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Time for tricks is over

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

Cedrick from Jacksonville:
I noticed in Jones-Drew's postgame interview that his beard was gone. Is the movement over?

Vic: It would seem it is. One game? I've used the same golf ball for longer than he kept that beard.

John from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Just heard about Weaver's Tebow remarks and, like many of your readers, I'm sure, my head almost exploded. My wife ran into the room because I made some unintelligible sound. You can avoid Tebow questions all you want and go on about your Ponders and your Pikes, but he's coming. Ticket sales problems? Goodbye. National spotlight? Welcome back to Jacksonville. Open your eyes, man. Stop resisting. Stop hating. Appreciate a once-in-a-generation athlete. One day you can tell your grandkids you saw the great Tim Tebow play.

Vic: Nothing would make me happier than if this fairy tale played out exactly as you're envisioning it. Just remember this, John: If they draft him and he doesn't sell tickets, I'm gonna be your worst nightmare.

Anthony from Jacksonville:
Written by Frank Deford on "In fact, if I were an NFL franchise with empty seats, it would be worth it for me to buy up those vacant chairs so that happy fans could watch the product." Why is that not true in your mind?

Vic: Because that's what Wayne Weaver has been doing for years and look at the result.

Andy from Jacksonville:
I will be at the stadium on Sunday, with a watchful eye on the defense. What effect, if any, will the loss of Reggie Hayward have as far as scheme?

Vic: Reggie was the Jaguars' best all-purpose defensive end. He could play the run and he could rush a little. In other words, he was an every-downs defensive end. Derrick Harvey is supposed to be an every-downs end. Reggie's absence is going to force Mel Tucker to be even better at predicting run or pass. Down-and-distance tendencies will be critical to the Jaguars' success on defense this season. Harvey's development into an every-downs, all-situations type of defensive end will also be critical to the Jaguars' success.

William from Savannah, GA:
I respect that there is supposed to be no cheering in the press box, but what will you be doing when it's time to fix bayonets?

Vic: I like to watch.

Paul from Jacksonville:
I just have to wonder if the people of Jacksonville understand what the loss of the Jaguars would mean to the city of Jacksonville in areas that have nothing to do with football. It's a bigger issue than the team and the stadium. How many local jobs depend on this team? What effect will it have on luring corporations who will grow afraid of a shrinking workforce because of perceptions about Jacksonville's continued growth or lack thereof?

Vic: I can't answer those questions, but I can't help but wonder if the college football fans in this town have considered what impact the loss of the Jaguars would have on college football. This stadium would be very difficult to maintain without a full-time tenant. I'll let them take it from there.

Charles from Jacksonville:
Have any cities lost an NFL team as a result of low attendance?

Vic: According to my research, the last NFL team that left town due to poor attendance was the Dallas Texans franchise, which was moved to Hershey, Pa., at midseason in 1952 due to poor attendance and mounting debt. The Texans eventually became the Baltimore Colts. Some might put the Chicago Cardinals in that category; the Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960. Others, however, will tell you George Halas was the reason the Cardinals left Chicago; Halas forced them out. In all of the other cases, stadium issues were the major reason teams left. The Browns left Cleveland because of a stadium issue, the Colts left Baltimore, the Oilers left Houston and the Rams left Los Angeles because of stadium issues. Attendance had dipped in some of those places at the end, but it was stadium issues that triggered the declines and departures. That's the most distressing thing about the Jaguars situation: There is no stadium issue. No one is complaining about the stadium. It's fine.

Otto from Richmond Hill, GA:
You always hear that there are no must-win games in week two of the NFL season. Is this week's game a must-win for the Jaguars, Jack Del Rio and professional football in Jacksonville?

Vic: I think you're being overdramatic. It's a must-win game for the Jaguars to avoid getting off to a slow start. I think it's fair to say that, but I wouldn't go beyond that.

Sergiu from Edmonton, Alberta:
What happened to ticket sales when the blackout was announced?

Vic: There has been no spike, no noticeable difference in sales. In the past, a line has formed at the ticket window soon after the blackout was announced. That did not happen yesterday.

Brett from Jacksonville:
Why do the Jaguars keep drafting/signing players and converting them to tight ends?

Vic: It's common throughout the league. Tight end is a receptacle for tweeners. It's a place for big, athletic quarterbacks that lack passing skills and big wide receivers that can catch but aren't fast enough to play wide receiver in the NFL.

Richard from Irvine, CA:
I just listened to "Jaguars This Week" and judging by some of the callers' comments, I fear the Tebow situation is almost a no-win scenario. I don't know if simply drafting him will cause a significant spike in ticket sales, because Tebow fans will complain they won't buy tickets to see him sit on the bench. Therefore, if ticket sales are the biggest factor behind drafting Tebow, he'd almost certainly have to be named the starter for week one.

Vic: I don't know about week one, but I agree that you don't draft him if you're not going to commit to playing him. The bottom line is the only circumstance that'll produce satisfaction is victory. He must win. Merely drafting him won't produce the desired result. If he's unsuccessful, they'll say he was playing in the wrong offensive system; that the team needed to run the spread. Hey, it's not as though other teams haven't faced this same situation. Pittsburgh passed on Dan Marino. Chicago has passed on a lot of Notre Dame quarterbacks. Was there a groundswell campaign in New Orleans to trade away their whole draft to move up and pick Peyton Manning? This situation is over the top.

Mary Beth from Jacksonville:
I have noticed that even with the covers on the seats, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is still bigger than 11 other stadiums in the NFL. Why don't they cover more seats to make the capacity more comparable to the smaller stadiums in the league?

Vic: First of all, it's only slightly larger than those smaller stadiums. Secondly, because only general bowl seating counts toward the blackout, the Jaguars have one of the smallest blackout numbers in the league. Thirdly, those covers were installed to help create demand. The idea was that if the team could create demand, it would protect the fanbase from blackouts. It was a great gesture by the team in the face of significant loss of revenue for high-attendance games, such as those against Pittsburgh and Green Bay, when Steelers and Packers fans would fill the place without the covers on the seats. The problem is that even with the covers on, there are going to be vast areas of empty seats this season. There is no demand and you'd have to cover half the stadium to create it. Please take my word for it that the time for tricks is over. It's time to buy tickets; that's all, buy tickets.

Andrew from New Port Richey, FL:
So, with Sunday's game officially blacked out, I found myself wondering, has a team ever had every home game blacked out in a single season?

Vic: Oakland and Arizona have had every home game blacked out. In Arizona's case, that's from when they were playing in massive Sun Devil Stadium.

Mark from Yulee, FL:
Fix bayonets!

Vic: I have a friend who thinks it would've been better had Chamberlain surrendered at Little Roundtop and the Confederacy had taken the high ground. He says it would've caused the north and south to negotiate a peace that would've divided the country, leaving the north to pursue a college football playoff system and the south to declare the SEC champion the national champion every year.

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