Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Keith from Jacksonville:
Is there someone in the NFL office who the Jags stay in contact with regarding salary cap moves to make sure it is done by the rules and the rules aren't broken?
Vic: The league has an army of accountants who continually crunch the cap numbers. Vichysmores from Pleasanton, CA:
There was a questionable roughing the passer call against the Patriots earlier but no spearing call against Ingram. Your thoughts on both calls and on Del Rio's comment: "They should have speared him then. You go face-first and you're a runner." Is it possible that an NFL coach doesn't know that spearing is illegal?
Vic: He knows it. In my opinion, Jack Del Rio was expressing an irritation for Tom Brady's head-first dive early in the game. I explained it in the story. Defenders know the league has put a skirt on quarterbacks. They know they can barely touch him and they know that when he goes into a feet-first slide they are to treat that as a surrender tactic and they don't dare touch him. Brady decided to go head-first early in the game, at a time when Jaguars defenders were expecting him to go feet-first. According to the players' honor code, that's a no-no. I'm not going to look into Clint Ingram's head, but I can tell you that if I was a big, strong defensive football player, the next time the quarterback went head-first I'd try to persuade him to use the feet-first option. The league has spoken. Ingram's hit on Brady was fine.
Howard from Homestead, FL:
I'm an avid Jaguars fan and I have no complaints about the call. Whenever I see a controversial fumble ruling, I always think he could have avoided it by not dropping the ball. If you don't drop it, there's no debate. Don't drop the ball.
Vic: That's a very mature attitude, Howard.
Jack from Beaumont, TX:
It seems the reason we did not make the playoffs this year is because of key turnovers. In almost every loss we had this year the Jaguars had a major turnover that changed the momentum of the game. With the number two rush-offense and a top-five defense, this team should be in the playoffs. The turnovers, I feel, cost this team big-time. Your thoughts please?
Vic: Saying turnovers cause losing is like blaming divorce on marriage. You almost can't have one without the other. Oakland, Detroit, Cleveland and Tampa Bay have the league's four worst net turnover differential. Is it any coincidence that those four teams also have the four worst records in the league? The Jaguars are -1 in turnover differential. Sixteen teams in the league have a better turnover differential. That's why the Jaguars probably won't make it into the playoffs. There are always exceptions (Seattle has a -9 and the Jets have a -3) but I can't think of a coach who doesn't believe your record is a direct reflection of your give-aways/take-aways. A long time ago, I would go to Dom Capers once a week to talk about his defense, when he was the defensive coordinator of the Steelers. There wasn't one time that Capers didn't go right to the give-aways/take-aways rankings and preach to me about the importance of winning the battle of turnovers. Baltimore ( 15) and San Diego ( 13) are the two top teams in the AFC in turnover differential. Chicago leads the NFC at 13. What's that tell you?
David from Jacksonville:
No doubt, the Garrard call was highly controversial but, in my mind, the degree of controversy would've been much higher had the Jags been leading at the time. You're assuming the Jags would've scored had the play been ruled an incomplete pass. Sure, the Jags missed a chance to send the game into OT and possibly win, but if they had been leading 24-21 and the Pats scored on the ensuing possession, you could say the Jags had lost the game due to the call. Call it word play, but don't you agree?
Vic: You're putting words in my mouth. I didn't assume anything. As far as I know, the Jaguars might've scored on the next play and then Tom Brady would've led the Patriots down the field for the game-winning touchdown. All I've said is that I watched the TV tape and one of the angles that should've been available to Walt Anderson, who leads the league in replay reversals, should've overturned the call. Do you want me to censor the information? I'm not TASS.
Garry from Orange Park, FL (formerly of Quincy, MA):
I was at the game, then reviewed the play at home dozens of times. I did not think Garrard had control of the ball as his arm began to move forward, even though the ball moved forward, too. I think the empty-hand rule applied and the call was correct. I will also concede I'm an avid Pats fan so I may be just a little biased in my view.
