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Thanks for lighting it up

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The mayor and 50 percent of city council have responded to my "Keep the Jaguars" e-mail and they are very positive and progressive. I might start asking them football questions because they respond to me more frequently than you do.

Vic: That's a shot, Ed.

Shawn from Toronto, Ontario:
The Jags lost for one simple reason: When they had a 20-16 lead, they stopped running Fred Taylor and decided to pass. When you have a hot back, you keep running.

Vic: Even when you have a cold back, you keep running. That's what true run-the ball teams do. They commit to the run. They never give up on it because it's the cumulative effect of all those runs that give you the advantage you seek in the fourth quarter, when the game is on the line.

Chris from Gainesville, FL:
Do you believe in luck in football? I know there's the saying good teams make their luck, but how many games come down to just plain luck? For example, I remember the Vinny Testaverde fumble in 1996 that started the Jaguars' run to the playoffs. Was that just plain luck?

Vic: You bet it was. Never discount the luck factor. Coaches will tell you, however, that the breaks even out and it's the good teams that find a way to overcome their misfortune. Where I think luck really enters the picture is in the draft. In many cases, history can be completely re-ordered by changing one circumstance in a particular draft. What if the Cowboys hadn't been able to trade up to draft Emmitt Smith? What if the Patriots hadn't had a compensatory pick in the sixth round of the 2000 draft?

Patrick from Arlington, VA:
Even if the mayor and the owner get a deal done, what happens when, in the future, the owner raises ticket prices as expected? If the lease issues are settled, there are still more, perhaps bigger, problems. Your thoughts?

Vic: The lease issues were resolved on Wednesday evening, which gives us all a nice feeling today. You're right, however, when you suggest that there are other hurdles that have to be cleared for the Jaguars' future to be secure in Jacksonville. We talked last week about shared responsibilities. The City did its part last night. Now all eyes turn to the Jaguars and their fans. The Jaguars are responsible for winning and their fans are responsible for buying tickets. Ticket prices will be raised; that has to occur for the Jaguars to get out of last place in the league's ticket revenue rankings. How will the fans respond? That's going to be a major issue. There are tickets available for this Sunday's game. When the one o'clock blackout deadline rolls around today, it's highly unlikely the Jaguars will have sold all of the non-premium seats for Sunday's game against the Texans. That is not a good thing.

Bill from Little Rock, AR:
I've been reading about changing wide receivers and under-performing players. Don't you think the real issue is that Leftwich has no time to drop back and is getting throttled regularly?

Vic: No, I don't think that's been the problem recently. I think the Jaguars' offensive line is taking shape nicely and that Leftwich got the time he needed to throw the ball successfully last Sunday in St. Louis. From where I sat, the problem appeared to be that his receivers dropped passes and largely under-performed.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
I'm sure you've heard the great news. I would like to say thanks for all of the help you offered by keeping us informed on the situation with Jacksonville and the City. I really believe it would not have even gotten this far if it wasn't for the people like you, Jeff, Brian and others that helped keep us informed and up to date on all the issues involving the Jags and the City. I want to say "thank you" for keeping us up to date by writing articles to the fans, letting us know what really was occurring.

Vic: The Jacksonville media deserves a pat on the back for its coverage of last week's events. You mentioned our "Jaguars This Week" radio show team, and I wanna commend my buddy Vito Stellino of "The Times-Union" for his expert coverage last week. Vito spearheaded "The Times-Union's" coverage at a point when I thought it had mysteriously gone to sleep. The bulk of the credit for what happened last night, however, must go to all of those fans who rushed to the Jaguars' defense with e-mails to the mayor, city council, etc. They made their voices heard and that's what turned the tide so dramatically in favor of a resolution. In my opinion, that movement was spearheaded by's message board crowd. They were proactive; they were passionate. I got a new appreciation for what the message board forum can accomplish, and for what a team website can offer in the way of unbiased coverage. I hear all of the time how I must be biased because I'm paid by the team and how you can't believe what you read on because it's owned by the team, but it was city consultant Dean Bonham who chose to tell his side of the story on the site's message board, and didn't censor it. On the morning after the team and the town have come to an agreement, I'm proud to be a member of the Jacksonville media, I'm proud to say I'm the senior editor of and I'm proud of the people who make our message board the acknowledged clearing house for pro and con opinion on the Jaguars.

Jimmie from Siloam Springs, AR:
Vic, I must apologize. I was one of the "slew of abusive e-mails" (in regards to Matt Jones' one-handed touchdown catch). I just thought you were being hard on him in general, but I agree completely that the one-handed crap has got to stop. As a fellow Arkansan, I'm very disappointed in him right now. He had more opportunities this past week and he didn't perform. Only two weeks after defending him, I must say they should bench him, give Wilford the deserved reps and see if Matt will respond. I am still of the opinion he will.

Vic: Now I think you're being too harsh. Let's wipe the slate clean and start over. This time, let's can the talk of "you don't know what you just drafted," and of playing quarterback, tight end, H-back, running back, etc. Let's forget about broken-field runs and all of the glorious things the kid can do and focus on the one thing he has to do: catch the ball. In other words, let's lower our expectations and give the kid a chance to establish himself. Here's my expectation of Matt and of every other wide receiver and player on this team: Play hard, play tough. That's it; nothing more. When I see that happen, my patience and support will grow. I wanna see a higher energy level. I wanna see the three-yard pass caught and held onto after getting clobbered. Is that a fair expectation? Just give me that and I'm happy.

Devon from Atlanta, GA:
Is Ernest Wilford considered to be a "jar on the shelf" or a "diamond in the rough?"

Vic: He's been too prominent a player to be considered a "jar on the shelf." He scored the winning touchdown in each of his first two games with the Jaguars. What shelf? Ernest Wilford has to be considered a fourth-round steal, which is another way of saying "diamond in the rough."

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Do you attribute some of Wilford's success to the fact that he has played primarily against "nickel" and "dime" defensive backs?

Vic: You raise a very good question, Howard. A lot of number three receivers didn't enjoy the same success when they moved up to number two because their talents didn't allow them to play as well against a starting-caliber cornerback. This is something we have to watch. Every time one of these Wilford-type situations present themselves, I can't help but think of the old Chico Ruiz line: "Bench me or trade me."

George from Huntington, WV:
Has Byron Leftwich met your expectations of what you envisioned him to be since day one?

Vic: At the two-and-a-half year mark? Yes, he has. My expectations now are for him to go to a higher level. We'll see if he does.

Rajesh from Jacksonville:
Happy Diwali (Festival of Lights) to you. This festival celebrates the brighter and positive side of the life, leaving behind any darkness from the past. Let's wish Happy Diwali to Jaguars and look at the brighter side in upcoming games.

Vic: I've always been a brighter-side kind of guy.

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