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The proper perspective

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

Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Your thoughts on next season's schedule?

Vic: It's not a killer but it's on the difficult side. Buffalo, Miami and Arizona are teams on the rise that the Jaguars play at home. The Patriots will have Tom Brady back and Gillette Stadium is a tough place to play. The Jets are kind of a wild card. Will they have Favre back and, if they do, will he have anything left in the tank? We're not sure, yet, if the Jaguars will play in Cleveland or in Cincinnati. I think Cleveland could be an especially tough opponent next year. Of course, the six AFC South games will all be tough.

Jason from Anastasia Island, FL:
Didn't USC lose to unranked Oregon State? If they are the best team in the land, wouldn't they be undefeated?

Vic: What about Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Penn State? They all lost a game. Was Ole Miss ranked when they won at Florida? Texas beat Oklahoma and lost a heartbreaker to Texas Tech so, if you're judging the quality of losses, Texas should be in the title game, but it appears that it'll be Oklahoma if they win the Big 12 title game. Penn State lost by a point at Iowa on a brutally cold and windy day. Penn State also blew out Oregon State and won at Ohio State. Shouldn't that count for something? Here's an idea: Let's have a national playoff system that includes seeding for homefield advantage.

Tammy from Waycross, GA:
Dearest Vic. Could you forward this to the team? Dear Jaguars. Y'all had it last year, the spirit, the team, the "fam." You showed sparks of it this year. I personally want to know what is wrong. You guys are talented individuals; where did the "fam" go? I am a Republican and did not vote for Obama, but I did read an article that said maybe he would bring smart back. Maybe people wouldn't look up to only rappers and athletes as role models anymore. Maybe the strong athletes that compete not only for money but for the love of the game will shine. Maybe the Fred Taylors of this league will stand up and make that difference league-wide. I have never been upset with the salaries the players make. They put their health and futures on the line every day. I do have a problem with pouring my heart and soul into my team no matter what the record and not feeling that anyone in the franchise is matching those emotions. Mr. Weaver, I have a great respect for you, but you have been reading the same page to the media, fans and probably team for too long. Your lack of true emotion is reflected in our team. You obviously have lost your passion. It is relevant in these past few years. Get your staff in check, get your team in check; we deserve it and you owe it to us.

Vic: I, too, hope Obama brings smart back.

Gabe from Jacksonville:
This might be my Gator bias talking, but what do you think about the Jaguars drafting Percy Harvin? He seems to have a lot of potential as a deep threat. Could he come through for us like Desean Jackson for the Eagles?

Vic: Harvin, in my opinion, is the best player on Florida. He's special and I expect him to be a special player in the NFL. He'll be the next Reggie Bush, maybe even better. Harvin is an example of the new wave of contemporary running backs.

Gavin from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
My understanding of the forward pass rule is that any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass. What is the rule? Is it the hand or the arm that must be in forward motion?

Vic: It's the hand with the ball in it, and the hand must be in full control of the ball when the forward motion begins.

Robby from Jacksonville:
What are five positions the Jags need to address this offseason?

Vic: That, in my opinion, would be the worst possible way of looking at what needs to be done this offseason. The Jaguars need to address their roster, not specific positions, as fully as possible. In my opinion, that's the proper perspective. Yeah, we all know that left tackle is need number one and it's a good bet the Jags will pick a left tackle with their first selection, but what if a tackle doesn't fit there? I don't wanna see this team pin itself into need-picking because it's looking for a shortcut back into the playoffs. In my opinion, this team needs to take the big-picture, long-term approach, which is another way of saying it should pick the best available player and revel in the belief that it has acquired maximum value for the pick it invested.

Steve from Neptune Beach, FL:
Isn't jail time a bit of overkill for Plaxico? I mean, I know NFL players cannot be held above the law, but isn't 3.5 years of jail time a bit excessive for a decent guy who accidentally shoots himself in the leg? When did it become one strike and you're out?

Vic: He's not dealing with NFL law, he's being accused of a violation of the law of the land and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to uphold that law to its fullest extent. Bloomberg is a big-time gun-control guy and Plaxico Burress is the perfect high-profile subject to drive home Bloomberg's message. If Bloomberg carries through on his promise, he'll also do the NFL and all other major league sports a big favor by enforcing the no-guns message.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
I had straddled the fence on the argument of players vs. plays for a long time, until this past weekend. When Deltha O'Neal of the Patriots tried to jam Santonio Holmes at the line, he lunged 100 percent with both hands and did not lay one finger on him. I am convinced.

Vic: It's not a philosophy with which you should wrestle. It's just one of those simple idioms that translates into "better players win games." Don't seek an intense analysis. That's not the intent of broad philosophy. The intent is that we accept the obvious to be true and we seek to embrace it.

Andy from Fort Collins, CO:
I read on another website that Ryan Clark will not be fined for his hit on Wes Welker. Mike Pereira is quoted as saying, "Launching is not a foul. There is nothing in the rulebook that states that at all. It's a misconception people have." This seems to be a departure from the recent trend of "softening up" the game. Could this signal that the league realizes they might have gone a bit too far with some of the recent fines?

Vic: Hey, Mike, no kidding; we all knew it wasn't in the rulebook. It's also not in the rulebook that shoving a player out of bounds and into the Gatorade bucket is a violation, but I think it's understood that such an action is a personal foul. If I remember correctly, it was the NFL that invented the term "launching" and then launched a media blitz some years ago in showing examples of "launching" during the annual summer officials' presentation to the media. The intent was to define examples of illegal helmet-to-helmet contact. In my opinion, what Pereira's no-fine ruling signals is an admission that a penalty wasn't warranted. If Pereira is viewing Clark's launch as legal, then there's nothing wrong with the hit, right? It was not helmet to helmet and it came after the pass was tipped. What's to penalize, intent? OK, he intended to hit him hard. Have we reached the point that hitting hard is illegal? Maybe we have.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
What if holding was called during David Garrard's fourth-down run in the Pittsburgh playoff game? Would anything be different?

Vic: A lot would be different. The Jaguars would not have been the preseason favorite they were. They would've been highly regarded but I doubt that they would've been a Super Bowl pick. Winning a playoff game caused that to happen. The Jaguars wouldn't have been the marked team that they were going into the season and the noose wouldn't have been as tight around their neck, and they certainly wouldn't be viewed as the dramatic under-achievers for which they are currently being criticized. There is absolutely no advantage to being a preseason favorite.

Ryan from Clyde, OH:
Is this season of football taking a toll on you with all the angry fans?

Vic: I won't let that happen, but the anger-mails are now starting to take a toll on responsible "Ask Vic" readers who submit questions. As of this week, I've started to delete large blocks of questions without reading them because a high percentage of e-mails I'm receiving are nothing more than anger-mails and they are overwhelming my efforts to manage the column. The volume of "questions" has never been this high. Even though I've made appeals on several occasions for participating readers to limit their e-mail entries to questions only, or at least some form of responsible commentary, my requests have been ignored. I can't manage the volume of e-mails I'm receiving, so I have no choice but to delete them. I apologize to those dignified "Ask Vic" readers who have exercised restraint and abided by the rules.

Perry from Orange Park, FL:
How do you think fans should react to a losing season?

Vic: I don't think there should be a handbook for fans to follow. It's a personal thing and how they react is up to them. There is, however, a conduct code fans must follow for their behavior at the stadium, and I've requested a code of conduct for participation in this column. I understand the disappointment and I appreciate the frustration, but I'm asking those who wish to participate in "Ask Vic" to not use this column as a place to dump your anger. I'm asking you to assist me in writing this column and I think you know what that means.

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