Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Smantha from Detroit, MI:
I would like your thoughts on what the Lions need to get turned around.
Vic: Sound drafting and committed player development; that's all. There's no reason in the world the Lions shouldn't be one of the premier teams in the league. They play in a great football market with a great stadium, great fans and a rich tradition. What they've done wrong in recent years is they've bought into a lot of flash and dash, instead of sound football management. Stop drafting wide receivers and start drafting big guys. Stop bringing in coaches with a West Coast offense mentality and starting bringing in people who fit the personality of the region. Run the ball, stop the run and start winning the battle of the line of scrimmage. Turning it around would be easy stuff, provided they bring in the right personnel guy and head coach.
Tim from Baton Rouge, LA:
What will it take for the Vikings to upset the Titans?
Vic: It wouldn't be much of an upset, in my opinion. You're talking about two teams that are identical in style and personnel. They've each switched from young, mobile quarterbacks to pocket-passing old-timers. They've each got big-play running backs and strong defenses. This should be an entertaining matchup. How do the Vikings beat the Titans? The same way the Titans beat the Vikings: Run the ball, convert third down and stop the run. The one that does it will win.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Why do the Rooneys insist on practices being open to the media?
Vic: Because they want their fans to be informed. The more your fans know about your team, the more involved and emotionally invested they become. That's old-school stuff.
David from St. Augustine, FL:
Can you give an overall assessment of the special teams units?
Vic: Joe DeCamillis' special teams are on their way to becoming the best special teams I've ever covered. Adam Podlesh is the key to it. If he develops as a top punter in his second season, I don't see anything that would hold the Jags' special teams back. They are outstanding at covering kicks and they have two return men (Brian Witherspoon and Maurice Jones-Drew) with big-play ability. Josh Scobee appears to be on the verge of becoming one of the game's elite kickers. It also doesn't hurt that they play in a warm-weather city. Warm-weather teams and dome teams should always have better special teams than the teams that have to play in cold and wind, for the obvious reason.
Matt from Jacksonville:
You wrote that the single wing was like ballet? In your years covering the league, what was the worst, most consistently inept offense you ever saw?
Vic: The run and shoot; it just wasn't made for the pro game. I think it's a good high school offense because it allows teams to move the ball without having a strong-armed quarterback, but it's just too rinky-dinky for the pro game. Wadda you do when you get down near the goal line or you have to punch out a first down? You don't have the tight ends and the muscle people you need to play power ball, and at some point all teams need to be able to play muscle ball.
Dave from Los Angeles, CA:
Ah, complete disregard for the other branches of government. That's what I look for in a president. All hail, Tsar Viktorvich I.
Vic: That's right, baby, we'd do it my way. I'm all for free markets. Go on in and take what you want.
Jeremy from Jerseyville, IL:
What do you think hot dogs are made of?
Vic: They're made of cow lips and pig snouts, both of which are very nutritious and flavorful. Hmmm, I can't wait until Sunday. Nothin' beats a bun full of lips and snouts.
Donny from Pensacola, FL:
Is there a way you could put up an example of the single wing?
Vic: Imagine an airplane with one wing. In this case, the wing is angling across the backfield. That is the base formation of the single wing. Do some research on it. I think you'll enjoy what you find.
Matt from Jacksonville:
What's this "magic number" I keep hearing about regarding the last days of regular-season baseball?
Vic: A team's magic number is how many games it needs to win or how many games it needs its closest competitor to lose for the team to win the pennant. If a team's magic number is 10, then any combination of wins by that team and losses by its closest competitor equaling 10 would clinch the pennant for the team. It's difficult to apply magic numbers in football because of the tiebreaker system. If, however, you knew the Titans would win the tiebreakers, then their magic number to win the AFC South is 11. Any combination of Titans wins and Jaguars or Colts losses equaling 11 would clinch the AFC South title for the Titans.
Matt from Gainesville, FL:
What is the spirit of the illegal man downfield rule? If a lineman can't catch the ball, what's the harm in letting him cross the line of scrimmage?
Vic: You'd be allowing a lot of obstacles to clutter the passing lanes. Secondly, allowing linemen downfield before the pass is thrown would be to effectively move the line of scrimmage.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
What is the most significant thing today's football fan should know about Jim Thorpe?
Vic: I think today's football fans should do some research on Jim Thorpe. He's a fascinating study, and I think an understanding of the history of the game is necessary to fully appreciate the game. What should fans know about Thorpe? 1.) He was 6-1, 202, which means he was physically dominant and was big enough to even play in today's game. 2.) He was proficient at rushing, passing and kicking. 3.) He was the best player in the game and he was also an Olympic gold medal winner and played major league baseball, too. 4.) Spent his years after football as a wandering drunk who wasn't even provided a worthy burial place by his home state, which resulted in Thorpe being buried in a town that bears his name. Thorpe is probably the greatest athlete of all time, but the abuse and disrespect he suffered because he was an Indian is an embarrassment that can't be denied. What he did at Carlisle Indian School alone is almost beyond belief. Carlisle has been dubbed as "the place where football was invented," because of all the innovations introduced by its coach, Pop Warner. I know what you're thinking, that it probably wasn't much of a game back then. Well, what would you think if I told you that 22 players died in the 1906-07 college football seasons? Football was a brutal sport back then and Thorpe was the player who scared everyone. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because something is old it couldn't have been very good. Those players back then were gifted athletes and vicious competitors.
Jim from Jacksonville:
I am young and not very informed on political issues. Could you put into perspective for me how dire the situation with our economy is?
Vic: Don't feel bad because I'm asking the same questions you are. I've sought out the bright financial minds available to me and I've asked them to explain what all of this means. The first guy told me that should congress fail to agree to a bail-out plan, liquidity would immediately dry up. I said, "Wow!" and acted as though I knew what that meant. Then I went to the next smart guy and asked him: "Without a bail-out plan and with the resulting loss of liquidity, what's gonna happen after that?" He already knew I was an idiot so he put it in terms I could understand: "You're not gonna be playin' much golf," he said. That's all I needed to hear. The fried baloney I can deal with, but no golf? No way.