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The end of a hard week

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Griffin from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
When an offensive lineman flinches, it's a false start, but when he picks his hand up to call out a blocking aubible or what not, it's perfectly fine. In the Indy-Washington game, this really stood out to me. Peyton starts to audible and everyone on the line starts moving around. The guard even tapped the center on when to snap the ball. Just looking for an explanation.

Vic: Offensive linemen are not permitted to simulate the start of a play. In other words, they can't make sudden moves that would cause a defender to believe the ball has been snapped. Here's a classic example: Years ago, I covered a game in Chicago when, on third and short, the right tackle reported as an eligible receiver, meaning he was at the end of the line. He got into a three-point stance and then rose and took a step back, which an end is permitted to do. The Bears jumped offside and a penalty flag was thrown, but it wasn't on the Bears, it was on the offense for simulating the start of a play for the purpose of drawing the defense offside. I don't think it's called nearly that close anymore, but the rule is still in the book. There's also the matter of two-point and three-point stances. When an offensive lineman assumes a three-point stance, he pretty much can't move until the ball is snapped. I know, some guys wiggle and jiggle, but the movement to which you are referring on the Colts' offensive line was being done while they were in two-point stances. Even at that, none of those moves were sudden.

John from Alexandria, VA:
Out of curiosity, what if Edwards would have been knocked out of the game, too? Who would have been considered the third-string quarterback? Have you ever seen something like that happen?

Vic: Zach Miller is the Jaguars' emergency quarterback. In 1977, I covered a game in Houston in which Terry Bradshaw broke his arm and his backup, Mike Kruczek, was then knocked out of the game. Tony Dungy, a safety who played quarterback in college, took over at quarterback and played remarkably well, but not well enough to win, of course.

Ron from Jacksonville:
Twenty-eight NFL players served in the military during the Vietnam War. Of course, Bob Kalsu of the Bills and Dean Steinbrunner of the Browns paid the ultimate sacrifice. Why did so few NFL players serve? Did the draftees flunk induction physicals due to the many ailments ballplayers have?

Vic: Student deferments ended before players' pro careers began. If you had a low lottery number, the Army was waiting for your deferment to expire. Plus, teams made note of players' draft status. Prior to the lottery system, teams worked to get their young, draft-eligible players into the reserves. The 28 players to whom you have referred are probably guys whose lottery numbers were high enough for them not to get drafted until the fall of their rookie years. Once they made it through a year of draft eligibility, of course, their lottery number had 365 added to it and they were safe from being drafted. I remember the night they drew the numbers. I was sitting in "Nick's Pool Hall," listening to the radio account of the drawing. They got to number 15 and called out my birth date. My friends didn't even laugh.

Kerry from Virginia Beach, VA:
When you first talked about the facemask, I thought it was sarcasm or, at the least, unrealistic. I like the idea of reducing the helmet in size as a practical solution. What would you think of shrinking it for the defense, which is attacking, but keeping the current size for the offense for protection?

Vic: Defensive players' heads aren't worth protecting? It would be the ultimate disrespect of defense.

Nick from Jacksonville:
I'm a huge fan of you, Vic. Keep up the good work. I'm of the younger generation of Jaguar fans, 21 to be exact. Why do you think it's harder for fans to be patient with a rebuilding team in today's NFL than in the past?

Vic: We're above waiting.

Michael from Las Vegas, NV:
Do you think the art of tackling is lost?

Vic: It's difficult to be good at something you don't practice.

Nick from Aarhus, Denmark:
Does it look better than the record in Jacksonville?

Vic: I can't say that at this time. The Jaguars' record is 3-3, which isn't bad, yet, on three occasions the Jaguars haven't played up to the standards of a 3-3 team.

Charles from St. Augustine, FL:
Trevor Harris vs. Todd Bouman: Vic, why would we bring back Bouman, who hasn't played or practiced in many months (years?) instead of Harris, who went through most of training camp and obviously must know the playbook well?

Vic: They obviously believe Bouman would give the Jaguars a better chance of winning. I would agree.

David from Jacksonville:
Which quarterbacks are available in free agency? I believe Bouman won't be a great idea to start against Kansas City.

Vic: Now you wanna know what's on the quarterback tree? That's a question you should've considered before David Garrard got hurt and everybody wanted him benched. What quarterbacks are available? The ones the Jaguars signed.

Nathan from Fort Collins, CO:
Over the past week, I have noticed something. The anger has gone down and the acceptance that the Jaguars are mediocre this year has set in, but most of them are starting to realize it will get better.

Vic: Do you do an "Ask Nathan?" I can tell you that "Ask Vic" has not been a place of acceptance this week. "Ask Vic" has been a mean and angry place this week. When I put the final key stroke to this column, I'm gonna feel a deep sense of relief and enjoy two days of sanity before it starts all over again.

