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They dared them to run

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

Jeff from Jacksonville:
What's happened to Daryl Smith? It seems that since the interception in the first game against Indy he's fallen off the face of the earth. I haven't heard his name called once for a tackle. Has he hit the "rookie wall"

Vic: Daryl Smith has lots of tackles in the last four games, but nothing in the way of sacks, interceptions, passes-defensed, forced fumbles, etc. Those are the things we tend to notice, such as the diving interception against Indianapolis, and they haven't been there. Of course, he injured his knee in the most recent game. Maybe Smith did hit the "rookie wall," but I have no concerns about his impact on this team in the future. He is one of the Jaguars' core players.

Joel from Jacksonville:
You mentioned in your Garrard article, 11-3, that we got first and fourth-round picks for Rob Johnson. I'm curious, who did we take with those picks and did we get the better end of the trade?

Vic: Fred Taylor, Tavian Banks and yes.

Brandon from Jacksonville:
Thanks for always keeping us updated. In the Texans game, I read that David Carr was injured by the Jags. When I heard later that Leftwich was injured on a high-low hit, retaliation was the first word that popped into my head. Coincidence or payback?

Vic: It was the first thought that popped into my head, too.

Stephen from Dillsburg, PA:
: I have a question on history that may apply to the Jaguars current situation on having a hurt quarterback. I seem to remember that in 1972 Miami had a great season during which Bob Griese got hurt and his backup quarterback was able to keep their undefeated season alive. Who was that quarterback? Good teams find a way to win no matter what the adversity.

Vic: Yeah, that's true, but the backup quarterback to whom you're referring is Earl Morrall, who was a significantly more veteran quarterback than Bob Griese and was the MVP of the league in 1968 when Morrall quarterbacked the Colts to Super Bowl III. This is a very different situation. David Garrard has only started one NFL game.

Eli from West Palm Beach, FL:
With the recent string of injuries to Byron, I must admit that I'm concerned about his obvious lack of mobility. He hasn't shown the agility in the pocket some say is required by the QB position in today's game with its fast defenses. Essentially, he seems at times to be a sitting duck back there. Do you have these same concerns? What can the Jags do to minimize this threat, other than putting Leftwich in the shotgun with max-protect all the time?

Vic: The first thing you can do is get him out of the shotgun, which is nothing more than an invitation to rush the quarterback. The second thing you can do is pass-block. Yeah, I'd like him to have a little more mobility, but he is what he is and pass-protection isn't his job, it's his offensive line's.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
This past offseason, coach Del Rio stated that the team needed more playmakers, especially on offense. Through the first half of the season, no player has more than two touchdowns (not including TD passes by Leftwich). I think the ingredients are there but there hasn't been enough yield. Do you think the Jaguars have found some playmakers or is it still too early to make a judgment?

Vic: Ernest Wilford has proven to be a playmaker. Daryl Smith made a big play in the first Indianapolis game and I believe he's going to make a lot of plays in the future. Josh Scobee made a pretty big play in the second Indianapolis game. Juran Bolden made a big play in the Buffalo game. Tommy Hendricks has made a major impact on special teams. Greg Favors was a playmaker in the win over Kansas City. All these guys were offseason additions. Yeah, I think the Jaguars found some playmakers. What everyone wants, of course, is for Reggie Williams to become the star everyone thought he would be when the team made him the ninth pick of the draft.

Logan from Calgary, Alberta:
It is clear that the Jags need to be more balanced on offense, especially with Byron out of the lineup. But what is the solution? When they line up in their sets with Edwards at FB and at least one TE the defense keys on run; that is why they have had so much trouble in third-and-one. Do you agree that they need more play-action out of the run sets and more draws and bounces out of the shotgun? Or is the problem more with the offensive line?

Vic: I'm not a coach so I'm not going to get into all of this play-action, draws and bounces stuff. That's way too technical for people like us to digest. What I can tell you is that there was no reason the Jaguars shouldn't have been able to run the ball against Houston. The Texans were in "cover two" all day. That's why Byron Leftwich had to throw short so often. The Texans were literally daring the Jaguars to run it, which is exactly what happens when you lose balance. If you lean too hard on one, your opponent will make you do the other. The Jaguars had started leaning too hard on the pass.

: John from Atwater, CA:
I didn't see the game on TV because I had to work, but I checked the stats on the web-site when I got home and I noticed that the Jags defense had no sacks against the Texans. So what happened to Gildon and Favors at DE and Stroud and Henderson at DT to make them so ineffective in Houston?

Vic: Frankly, the pass-defense wasn't tight enough to give the rush enough time to get home.

Andrew from Jacksonville:
I read the article on the site about Quinn Gray being the Jaguars' "scout-team quarterback." What exactly is that?

Vic: In the week of practice leading up to the next game, the scout team plays the role of the Jaguars' next opponent. In other words, last week Quinn Gray was David Carr.

Mario from Anaheim, CA:
What defense do you recommend to a freshman football team.

Vic: If you're talking about a junior high school team, then I recommend the 5-3; nose guard, two tackles, two ends, three linebackers and three defensive backs (either two corners and a single-high safety or three across the back). At the junior high school level, football is still very much a running game and the 5-3 is the best way to crowd the line of scrimmage with width. It's an old favorite.

Shawn from Three Rivers, MI:
For the last year or so everyone kept saying the stadium wouldn't be filled until we started winning. Well, we are winning. What is it going to take for the Jacksonville faithful to step up to the plate and fill the stadium weekly? I know it's a small market and a big stadium but can you give me a real answer, like maybe Jag fans aren't as faithful as they all think they are?

Vic: It's going to take a smaller stadium, which is what the Jaguars are going to make Alltel Stadium next year when 8,000-12,000 seats are covered.

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