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State of the whale address

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Manuel from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, which are the top five football stadiums that have the best football feel, and where does EverBank Field rank?

Vic: I'm sorry, I can't give you a top five because these new stadiums are fantastic and there are so many of them I love. I love the view out the open end of Heinz Field. I love the view of downtown Philadelphia in the distance at "The Linc." I love the stacked look and feel in Tennessee. I love the ghost of Lombardi at Lambeau. I love the snow against the backdrop of the closed end at Gillette. I love watching nasty-looking clouds moving in off Lake Erie in Cleveland and in Buffalo. I love the old Mile High feel they built into Invesco. I love the dark, dank feel of Qwest. I love looking at the river out the open end of EverBank. I've become very fond of this stadium. I wish I could shrink it and tighten it.

C.J. from Jacksonville:
To be a contender for a wild card, the Jags need to run the table at home and win two of the four away games.

Vic: I completely agree.

Campbell from Hamilton, New Zealand:
I'm New Zealand's biggest Jags fan and a long-time "Ask Vic" reader. There have been a lot of questions on here regarding the inconsistency of the Jags play and how they seem to have taken a backward step from last year and I couldn't disagree more. In no game last year did I see a performance like Sunday's and one thing people forget is that young teams are inconsistent.

Vic: You're absolutely right. Truth be known, last year's team was not very good. Forget about the record. That team played a cupcake schedule. This team is leaps and bounds better than that one. Last year's team hit the 30-point mark three times. The Jaguars have already done that this year in half a season. Last year's team had 14 sacks. This year's team already has 14 sacks. This isn't the time to measure a team. That'll come at the end of the season. The true mark of a team is what it does in Dec. Last year's team left a bitter taste in our mouths. Let's wait and see what this year's team does.

Andy from Daytona Beach, FL:
I'm in 12th grade and my grades are slipping mostly because of football season. I failed a few classes last quarter because instead of doing my homework at night, I'm on or It's safe to say I'm addicted to football this time of year. Is there anything I can do to balance out my school work with football season?

Vic: You can start by reading the feature story I did on Deji Karim the week after the Buffalo game. He talked about having wasted his time on video games instead of using it to do what he should've been doing, his homework, and he paid for it dearly. It put him at a serious disadvantage coming out of high school and left him to fight an uphill battle to the NFL. If that story doesn't motivate you, then you're doomed to learn the same lesson Deji did, and the story doesn't always end well. You need to take control of your life now. You need to discipline yourself and create a daily schedule, just as coaches do for football teams. You are at a critical stage of your life and I have no doubt I am not the first to warn you of this. What you do the rest of your senior year will likely determine everything about the rest of your life. It'll determine if or where you go to college, what you study, where you work, how much money you make, what kind of house you live in, the lifestyle your family will live, your financial security and, ultimately, your happiness. This is important stuff. It's up to you.

Trent from Litchville, ND:
If Randy Moss had finished the season as a Viking and then signed elsewhere for next season, could the Vikings have been awarded a compensatory draft pick?

Vic: Had the Vikings' rights to Moss expired at the start of free agency, he would've been included in compensatory awards consideration for the 2012 draft.

Michael from Cupe Coy, Sint Maarten:
I thought vested veterans weren't subject to the waiver process, and that when they were cut they became unrestricted free agents? Moss has been in the league since 1998, so why does he have to go through waivers?

Vic: It's because of when he was cut. After a certain point in the season – the trade deadline – any player that's waived must go through the waiver claim process. The intent of the rule is to avoid shady deals that would allow a star player on a team out of playoff contention to join a team in the playoff picture. Once upon a time, teams did deals for "future consideration," which carried with it a broad and somewhat suspicious-sounding inference.

Dane from Jacksonville:
During the Monday Night Football game, why did the referee feel the need to explain to the disgruntled Indy fans why Peyton Manning's little rush did not result in a first down? Granted, the spot of the ball was questionable, but is the official obligated to make an announcement just because the audience is mad?

Vic: That's when I got home and turned on the TV, so I really don't know much about the play, but I did hear the incredibly boring explanation. One of these days, it might go something like this: "After further review, it looks like the guy got the first down, but I've been in a bad mood ever since the home team gave me a parking pass in the media parking lot and I had to walk a long way in the rain and I got soaked, so I'm not so sure that what I saw is conclusive, if you know what I mean." I've said this before: The most dramatic moment I have ever witnessed in covering a football game was following the tense wait for the official decision on the "Immaculate Reception," when referee Fred Swearingen walked to the middle of the field, turned, paused and then raised his arms. No speech was necessary. We talk too much now. That's my opinion.

Matt from Jacksonville:
I get it, Peyton Manning is one of the best ever. I still wanted to turn off the MNF game because of the announcers. It was disgusting. How long before OSHA starts mandating they wear knee pads?

Vic: I think Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski are outstanding, but when they climb on the bandwagon, they're gonna ride it until the wheels fall off. They're kind of the same guy and that doesn't work for me. That booth needs a curmudgeon. It needs someone who's less complimentary and a little more critical of the performance he's observing, just for the sake of balance. The way it is now, Mike Tirico has to be that guy, and that shouldn't be his job.

Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I was in Dallas for the game this weekend. Listening to postgame shows on Sunday, and again Monday afternoon, the hosts were incredulous that the Cowboys had been manhandled by a Jaguars team featuring many small-school players. I turned to my friends and said, "You find football players where you find football players."

Vic: Yeah, and once upon a time, when Gil Brandt ran the Cowboys' personnel department, the Cowboys were the king of finding talent in the small schools. Calvin Hill, who I saw in the press box on Sunday, played at Yale. Don Perkins played at New Mexico. Bob Hayes came from Florida A&M. Jethro Pugh came from Elizabeth City State, Larry Cole played at Hawaii at a time when no one even scouted the islands, Cliff Harris played at Ouachita Baptist, Duane Thomas was from West Texas A&M, Harvey Martin was from East Texas State and Hollywood Henderson played at Langston. I could go on and on. In those days, the Cowboys found football players where they found football players. They left no corner of the football free world unscouted. Brandt was the best. Maybe they need to go back to finding players in the small schools because the guys from the big schools aren't gettin' it done.

Stephen from Jacksonville:
We've arrived at the midpoint of the 2010 Jaguars season. How about giving us a state of the whale address?

Vic: The whale has made it from the beach to the water, where he is swimming freely and happily. The problem is he won't leave the shallow water. He's afraid to go out into the deep water and we need to persuade him to go out to sea and swim with the other whales. So, I say to our friend the whale, don't be afraid to do something bold. So many people have worked so hard to save you. They've been at it for nearly a year now, and it would be a terrible shame for you to get washed up onto the beach again.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
With all of the constant arguing a lot of fans give you no matter what you say, I have realized that arguing with a fan is like wrestling with a pig in the mud.

Vic: It's what they like to do, pigs, I mean.

Patrick from Wausau, WI:
I am 27 now. I have moved up roughly 4,000 spots in 15 years. I talked to my neighbor last night and he has been on the list for more than 30 years. He jumped from 97 to 34 this year. He probably wouldn't even be seeing those tickets for another decade if it wasn't for the expansion of Lambeau Field.

Vic: Come on down here, and bring nine buddies with you because ticket prices for groups of 10 or more start at $45 per ticket. What game would you like to see? All you'll need to wear is a light jacket.

Al from Fruit Cove, FL:
Love the return of the asterisk. I was looking at the waiver claim order, saw that the opposition record factored in and wondered how the teams would rank if we added their own win-loss percentage to the win-loss percentage of their opposition in games other than the ones they played. In other words, the Jags are 4-4 and their opponents are 24-34, so in games against others, the opponents would be 20-30. Add each team's win-loss percentage to what we'll call the opponents' external win-loss percentage, and the top five are: 1. Pittsburgh, 1.373; 2. New England, 1.322 3; Indianapolis, 1.309; 4. New York Jets, 1.214; 5. Atlanta, 1.191; 28. The Jags are 24th at 0.900.

Vic: You put a lot of work into that. I don't have a clue what it means, but I hope somebody finds some meaning in it.

Paul from Tamarac, FL:
I noticed that UF's Will Hill almost took his helmet off after returning the interception that appeared to be the game-winner against Georgia. What would the penalty have been had he done so, since it was overtime?

Vic: Florida would've had to wear those same ugly uniforms the rest of the season.

James from Bossier City, LA:
I read on that the Redskins are working out JaMarcus Russell. This tells me two things you were absolutely right about. First, the Eagles were brilliant in trading McNabb while he still had value, and secondly that there is no good fruit left on the QB tree.

Vic: I greatly respect Donovan McNabb as a quarterback. I think he's been much underrated in his career and I had no reason to believe he was over the hill – I'm still not sure he is – but the Eagles are great managers of personnel and I would be very leery of dealing with them. There are certain teams in this league that win a lot more often than they lose in these types of situations. No thanks, I'll just keep my picks and use them on young talent.

Andrew from Neptune Beach, FL:
Would it be smart to get rid of replay or is that a dumb move to make?

Vic: It's not gonna happen. The fans in the sports bars would go nuts. They need those replays so the bartender can tell the referee what call to make so the game will last longer.

Safa from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
How soft are the Texans? Is there any hope for them?

Vic: I didn't think they were soft at all on Monday night. I thought they played hard, fast and physical. They just haven't hit their stride, yet. Their identity has always been that of a finesse passing team, and I think they're in the process of trying to change that. It's gonna take some time but, by season's end, they could be a force in the postseason. The question is: Will they hit their stride soon enough to qualify for the postseason? The offensive line is a problem. They need to get that fixed.

Nathan from Lebanon, OR:
What would happen if Randy Moss happened not to get picked up off the waiver wire?

Vic: The Vikings would be on the hook for the remainder of his salary this season, which is $3.4 million. Moss could double-dip if he was to clear waivers and sign a new contract to play for somebody. He would get the $3.4 million the Vikings would owe him and whatever his new contract would agree to pay him. Nice trade, huh? What if the third-round pick the Vikings traded turns out to be a star player?

Anthony from Pittsburgh, PA:
Has there ever been a "Mr. Irrelevant" that succeeded in the NFL?

Vic: Tyrone McGriff, and he has a relative who works security in the Jacksonville airport. The next "Ask Vic" will appear on Monday, Nov. 8.

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