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Today is a normal Tuesday

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

Arthur from Orlando, FL:
The Jaguars and Steelers have one the best NFL rivalries that no one talks about. Do you expect the national media to discover this fact and use examples of past games and scores to pump up excitement for the Monday night game?

Vic: That's a good question because this is a rivalry that has produced classic games. I think the media will acknowledge that but this game is not going to achieve major rivalry status and the reason is that it's one-sided. Steelers fans don't feel as strong about the Jaguars as Jaguars fans feel about the Steelers. Tom Coughlin said it best years ago when he said this will become a rivalry when Pittsburgh decides it's a rivalry, and Pittsburgh does not see Jacksonville as a rival. I had some friends call me on Monday to tell me how great it was to see the Jaguars beat the Cowboys. See what I mean? It's not snobbery, it's just that the Steelers have three major geographic rivals right in their own division, and then they have historic rivals, such as Dallas from three Super Bowls. If the Jaguars had been able to stay in the same division with the Steelers, this would've turned into a two-way rivalry. I really believe Jacksonville would've been to the other AFC North teams what Miami is to the other AFC East teams. It didn't turn out that way, however, and it's OK the way it is because the Jaguars are developing new rivals.

Jansen from Kingsport, TN:
You said the Jags need to stop the Steelers running game in order to win. Is there a number of yards you would like to see the Jags keep the Steelers under?

Vic: If the Steelers rush for 150 yards, they'll win. Over a hundred but under 150 is a gray area for them. Under a hundred and the Jaguars win. That's rule of thumb for Steelers games. It's not always true – the AFC title game is an example – but that formula usually works.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
The Rams sign a player (Romberg) off our practice squad and then we sign a player (Stanley) off their practice squad. Coincidence?

Vic: Yeah, it's just a coincidence. When you claim a player off another team's practice squad, you owe that player three game checks. Owners don't like coaches playing games with the owner's money.

Tim from Jacksonville:
About what week can we actually start to judge how good a team is?

Vic: On the morning of the Sunday after Thanksgiving, you will hear a bell ring. It's a signal for all teams with postseason aspirations that the race for the playoffs begins now. All of this early-season stuff is fine and it's fun, but it's what you do after Thanksgiving that determines how history will record your season. It doesn't do any good to store nuts early in the season because everybody only gets one nut going into the playoffs. When you reach the final weeks of the season, you better be playing your best football or your season will end. The championship coaches are the ones that see the big picture.

Andrew from Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
I know it's early but were you concerned by the play of our kickers? Hanson's first punt was pretty bad. Scobee missed a kick and had some poor kickoffs, too. I like both players but they didn't look great Sunday.

Vic: Chris Hanson recovered nicely from a bad first punt of the season. He had a couple of 53-yarders and finished with a 44-yard average and a 37-yard net. Josh Scobee had a touchback and another kick that fell at the one-yard line. There was a major wind from north to south on Sunday and I didn't see any problem with the way Scobee hit the ball. The only flaw in his game was that he missed a 49-yard field goal attempt, which was downwind. He hit it well but just missed it. I don't see any reason for concern.

Wilson from Baltimore, MD:
Who would you most hope that your own son would have as a role model from this Jaguars team?

Vic: This team is loaded with them. So are a lot of teams. There are a lot of good guys in the league right now. You won't find a more likeable guy than Reggie Hayward. Byron Leftwich, Mike Peterson and Kyle Brady are media favorites because they respect the job reporters have to do and they make themselves available. Rashean Mathis is as professional as they come. I'm not going to tell you that I know these guys beyond the locker room. Maybe they squeeze the produce when they shop. I don't know, but I like what I see from a lot of guys. As far as a role model for my sons, I would hope they chose me.

Brian from Chicago, IL:
Can you please explain what the impact is as it relates to active roster, salary cap and individual salary when a player is placed on "injured reserve" after the season has begun?

Vic: His move from the "active roster" to "injured reserve" frees up a place on the active roster for a replacement. Players on IR, however, get their full salary and they are a full hit on the team's salary cap.

Jacques from Alexandria, VA:
Since Wednesday is going to be the Jags' off day this week, what was Tuesday's format?

