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There are no buts

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

Greg from Jacksonville:
In light of the traffic incident with Quentin Groves, would you clarify the way away game travel is handled? I always thought the team met at the stadium and took a bus to the airport.

Vic: Players drive to an airport cargo area where they park in a hangar-type building, proceed through security and board the plane, which is parked outside. Players drive to the airport because they want to get home as soon as possible after the plane lands in Jacksonville. Busing to the stadium and driving home from there would add another half hour to the itinerary.

Derek from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
My colleague has argued that the Jaguars have not only not helped the Jacksonville economy, but have hindered it with taxpayer dollars. Is there any way you can spit out some statistical numbers to dispute him?

Vic: A few weeks ago I promised a telling story on the economics of having the Jaguars in Jacksonville and what the issues are the Jaguars are confronting in their attempts to sell tickets. That story is soon to be posted. It cites a recent economic study conducted by the University of Central Florida.

Greg from Jacksonville:
Does a quarterback's inability to make quick decisions and not hold onto the ball for a long time affect the perception of how good or bad an offensive line really is?

Vic: Why bother with perception when you can deal with reality? It's on the game tape from Sunday. The pass-protection was not good.

Jamie from Jacksonville:
Why was Groves allowed to play in the game when he missed the charter flight because of an apparent hit-and-run accident? If Del Rio is going to suspend Walker, shouldn't he have suspended Groves as well? Have you heard anything about the accident? And do you expect a suspension in the future?

Vic: You're throwing around accusations pretty loosely. At this point in time, Groves hasn't been issued any kind of a citation for a traffic violation. He wasn't suspended or deactivated because there were mitigating circumstances involved in missing the flight. He was involved in an accident on airport property, very near the Jaguars' boarding area. He missed the flight and then booked his own passage to Seattle, where he arrived before Friday night's curfew. He was fined by Jack Del Rio for missing the team flight. Those are the facts as we know them.

Daniel from Jacksonville:
I noticed the temperature for the Jags-Rams game is expected to be down in the 70s. Will the team provide heaters and free coffee for those of us who think it will be too cold to go to the game?

Vic: Sometimes you just have to tough it out.

George from Orlando, FL:
In retrospect, would you now do the trade for Jared Allen? He's playing at an All-Pro level and, personally, I would trade each of our first-round picks from the last two years for a player that can make that kind of impact. Building through the draft is great, but you have to get impact guys in the first round and the Jags haven't been able to do that for awhile now.

Vic: No, I still wouldn't do it because I would never do it. First of all, Allen got $31 million in guaranteed money from the Vikings. This team can't take that kind of financial risk for a player who had two DUI's when he was traded and was almost certainly enrolled in the league's substance abuse program and may have been subject to suspension with his next positive test or violation. The risk was fantastic, not to mention the high price the Vikings paid in draft choices. Kansas City traded Allen and a sixth-round pick for the Vikings' first-round pick (17th overall), two third-round picks and a sixth-rounder, all of those picks in the 2008 draft. I want the picks, not the player, the contract, the liability and the risk. Here's what I would've done: I would've drafted Joe Flacco in the first round and Steve Slaton in the third round and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Yes, you have to hit on your picks.

Jason from Virginia Beach, VA:
I understand that letting young guys develop is a process that requires patience from both fans and the organization, however, given that the Jaguars gave up so much to draft Harvey, shouldn't the expectations be higher? Not saying to give up on him now, but how long do you keep playing a guy, hoping he will become what you drafted him to be?

Vic: I don't know how long, I just know it's long. When you invest that kind of pick and money in a guy, there's no quitting on him until you are absolutely sure he can't play. Rashard Mendenhall is the best current example. He had bust written all over him when Mike Tomlin "benched" him a couple of weeks ago because he hadn't passed his written exam the week of the game. The following week, a "new" Mendenhall rushed for 160 yards and had another impressive game this past Sunday. You can't say I'm patient but. There are no buts. You're either patient or you're not.

Dave from Snellville, GA:
During the Jets-Dolphins game, Ricky Williams broke free on a pass play for about 60 yards. When they played it back, you could see a Dolphins receiver watching the big screen in the end zone as he continued blocking; he clearly would not have kept contact with the corner if he did not know from the big screen that Ricky was still running behind him. Do you think the NFL should require those screens to be moved to the center or somewhere so they do not become part of the game itself?

Vic: Those video boards are compromising the integrity of the game by giving one player a competitive advantage over another. How about a running back breaking into the open and looking at the big board to know where his pursuers are? He can see when the guy chasing him dives to make the tackle and then step to the side to avoid the tackle. That's a terrible competitive advantage. I don't know what the solution is but until one is found, those boards should be turned off during the play.

Sam from Jacksonville:
Are you surprised at the news that Jevon Kearse left the stadium after finding out he'd be inactive for Tennessee, and that Jeff Fisher is not going to punish him?

