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This is a time for leadership

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

David from Jacksonville:
I know you're tired of hearing questions about play-calling but, with our obvious holes up front, why didn't we see more screens? We all know Jones-Drew and Taylor are outstanding in the open field and it just seems that when you are clearly getting beaten by speed and size it is the clear thing to do. I'm sure there's a reason we didn't see it on Sunday, hoping you can fill me in as to why.

Vic: This play-calling stuff just won't stop, will it? OK, I'll play along one more time. The Jaguars ran three screens, which is about average for a game. They were not particularly successful, which is probably why you didn't see more. Conventional thinking is that you don't screen against teams that have good linebackers, especially good outside linebackers, and the Titans have two real good outside linebackers in Keith Bulluck and David Thornton. Plus, why would you screen when you've lost your starting guards and one of their replacements had to re-enter the game after spraining his knee? Those are the guys you count on getting out in space ahead of the play. With them out of the lineup and one of them injured, you couldn't possibly expect to have the release-downfield timing you need to make something like that work. Here's another thing: You didn't establish enough of a downfield passing game to get defenders far enough away from the line of scrimmage to make screens work. I'm really at the end of my rope on this play-calling thing. No more. That's it. I'm done.

Tom from Jacksonville:
Let's quit having half your questions about hate. We are in the middle of a season; let's talk about football. 1. Is Porter practicing and is he likely to play? 2. Would putting Garrard in shotgun help with time to pass; one second can make a difference? 3. Why did Mike Walker play all preseason with the first string and Troy Williamson is now out there instead? 4. Is this game plan with Porter back easier for our new tackles to pass first and then establish the run, or is it easier to get these guys working on run-blocking first? 5. Quit answering cute questions and start talking about football.

Vic: 1. Yes and I don't know. 2. I don't think that's a good idea because play-action (that's a fake to the running back, not a bootleg by the quarterback) is a big part of the Jaguars' offense and play-action works better when the quarterback is under center than it does when he's in shotgun. 3. I don't know. 4. Huh? 5. Yes, sir.

Zoltan from Budapest, Hungary:
How many victories the Jaguars need until the bye week to be a real playoff contender team?

Vic: Four.

Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I don't think "Ask Vic" should be done in blog format; it's perfect just the way it is. It would be silly of you to change the format because of the request of one reader. You've done polls in the past. If you're considering Raj's idea, poll the "Ask Vic" readers and see what they think. I have a feeling most would choose to keep it as is.

Vic: OK, we'll do a poll. Go ahead, vote.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
In order for the Jaguars to be successful this season, they will need to have the defense return to the dominant form of years past. Is that possible?

Vic: I agree with what you're saying and I believe this defense can be dominant. It will depend on the defense's ability to avoid injuries and on the development of Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves as pass-rushers. My expectations for the offense have been tempered by the losses on the offensive line and the injury to Jerry Porter, therefore, I think defense and special teams have to pick up the slack.

Mike from Summerville, SC:
The Patriots continue to have an asterisk by their name. You hate those Patriots, don't you?

Vic: I absolutely do not hate the Patriots. Quite to the contrary, I am in awe of what they've done. I have nothing but the utmost respect for them and I have repeatedly praised their salary cap and personnel acumen. When everyone else was wondering how they could let Deion Branch go, I praised their courage to trade him and applauded their commitment to the draft. The Patriots are the standard by which all teams are judged. The asterisk is just playfulness. I'm amazed at how many people, including ESPN, take it seriously.

John from Jacksonville:
On 9/11, your column was full of talk of hate. That saddens me.

Vic: Thank you for getting it. Thank you so much for being a brilliant man. Now, can you please tell me, when is it going to end? When are we going to become civilized again?

Alejandro from Jacksonville:
With the abundance of college programs moving to a spread option offense, will the premium on pocket-passing QBs begin to decline?

Vic: It's just the opposite. The premium on pocket-passers has never been greater because the supply has never been smaller. I've talked to a few NFL personnel types in recent weeks and they are greatly concerned about the shrinking pool of NFL-type quarterback talent in college football.

Mike from Orlando, FL:
What's the name of that one guy who played in the XFL for some time who wore a special jersey name explaining why he couldn't make it in the NFL?

Vic: He Hate Me played in Carolina for awhile. His real name is Rod Smart. The interesting thing is no one would've ever remembered him if he hadn't put "He Hate Me" on the back of his XFL uniform. We love the infamous.

Jason from Anastasia Island, FL:
I've heard coach Del Rio mention the word "misfits," usually following a loss. Could you enlighten us?

Vic: The Jaguars employ a "gap" concept on defense. That means each of their front-seven defenders is responsible for filling a gap, which is referred to as a "fit." Why do they call them "fits?" Probably because the defensive assignments have been fitted to the offensive formation? When those "fits" have not been executed, you have "misfits." In simple terms, a player is responsible for a gap and he has to defeat the block that would move him out of that gap.

Chris from Jacksonville:
Sunday is a big day for me. I will be taking my six-year-old son to his first game. I'm hoping it will be a memorable experience for him and that he has a great time. Any advice from a father's perspective on how to approach this day? You make better fans of all of us.

Vic: First of all, make sure you give him plenty of water because it's going to be hot on Sunday. Then show him your best side. Provide him with an example of how you want him to act. Don't worry about the other people he sees. His eyes will be on you. You're in control of this situation. Teach him how to fully appreciate the game. One day, he's going to tell his son or daughter about this experience. What do you want him to say about it?

Jim from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Peter King has us scoring 30 points and winning by two touchdowns. I love the Jags as much as the next guy but don't you think Peter is off his rocker?

Vic: What's the deal here? For years and years Jaguars fans wanted respect, now they're getting it from one of America's premier sports journalists and your reaction is that he's "off his rocker?" I'm sure Peter wouldn't have written what he did if he didn't believe it. My vision of Sunday's game is different. For the Jaguars to win, I think it needs to be a low-scoring game. I could see the Jaguars winning, say, 17-14 or 20-17. In my opinion, a game in the 30's would favor the Bills, but don't forget that I haven't seen the Bills play or practice. I know nothing about them other than what I've read. I'm sure Peter has spent time in their training camp and knows a lot about the Bills.

Conrad from Richland Center, WI:
I love that Jack Del Rio is, as your story stated, "maintaining expectations." That's the best news I could have heard following Sunday's disappointing loss and injuries.

Vic: It's always been my belief that assistant coaches coach and head coaches lead. That's exactly what coach Del Rio did this week. He cut through his own disappointment, looked at the physical, mental and emotional state of his team, took into account that Sunday's game is the home opener of a franchise that still has tickets to sell, and shaped his message to address all of those issues in a manner that would best promote victory. His Wednesday address to the media and his mood in delivering it were perfect. He challenged his players and coaches to be the best they can be, but he did so in a positive and supportive way. He even solicited the fans' help, which should further contribute to a positive and supportive environment on Sunday. In my opinion, coach Del Rio showed great leadership skills this week. Don't think for one second that he wasn't disappointed by the loss in Tennessee, but what purpose would it serve to cry about it? You can't start calling out players and coaches after just one game. In fact, a coach doesn't dare ever do that or he'll lose his team. He has to be above such self-serving displays. He has to lead.

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