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They should feel like football

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

Raymo from Jacksonville:
Do you think a Jags game would have a higher rating and share than FSU-Miami? What about Florida-Tennessee? Put this on your calendar and compare to week one, Jacksonville at Indianapolis. I'm interested to see the comparisons.

Vic: I'm not going to do this for every game all year because I'm not a ratings service. When I notice a difference in the trend, I'll let you know. I can tell you the preliminary overnight rating for last night's FSU-Miami game was a 17.8, which is very strong for a college football game, but it's still not up to Jaguars standards.

Amanda from Jacksonville:
Do you think the game against the Colts is more important than ever this year? I know it's a rebuilding year and even if the Jags get pounced on by the Colts, my husband and I will be at the first home game against the Cards because we are season ticket holders. If we can beat Peyton, I think we could have a sellout against the Cards. It would be great if we could stick it to everyone, especially Peter King and his "London Jaguars" way of thinking. Am I being too positive?

Vic: I think you're being overly emotional. You've done your part.

Preston from Atlanta, GA:
At the end of the FSU/Miami game, it appears to me that when the ball hits the ground there is still one second on the game clock. What are the rules regarding when the clock stops on an incomplete pass?

Vic: The clock operator in the press box takes his instructions from the official nearest the ball. The clock operator stops the clock when that official signals the pass is incomplete, not when the clock operator sees the ball hitting the ground. He does nothing until he is directed to do so.

Andrew from Toledo, OH:
Ponder? Come on, that guy from Miami is better.

Vic: You again? How would you know who's better? You think being clutch is bad. I'm just funnin' with you, Andrew. Jacory Harris turned in a great performance on Monday night, but it's my opinion that Christian Ponder is the better pro prospect. I like his short-stroke throwing motion and quicker release. Ponder also appears to be more capable of driving the ball, which is absolutely critical for an NFL quarterback. I also love the way he runs. He runs with decisiveness. He runs at the right times and he runs with a purpose. I don't know why I didn't identify his talents last year, but they sure jumped out at me on Monday night. I don't wanna go off the deep end because it was just one game, but I'll tell you that Ponder showed me true play-on-Sunday ability against Miami.

Henry from Jacksonville:
All things considered, at this point in his career, what is fair trade value for Tom Brady?

Vic: Even at 32 and coming off an ACL, he's still worth two ones. His contract runs through 2010, so a team would still have plenty of time to evaluate him and do a new deal with him. The Patriots, however, aren't going to trade him. He's still their ticket to the Super Bowl. Without him, they couldn't make the playoffs.

Gabe from Jacksonville:
What are your thoughts on the Dallas video screens? Punting aside, I think it takes so much away from the game, as everyone tends to watch the board and not the field.

Vic: I think their new stadium looks more like a theater or concert hall than it does a football stadium. It doesn't appeal to me at all. It conveys nothing in the way of the kind of football atmosphere I enjoy. I like football stadiums that are football stadiums, not monuments to excess. I love the feeling I get at LP Field, Ravens Stadium, Heinz Field, "The Linc," the new ones in Cleveland and Cincinnati and most of the other new ones, too. I'm not crazy about Gillette Stadium, but I still get a strong sense of football in that building.

Greg from Jacksonville:
The Jags kept six wide receivers and four tight ends on the roster. They also kept four running backs. It would seem to me they intend to use the passing offense a lot more this year. What do you think?

Vic: I think those numbers will undergo constant change, as they did on an almost weekly basis back in 2003. They're called final cuts, but GM Gene Smith was already at work changing the roster a day after he cut it to 53. There's nothing final about this team's roster this year.

Chad from Orange Park, FL:
"Looking at those numbers, can you honestly say this is a college football town?" When there is an SEC football game in Jacksonville, it's sold out, whether it's Florida/Georgia or Alabama/FSU. In fact, they add seats. When the Jags play, they take away seats and still can't fill the remainder. How hard is that to comprehend? Florida has sold out every game since 1980. All TV ratings prove is what people who don't go to games or buy tickets like to watch. Clearly, when talking butts in seats, there is no comparison in this town when talking passion for college football vs. the NFL.

