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Ticket has its privileges

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

Daniel from Jacksonville:
As much as the team's play disappointed me, I was equally disappointed by the fans. As soon as the first drops of rain fell, there was a stampede of fans going into the tunnels and Bud Zone to stay dry. Many of our fans are softer than our offensive line. Also, if I have to listen to one more idiot yell, "put Jerrard in," I swear I'm gonna burst. It's a shame we don't have to take a test before we're allowed to buy season tickets; and people wonder why southerners have the label as being stupid. There was a guy next to me that even said, what a great pass-defense by Fernando Bryant.

Vic: When you buy a ticket, you buy the right to cheer, boo, sit in the rain, seek shelter, make stupid remarks and, yes, even blame Fernando Bryant. At this point, the Jaguars have sold enough tickets to avoid a TV blackout for both home games. That's good enough for me.

John from Jacksonville:
I know you always tout run-offense and run-defense, and I agree. Another stat, though, always seem to be a characteristic with winning teams and that's fewest penalties. Where do they Jags fit this year within the NFL.

Vic: The Jaguars have committed the sixth-most penalties in the league.

Sherry from Jacksonville:
I was wondering if the day before the Jags home games if they stay in a hotel and study, as the opposing teams do when they come to Jacksonville.

Vic: Yes, they do.

Greg from Jacksonville:
What do I say to the people behind me who tell me to sit down during the game? I don't stand up unless something exciting is happening, which has been rare lately, and I am not one of those obnoxious drunk fans either.

Vic: Do not get into a fight. Use tact or if that's not your forte call the ticket office to seek relocation, but do not get into a fight.

Pete from Jacksonville:
In an organization with a personnel director and a head coach seemingly on equal footing, are there conflicts that arise as to what players start/play? I imagine that personnel folks are graded on how well their draft choices and free-agent signings perform, and a head coach has to deal with winning and losing. If there's disagreement over who plays, who makes the final decision?

Vic: There's no disagreement on who plays. That decision belongs to the head coach. It's understood that when the personnel department turns over the roster to the head coach, it's his to do with as he pleases. And it's understood that the personnel department's opinion weighs heaviest in matters of drafting and signing free agents. The key to making the whole thing work is communication and agreement. You want the coach turning to his personnel department for opinion and advice on the performance of players, and you want the personnel department turning to the head coach for input about prospective draft choices or free-agent signings. It's most important that both sides sign-off on the decisions that are made. In-fighting is a killer. James Harris and Jack Del Rio had established a respectful relationship in Baltimore. It was one of the attractions in pairing them at the top of the Jaguars hierarchy.

Chris from Jacksonville:
You keep telling the Jaguars fans "no more excuses;" get in the seats and support the team. We've been hearing for two years now how the offense is on the cusp of a scoring explosion. Winning builds a fan base; inconsistency builds frustration. Isn't it time for no more excuses?

Vic: I wasn't aware that any were being made.

Jim from Jacksonville:
To follow up on your answer to Jon from Jacksonville, I believe our opponents are racking up a lot of ground yards because of opportunity. When our offense goes three-and-out, the defense is right back on the field again. As good as our defense is, they are going to wear down if they are on the field two-thirds of the game. Your thoughts?

Vic: Run the ball and stop the run go hand in hand. You're absolutely correct. There is no rule, however, that says you can't make the other guys go three-and-out, too.

David from Edgewater, FL:
I was looking at the passing stats and Mark Brunell was a very good quarterback and Sunday he didn't look half bad. Do you think we should have traded him?

Vic: A month or so ago, I was struck by the similarity of Byron Leftwich's stats in 2004 to Mark Brunell's stats in 1999. After reading your question, I went to this year's stats and I couldn't help but chuckle at the similarity. Leftwich is the 13th-ranked quarterback in the NFL with an 85.7 passer rating; Brunell is 14th at 84.8. Leftwich has completed 59 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and three interceptions; Brunell has completed 57.1 percent for four touchdowns and two interceptions. I don't think we can come to any conclusion from those numbers, but Leftwich and Brunell would appear to be the same guy. Do I think it was time for the Jaguars to move on at quarterback? Yes, I do. It was a new era and the Jaguars were embarking on at least two years of rebuilding. If you're going to rebuild, you should do it around a young quarterback. Mark is 35 years old. You don't want to have to start all over with a new quarterback after you've rebuilt the rest of your roster. That's what Buffalo is going through right now and it's really holding them back.

Howard from Jacksonville:
Reading Monday's "Ask Vic" touched my hot button. I keep a close eye on defensive line rotation and with the exception of the beginning of the game, Henderson and Stroud spent an awful lot of time on the sidelines. One was in and the other was out. I believe in rotation and giving the guys in the trenches a break, but at critical times those guys need to be on the line most of the time. It is difficult to stop the run consistently if the twin towers are on the sidelines. Your thoughts?

Vic: We all have bad days and John Henderson had one on Sunday. For the first time since his rookie season, "Big John" really struggled. Marcus Stroud was fighting through a knee sprain. Those are the reasons their time on the field was reduced.

Cliff from Patuxent River, MD:
I read your column every day, Vic, so I know fashion is your least favorite subject. Having said that, I'm treating my father to the game against the Colts on Dec. 11. Dad has many Jaguars t-shirts but no jersey. Will the Jags be in their black jerseys for that game or should I go with teal?

Vic: Go with teal.

Neil from Jacksonville:
Through the first four games, what's your assessment of our draft class?

Vic: Matt Jones—still waiting; Khalif Barnes—we may soon find out; Scott Starks—hit a wall late in training camp; Alvin Pearman—outstanding contribution in a multitude of ways; Gerald Sensabaugh—top special teams player with major upside at safety; Chad Owens—will have to wait for another chance; Pat Thomas—jar on the shelf; Chris Roberson—practice-squader trying to learn how to play cornerback.

Tommy from Richmond, VA:
Sunday's performance sure does make me long for the days of Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy. Tom Coughlin understood what kind of impact an All-Pro tackle could make on a team. Do you think Del Rio regrets spending two first-rounders on receiver? I would after the first four games of this season.

Vic: Jack Del Rio understands the impact top tackles have on a team's offense. He was very high on Shawn Andrews prior to the 2004 draft. In fact, I think Andrews would've been the Jaguars' pick had his weight not shot up toward 400 pounds that winter. Andrews explained that his weight gain was the result of a reaction to medication he had taken, but it's difficult to trust that kind of information when you're considering a guy for a top 10 pick. The Jaguars turned away from Andrews because of the weight scare. The Jaguars, of course, did draft an offensive tackle this year, Khalif Barnes.

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