Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Tri from Jacksonville:
What physical and mental abilities separate the three linebacker positions in a 4-3? Do the coaches put the three best linebackers on the field or do they put the best player for each position?
Vic: Conventionally speaking, there's a difference between the requirements for playing the strongside position as compared to the middle and weakside linebacker spots. Strongside linebackers play over the tight end and need to be more adept at pass-coverage because they're going to do a lot of it. Strongside guys need to be able to play in space. The middle and weakside guys need to be big enough, strong enough and tough enough to take on blocks, shed and make the tackle; they're going to be involved quite often in the tight-quarters action in the middle of the field. You'd like the weakside guy to have the speed to chase down plays from behind because he is often coming from the backside. Jack Del Rio has talked a lot about mixing and matching his linebackers. Akin Ayodele has played strong and weak, Mike Peterson has played weak and middle and Daryl Smith was an inside guy in college. In most cases, however, players are fit to specific positions and roles.
Jason from Houston, TX:
In a question on Tuesday regarding instant replays you said penalties can not be reviewed. In the Houston game last Sunday, Dom Capers challenged a play that was called pass-interference, but the ball had been tipped. They reviewed the play and after seeing that the ball was tipped, the refs took away the pass interference. Why was that reviewed if penalties aren't supposed to be reviewed?
Vic: They were reviewing for the tip. If there was a tip, there couldn't be pass interference. If there hadn't been a tip, they would not have reviewed to determine if the defender had, in fact, interfered with the receiver's right to catch the ball. Penalties are not subject to review.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Your TV appearances are just fine. I actually look forward to them on game day.
Vic: Wadda ya think of the shirts? I get a lot of teasing about the shirts. I found out a guy at work was getting teased one day because he was wearing a shirt that looked like something I would wear. I don't understand what's so bad about my shirts.
Nick from Clearfield, PA:
I just have to say I appreciate the fact that you can post e-mails in which your own work is critiqued. I found both the post from Chris from St. Augustine and your reply quite humorous. I'm glad you are able to step back, enjoy and see the humor in many aspects of your job. It humanizes yourself to your readers and allows us to enjoy your pieces more thoroughly.
Vic: It also helps fill space with stuff I don't have to think too much about.
Chris from St. Catharines, Ontario:
I have a great amount of respect for your "Ask Vic" column, which is why I read it faithfully every day. I enjoy your honest opinion and quirky sense of humor. My problem is, Vic, I would like to see more legitimate questions answered, like mine. Now, for my question: Looking back on Fred Taylor's career, would you deem it successful, with all his injuries, or wish they had selected someone else?
Vic: The Jaguars attempted to make a draft-day trade with Chicago that would've allowed the Jaguars to draft Curtis Enis. He was the pounder Tom Coughlin wanted. The deal was almost done before it fell through. The Bears drafted Enis and, after a fast start, he sustained a major knee injury that had him out of football within a couple of years. The Jaguars made Taylor the second running back picked in the 1998 draft, four picks after the Bears took Enis. Two other running backs were selected in that year's first round; Robert Edwards and John Avery. Edwards had a big rookie year before sustaining a catastrophic knee injury that ended his career; Avery was a bust. Robert Holcombe was the only back taken in the second round; he was never anything more than a "guy." Ahman Green, taken in the third round, is the only other running back from that draft that turned into a star. Clearly, Fred Taylor was a plum pick.
Sam from Interlachen, FL:
Pay no attention to Chris from St. Augustine. I look forward to "Inside a Minute" every Sunday. Wouldn't miss it!
Vic: Here's a little factoid for you about "Inside a Minute." It's seldom inside a minute.
Jason from Alberta, Canada:
On the topic of strength of schedule and yearly opponents, aren't there only two games that are determined based on the previous year's standings?
Vic: That's correct, only two of a team's 16 games are determined by the previous year's standings. If the Jaguars finish in second place this year, they'll play the second-place teams from the AFC North and AFC West next season. What that means is that, within the divisions, the schedules have been somewhat standardized to exclude much in the way of a difference in degree of difficulty. That standardization does not exist within the conferences, however, because one division could find itself playing another division that is especially weak. The AFC South is playing the NFC West this year and most people would regard the NFC West as being a weak division. The other thing that's not standardized and can't be standardized is the site of the games. Two teams may each have to play the Colts, but one will play them at home and the other one will have to play at the Colts. Where would you rather play the Colts? At home on a cold and windy day, or inside their noisy bandbox? The bottom line is that there can't be a totally equitable formula. Some teams are going to get the breaks and some teams are going to have to overcome misfortune. It's another reason pro football appeals to us. It's a microcosm of life. Some of us have to try harder.
Chris from St Augustine, FL:
When I submitted the napping comment, I thought for certain it would be deleted. The fact that you printed it has me thinking that all those football questions I have submitted and you have ignored must have really sucked.
Vic: You're probably right.