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This is the end of the respect stuff

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

Mike from North Pole, AK:
The Jaguars beat the Steelers and while I know power rankings mean nothing right now, how can you put a team at number one in the power rankings when they haven't beaten the number one team in the power rankings and that number one team hasn't lost yet?

Vic: It's my power rankings and I can do anything I want.

Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
I had to laugh at the newspaper (Tuesday morning). My impression of what the media was saying is that the Steelers didn't play well because "Big Ben" wasn't in form, not that the Jags just outplayed them. Soon, Vic, baby, soon, those kinds of headlines will disappear.

Vic: Sharon, baby, you're whining. Ben Roethlisberger was a standup guy in his postgame interview. Neither he nor any of the Steelers said anything to detract from the Jaguars' stunning victory. "No excuses. The ammo of this team is running the ball and a lot of mistakes were made tonight on my part. I couldn't get the offense going. I have to apologize not just to our offense but to our defense," Roethlisberger said. Do you see anything weak or whiny in that? I don't. Roethlisberger is a Super Bowl champion; the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl. He's 5-1 in the postseason and he sustained only the fourth regular-season loss of his career on Monday night. All of that makes him one of the stars of the game. That he played an entire football game for the first time since the Super Bowl and did so just 15 days after undergoing appendectomy surgery is a courageous and memorable act. It was the storyline of the game. What sportswriter wouldn't incur his editor's wrath if he failed to mention the facts surrounding Roethlisberger's performance? A true football fan who appreciates the game and the dedication of the men who play it wouldn't be offended by references to Roethlisberger. True football fans appreciate the courage with which he was playing on Monday night.

Robert from Orange Park, FL:
All night Monday, I repeatedly heard one of the announcers call Jacksonville a no-name team, from a no-name city, with a no-name coach. This is very funny to a Jag fan like me who remembers that Jacksonville went 12-4 last year and had one of the most potent defenses in the league. What will it take for the Jags to get the respect we deserve?

Vic: All right, that's it, I'm done. Any question I see that includes the word respect or hints at anything similar will be immediately deleted. I'm disgusted that so many fans have chosen to continue this incessant whining about not getting respect. Did you see Monday night's game? Did you hear and read what people have been saying about the Jaguars? My phone was ringing off the hook on Tuesday from talk-show guys across the country wanting me to come on their shows and talk about the Jaguars. I don't understand how you could ask such an asinine question, and you're one of many. Maybe this town really does have an inferiority complex, but it's not going to use "Ask Vic" to embarrass itself any more. It's time to grow up, folks.

John from St. Augustine, FL:
In addition to the fatigue factor and cold weather advantages that physical teams enjoy over their finesse-team counterparts, it appears the physical teams are able to win the close games simply because they are used to it. Finishing a game with a clutch fourth-quarter drive to win looks easy to these teams because they do it week in and week out. The finesse teams are either winning by 14 points or losing the close ones. In the playoffs, most of the games are close ones.

Vic: Thank you, John, for your insightful grasp of the game of professional football. You truly get it and I desperately needed for someone to get it. You've helped improve my mood greatly.

Steve from Jacksonville:
Steve Young said he was concerned about the lack of points by the Jags. He said teams cannot win in the postseason the way Jacksonville won against the Steelers. Any thoughts?

Vic: If Steve Young is saying you're not likely to win in the playoffs without scoring a touchdown, then I agree with him. I think the Jaguars proved that in New England in last season's playoffs. This was week two, however, and the playoffs are more than three months away.

Chad from Pittsburgh, PA:
I got to admit it, Jacksonville is tough. Got my respect.

Vic: Thank you, Chad. Maybe you saved some of our fans a visit to the therapist.

Philip from Jacksonville:
The first week was the T.O. show. The second week was the "Big Ben" appendectomy show. Even my wife who claims I'm a whiner about such things said all they show are the "Terrible Towels," so I'm expecting the Peyton show this week. What is it with the media beating an issue to death?

