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This time, I'm surprised

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

Chris from Palatka, FL:
I noticed for the past year or so there haven't been many four o'clock home games. My pastors and I are huge Jaguars fans but can only attend four o'clock games because we're committed to worship on Sunday mornings (and there's at least an hour's drive to Jax). Do we have to start winning more to get these games or is it something else (marketing)?

Vic: Pray for more wins.

Tim from Thunder Bay, Ontario:
Pete Giftopoulos is what people in Greece call Santa Claus.

Vic: You da man.

Bob from Middleburg, FL:
Pete Giftopoulos was the linebacker from Penn State that intercepted a pass in the end zone against Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship.

Vic: It wasn't in the end zone but you got everything else right. Way to go! Congratulations to you and all of the other people who e-mailed me with the right answer. I'm stunned that so many people knew the answer. Pete Giftopoulos may have produced the most one-day e-mails on a specific topic in "Ask Vic" history. I only used his name to punctuate the zone-blitz explanation. The guy is a cult hero.

Nick from Jacksonville:
Considering Mike Williams has now been paid to be featured on football cards and to autograph football cards, what do you think his chances are of being reinstated by the NCAA? Wouldn't he qualify as being a professional, now that he's been paid for being an athlete?

Vic: In my opinion, the NCAA will treat Mike Williams as an exception to the rules because his circumstances are exceptional. Nobody wants to go to court.

Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
I heard this morning on a Boston news station that the Jags/Pats preseason game has been changed from Sept. 1 to Sept. 2. Is this true? If it is, what is the reason?

Vic: The league doesn't allow games to be played other than on Thursday-Monday. In the 2003 preseason, the Patriots were allowed to move a game from Thursday to Wednesday due to a conflict with a golf tournament that needed to use the Gillette Stadium parking lot. That exceptional situation does not exist this year.

Tom from Green Cove Springs, FL:
When I played football in school, it seems we wore more pads in our pants (hip protectors, knee pads, etc.) that don't seem to be in the NFL players' pants today. My question is this: The NFL regulates shoe color, headbands on the sidelines, etc.; do they regulate pads required? Are these pads there but technology made them invisible?

Vic: NFL rules require that players wear shoulder pads and a helmet. The use of knee and thigh pads are encouraged but are not mandatory. Your eyes aren't deceiving you and pads are not invisible, though they have been greatly reduced in size and aren't as plain to see. The bottom line is that football is a much more upright game than it was years ago. Knee injuries became such a threat to the game's well-being that rules were required to lessen below-the-waist contact. With that, players started taking pads out of their pants.

Olly from Nottingham, England:
I'd just like to say thanks for your excellent columns. They've really helped me develop my interest, understanding and enthusiasm for the game and the Jaguars (both of which I've only recently developed). I'm not at all bothered if you don't include the question; it's more important to reinforce what others have said about how well "Ask Vic" is appreciated, and how widely it circulates (I'm a 21-year-old Englishman who six months ago wouldn't have known what a linebacker was if he hit me in the nose). Anyway, the question: As a general point, which line, defensive or offensive, is more integral to the success of the unit as a whole?

Vic: You can't achieve success without being strong on both lines. It's difficult to cover deficiencies at any position, but it's impossible to even be competitive if your two lines are weak. Once upon a time, I believed you could build a productive offensive line without spending high draft picks or a lot of money on those players. But that's not true any longer; at least not at the two offensive tackle positions. The defensive line has always been a premium area. The old rule was that you built your team around a defensive tackle and a quarterback, and a lot of great teams in NFL history had those DT/QB combinations. The great Cowboys teams are good examples: Bob Lilly and Don Meredith, Randy White and Roger Staubach, Russell Maryland/Leon Lett and Troy Aikman. The Steelers were built around Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw. The 49ers were strong in the middle with Michael Carter and Joe Montana. The old Chiefs had Curley Culp and Len Dawson. So, 30 years ago the answer to your question would've been that defensive linemen were at a greater premium than offensive linemen, but that doesn't hold true today. The overwhelming majority of left offensive tackles in the game today were high first-round picks. In fact, you might even make the point that today's teams are built around a quarterback and a left offensive tackle.

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