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The formula for beating the Colts

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

Jaime from Jacksonville:
I know you prefer the NFL game to the college game, as do I, but let me ask you, how do you like the new clock rule that continues to run even after a change in possession? I think it takes away the comeback from college football, which has always been the only thing that I like better than the pro game.

Vic: They had to do something to shorten the games. The ends of college games had become extreme basketball on grass. It seemed as though the clock would never run out. Enough is enough.

Ben from Orlando, FL:
In response to Mike from the North Pole, I saw that "Dr. Z" on had the Jags in the number one spot as well. Looks like you're not the only one that thinks beating the defending champs earns you the top spot.

Vic: The Jaguars were a fresh face writers could spend a week trumpeting. It's a nice story and it's a story that is new to a lot of people. I had no doubt this would happen, provided the Jaguars beat the Steelers. Power rankings are a story, and it's a story with a new chapter every week. At the end of the season, we have a book.

Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
What type of defense do you think the Jaguars will try to impose against the Colts, since they will probably have to rely on the pass a lot more without Edgerrin James?

Vic: The Jaguars hit the Colts with that 3-3-5 look last year in week two, and they could do it again, but it looked to me like Tom Moore got the hang of that toward the end of that game and I wouldn't want to invite Moore's wrath again. Frankly, I don't think the Jaguars should have to employ a lot of strategy to be able to match up against the Colts. The Jaguars have the corners to play with the Colts. Watch for the screens. I have a feeling the Colts are going to attack the Jaguars' linebackers.

Andy from Jacksonville, FL:
Colts President Bill Polian was quoted as saying, "I don't know if they're our Hatfields, but we're certainly their McCoys," regarding the Jaguars. In what division does he think the Colts play? As a Jaguar fan, I have three McCoys: the Titans, Colts and Texans.

Vic: I was stunned when I read that comment. My first thought was what Tony Dungy's reaction was. If I was Tony, my reaction would've been, "Hey, Bill, was this necessary?" What purpose does it serve to snub your chief division rival? Every team's chief rivals are the other three teams in the division. That's six of your 16 games. More importantly, the only sure way to get into the playoffs is to win your division. I'm curious. If the Jaguars aren't the Colts' rival, then who is? The Patriots? If losing in the playoffs makes the Patriots the Colts' rival, then Polian should also include the Steelers, Jets, Dolphins and Titans. Do I have them all?

Moshe from Mexico City, Mexico:
What is the formula to beat the Colts?

Vic: That's easy. Run the ball, control the clock and keep Peyton Manning on the bench. That's always the formula for beating the Colts. That's how the Steelers beat them in the playoffs and that's how the Chargers ended the Colts' winning streak last season. By the way, the Steelers' and Chargers' time of possession in those games was nearly identical.

Michael from Jacksonville:
I see you call it class when we knelt with the ball at the end of the game Monday night, and I agree with you, but I would like to see if Jack would be so nice if it was the Titans. For die-hard Jags fans' sake, I hope he would go to "kill" mode because every true Jags fan remembers 1999.

Vic: I didn't call it class, I called it professionalism. I guarantee Jack Del Rio didn't consider doing anything but taking a knee because that's what a pro does. A great professional football coach once told me, "The worst thing you can do to a team is beat them." Point differentials are for insecure people.

Greg from Chicago, IL:
You said teams are generally banged-up after playing the Steelers. Could the same be said about teams after playing the Jaguars?

Vic: The degree of insecurity has actually risen since Monday night's big win. How is that possible? The comment about being banged up after playing the Steelers was made to describe the challenge the Jaguars are facing this week against the Colts. You've completely turned it around so that it's some kind of machismo statement. Yes, by all means, teams get banged up from playing the Jaguars, too. Fortunately for the Jaguars, they don't have to play the Jaguars this year.

John from Jacksonville:
What is the most important element the Jaguars will take from the Colts loss to the Steelers in last year's playoff game?

Vic: The Steelers didn't show anybody anything they didn't already know. The Steelers ran the ball 42 times and dominated time of possession. That's how the 1-7 Jaguars beat the 7-1 Colts in 2003. The Steelers sacked Peyton Manning five times and rushed several throws. That's how the Patriots beat Manning in the '03 AFC title game.

Heywood from Ft. Wayne, IN:
I thought you were not talking about respect any more and then you go and throw Polian on the Jags front page. Not only are you a liar but a hypocrite to boot. How ya like them apples?