Vic: You have a lot of errors in your argument. Let's start with this: Those aren't Jacksonville people at those college games and you know it. You're trying to distort the truth. You're trying to hide behind a lot of out-of-town college football fans who've long-filled Jacksonville's stadium for college games and allowed Jacksonville to claim the reputation as a college football town. Hey, if you wanna pat yourself on the back, go ahead, but you're not gonna use my hand to do it. Let's start with Florida-Georgia. The truth of the matter is that those two teams could fill an 85,000-seat stadium in Waycross, if there was one. Heck, I think you could move the game to a wheat field in Kansas and 85,000 people would show up. In other words, where it's played is immaterial. Now let's talk about that Alabama-FSU game that was played in Jacksonville a few years ago. Yeah, it drew a whopping crowd, the overwhelming majority of which were Alabama fans. The following year FSU played Colorado in Jacksonville and the game was a ticket-sales dud. You didn't think I'd tell the truth, did you? Wanna talk about the Gator Bowl and ACC title game? I didn't think so. As far as those consecutive sellouts at Florida, you know fans from all over the state attend those games, but you fail to mention that fact. No, Chad, you're not gonna advance these lies in my column. It is what it is and what I've just given you is the truth and you know it. It's time for the truth.

Grant from Clermont, FL:
I saw one of the officials make a signal resembling brushing crumbs off the front of his uniform shirt the other night. Could you shed some light on this?

Vic: The official is signaling about a player's jersey number as it relates to his eligibility as a pass receiver.

Kelvin from Warwick, UK:
I guess Pete Ittersagen should have stayed mowing those lawns, huh?

Vic: Pete planned ahead so that if pro football didn't work out for him, he'd reassume the rights to his lawn-mowing business. He's a smart kid. I'm happy to have met him and been able to watch his story unfold.

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA:
Do you have any initial thoughts on how the Jaguars will do against the Colts?

Vic: All I know for sure is that all the pressure is on the Colts.

David from Charlotte, NC:
The NFL is all about the money and the Jaguars made close to $29 million last year, according to "Forbes," ranking 16th out of all 32 teams. Shouldn't those teams struggling to make money be more likely candidates to relocate?

Vic: Let me tell you what "Forbes" does: Only one team in the league, the Packers, provides its financials for public consumption. The Packers have to do that because they're municipally owned. "Forbes" takes the Packers' financials and uses them to guess at what the rest of the league's earnings are. They should be ashamed of their assessment of the Jaguars' situation.

Mark from Jacksonville:
Your quote, "Show me one move Smith has made in the last eight months, since he became general manager, that resembles in any way what the team had done in the previous six years." How about the recent draft pick giveaway for QB Luke McCown, an unproven talent who is no better than what Bouman appeared to be?

Vic: Next spring, when it becomes known what GM Gene traded for McCown, and we've gotten a look at McCown as a player, write back to me and tell me what you think of the trade then. Is that fair?

Rusty from New Iberia, LA:
Why are people so quick to tell you what Peter King is saying about the team? Let's not forget that he picked the Jags to go to the Super Bowl last year.

Vic: Everybody liked him then, didn't they? Oh, boo hoo, the media is being mean to us.

Paul from Arlington, VA:
Are practice squad players protected in any way? If a team besides the Jaguars wanted to sign Josh Vaughn to their active roster, could they do so without any compensation for or restriction by the Jaguars?

Vic: Yes, they could, because all practice squad players are free agents free to sign with any team in the league. The only stipulation is that any team signing a player from a practice squad must assign that player immediately to their active roster.

Olly from Oxford, England:
What should we read into the two veteran patches signed yesterday?

Vic: That the reconstruction of the Jaguars' roster continues.

Chris from San Antonio, TX:
How many questions do you not answer a day, and why should we care what you say anyway?

Vic: I delete 200-300 questions a day, on the average, and you absolutely should not care what I say. In fact, I would not be offended at all if you never read this column again.

Bryan from Kernersville, NC:
From whom or where has Gene Smith acquired the knowledge for his craft?

Vic: Blesto.

Steve from Orange Park, FL:
Michael Vick gives a speech at a Philadelphia high school and no one complains. That's good. He tells of the mistakes he made and the consequences they had; a bad example can be the most dramatic. President Obama gives a speech to school children and millions are up in arms. I imagine you have read it or will when you find the time. Maybe it just shows that good examples and motivational speeches are not the answer. Do we really need those good-character veterans on the team? I was at the Tennessee game when "Pac Man" Jones beat the Jaguars and Vince Young got the credit. Give me some mean (expletive) guy that packs heat and slaps his wife. I want someone with six kids with six girlfriends and three kids with his wife. I want the self-centered player the game was invented for and is always in the postgame interview. Then I'll buy tickets. We may not have a winning team but at least I can read about us on the SI and ESPN websites every day. Thank you for your contribution to and to the NFL experience. Your column makes reading still pleasurable. One last note I find amazing: When I did a spell check, it did not have Obama listed. I received an error message and the chance to change it, with Osama listed as an option. Could Bill Gates owe Rush Limbaugh money?

Vic: You have achieved brilliant use of sarcasm. I am in awe. I am humble at the feet of the master.

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