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Throwbacks are better

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

John from Jacksonville:
I've noticed something very subtle but major this season compared to last season. Our receivers are actually catching passes this season. The other difference is the long ball is actually being thrown well and caught. Last season, it was like a crap shoot. Is the big difference that these receivers are running their routes much better, or do you think it's just a combination of a lot of improved areas?

Vic: The receivers are better, period. Where are last year's receivers now? Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Jerry Porter are out of football. Figure it out.

Matt from Bloomington, IN:
What is the Jaguars' record after bye weeks?

Vic: Under Jack Del Rio, the Jaguars are 2-4 in games following the bye week. In team history, the Jaguars are 7-7.

Dan from Chapel Hill, NC:
After seeing the replays of games from yesteryear at halftime, I am wondering how often the goalposts got in the way of touchdown passes. Why and when were the posts moved to the back of the end zone? How often did they interfere with passing plays before they were moved?

Vic: You didn't see passes hit the uprights or goal post very often. What you did see was receivers using the post as a basketball player would use another player setting a pick. That's where we got the pass-route known as running a "post;" the receiver literally ran for the post. The goal post was moved to the back of the end zone in 1974. All it really meant was that field goals wouldn't be tried as frequently because for kickers the field had been expanded by 20 yards. The '74 season saw sweeping rules changes. A sudden-death overtime period was added to regular-season games. Kickoffs were moved five yards back to the 35-yard line. The other big rules change that affected kickers was that on missed field goals from beyond 20 yards, the ball was to be returned to the line of scrimmage for the ensuing possession. New restrictions were put in place in the punt game to help promote returns. Cut-blocking was eliminated in specific areas of the field. Holding penalties were reduced from 15 yards to 10. Crack-back blocking by wide receivers would still be permitted, but it had to be above the waist. The rules changes of 1978 were the crowning blows, but the rules changes of '74 set into motion the NFL's move toward the more wide-open style of game we enjoy today.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Does it make you feel old when the NFL uniforms you grew up watching are now considered throwbacks?

Vic: I guess so, but I don't have any problem with that. In fact, I enjoy seeing the throwbacks because they remind me of a time when football meant something different to me. It wasn't a job for me then. Frankly, I think the throwbacks are sensational-looking. I especially like the Patriots'. They are so much better than those NASCAR-like uniforms they use today, and as bad as the Broncos' old socks were, the rest of the uniform is a vast improvement over those Austrian bobsled team-style togs they normally wear. The one thing I'm seeing that really takes me back is the numbers on the sides of the helmet. I love those. That was all the rage when I was growing up. I remember Pitt, Penn State, the Steelers, the Browns, Syracuse, Alabama, Nebraska and other teams wearing the numbers on the sides of their helmets. I took the numbers off one side of my high school helmet and I still have them in a safe place at home. Alabama wore two helmets, depending on whether they were home or away. They wore a white one with a crimson stripe and crimson numbers on the sides, and they also wore the one they currently wear. I love the oil derrick on the sides of the Houston Oilers' helmets; I can still see George Blanda and Charlie Tolar wearing that helmet. I love the map of Texas on the Dallas Texans' helmet and I can still see the map of West Virginia on West Virginia's helmets. How does it get any better than the Chargers' throwbacks? I'll tell you, they knew how to do uniforms back then.

Greg from Jacksonville:
You disapprove of fans being loud at the games in your answer to Andrew, but isn't that what it's all about?

Vic: Is that really what you got out of that response? Or do you just want a pat on the back for being loud? Hey, Greg, I think it was easily understood that I wasn't saying don't cheer, I was saying don't be abusive. Don't use language that makes a father cover his young son's ears. Don't behave in such a manner that is inconsiderate of those around you. Don't pick fights with fans of the opposing team, etc. It's about the game. It's about the game exciting fans and causing them to cheer. You don't have an obligation to make noise. The team has an obligation to perform in such a manner that it makes you want to cheer. You have an obligation to conduct yourself properly or you will be ejected. That was the message.

Dan from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
If we sell enough tickets in the next two weeks for the Kansas City Chiefs game, it will be on TV right?

Vic: Yeah, sure.

Laramie from Lowell, AR:
Did Sunday prove Maurice Jones-Drew is the every-downs back that people have questioned?

Vic: I don't think anyone questioned Jones-Drew's every-downs ability. They questioned his ability to do it every game all year. So far, he has.

Erik from Salt Lake City, UT:
When watching the game, how can you tell the difference if the Jaguars (or any team for that matter) are run-blitzing or pass-blitzing?

Vic: If a team is run-blitzing, it'll key on the movement of the running back. If it's pass-blitzing, it'll take a straight line for the quarterback.

Mike from Colorado Springs, CO:
I think Jeff Fisher should supply each player with a "Terrible Towel," light lots of incense in the locker room and have a forgiveness speech in their locker room.

Vic: That might be a little over the top, but if I was Fisher I might use a press conference in the bye week to apologize to the "Towel." It might help lighten the mood. A good laugh always helps.

Mike from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Some clarification on defensive pass-interference, please. Was the pass-interference call against the Rams in the second half because the defender didn't turn to play the ball or because of contact he made on the receiver?

Vic: It was the result of contact he made with the receiver because there is no face-guarding rule. We learned that on the Ellis Hobbs pass-interference play in the 2006 AFC title game.

Dan from Ormond Beach, FL:
When Rashean intercepted the ball, it appeared we were guilty of a clip in the end zone. It made me wonder what would be the penalty for a clip in the end zone under those circumstances? I guess it would have to be a safety, yes?

Vic: Rule 11, Section 5, Article 1, Exception 2 (a) states that if a player of the team that intercepts, catches or recovers the ball commits a foul in the end zone, it is a safety.

Lee from Stuart, FL:
Looking back, what good did tarping 10,000 seats do for the franchise? I think it was a bad business decision that added extra years of free TV and pushed the problem of selling tickets out into the future.

Vic: You might be right, but I think it was the right thing to do because, as I wrote when it was done, from that point on there could be no more excuses. With the tarping, the stadium was sized to the market and it was time to find out if Jacksonville could support an NFL franchise. I like, however, the way you think.

Chris from Savannah, GA:
I was at the game vs. the Rams on Sunday and I couldn't believe some of these Tebow fans. I am a diehard Gator but come on, people. These people were chanting Tebow at every incomplete pass Garrard threw. Why can't these people just support the team that's on the field?

Vic: What will they chant if it's Tebow throwing the incompletions?

Ethan from Wampum, PA:
I took time to compare the 1983 and 2008 drafts. Even with the five extra rounds in '83, the number of quarterbacks and offensive tackles taken was nearly the same.

Vic: You, sir, are a football academician.

Greg from Fayetteville, AR:
I've been able to watch the past couple games on's "Game Rewind" (a great product, by the way) and it seems to me Reggie Nelson is slowly improving. Although, in my opinion, he's still behind where he should be, he does seem to be on top of his assignments and tackling better. Would you agree?

Vic: His tackling this year is vastly improved.

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