Vic: Tuesday was a normal-week Monday, Wednesday is a normal Tuesday, Thursday is a Wednesday, etc. The Steelers are doing it a little differently. They kept Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday normal. They're probably going to treat Sunday as a traveling Saturday, which means they'll either have an extra Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Players identify days of the week as a "Wednesday schedule," "Thursday schedule," etc., because there are certain functions that go with each day. For example, Wednesday is the day players are usually given the game plan. During an extra-day week, there has to be an adjustment. The adjustment that'll have to be made next week is more important because there will be one fewer day than normal for the Jaguars and the Steelers, and they each have a game against their main division rival: The Jaguars will go to Indianapolis and the Steelers will host Cincinnati.

John from Jacksonville:
After watching Stroud and Peterson on Sunday and Clinton Portis on Monday, I applaud them. It's hard not to wonder, though, how much gamesmanship there is with the injury reports?

Vic: There's plenty of gamesmanship. Tom Coughlin is the master of it. Tom never uses the injury report to provide information. When he considers making an injury report, his first thought is, "How can I mislead and confuse my opponent without getting in trouble with the league office?" I think that's a common thought among coaches. Tom will play games with the injury report. Jack Del Rio isn't a game-player, but he's definitely an information withholder. He accurately represented Mike Peterson's and Marcus Stroud's injuries last week and their potential for playing on Sunday, but he did so without providing one bit of information more than necessary. I have no problem with that. Then there's Bill Cowher. He's the exception to the rule among coaches. He does his injury report as no other coach in the league does and no one can figure out why. I'll have a column on the Cowher way. You might want to read it because it plays well, especially this week with the Ben Roethlisberger thing going on.

William from Jacksonville:
You have stated before that there is no cheering in the press box at Jags games by you. What do you think about writers, reporters and radio hosts being avid supporters of a team?

Vic: I have no problem with reporters having favorite teams but, when they're "on the clock," they should conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. There is no cheering in the press box, ever. The press box is a working environment.

Cindy from Richmond, VA:
You told Cary from St. Simons, GA, that the way to stop the Steelers is to stop the run, but the Steelers didn't run very well throughout the playoffs and won through the passing game.

Vic: Huh? They rushed for 144 yards in their win in Cincinnati, 112 in Indianapolis and for 181 in the Super Bowl. Denver was the exception. They rushed for only 90, but they ran it 33 times and threw it only 29 times. As I've said, it's not about yards, it's about carries. You gotta run the ball. In each of the Steelers' postseason wins, they had more rushing attempts than pass attempts. Against the Colts, they had 42 runs and 24 passes. How's that for balance? You're making the mistake of looking at the running game as a yardage-maker. That's not its chief function. The chief functions of the running game are to wear down the opponent, control the tempo of the game and dominate time of possession. The Steelers had a 10-minute time of possession advantage over the Colts and a 12-minute edge over the Broncos. That's what the running game did. It kept the other team's offense off the field and limited its opportunities to score. That's how you beat Peyton Manning, period. Throw it first, get a lead and then run it, or just stick it down their throats from beginning to end. Do it any way you want. Just do it.

Scott from Jacksonville:
How many Steelers fans should we prepare to see on Monday night?

Vic: That's the big question. Nobody knows the answer. Will Jaguars ticket holders have sold their tickets to Steelers fans for three and four times face value? Or will Jaguars ticket holders use their tickets? I believe it'll be the latter.

Ricky from Avalon, CA:
Do you think if the Jaguars beat the Steelers this Monday night the Jaguars will have the respect of the nation?

Vic: I think the Jaguars already have national respect. The more you win, the more respect you get. Understand, of course, winning in the postseason is the only way to achieve a respect that lasts through the offseason. Regular-season respect is week to week.

Lorenzo from Jacksonville:
There should be a law against the way the Pats robbed the Seahawks. Their personnel people should realize he is just a guy out of a nice system with a top-flight QB. I see why the salary cap is so important. It protects the owners from themselves.

Vic: I'm so happy right now I think I might cry. You not only get it, you are living it. Thank you for having a brain.

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