Vic: OK, get it all out. We're going to use today's column as a therapy session, but it'll be the last therapy session. It is what it is, Phillip. T.O. is a celebrity for, in my opinion, all the wrong reasons. Roethlisberger is a celebrity for all of the right reasons. Either way, they are celebrities and they command attention. The same can be said about Peyton Manning and, later in the season, Eli Manning and Tom Brady, etc. The game of football has evolved into the star system. America loves celebrities. You had to know that, right? Now here's something else I want you to know. I know media guys, national media guys, who have gotten tired of all the whining by Jaguars fans. I had guys tell me that to my face and I heard similar comments at large in the press box on Monday night. You are not helping your cause by continuing to pine for attention.

Todd from Beaufort, SC:
I was watching the game and reading the blog and saw you say something like patience, run the ball, control the clock. Do you use the blog to release the screaming you are doing inside, since you can't do it out loud in the press box?

Vic: No, I'm just sharing with you my thoughts. My blog is written from the Jaguars perspective. Clearly, the Jaguars were involved in a field-position game. As long as they didn't do something risky, they were going to win the game. I never scream inside during a football game. I like to watch.

Jared from Edison, NJ:
I don't expect or even want this to be posted on the next "Ask Vic," but did you purposely tell Jags fans (the Jags) would jump to number one in your rankings to create an even bigger frenzy for this game? Everyone knew it was big already, but when people hear it's for number one, then it creates even more of a stir. By creating an even bigger stir, were you trying to, as you said, "deepen the roots" between team and city on Monday night?

Vic: Of course I was. I was trying to deepen everybody's enjoyment of the game. That's the only reason I even do that stupid power poll, so I might use it as a tool for entertaining people. I did the same thing last year when I put a bounty on the Colts for the Chargers game. It's football. It's supposed to be fun. Now I have a question for you: Why would you write to "Ask Vic" if you didn't want the question used, which means you didn't want it answered?

Mike from Whitehall, PA:
I noticed the respect that Del Rio gave the Steelers by not pounding it in the end zone for a score after Mathis ran the ball to the three-yard line. How has Cowher handled that situation in the past when he has the game locked up and his team is within five yards of another score? Does he pound it in or take a knee?

Vic: I assure you, he has taken a knee. Cowher is one of the great knee-takers in NFL history. He takes a knee at halftime when the Steelers have a lead of 10 points or more. Jack Del Rio and Bill Cowher are professional football coaches and they conduct themselves as such. Taking a knee was the professional thing to do. Anything else would've been amateurish.

James from Hernando, MS:
In the preseason everyone was worried and questioned the play of the Jags offensive line, but the past two games the Jags have kept me quiet and proved to me that not only can they create running room for Fred but they can just about keep Byron on his feet on all plays. I guess I should listen to you more often. You never doubted them for a second. Like you said, it's only the preseason.

Vic: Remember what you've written when next summer rolls around.

James from St. Petersburg, FL:
Is it just me or did our receivers get some separation on Monday night? Was our offense that good or was the Steelers secondary looking a little flat?

Vic: I saw the Jaguars receivers get some separation, primarily from Matt Jones. Jones got some separation on a couple of routes in the middle of the field. The one throw was high and it was all he could do to make the catch. I thought he was going to get a little run after the catch on the slant, but the defender made a nice burst to tackle Jones after he caught the pass. As far as the Steelers secondary, I know Troy Polamalu was favoring a shoulder injury big-time and didn't have much of an impact. That's probably what you perceived as being a little flat.

D.J. from Jacmel, Haiti:
I came home and witnessed the Jaguars punch the Cowboys and Steelers in the mouth. I am so excited but, at the same time, concerned. Have we developed that killer instinct or will we play as good as our opponent?

Vic: What's with this violent language? Punching in the mouth and killing? Come on, it's a game. Your intensity is a little over the top. You don't put teams away very often in the NFL. We've talked about that ad nauseum. The championship teams are the ones that learn to win the close ones. They're the ones who play 60 minutes and play their best football in the final minute. That's what it takes to win in the postseason. I saw some of that by the Jaguars on Monday night.

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