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The ultimate advantage

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

Shane from McLean, VA:
I think Ray from Nampa, ID, was referring to the all-important strength of schedule rankings, which place the Colts last in the AFC South. Of course, the reason for that numerical curiosity is that, unlike every other team in the division, they do not have to play the Colts twice.

Vic: Ah, the ultimate advantage: They don't have to play themselves. This is the classic example of why we need to look deeper than the statistics, because statistics without reason are misleading.

Tim from Jacksonville:
Would the "Immaculate Reception" be eligible for instant replay if it were to happen in the present day? If so, am I the only one who misses the human element of football? It's one of the best plays in NFL history and if it were to be wiped out due to instant replay, that would be a complete travesty.

Vic: Yes, the "Immaculate Reception" would be subject to review in today's game, but the interesting thing about the "Immaculate Reception" is that there was no initial ruling and, of course, the rule that existed then that caused the controversy doesn't exist today. Back then, one offensive player could not tip a forward pass to another offensive player. The ball had to be touched by a defensive player after it touched the first offensive player and before it was caught by the second offensive player. In this case, the principals were Frenchy Fuqua, Jack Tatum and Franco Harris. Was it tipped from Fuqua to Harris, or from Tatum to Harris? To this day, nobody is sure. Oh, there were plenty of replay angles, but none offered conclusive evidence one way or another, therefore, replay review would not have changed the call. Here's where it gets interesting: It took 15 minutes for referee Fred Swearingen to make any call. It was the first playoff game I ever covered in my first season covering the NFL. I was in the press box when Swearingen called up to NFL director of officiating Art McNally seeking advice. McNally, of course, had seen the replay on TV. Did McNally offer advice? He said he didn't. After Swearingen came out of the first base dugout, where he had disappeared from view to make his call to McNally in the press box – Al Davis swears Swearingen asked McNally that if Swearingen ruled incomplete pass could McNally get a helicopter in there to get the officials out safely – Swearingen emerged and began his walk to midfield. Everybody in Three Rivers Stadium knew a verdict was at hand. The anxiety in the stadium was palpable. In those days, officials offered no explanations to the fans, so Swearingen stopped at midfield, turned to the press box side of the field, paused and then raised his hands. To this day, it is the single-most dramatic moment in sports I have ever covered.

Eric from Jacksonville:
Picture this: Number 15 is on the sideline holding a clipboard for the next two years because he is still learning the position. The crowd grows impatient because they don't understand that number 15 needs time to develop.

Vic: You get it.

Jason from Toronto, Ontario:
Seeing as how this draft is so loaded on defense, do you think it's likely that we would have been able to choose a more valuable player than Derek Cox with the second-round pick that we traded to the Patriots?

Vic: I don't know, but we'll find out. What we need to remember is that the Jaguars had a second-round grade on Cox last year. They really, really liked him and he responded with four interceptions and by playing at a level the equal of the Jaguars' expectations when they traded for the purpose of drafting him. I'm really having trouble understanding why so many people are asking this question. What is there about Cox's performance last season that was unsatisfactory? The Jaguars got a player they consider to be of second-round value at a third-round price. Picking Cox and Terrance Knighton with back to back third-round picks represent the best one-two punch in last year's draft. It's not as though the Jaguars drafted a guy who turned out to be a bust. He led the team in interceptions. Why won't the fans let this go?

Sean from Arlington, VA:
Given that this draft is perceived to be exceptionally deep, do you expect to see a lot of teams trading 2011 picks for a chance to acquire additional 2010 picks?

Vic: I think it's likely to happen in the later rounds, but not in the first round because teams aren't going to part with first-round picks in a 2011 draft that could turn out to be the best quarterback draft since 1983. If you need a quarterback, next year will be your year.

Jose from Kissimmee, FL:
How do you assess the Jaguars' offseason thus far, a letdown or plentiful offseason? I feel it's been a bit of a letdown.

Vic: What were you expecting, a rash of free-agent signings? The draft is the most exciting and important event of the offseason. You can't even begin to evaluate the offseason until after the draft.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
On fourth and one, wouldn't David Garrard be just as capable as 15 at getting the first down?

Vic: Garrard was eight for eight on third-and-one rushing attempts last season, and that was second in the league to Miami's Lousaka Polite, who was 11 for 11. By the way, Polite may be the best short-yardage rusher I've ever seen. You want the truth? OK, here's the truth: There isn't anything at which Garrard isn't a more accomplished quarterback than could be expected of Tim Tebow in his rookie season, including fourth-and-one rushing attempts.