Vic: Bill Polian is the president of one of America's preeminent professional sports franchises. He speaks for the franchise and when he makes a bold statement as he did this week, it's going to be the lead in a news story, which it was. It was not in "Ask Vic," it was in a news story. So tell me, what part of the story wasn't accurate?

Fester from Green Cove Springs, FL:
You often refer to the "NFL schedule-maker" as if it's one person. Is it just one person that makes the schedule? If so, how long has this person been doing it?

Vic: For many years, it was a fellow named Val Pinchbeck, who was the NFL's director of broadcasting. Val passed away a few years ago. He was a great guy; one of the friendly left-overs from the Pete Rozelle era. The schedule-maker now is a group of people in the broadcasting department. The job of coordinating the schedule with television is much too difficult these days for one man to run the show.

Jimi from Jacksonville:
On Thursday you said, "That's what the schedule-maker does: He challenges teams aspiring to become champions to respond as champions." What did the schedule-maker do to challenge the Colts? Remember, they are not champions, either.

Vic: The schedule-maker gave the Colts a challenging opening-day assignment on the road against the Giants. The testiest parts of the Colts' schedule is an at Denver/at New England combination at midseason, and an at Jacksonville/Cincinnati one-two punch in December. I don't see anything especially penal about the Colts schedule, but it's largely the same schedule the Jaguars play. The only differences – aside from home and away – is that the Jaguars play Pittsburgh and Kansas City and the Colts play Cincinnati and Denver.

Charles from Jacksonville:
I visited and saw there are a limited number of tickets now available to the game because "the visiting team returned some of their allotment." Could we have called the Jags ticket line and ordered tickets for this game, or are those tickets for family, friends of players and staff only?

Vic: Those tickets are for players and staff and any unused tickets are returned to the home team.

Ugonna from Jacksonville:
All of a sudden all the so-called experts in the media are beginning to select Jacksonville as their fancy pick to make some noise in the playoffs. What's this juvenile trait of the media to always want to create an instant sensation? At the end of the day, do you think all this attention is good or bad for the Jags?

Vic: It's the pursuit of news. The Jaguars are news because they are "new." Whether it's good or bad for the Jaguars isn't the media's concern. All "elite" teams have to deal with this kind of media attention when they break into the top tier of teams. As I said prior to the Monday night, which I predicted would deliver the media attention Jaguars fans craved: The moment you get that respect, the days of flying under the radar are over. The media was watching so it could acknowledge the Jaguars' rise. Now it'll be watching to acknowledge a fall. That's the nature of the business. High-profile teams learn to deal with that media ying and yang.

Jennifer from Jacksonville:
What number did Jack Del Rio wear while in the NFL?

Vic: He wore number 50 with the Saints and Chiefs and number 55 with the Cowboys and Vikings.

Kenneth from Honolulu, HI:
I love the history of the game and reading "Ask Vic" has given me a greater insight into the history of the game. My question is this: Who was the best quarterback before the Super Bowl era that the younger generation probably never heard of?

Vic: The best quarterbacks, in my opinion, prior to the Super Bowl era were Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham and Sammy Baugh. Unitas, of course, played in a couple of Super Bowls, but his greatness was pre-Super Bowl. He was over the hill by the time he played in a Super Bowl. I'm assuming the "younger generation" has heard of all three of those guys, so I'm going to give you the name of a guy you may not know: Bobby Layne. Layne was a great quarterback who led the Lions to three NFL titles in the 1950's. Layne was a swashbuckling quarterback famous for staying out all night and playing without a facemask. My lasting memory of Layne is of him coming to the line of scrimmage late in the game, the sleeve of his jersey stained red from wiping blood from his nose and face, which seemed to always be bloody when Layne began his patented late-game charge. He was my first pro football hero and I always tried to get his number 22 on any team I played. A high school teammate of mine got in touch with me a couple of years ago and told me he had found my jersey at an all-sports garage sale our high school was conducting, and that he had bought it and wanted to send it to me. When the jersey arrived at my house, I opened it up, saw the number 22 and my first thought was Bobby Layne. The number 22 and Layne are indelibly etched in my mind. That number could never represent anybody else for me.

William from Jacksonville:
As a reporter, what is your reaction to the two San Francisco reporters being sentenced to 18 months in prison for protecting their sources?

Vic: This country's freedoms are our greatest treasures. Brave men have gone to war to protect them and brave men have gone to prison to protect them, too.

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