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The gift that keeps on giving

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

Jermaine from Jacksonville:
You stated that certain player numbers are not normally eligible to catch passes. Could you tell us which numbers are eligible and which numbers are not?

Vic: All numbers except 50-79 and 90-99 are eligible to catch passes.

Bill from St. Johns, FL:
You knew someone had to ask: Who the heck is Ellen?

Vic: Eddie's sister-in-law, of course.

Paul from Jacksonville:
On the Bills' second series, the Jags were penalized for a roughing-the-passer call, which seemed very questionable. Later on, both quarterbacks were getting hit and knocked to the ground, but no further roughing calls were made. It all seems so arbitrary.

Vic: Atiyyah Ellison was flagged for making helmet to helmet contact on Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was an easy call to make.

Steven from Jacksonville:
How many we-don't-get-no-respect e-mails have you gotten?

Vic: It's starting to snowball. The crazy part is that after the Arizona, Seattle and Tennessee games, the Jags couldn't even get any respect from their own fans, let alone from the national media. By the way, shouldn't you be expected to fill your own stadium before you begin complaining about not getting enough media coverage?

Chris from Palm Beach Gardens, FL:
When a player or coach gets cut or fired during the season, do they immediately leave the facilities or are they allowed a grace period to gather belongings, say goodbye, etc.?

Vic: Gather belongings? Yes. Say goodbye? Not really. When it's time to leave, it's time to leave.

Gil from Jacksonville:
You agreed the other day that this year's Jaguars team could be compared to the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons of last year, with regard to riding a soft schedule into playoff contention. How would you rate the status of each of those teams' rebuilding efforts? Which team is closest to being a consistent playoff contender?

Vic: I would give the edge to the Falcons because Matt Ryan has already established himself as a difference-making quarterback, whereas Chad Henne is in the process of attempting to do that. It's interesting to note that each team is 5-5 after having each finished 11-5 last season. What's the reason for the decline? The answer is obvious: much tougher schedules. Look at the five-week stretch of schedule the Falcons just navigated: at Dallas, at New Orleans, at Carolina, at the Giants. That's why the Falcons are 5-5. I think the Falcons are much better than their record and if they can circle the wagons, so to speak, they'll have a chance to win-out. Now look at Miami's schedule: at Atlanta, at San Diego, at New England and Indianapolis, New Orleans, New England and Pittsburgh at home. Never underestimate the schedule factor. The good news for teams that play tough schedules is that they're usually battle-hardened for the playoffs. The bad news is that they often fail to make it into the playoffs because of their tough schedule. The Falcons and Dolphins are each in good shape for the future.

Miguel from Jacksonville:
You get a golf tournament, your blog is treated as a reference and all this after you've supposedly mailed it in for your career. Life is good huh, Vic?

Vic: Oh, yeah, I've mailed it in, for sure, and this week I'm going to mail myself across the country to San Francisco, spend the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in my hotel room thinking about the turkey I don't have, and then spend the wee hours of Monday morning flying back home so I can work straight through the Monday evening "Jaguars Monday" radio show. After I finish my stories, maybe I'll do a double-chinstrap pull over Kansas.

Chris from Jacksonville:
I'm conflicted. I don't like the Titans and it bothers me to see them win. At the same time, I think Vince Young being the focal point of their recent turn around hurts them long-term if they are forced to commit to him as their starter for four more seasons. I really thought they would move on without him after this season, but would a 7-9 finish for them get him another season and potentially a contract extension?

Vic: That would be nice.

Alan from Pasadena, CA:
Hey, Vic, can you be my honorary grandfather? All four of my grandparents have recently passed away and the knowledge about life and football you pass on to me every day makes you one in my book. Thank you for all your hard work.

Vic: I'm here for you. Just don't ask for money.

Trey from Prairie Village, KS:
All the one-liners from "Christmas Vacation" crack me up. Are you using them to keep your sanity amongst all the Debbie-downers that are ridiculing you for your opinion?

