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Take what you want

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

John from Jacksonville:
Everybody is saying the Jaguars won't be able to run on the 49ers, but when the Jaguars faced the Jets, they ran the ball effectively. Do you think the Jaguars will be able to run on the 49ers defense?

Vic: That's a good question and the answer will likely determine the outcome of the game. I tend to think they will be effective in the run game because, if I remember correctly, the Titans ran it pretty well against the 49ers. It's about commitment to the run and the Jaguars have clearly committed to it in recent weeks. The main thing is to not be schemed out of what it is you truly want to do. The Bills schemed to stop the Jaguars run but the Jaguars stuck with it, Maurice Jones-Drew getting 25 carries, and that forced the Bills to stay with that scheme and bought time for the Jaguars to adjust to it. I'm big on imposing your will. Physical teams don't take what you give them, they take what they want.

Greg from Tallahassee, FL:
This is when we find out the talent of this team. The first part of the schedule, while enjoyable, didn't show much due to poor competition. I think the Jaguars playoff hopes rely on whether David Garrard can continue to get it done in the fourth quarter against better teams.

Vic: It's that way for all teams. You're not going to win in the playoffs with a quarterback who plays poorly in the fourth quarter. I don't even know if you can make it into the playoffs with a quarterback who plays poorly in the fourth quarter, regardless of your strength of schedule. It's on the quarterback, always.

Fred from Naples, FL:
I want to say how much I appreciate you doing a column on Thanksgiving Day and to also tell you that as a Florida State alum I resented your comment on the Gators scheduling Florida State. I look forward to you printing this on Monday after we upset them.

Vic: Why wait until Monday?

Sebastian from Boston, MA:
I'm currently the sports editor for the UMass student newspaper and just wanted to say that reading your articles has made me a better journalist. I just wanted to know what your process is when writing an article, as in how do you decide what questions to ask? Then, once you have those questions, how do you use them to help structure your articles?

Vic: It's called a nose for news. You'll know what questions to ask. As far as structuring your stories, start by using the inverted pyramid method of news writing and as you develop your skills and a particular style of writing, use that to frame your stories in a way that will add your personality to them. Your readers should know what to expect when they see your byline.

Josh from Jamestown, NY:
In the Cardinals-Rams game last week, a fumble occurred on a dropped pitch from Kurt Warner to Beanie Wells, but Warner was charged with the fumble, even though Wells touched the ball. Why was it ruled that way?

Vic: I'm not familiar with the play, but fumbles are charged to the last man to have had possession of the ball, and it sounds as though Warner is the last guy to have had possession of the ball. You can't fumble it if you didn't have possession of it, right? That's the logic.

Erik from Salt Lake City, UT:
I was watching the Raiders vs. Cowboys game and the commentators said Jim Plunkett is the only two-time, Super Bowl-winning quarterback that is not in the Hall of Fame. I started thinking back to the comments you've made about Dan Fouts. What's the difference between Dan and Jim? What made one Hall of Fame material and the other not?

Vic: Fouts is a stat man. He's got all the stats and all the records but no titles. He came along at a time when football fans were starting to go stat crazy. He's a product of the fantasy football era, which began, I believe, toward the end of his career. By the time he was eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, fantasy football and stats mania was in full flower. Plunkett doesn't have Hall of Fame stats, just the titles. In my opinion, a blend of the two is necessary, though I will always favor the champion over the choker. In my Hall of Fame, it's about what you did in the playoffs.

Mike from Jacksonville:
I noticed that the Cowboys have a kickoff specialist. Do you think a kickoff specialist is worth a roster spot?

Vic: Yes, I do, and I'm surprised that so many coaches don't' agree. One roster spot? Are you kidding me? I'm going to not put on my team a guy who can kick it to Kalamazoo so I can keep a guy I'll cut and replace three times before the season is over? I just don't get it. Nothing will beat you faster than a kickoff return for a touchdown. It's the death knell. I not only would reserve a spot on my roster for a guy who can produce non-returnable kicks, I would encourage my personnel department to find one for me. I don't care if the guy can only kick it 10 feet off the ground. If he can knock it out of the back of the end zone, I want him.

Zoey from Longwood, FL:
What is the difference between a rookie and a first-year player?

Vic: A rookie is in his first year in the NFL. A first-year player is one who has yet to accrue an accredited season. In other words, a first-year player may have been drafted a year or two ago but has yet to stick on a roster, or he's been on injured reserve or the practice squad, etc. You can only be a rookie once, but you can spend your entire career being a first-year player.

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