Vic: There's probably no sportswriter in America who has been more effusive in his praise of the Patriots and Tom Brady as I have been. Any regular reader of this column will tell you that. The Patriots are a fantastic franchise and Brady is, in my opinion, the best quarterback in the game. I get e-mails every day complaining that I praise Brady and the Pats way too much. I'm not cryin' the blues. I'm just telling you what I saw, and what I saw should've been available to Walt Anderson, too. If I showed you the video replay angle I saw, and slowed it down for you as it was slowed down for me, you'd take one look at it and say, "You're right, Vic, the call should've been reversed." The bottom line is that it happened, it's over and life goes on. The Patriots are in the playoffs, they should be in the playoffs and I almost expect them to go all the way because they have a great quarterback, a great coach and a team that always seems to have the heart to win the big games.
Sheri from Jacksonville:
Since you obviously have such a man crush on Tom Brady, why not just move north and cover the Patriots?
Vic: See what I mean?
Joe from Jacksonville:
What do you think would be best for the team next year, continue developing our wide receivers or get a free agent wide receiver?
Vic: The Jaguars have the salary cap room to do anything they want. I expect them to be aggressive in pursuing talent, but not reckless. This team is built. It's ready to go. Its needs are few. I have no problem with spending some money to go get a guy, but he has to be worth the money.
Ray from Jacksonville:
This has been a tough season to watch, but one that has provided many exciting moments. Even though we may not make the playoffs, I've seen many casual fans get upset and develop passion for our team and that's a great sign. We're evolving as a team and a fan base.
Vic: I would agree.
Kevin from Dunkirk, MD:
There are only two NFL cities, Jacksonville and Green Bay, that do not have another main pro sports team (MLB, NBA, NHL). Do you see Jacksonville ever getting another team?
Vic: I don't see Jacksonville as a viable market for the NBA, NHL or Major League Baseball, and that should be a great advantage for the Jaguars. To not have to share the sports entertainment dollar with another pro sports team was a major attraction for putting an NFL franchise in Jacksonville. Those other sports leagues play a lot of games. Imagine 81 baseball games a year in Jacksonville. Baseball is the most major of drains on the sports entertainment dollar. Jacksonville only needs to support 10 NFL games a year. That's minor compared to baseball. There's no excuse for the Jaguars ever playing in front of empty seats. Jacksonville is a prosperous and growing market that has only one team to support. No excuses.
Chris from Jacksonville:
I'm still unclear on this Ken Pettway deal. What are the limits on this maneuver? I mean, why not give him $100 million in incentives?
Vic: The Jaguars didn't have $100 million left on their 2007 salary cap. They had $8.4 million. They used Pettway's deal to move onto their '07 cap what they were about to lose from their '06 cap.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Not only was the call on Garrard wrong, it was the fastest review I have ever seen. Replay needs to go away. I could live with a bad call but I can not stand the fact that they review it and still get it wrong.
Vic: Walt Anderson was "under the hood" for 53 seconds. He's permitted to stay under there for 60 seconds.
Steve from Apex, NC:
I am also of the opinion that Garrard was attempting to pass, but based on all the criticism he has gotten because of the play, what should he have done? Would it have been the smarter and safer play to cover up the ball, fall down and just take the sack?
Vic: Everybody wants a scrambling quarterback. Well, that's what you get when you have a scrambling quarterback. Throw the ball at a receiver's feet and move on to the next play.
Lee from St. Marys, GA:
This question is about those four teams with two 1,000-yard rushers. Did any of those teams go on to the playoffs those years?
Vic: The 1972 Dolphins were undefeated Super Bowl champions. The 1976 Steelers lost in the AFC title game, but that was largely the result of having lost Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier in the previous week's playoff game. The 1985 Browns lost in the first round of the playoffs. Bernie Kosar was a rookie quarterback that season. The jury is still out on this year's Falcons.