Vic: No, I'm just warming up for the big, annual, Thanksgiving evening showing of "Christmas Vacation" at the Ketchman house. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Please educate me some more, Vic. Why would the Notre Dame coaching job be more of a dream job than coaching the Gators? The answer cannot be just money.

Vic: Notre Dame is college football's one, true national program, and if you win at Notre Dame, you achieve immortality. That's the reason and its allure for an Irish Catholic coach such as Brian Kelly, or even for a coach who was named for a pope, is overwhelming. Young fans have difficulty understanding the Notre Dame mystique because it's been so long since the Irish have dominated college football, but that mystique is just waiting for someone to resurrect it, just as Ara Parseghian did back in the 1960's. We're talking about a football program that has won 11 national titles and seven Heisman Trophies. We're talking about Knute Rockne, George Gipp, a legendary fight song and probably the most renowned lead paragraph of any sports story in newspaper history, Grantland Rice's famous: "Outlined against a blue-gray October sky the Four Horsemen rode again." All of this, including "Win one for the Gipper" and "Rudy" combine to give Notre Dame a fascination that makes Notre Dame the job of all jobs, but only if the program is structured so it can win. In today's game, I don't think that structure exists. If Notre Dame wants to be Notre Dame again, they're probably going to have to dumb it down. Some lucky coach is waiting for the right circumstance to occur. When it does, he'll be on his way to immortality.

Buddy from Jacksonville:
The Cowboys player in the face of a coach; good example for all the kiddies aspiring to be just like their NFL role models. Instant fine and benched, if you ask me. How about we change the whole concept and start giving teachers and professors multimillion-dollar contracts and sports figures will start getting 40-60K a year?

Vic: If you're suggesting that we've lost perspective, I agree.

Darrell from Waldorf, MD:
So two people did what I have always wanted: throw something at George W. Bush and punch Jimmy Clausen; a terrible president and an overrated quarterback, in my opinion.

Vic: Thank you, Darrell, for making my point about having lost perspective.

Carl from Jacksonville:
Will the Jaguars get a wild-card playoff game at home if we finish 10-6 or better? How does that work?

Vic: Playoff teams are seeded 1-6, with the wild-card teams being seeded fifth and sixth. The only way a wild-card team can host a playoff game is in a conference title game and both teams would have to be wild-card teams. In other words, the Jaguars would have to be the five seed and hosting the six seed.

Rob from Jacksonville:
You were right. It sure does feel good to be playing meaningful football around the holidays. Make the playoffs or not, this has sure been a fun season. Happy holidays to you and your family, Vic.

Vic: You might remember that all I asked of this season was to give me meaningful games in December. I think I'm gonna have that. Yes, I am thankful.

Al from Fruit Cove, FL:
According to your power rankings (with similar results on ESPN's), the AFC South is the NFL's best division, at least at this point of the season. Average ranking of AFC South teams is 13.00. Next is NFC East at 13.75, then, believe it or not, NFC South at 16.50. I think you told us early in the season that this would be a down year for the AFC South. Do you still feel that way? Or is it due, at least in part, to this year's schedule that matches the AFC South with the NFC West (worst at 21.75)?

Vic: I judge these matters by what happens in the playoffs. Scheduling, as you've suggested, can favor a division. I wanna see postseason wins, which the AFC South hasn't had in recent years. Do you know which AFC South team last won a playoff game? It's the Jaguars.

Eddie from Atlanta, GA:
I remember a few weeks ago being incredibly frustrated at ESPN, much like Jordan from San Antonio, about the lack of Jaguars coverage. Then I saw the cameras pan across the sea of teal at JMS and remembered that ESPN is a business and they have to think about their target market just like everyone else. If I were the ESPN execs and I had to choose between showing highlights of the Giants or the Jaguars, of course I would pick New York. If a small-market city doesn't show up to its own games, the market becomes even more miniscule. You can't sell national ads by catering to a market that shows week after week it could care less about its own product. If Jaguars fans want respect from the national media, they have to step up and show themselves as being worthy of that respect.

Vic: Congratulations, you've achieved perspective.

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