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Take your pick

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions. Victoria from Jacksonville:
I've been observing the Jags' offensive line and comparing it to other teams, such as Kansas City or Pittsburgh. I've noticed that our offensive line is crunched up together, leaving very small gaps, whereas Pittsburgh and KC are spread apart from one another, which gives them more moving space in their areas. Do I need glasses or am I way off?

Vic: What you're describing are "line splits." Teams that want to run the ball tend to favor larger line splits than teams that want to throw the ball. Obviously, teams that want to run the ball need to create running lanes. By creating more space between their offensive linemen they also create more space between the defensive linemen, which allows for greater angles and leverage in blocking and, generally, affords more running room. Of course, the risk is in pass-blocking. You have created more space for the pass-rush to operate and you invite the blitz. Did you see how determined the Eagles were to blitz the Steelers? Take your pick; run or throw. If you want to increase your "line splits" and run the ball, then you better have offensive linemen who can move and pick up the blitz. By and large, however, I would think that most NFL offensive lines are similar in their splits.

Eric from Jacksonville:
Could you give us a record breakdown of the Jaguars in November? As I see it, we didn't do too hot in our normally cold month of October again, going 2-3.

Vic: I don't think it serves any useful purpose to provide stats on what this team did under Tom Coughlin. That was a different era and I don't think it's a good gauge of what we should expect to happen under Jack Del Rio. Last year, Del Rio's first season as coach, the Jaguars came to life in the second half of the season. They were 2-3 in November after starting 1-7 in September and October. My tendency is to believe that under Del Rio the Jaguars will be a good second-half-of-the-season team. Obviously, I believe history does repeat itself.

Abe from Ypsilanti, MI:
How long should we wait after submitting a question before realizing you are not going to answer it?

Vic: Not long.

Steven from Chicago, IL:
Can three teams in one division make it to the playoffs?

Vic: There's no rule or mathematical formula of which I am aware that says it can't happen.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Why is it harder to get a touchdown inside the red zone than anywhere else on the field?

Vic: Let's make this a multiple choice answer: A.) The defense really starts to play hard once the offense crosses the 20-yard line. B.) The field shrinks and the offense has less room to operate. C.) The cheerleaders are positioned in the four corners of the field so they can distract the offense when it gets into the red zone. D.) It's really not harder to score a touchdown from inside the red zone than it is from anywhere else on the field, but coaches like to make us think it is because it's a good excuse after a loss. Take your pick.

Jim from Jacksonville:
Where are all the Brunell worshippers? The Jags' decision to let him go looks pretty good now, doesn't it?

Vic: It's a young man's game.

John from Pullman, WA:
When a player is drafted, regardless of the round, what is the minimum guaranteed salary?

Vic: The minimum salary for rookies in the NFL is $230,000.

Emil from Jacksonville:
Nice column. I was wondering about the salary cap situation when a player is traded, for example, in the big Denver-Washington trade. Did Denver keep the cap hit on Clinton Portis and add Champ Bailey's to that?

Vic: When a player is traded, all of his remaining amortization stays with the team that traded him and it accelerates in full onto that year's salary cap. His salary for that season goes onto his new team's cap.

Clay from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The Texans-Colts game is a key game in the AFC South. If the Jaguars win on Sunday, which team would the Jaguars like to have lose in that game between the two rivals?

Vic: Whether the Jaguars win or lose this Sunday, I'd have to believe they'd want the Texans to beat the Colts.

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