plays but will mostly fall on the shoulders of Byron Leftwich and the passing game. Why don't you think beating the Colts is about keeping Peyton Manning off the field? That's how the Jaguars have beaten Manning in two of the last three games between the two teams. The Jaguars had a big time of possession advantage in the third game, too, and they would've won that game had Dewayne Washington not been flagged for a ridiculous holding call with the score tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter. You don't think time of possession is important? The Patriots had a 15:26 TOP advantage over the Colts in the Pats' 21-3 win in last season's playoff game, and a 4:28 edge in their 2003 AFC title game victory. You run the ball, convert on third down and keep Manning on the bench. That's how you beat the Colts. Time is points. The longer Manning is on the field, the more points the Colts will score.

William from Savannah, GA:
While one game does not a season make, Carl Smith's offensive philosophy appears to have juiced up the fans and the players. Over the course of your career, what was the one game that stood out the most for outstanding coaching?

Vic: Hey, I've been at this a long time. Maybe we should limit this discussion to recent history. Doing it that way, two games jump out at me, one from the Jack Del Rio era and one from Tom Coughlin's final year as Jaguars coach. I thought Del Rio and his staff did a killer job in beating the Colts in Indianapolis last year. They did it without stopping Manning, which I don't think you can expect to do, especially in that stadium. The Jaguars limited Manning's impact on the game, however, by slowing the tempo of the game. That was Del Rio's genius; controlling the tempo of the game. Bill Musgrave, who was the team's offensive coordinator then, never got enough credit for his contribution in that game. The Jaguars were beautifully prepared. The same was true in 2002, when a horribly under-manned Jaguars team came within a two-point conversion of taking the Steelers into overtime at Alltel Stadium. It was one of the best coaching jobs I've ever seen. The Jaguars were out-gained 403-226 and had a 17:22 TOP disadvantage, but kept the game close because they committed no turnovers and no penalties. It was the epitome of efficiency. I've seen a lot of strong coaching performances. I think we saw one this past Sunday.

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