Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Clif from Bethesda, MD:
What matchup are you most looking forward to on Sunday?
Vic: Jake Long against whatever player is across from him.
Sean from Arlington, VA:
I know you are not a fan of overly dramatic proclamations but I think it's safe to say Sunday's game is the most significant matchup at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium since the 1999 AFC championship game. It is the equivalent of a playoff game against a young, up-and-coming team that happens to be in-state rivals.
Vic: I don't think you're far off, but I would give my vote to the 2006 Christmas Eve loss to the Patriots, which kept the Jaguars out of the playoffs. The '06 team was probably the peak of that cycle. I felt as though that team had the muscle to go places in the playoffs. The unfortunate thing was that David Garrard was in his first year as a starter and he wasn't at the peak of his skills. That began to surface the following season, but the Jaguars were at the very end of their cycle at that point. Quarterback is the lynchpin to runs. You have to have the trigger man in place when you're in a good cycle or you'll miss your turn.
Kamen from Hawthorne, NY:
Who are some coach of the year candidates this season?
Vic: I think you have to start with Jim Caldwell and Sean Payton. Jack Del Rio, clearly, deserves consideration.
Matthew from West Lafayette, IN:
I understand you don't like the BCS system at all, but what do you think of the federal government mandating a playoff system on college football?
Vic: I'd be in favor of it because a scholarship in every way fits the IRS definition of income, thus, should be taxed but isn't. It's time the taxpayer gets what it wants for the favors it provides the NCAA.
Scot from Jacksonville:
Actually, I think the Patriots knew before the season that they were old and would hit the wall. They traded Seymour, drafted a bunch of day one guys and have the picks to draft a bunch next year.
Vic: You have to take your good cycle to the limit. Yeah, they know they've gotten old but they would've looked like fools if they had voluntarily moved into a youth movement when everyone was picking them to go to the Super Bowl. If this season ends in disappointment for the Patriots, they'll move on in a big way. They're too smart to drag their feet. It appears they've gotten all they can get out of this bunch and they need a younger bunch. Why aren't more fans accepting of that reality?
Kyle from Pensacola, FL:
How do you think the Dolphins would be looking right now had Henne started day one?
Vic: I'll go one better: Where do you think they'd be in their development if they had committed to him last year, as I thought they should have? Was that blowout loss to the Ravens in the playoffs worth delaying the development of their quarterback of the future? If they had bitten the bullet and committed to Chad Henne last year, instead of to the "Wildcat," I think the Dolphins would be serious Super Bowl contenders this year. They might be anyhow.
Kelvin from Warwick, UK:
I know it's too early to judge rookies but I glanced back at your value board for the 2009 draft. Aaron Curry at number one, Knowshon Moreno at number three, which a lot of fans disagreed with, and Jason Smith at 29, which a lot of fans also disagreed with. Thank you for your insight into this game that I am a relatively newcomer to, and perhaps it's a lesson for those who choose to read your comments with the urge to get angry.
Vic: You hit some, you miss some. Nobody and no team is going to hit on all of its evaluations and draft picks.
Josh from Dayton, OH:
What did you think of the Browns defense Thursday night? Was it a fluke, was it more of a failure by the Steelers, was it just a good game plan or is there something very good going on in the Browns defense?
Vic: When you've lost five games in a row after a 6-2 start that included wins over Minnesota, San Diego and Denver, and three of the five consecutive losses are to Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland, you have clearly hit a wall and something is dreadfully wrong. There's a rookie wall and there's an old man's wall. The Steelers have hit the old man's wall and it's never more apparent than it is late in the season and in the cold. The Steelers looked old and cold. They know it and they know what has to be done. I was premature last season when I said they were in rebuilding. They were able to squeeze one more title out of that bunch, but the Steelers are now headed for the inevitable rebuilding phase. The big question they face is: Can they remain playoff contenders as they rebuild? They clearly have a core of young stars. Cleveland has every reason to celebrate its win over its rival, but where's the core? The jury is still out on Brady Quinn. Is there a star playmaker at wide receiver or running back? Can you honestly say a defensive line that's 29th against the run is built for the future? I like what I saw in their secondary. Other than that, I think the Browns are in a far worse situation than the Steelers because the Steelers have the trigger man and a core of players around whom they can rebuild. Hey, Josh Cribbs isn't gonna beat every team as he beats the Steelers. What they need in Cleveland is a GM that knows how to assemble talent.
Beau from Burlington, NJ:
Wanted to clear things up regarding the Jags playing the Pats on Sunday night. It is impossible that will happen because only four o'clock games can be eligible for flex scheduling.
Wes from Jacksonville:
I have always thought you have exceptional knowledge of NFL football. My IQ of the game is much higher now than before I became a regular reader a few years ago. Would you feel confident calling the shots on the sideline for an NFL team? I had your blog up on my phone during the Texans game last week. I can tell anyone who doubts your knowledge that I saw your long ball to Andre Johnson prediction just moments before the play, and boy were you right about the Steelers. They are clearly not the same team they were a few years ago. You said at the beginning of the season we would see the Patriots struggle late in the season due to their age. It really is a young man's game. So, do you think you could do it? Or am I underestimating the knowledge of NFL coaches?
Vic: You are grossly underestimating the skill of NFL coaches and I could no more coach a team than I could play for a team. That's what I don't understand about fan perception of coaches. I think fans understand that players possess special ability that separates them from the average fan, yet, the average fan doesn't believe coaches possess that same special ability to coach. Trust me, they do. What I try to do is to be good at what I do, which is sportswriting. I try to be good enough at observing the playing and the coaching of the game to be able to relate that to the reader in an entertaining fashion. I've done this for 38 years. I can "smell" a long ball coming, just as I can "smell" rebuilding. Jeff Lageman has long said the mistake I make is that I'm usually a year too early in my prediction for rebuilding. My rebuttal is: Isn't that the idea? It's not a prediction if you wait until it happens, right?
Gaetano from San Diego, CA:
How big was that Cleveland win? I have the Jaguars' magic number at two.
Vic: It was meaningless. Forget about the Steelers. It's about the Dolphins. The Jaguars have their hands full right here; they don't need to look elsewhere.
Russ from Atlanta, GA:
I know how much you like "Christmas Vacation" so I thought I'd pass this movie quiz on to you. I got eight out of 10 but I'm sure you will kill it.
Vic: I got 'em all. It was easy but fun. Here's a question for advanced "Christmas Vacation" devotees: What did Eddie crush on the shopping cart between two bags of dog food?