Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Ed from Jacksonville:
As a Notre Dame fan, I was wondering about your thoughts of ND hiring either Tom Clements of the Bills or Charlie Weis of the Patriots. As you probably know, both are ND grads.
Vic: I think Tom Clements would be a great hire. It's about time Notre Dame turns to one of its own. Clements led the Irish to the national title in 1973 and will be forever remembered for his game-clinching pass completion from deep in Notre Dame territory late in the Sugar Bowl game against Alabama. In my opinion, Clements is perfect for the Notre Dame job. He's a handsome man with a strong personality and he has coached with and under some top people in the NFL. Currently, Clements is the Bills' offensive coordinator and he's getting a great education in building an offense and re-claiming a quarterback from Mike Mularkey. Clements is the kind of guy who has the ability to become the face of Notre Dame football, and he comes from a background that should help the Irish re-establish themselves in their traditional pipeline schools between Chicago and New York. He gets my vote.
Luke from Jacksonville:
If Fred Taylor isn't a goal-line runner, how do you explain the 14 TDs he rushed for in 1998 and the 12 he rushed for in 2000?
Vic: Here are the length of Fred Taylor's touchdown runs in those two seasons: 1998—52, 1, 77, 2, 1, 1, 6, 3, 70, 2, 1, 11, 1, 12; 2000—1, 10, 25, 2, 26, 3, 2, 1, 1, 4, 5, 44. I can't tell you why that isn't happening now. All I can tell you is that Fred Taylor stopped being used in goal-line situations shortly after the 2000 season and it has remained that way. When two coaching staffs see it the same way, I tend to trust that judgment.
Eric from Jacksonville:
What is the purpose of officials wearing a number on the back of their uniform?
Vic: It identifies who they are on the roster of NFL officials.
Matt from Jacksonville:
I love to read your comments, however, I noticed that you never criticize the coaches. You always tell us they know what they are doing, but do you want us to believe a 6-6 record will justify their knowing what they're doing? I personally love all the Jags coaches but they need to be criticized on some of the decisions they've made so far.
Vic: You're wrong when you say I "never criticize" the coaches. I said the starting job was handed to Reggie Williams and that, instead, he should've been made to earn the job. I didn't agree with the decision to use Marcus Stroud as a defensive end against San Diego, and I was very harsh on the imbalance between run and pass in the Houston game. Last season, I repeatedly stated the Jaguars should not have kept Mark Brunell on the roster, that the team should've saved the salary cap room by moving on immediately at the quarterback position. What you want me to do is join the legion of "play-callers" who want to blame Bill Musgrave for the Jaguars' red-zone failures. You want me to assist you in venting your anger and frustration for Sunday's loss to the Steelers by laying the blame on the coaches. The problem is I don't believe the coaches are to blame. I think they put together a sensational game plan and that they had prepared the Jaguars beautifully to give what I believe was a first-rate performance. Frankly, I think 6-6 is a major step up from 5-11. I think this team is headed in the right direction and the credit for that is shared by a lot of people, including the coaches. I'll tell you what I believe. All you have to do is ask.
Jonathan from King George, VA:
In the first three weeks of the season, nobody was upset with the play-calling or claiming the Jags don't have touchdown-makers. What's the difference now? I say that it is simply the lack of execution. Wake up Jaguar fans and shake off Sunday night's game.
Vic: We got spoiled early in the year by events that were extremely fortuitous. Do you remember the "Hail Mary" pass to Jimmy Smith in Buffalo? The fumble by Denver? We started to believe these things were supposed to happen. The truth of the matter is – and I share the blame in this – we lost touch with reality. This team is still in a rebuilding mode. I think they won two games (Buffalo and Denver) they should've lost, and lost two games (Indianapolis and Tennessee) they should've won, so 6-6 is right where they belong. This is a 6-6 team that is at a crossroads with four games to play. It can finish anywhere from 10-6 to 6-10. These final four games of the season will tell us exactly where this team stands. Let's watch and wait.
