Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Isn't much of the poor tackling in the league due to defensive backs trying to strip the ball rather than tackling the ball carrier? Do coaches share the blame?
Vic: I agree with you that the emphasis on making plays has caused a decline in tackling because too many defenders are going for the strip rather than the tackle, but I don't think that's the main reason for the poor tackling. In my opinion, the mania for staying on your feet is the root of the problem. For years I have heard coaches instruct their players in practice to "stay off the ground." Hey, what's wrong with going to the ground? I don't get it. Isn't the idea of tackling to get the guy with the ball to the ground? I understand that coaches don't want their players going to the ground and getting hurt in practice, but do they want a continuation of this horrible, league-wide decline in tackling? There's also been some kind of embargo against low-tackling and I don't get that, either. Yeah, I'm blaming this one on the coaches. I think they need to re-visit the tenets of form tackling and begin teaching it and demanding it. I also think the personnel guys have to start looking for good tacklers and not just playmakers. Paul Posluszny is the perfect example. Everybody liked him but nobody loved him coming out of college because he was seen as a tackling machine, not a playmaker. So what's wrong with a tackling machine? Posluszny turned in what might've been the most dominant defensive performance the Jaguars faced all season. He had 12 tackles and, by the way, he forced a fumble.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Now that the regular season is over, can you give us your assessment of the teams in our division and what you expect from each next season?
Vic: The AFC South could be a killer division next season. Matt Schaub appears ready to break into the elite level of quarterbacks and that could make the Texans a playoff team. The Titans have a dominant offensive player in Chris Johnson and I wouldn't expect the Titans to lose their first six games next season. The Colts remain the cream of the AFC South crop. If they continue their run, the Jaguars will be facing a trio of division foes that'll make it very difficult to gain ground in the division. What these teams do and don't do in the offseason will tell the tale.
Jeff from Washington, DC:
The stuff I read in the Jacksonville media outlets completely baffles me. Do people honestly believe the Jaguars are going to stay in Jacksonville if they don't support their team? Do people really think firing a coach that is no worse than a middle-of-the-road coach with $15 million on his contract for an unknown (coach) would be an improvement and a sound financial decision? Get rid of a QB that just two years ago won on the road in Pittsburgh in the playoffs but isn't playing well behind an offensive line that has a lot of growing up to do? Based on what you read from this column, are these people in the majority?
Vic: I don't know, but I think you have represented the situation accurately.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
What is the next step with ticket sales? Will there be weekly updates from the organization?
Vic: We don't need updates, we need ticket purchases. I'll let you know when the stadium is sold out.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
When evaluating talent, there must be some margin of error and some overlap. I can't believe the scouts distinctly identify 224 gradations of skill/value. So realistically, practically, maybe 20-30 at the top and then groups of 10-20 all the way down?
Vic: Believe it; they do distinctly identify 224-plus gradations of skill and value, and those names and their grades are written all over the four walls inside the Jaguars' draft room, ranked in the order of those grades.
Joe from Orlando, FL:
Vic, to have any chance of staying in Jacksonville, we must draft Tim Tebow. He's the best thing around here since sliced bread. He's worth a first-round pick.
Vic: I'll be on vacation next week. While I'm gone, I'm having TebowScan installed on my laptop. When the name Tebow appears in a question, the e-mail will immediately be sent to junk mail. That way, I won't have to worry about it anymore.
Gaetano from San Diego, CA:
Is season's end bittersweet for you? Do you enjoy being off work but miss Jaguars games? Or are you like myself and research every possible player that can be put on the roster come draft day?
Vic: Mine is a go-with-the-flow job. It takes you from one phase to another and in the same order every year. We're in review right now and we will quickly move into evaluation of the free-agent and draft classes. I don't have to force myself to do anything because it will all happen in front of me as time goes by. The combine is the perfect example. At the combine, I will get intense exposure to the upcoming draft class and I'll share that with you.
Mike from Jacksonville:
People that do not understand the BAP philosophy are the same people that require the instructions on a pop tart to actually take it out of the wrapper before you put it in the toaster.
Vic: You have to take it out of the wrapper first? That explains everything, from the flames in the toaster to the half-cooked pop tart. The worst part was trying to get that icing off the inside of the burnt wrapper.
Chad from Orange Beach, AL:
What causes good coaches to go bad? At one point Mike Shanahan and Brian Billick were geniuses and drafted really well and won Super Bowls. Then toward the end, their apparent draft skills declined, they had subpar seasons and got fired. I'm sure Shanahan will use hindsight, but what causes coaches to go bad? Is it harder to draft when you're on top? Do you change your draft strategy when you're picking last? What happens?
Vic: You answered your own question: Bad players make good coaches go bad. Chuck Noll won four Super Bowls in six years and never won another one. What changed? His players changed, of course. Don Shula won back-to-back Super Bowls and then never won another one. What changed? It's just a cycle. Teams get on a roll in the draft, they build a dominant roster and they ride it for however long the ride can last. I've never known any coach or any team to sustain that ride forever. The smart teams are patient. They know that bad times follow good times and the smart thing to do is to be patient until good times return. That's why I've always said the teams that are sold out every year and have waiting lists for season tickets are at a distinct advantage over those teams that have to scramble every year to sell tickets, because the teams that never have to worry about selling tickets have the luxury of being patient and not having to make any decision with anything but the team's on-the-field performance in mind.
Walter from Orange Park, FL:
It seems a lot is being made of the chemistry in the locker room for the Cowboys. Was this really just a matter of addition by subtraction by getting rid of the likes of T.O., Pacman and Tank? Also, what is your take on the state of the Jaguars locker room?
Vic: You can't have a good locker room with Terrell Owens on your team. It's just that simple. The Jaguars had a great locker room this past season and I'm glad you asked the question because it gives me an opportunity to present my media-time players of the year awards. The best interview award goes to Maurice Jones-Drew, for always being there for the media, in victory and in defeat, and always saying what he believes instead of what he believes is the politically correct thing to say. The on-time award goes to David Garrard, who was always standing at his locker on Wednesdays when the media entered. The best new interview award is shared by Terrance Knighton and Eben Britton. They'll be go-to guys for me for a long time. The quick-hitter award goes to Clint Ingram, on whom I could always count for something quick and something good. My wish-he-would-say-more award goes to Daryl Smith, the most pleasant man in the locker room but a guy who's too quiet for his own good. The stool award goes to Mike Sims-Walker, who was always sitting on his stool at his locker any time you needed him. Torry Holt is the first-ever winner of the Fred Taylor award, which I hope to present annually to an old pro who gets it. Torry gets it and I wish I could've covered him during his prime. Most improved interview honors go to John Henderson, who has made tremendous gains in recent years. Finally, the winner of the "I need to talk to" award is Rashean Mathis, because whenever Ryan Robinson asked me who I needed to talk to, I said, "Rashean." "Ask Vic" will be on vacation next week. The next "Ask Vic" will appear on Monday, Jan. 25.