Vic: What that tells me is that Fisher is not ready, yet, to draw a line in the sand. Coaches know their teams better than we do. He probably knows this isn't the right time, but you can bet the time will come. Kearse is one of the Titans' heritage players and they lost a heritage player this past summer when Steve McNair was slain. This is sensitive stuff. It sounds to me as though the Titans are heading for an end-of-the-season rebirth.

Leo from Atlanta, GA:
Jason Whitlock wants Roger Goodell to block Limbaugh's possible purchase of the Rams. Has the league ever blocked a purchase before for any reason at all, or is that one of the issues that may be cleared up in the upcoming Supreme Court case?

Vic: Yes, there's a precedent for it. A prospective buyer for the Redskins was denied and so was the author Tom Clancy, who was attempting to purchase the Vikings.

Jimmy from Cardiff, CA:
I've read and listened to you rave about Chad Henne ever since that bowl game against the Gators. Well, he sure showed some skills on MNF, didn't he? Have you ever seen this many promising young quarterbacks in the NFL at one time?

Vic: The league is loaded with good, young quarterbacks and Henne is one of them. I so much wanted the Jaguars to draft him. That position is too important to ignore. The good news for the Jaguars is there's a bumper crop of quarterbacks coming into the next few drafts. The current crop of young quarterbacks in the NFL rivals the 1970's.

Michael from Jacksonville:
Henne or Sanchez?

Vic: I like them both, but I like Henne a little more because the Dolphins got him in the second round and that makes him less of a risk.

Steve from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars should start Tra Thomas in the Rams game?

Vic: He's started the last two games.

Steve from Crystal River, FL:
Is it easier to rush the passer or stop the run?

Vic: Run-stuffers are easier to find than pass-rushers.

Todd from Virginia Beach, VA:
I never saw Ted Hendricks do a double-chinstrap pull, Jack Lambert do a sack dance or Walter Payton do some silly routine after a run. At what point did it become fashionable for special teams players to bounce around like angry imbeciles after tackling a return man?

Vic: It's all about ESPN. That's when this all started. ESPN turned sports into entertainment.

Phillip from Palm Coast, FL:
What was the atmosphere like on the plane ride home with the team? Was there any talk of the game at all?

Vic: John Henderson kept saying, "We should've won that game," and then he started to cry and Terrance Knighton and Montavious Stanley hugged him. David Garrard gathered his offense around him and started yelling, "This can never happen again." Then the players removed the seats and started practicing plays. I heard someone say, "We have to do it for the fans." The atmosphere was intense.

Tim from Orlando, FL:
What about when the Cardinals came to Jacksonville to stomp us out? Are we not counting that one?

Vic: Phoenix is in the Mountain Time zone, not Pacific. Because Phoenix stays on Standard Time, half of the year is a three-hour difference from the Eastern Time zone and half of the year is a two-hour difference. I limited the comparison to teams in the Pacific Time zone and Eastern Time zone because it would've been too difficult to do the research if I had to factor in the time change from Daylight to Standard Time. Also, the miles just aren't there because Phoenix isn't Pacific Time, it's Mountain Time. I'll tell you this: If I had included Arizona in my math, the numbers would've gotten a lot better for the point I was trying to make because the Cardinals are one of the all-time Eastern Time zone dogs. They were 0-6 in the Eastern Time zone in the regular season last year and are 3-17 in the regular season in the East since 2003.

Artie from Portland, ME:
Marcedes Lewis used to wear a black visor over his facemask and now he no longer uses it. What are the rules that govern wearing the visor?

Vic: Anybody can wear the clear visor but only players with a medical condition that requires the use of a dark visor may wear one.

Ken from Jacksonville:
In recalling horror stories from Seattle, I recall a Steelers quarterback who broke his hand on a punching machine after a bad loss there. I don't recall which Steelers quarterback that was. Can you help?

Vic: That's the horror story to which I was referring. We went to Seattle on a Friday and didn't return until Monday night because a fog descended on Seattle that weekend. After the game on Sunday, some of the players went out on the town, including a group that went to one of those western bars that had mechanical bulls and metered punching bags. A quarterback named Cliff Stoudt proceeded to break his throwing hand on one of those gizmos. They awakened Chuck Noll in the middle of the night to tell him what had happened. He then informed the messenger that we would leave in the morning, fog or no fog. I remember not being able to see the tip of the wing as we raced down the runway, and I remember complete silence as we climbed through the fog. They told us we would be in the "soup" for 20 seconds, but it was a lot longer than that. All of a sudden, we burst into bright sunshine and Mt. Rainier was right under us.

Fred from Jacksonville:
I, too, enjoy reading your reporting and "Ask Vic" and the commitment to publish even when flying all night. What can you tell us about the process of pregame prep and postgame review, particularly as it relates to film and technology? What is the extent of film the team has access to?

Vic: Every team has access to every game played and the quality of the tapes are of the highest caliber. The film vault also includes just about every college game played in the last several years. I could go down the hall and ask to see a copy of the 2006 North Dakota vs. North Dakota State game and have it in my hands or in my inbox within a few minutes.

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