Mike from Jacksonville:
What's the point of having this forum if every time I send my question in it never gets used? You must only pick the ones you can handle answering or ones you can come back with a smart remark. Let the fans speak, Vic. I like your forum but you need to allow more fans to speak their mind. Oh, my bad, I forgot it's your rules here. Well, if this is how it will continue then maybe this is not truly a fan forum.
Vic: Thank you for your comments because they have alerted me to something. This is not a fan forum. This is a question and answer column that is intended to inform and entertain, and I need to make sure it returns to that. You are right about one thing, however: It's my rules.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
Great article, "Just the facts." What do those three teams (Indy, San Diego, KC) that lead the league in red-zone TD percentage have in common? I'll tell you. They each have great pass-catching tight ends and a great running back. We have a pretty good running back and virtually no tight end contribution.
Vic: You da man, Dwayne. While the rest of us were all busy scratching our heads, you put your finger right on the problem. Edgerrin James, Marcus Pollard and Dallas Clark have combined for 19 touchdowns. Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson have combined for 24. Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes have combined for 19. The Jaguars? All running backs (rushing only) and tight ends (receiving only) have combined for a total of six touchdowns. In the tight-red area, there's no question that scoring falls on the shoulders of running backs and tight ends.
Ben from Phoenix, AZ:
How is it that Bob Petrino was ineffective as the Jags' offensive coordinator but has Louisville's program built up to where it's going to contend for a BCS bid next year, even if only because it'll be in the Big East? Is he just one of those guys who's a better head coach than coordinator, or were there other reasons?
Vic: Maybe he was a pretty good coordinator and you missed it.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
For your information, the guys with the football hearts are the ones paying the outrageous ticket prices and make your column successful. I'm tired of people telling me it's just a game. Of all people, I thought you would know what that means. The way you play golf, you should play the violin.
Vic: Hey, that's a low blow. My golf game is very precious to me. I demand an apology.
Jason from Penn State, PA:
I read your article about the play-calling. Is something really missing when you decide to run up the gut on third-and-three against the number one defense in the land with a chance to seal the deal with a TD? Is that not bad play-calling?
Vic: I don't know. Ask JoePa.
Steve from Binghamton, NY:
What is Marvin Harrison's contract extension going to do to the Colts?
Vic: What the Colts are doing is maximizing the present by minimizing the future. Marvin Harrison's deal is another example of a high-in-signing-bonus contract that is structured in such a way to push money out as far as possible. This is no surprise. The Colts have gone this far, they might as well go the rest of the way. What that means is their future salary caps were already so screwed up that they might as well screw it all up. The Harrison deal was done with 2005 and '06 in mind. There's a message in his contract and in Peyton Manning's, too. That message is: Two more years before the roof falls in. I suspect they'll sign Edgerrin James to a deal that re-enforces that theme.
Brian from Jacksonville:
In your power rankings, you have Pittsburgh at number one. Then you say they are good but not great. Are you saying there are currently no great teams in the NFL?
Vic: That's correct.
William from Redlands, CA:
We need a pounder. How does one find a pounder? At McDonalds they only have quarter-pounders. Do they grow on pounder trees? Seriously, who coming out of college has that potential in the RB ranks?
Vic: There's a guy at North Carolina State who isn't exactly a pounder, but he's a pads-down guy who runs with some pop, has good size, good feet and looks like he might be a good goal-line runner. He's been hurt much of the season, but any time I've seen him play I've said to myself, "I like him."
Billy from Arnold, MD:
I was curious about the playoff set up with the new divisions. Assuming Pittsburgh and New England get the first-week byes, with the Colts and Chargers in as divisional winners and the Jaguars (hopefully) and Jets as the wild-card teams, what would be the first round?
Vic: The first thing you have to do is seed the six teams. After you've done that, it's easy: Six goes to three and five goes to four. In the next two weeks, the lowest-seeded team goes to the highest-seeded team.