Greg from Jacksonville:
I was at the lemon bar in Atlantic Beach this past weekend, enjoying the weather and having a brew. Mr. Osgood purchased a round of beer for the entire bar and thanked everyone for their support. Nice move.

Vic: I don't know what a lemon bar is. Do you have to eat lemons with your beer? I prefer kielbasa bars, but I guess those days are gone.

Austin from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Would you rather have Derek Cox or Sean Lee?

Vic: You don't know that Lee is going to last that long or that he would be the Jaguars' pick in the second round. I don't know why we continue to do this assassination on Cox and this trade. I find it especially peculiar since I get questions all the time from people wanting to trade first-round picks for Anquan Boldin and Donovan McNabb and Javon Walker and now Albert Haynesworth. Let's wait to see how this plays out, OK?

Gary from Albany, WI:
Would you consider having one of your staff e-mail Riley from Toronto, Canada, your column? I feel sorry for him having to miss it for two years.

Vic: The job is yours. Welcome to my staff.

Brian from Douglas, GA:
Do you like the new Tiger Woods Nike commercial?

Vic: My initial reaction was that it's shameless exploitation of his deceased father, but then I quickly reminded myself that it's professional sports and it's about the money, and that this commercial is going to be a huge hit for Nike, which will further cement Woods' relationship with Nike and ring the cash register for both, and Woods' deceased father would be proud of his son for his business and marketing acumen. Don't let them get you upset. Don't let them prey on your emotional vulnerabilities. It's about the money, that's all. Watch the golf, turn off the commercial.

Sid from Pittsburgh, PA:
Speaking of the Pirates, the biggest news for opening day was the addition of milkshakes and other new concession items. The Jags don't need Tebow, they need milkshakes.

Vic: I went to a game the second year PNC Park was open and delighted in a Primanti Bros. sandwich that I bought at Primanti Bros. prices. My wife took a picture of me eating my fries-on-top Primanti's with the game in the background, but those days are gone, unless they start making a Brussels sprouts on wheat sandwich.

John from Houston, TX:
I watch you explain the details of almost everything in the NFL from the OT rules to how they select who we play. It's impressive the amount of knowledge you have about the game and how the league operates. The best part is you seem very happy in your job. Is this what you always wanted to do?

Vic: I would've liked to have shot higher, but my limited intelligence forced me to be a sportswriter, which seemed OK because I like hot dogs and they were free. Now I can't eat hot dogs anymore and next season will be the first time in my career that I have to stay out of the hot dog line at halftime and that's gonna be tough. I guess it could be worse. I could be a teacher in Florida.

Kelly from Greensburg, IN:
While reading the story on Walter Curry, I couldn't help but wonder what the great Vicbow thinks of his chances of making the team. I can't recall ever hearing of him and I'm curious of what type of skill set he has.

Vic: He's a longshot. His skill set is his shoulders. You could build a par three on them.

Jim from Folkston, GA:
Over the years, have the Jaguars picked a player in the draft that corresponded to the spot you had the player on your value board and, if not, which players were close to the spot on your value board when they were drafted by the Jags?

Vic: Jim, you're taking this value board stuff way too seriously. I just guess at it. I don't keep a scoreboard and it would be awfully tough to go back and look all of this stuff up, but I'll give you the results of the last two years. In 2009, the Jaguars drafted Eugene Monroe with the eighth overall pick. I had Monroe as number two on my value board. In '08, the Jaguars drafted Derrick Harvey eighth overall and I had him as number 10 on my value board. My best available player when the Jags picked was Ryan Clady, who I had at number six.

Charlie from Jacksonville:
For some reason, everyone seems so in love with the Pirates because they won a few games. Big deal! The season just started and there's a long way to go.

Vic: You're probably right.

Brian from Jacksonville:
Can you name some of the really good or great teams that you think blew their window with a bad QB and, conversely, a QB that was wasted on a bad team?

Vic: The Bears of the 1980's never got the full impact of the roster they had built, and that was because they lacked quality and stability at the quarterback position. The Dolphins of the same period wasted Dan Marino's career on a team that couldn't run the ball or play defense. Imagine how many Super Bowls the Bears would've won had Marino been their quarterback.

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