Joe from Fleming Island, FL:
I heard you discuss this with Jeff on the Wednesday night show, so I did some research for you on the Monday night coin tosses: week one, Baltimore deferred; week one, Kansas City received; week two, New Orleans deferred; week three, Chicago received; week four, New England deferred; week five, the Jets deferred; week six, Jacksonville deferred. The first six games (two in Week 1) were won by the coin toss winner. I was very surprised to see how frequently teams defer.

Vic: Thanks for the information. Hey, if Jack Del Rio had elected to receive the opening kickoff and the Jaguars had lost the game, everybody would be saying he should have deferred. It's like Chuck said: "When you win, you're great. When you lose, everything you say and do is wrong." There's only one way to silence the critics: Win!

Kevin from Floral Park, NY:
I was listening to the radio show on Wednesday and was wondering if Jeff went back and reviewed the tape and told you anything about the last drive, where they ran it down the Jaguars' throats?

Vic: I'll ask him during the Sunday pregame radio show.

Richard from Jacksonville:
Former VP of officiating Mike Pereira suggested that illegal contact rules be reduced or removed, allowing teams to play more press coverage. This would stop some of the helmet-to-helmet collisions brought on by zone defenses. Do you like this idea?

Vic: Yes, that's what I've been saying all along. Bring back the bump and run. It brought receiver and defender in close contact from the snap of the ball. It compressed the field. The five-yard chuck rule, especially the major point of emphasis on it in recent years, has opened the field and created these high-speed collisions. It's real simple: If I can't touch you before you catch the ball, I'll wait until you catch it and then I'll really touch you. They made it so difficult to play defense that they left defense with no alternative but to resort to extreme measures. Consider the quarterback position. You're James Harrison and you get paid to rush the passer, but you better be careful in how you treat the passer when you get there, as evidenced by the fine Harrison got for sacking Vince Young too roughly. OK, so you condition your game to that rule, then the offense brings in Josh Cribbs to run the "Wildcat," which introduces a whole new dynamic to defending against the quarterback. Mike Pereira gets it. I was stunned recently when I heard a former player, I think it was Cris Carter, suggest that they widen the field. That's the worst thing they could do. The more space you create, the more high-speed collisions will result.

Mike from Syracuse, NY:
When a player suffers a concussion, he's usually at the facility getting tested by doctors/specialists. David's not been at the facility since Monday night, I assume. Any reason for this? Does this speak to the severity of the concussion? Is it at all likely David starts at KC?

Vic: Is there any reason for this? Yeah, there's a reason. He's got a concussion. Apparently it's severe enough that he can't even attend meetings. That's something we've learned about concussions. You have to rest the brain to facilitate healing. I want you to figure this out logically, Mike. Garrard hasn't attended a meeting in two days. Forget about practice. He probably hasn't even looked at the game plan. Today is Friday and he's on a short week. Do we really need to wait for a doctor's evaluation? Come on, Mike. I'd be shocked if, six days after sustaining a concussion and with little or no preparation, Garrard was the starting quarterback on Sunday.

G.W. from Hurricane, WV:
I'm listening to "Jaguars This Week" and you and Jeff are speaking of coach Del Rio being unhappy with Dirk Koetter's play-calling in the fourth quarter. If Trent Edwards' thumb is wrapped up now, and it happened four or five plays after he got into the game, how was he supposed to throw the ball effectively? Seems pretty obvious to me: Run the ball.

Vic: That's what I thought, too, except Dirk told us in the interview we did with him on Thursday that he didn't learn that Edwards had a thumb injury until after the game. When I hear a guy tell that kind of hard truth, which would only cause more criticism to rain down on him, I develop an even deeper respect for him. Dirk took it head on. He knew the question was coming, and I asked it as early in the interview as I could so he could get it out of the way, and he stood right in front of us and answered it.

Andy from Saint Johns, FL:
I would like to see a Jaguars defensive player make a (injury-free) hit on Sunday that might be fine-worthy. I think a play like that early in the game could set the tone, inspire the team and change the outcome of the game.

Vic: Don't let the anger get to you, Andy. It's not worth it.

J.T. from Jacksonville:
Magic Johnson in talks with the Jags about them moving? Does that story have any legs or is it just a rumor?

Vic: Hey, if Dickie Dunn wrote it, then it's gotta be true, right?

Jami from Arlington, VA:
Just had a chance to read a transcript of your chat with the fans. Unfortunately, I'm not able to participate during the day. Just another wonderful service you provide to us.

Vic: I like the chat. It's different than "Ask Vic" because the answers have to be short and to the point, or I'm not going to be able to answer many questions. With that, I'm done. Enjoy the weekend. I know I will.

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