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Time to begin winning streak

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

Greg from Jacksonville:
In the third quarter of the Jags-Steelers game, the Jags threw a pass on fourth and one. I know it was Del Rio's decision to go for it on fourth down, but who called for the pass? Greg Jones caught the pass and gained the first down but I could not help but think what if Jones had dropped it? The Steelers, up 20-14, would have gotten the ball in Jags territory. It was a gutsy call, I liked it.

Vic: Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter probably called the play, but the head coach makes the decision to go for it and everything goes through the head coach's headset and, therefore, is subject to his approval. Doing bold things on fourth down is a big part of Jack Del Rio's personality. He probably asked Koetter for his best play, Koetter gave it to him and Del Rio probably said, "I like it." The decision to go for it is something I would not have done. I'm much more conservative in these matters. The ball was at the Jaguars 48 and my concern was that not getting the first down would've been a game-changer. Had the Steelers taken over on the Jaguars side of the 50, they would've gone back on the attack and might've put the game away. There's no denying, however, Del Rio's amazing fourth-down record. He's the best fourth-down coach I've ever covered.

Chris from Jacksonville:
During the Steelers dead-ball foul for taunting, why wasn't the penalized yardage tacked on to the yards needed for a first down?

Vic: The following explanation comes from the league officiating office: "We consider that foul part of the continuing action of the play, so even though it occurred after the play, the Steelers will get first and 10 since they gained a first down on the play. If this had occurred between downs well after the play had ended, say as they were walking back to the huddle and someone did something or if it was a foul against an official at any point after the play, it would be first and 25."

Courtney from Jacksonville:
We can't run the ball right now.

Vic: You got that right, Courtney, and I think the reasons are starting to become obvious. A loaded box? Yeah, but not against the Steelers. Against a three-man front, the Jaguars were unable to get any push at all and that's distressing. It's time to be sensible about this problem and it begins with the loss of Vince Manuwai on opening day. Manuwai was this team's best run-blocker. I thought this would be the year he would be recognized as one of the best run-blocking guards in the game. The Jaguars also lost their other starting guard, Mo Williams, in the season opener. Williams has been a dependable fixture on the Jaguars offensive line for a lot of years. Brad Meester, of course, was lost on the second day of training camp. He's nearing a return but the Jaguars have missed his services. All you had to do was look at Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke, who was filling in for Pro-Bowler Casey Hampton. Hoke was unmovable. That was the problem. The running game starts in the middle of your line and the Jaguars didn't get enough push in the middle against the Steelers.

Cory from Valencia, CA:
This team has two glaring needs: pass rusher and big-play WR. They tried desperately to address the pass-rushing issue in the draft but thus far it has produced nothing. Is there anything they can do at midseason, or is everything a patch until the offseason?

Vic: All they can do is continue to work at it. The pass-rush relies on the development of rookies Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. I think it's become obvious that blitzing linebackers isn't the answer. This is a cover two defense, not a single-high safety pressure defense.

Jesse from Jacksonville:
On more than one occasion you have said the Steelers are in a rebuilding phase. Given that, do you believe the Jaguars are in a similar rebuilding phase, particularly on the defensive and offensive lines?

Vic: Wasn't it understood that they are in the process of rebuilding their defensive line? Going back two years I began saying the Jaguars were starting to get old up front on defense. That's why the team traded away five draft picks to move up in each of the first two rounds to draft defensive ends.

Alexander from Jacksonville:
I was at a strip club Saturday night. One of the stage dancers was wearing a Steeler jersey.

Vic: She was probably one of those wholesome, homespun Pittsburgh girls.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
I know there been some bitterness in the Jaguars nation because of the large number of Steelers fans at the game Sunday night. It's what Steelers fans do and it is a long, long tradition for them. If you don't want the opposing team's fans to invade your stadium, I have some suggestions: (1. Don't cave in and let your buddies use your seats because it's the only time they will get to see their beloved Steelers this season. (2. Stop selling your seats on the web and let the kid next door from Jacksonville use them if you can't go. (3. Grandparents should stop using the Steelers game as a reason to get the Grandkids down for a visit; buy them tickets in Pittsburgh.

Vic: You're gonna blame it on grandma? Come on. You've successfully managed to give every reason but the major reason Steelers fans were able to get tickets: Because "The Jack" isn't sold out on a season-ticket basis. Wanna keep them out? That's easy. Buy all the season tickets and use them. Yeah, some of them will always find a way in, but it's much more difficult for them in places such as Philadelphia, where all the tickets are gone and they're being used by the fans who bought them.

Andy from Jacksonville:
What coverage were the Jags playing when James got beat for the touchdown? I didn't pick it up pre-snap but thought I saw a safety somewhere over the top.

Vic: The Jaguars were playing single-high safety. The left cornerback was rolled up and the right corner, Will James, was playing off Nate Washington about 10-15 yards. The Jaguars rushed five guys and the Steelers flooded the passing lanes. The reason the play went for a touchdown was because Ben Roethlisberger froze James and safety Gerald Sensabaugh with a pump-fake.

Dale from Hampton, VA:
You're a big schedule guy and I think now is a good time to look at the schedule (to avoid depression). In the first six games of the season, the Jaguars will have faced four division leaders who have a total combined record of 19-9. In the next six games, they will face one division leader and a combined record of 8-19. Once they get past the bye, it will not be as much of an uphill climb and the Jaguars could go into Chicago with a winning record. The best we can hope for, though, is probably 9-7 at the end of the season.

Vic: No, that's not the best. If the Jaguars win this Sunday in Denver, they could get on a roll after the bye week. Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit are the next three opponents and should the Jaguars be on a winning streak, it would segue perfectly into a showdown against visiting Tennessee on Nov. 16. I think the schedule is favorable the rest of the way. I don't see one should-lose game remaining, but that doesn't mean they're all should-wins, either. You have to do it. It's time for this team to do it and get on a roll.

Barrett from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I have been a Jaguars fan since they began here. Unfortunately, I was only 12 when realignment happened. Can you tell me what the divisions used to be like?

Vic: The Jaguars began their existence in the AFC Central, which included the Steelers, Browns, Bengals and Oilers. The Browns then moved from Cleveland to Baltimore and became the Ravens and the Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville and became the Titans. In 1999, the expansion Browns began playing in Cleveland and joined the AFC Central to make it the league's only six-team division. I don't think Jaguars fans were real pleased with being put into a rust-belt division in the beginning, but rivalries developed, especially with the Steelers, Ravens and Titans, and I was sad to see the Jaguars move away from the Steelers, Ravens, Bengals and Browns in 2002. The other divisions looked like this just prior to realignment: AFC East—Bills, Colts, Dolphins, Jets and Patriots. AFC West—Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders and Seahawks. NFC East—Cardinals, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Redskins. NFC Central—Bears, Bucs, Lions, Packers and Vikings. NFC West—Falcons, 49ers, Panthers, Rams and Saints.

Debbie from Indianapolis, IN:
Excuse me, Vic, but the Jaguars are just as close to being 0-5 as the Colts are to being 0-4.

Vic: You're absolutely right and that's why I have both teams far down my all-important power rankings.

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