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Tough to predict, these days

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

Fred from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I was at the Baltimore game last weekend and was amazed at the electricity in the atmosphere, the fan excitement and ear-shattering volume. If the Jags want to sell tickets they have got to do something more for the fans. I know winning would be the first thing, but what about a band or some locker room banter before the game (a la Ray Lewis pregame that is shown on the enormous jumbotron)? We definitely need something that could bring an identity and tradition to add excitement to Alltel. Any thoughts?

Vic: I don't know what more the Jaguars could do. Their players run onto the field from a cage-looking device and through a cloud of smoke. The mascot rides a scooter all over the field. There are so many cheerleaders on the field I expect one day to look down and see my wife. Guys are shooting shirts into the stands and jets are swooping down from above. Maybe they could do what the Vikings do and pump so much noise into the place it sounds like the fans are excited. Or maybe we could all just wait until this town and this team form a bond that produces the kind of enthusiasm that is undeniably genuine and in no need of gimmicks. When the time is right, it'll happen.

Ron from Jacksonville:
Last week, when T.J. Slaughter was cut, it was noted he was considering filing a grievance. On one of the shows you noted he wouldn't do that if he was picked up and didn't miss a paycheck. Backing up a couple of months, you stated if they were going to release Brunell the time had come and gone because as a veteran his $6.75 million salary was guaranteed once the season started. Why would Brunell's salary be guaranteed and Slaughter's not?

Vic: Because Mark Brunell is a vested veteran and T.J. Slaughter is not.

Pete from Jacksonville:
What is your take on the new 24/7 NFL Network? Do you think it will be a great success and did you watch its debut?

Vic: I didn't watch its debut because I don't have Direct TV, but there's no doubt in my mind the NFL Network will be a huge success. Why? Because NFL Films is sensational. Their productions qualify as art. They are finding film footage in their massive New Jersey warehouse that they're cleaning up, colorizing and assembling into productions they call "Lost Treasures," and they may be the best thing to happen to the NFL since sudden death overtime. The NFL has a rich and fascinating history, and an inexhaustible amount of old video that could make the NFL Network the new ESPN.

Will from Jacksonville:
I know the third number in the win/loss standings represents a tie game. I was wondering since these games are rare, what would happen if after double overtime the game is still in a stalemate during a playoff game or in the Super Bowl? Has it happened already?

Vic: All postseason games, including the Super Bowl, are played to a decision. The NFL's sudden death system is a real game, with kickoffs and quarters or periods and a game clock. The only difference is that overtime ends the moment a team scores. The best example of what you're asking is the Christmas Day, 1971 playoff game between Miami and Kansas City. It ended seven minutes and 40 seconds into the second overtime period, when Garo Yepremian kicked a 37-yard field goal to give Miami a 27-24 win. Had Yepremian missed that kick, they might still be playing. It remains the longest game in NFL history.

Keith from Miami, FL:
If the Jaguars, Falcons and Chargers all finish with the same record, which is the worst in the league and which teams would get to pick first, second and third in the NFL Draft?

Vic: Strength of schedule would be used to determine the draft order. The team that played the weakest schedule would draft first and the team that played the strongest schedule would draft third.

Jon from Jacksonville:
I was wondering if Coughlin was still here would we have Leftwich or would he have drafted by need, like a Marcus Trufant or Jordan Gross?

Vic: Tom Coughlin is very definitely a "need" drafter, but don't automatically think that would've eliminated Byron Leftwich. Heading into the 2002 draft, Coughlin's last as Jaguars head coach, Joey Harrington was among the Jaguars' list of final candidates. That list included Mike Williams, Ryan Sims, Bryant McKinnie and Harrington. They were all gone by the time the Jaguars picked, but had Harrington been the only one of those four players available, it's very likely he would've been this team's choice.

Jesse from Naples, FL:
I remember an announcer and in some articles the comment made that Byron had three three-interception performances. However, going into the game with Baltimore he was listed as having eight interceptions on the year. Was one of those picks deemed a fumble when it became an official stat? I know the stats you get during the game and right after are not "official" stats. How long does it take for the "official" stats to get released?

Vic: The statistics provided at the conclusion of the game are official, but they are subject to change. One of Byron Leftwich's interceptions against Tennessee was changed to a fumble late last week. What often happens is coaches, after reviewing tape of the game, petition the league to review a play for the purpose of changing a stat. The league takes a look and makes a change, if it believes a change is warranted. It's happened that missing yardage has been found on tape and a running back has hit the 100-yard mark a couple of days after the game. It's coaches looking out for their players. In the case of Leftwich's reversed interception, it's a good guess that Tennessee wanted the play changed to a fumble, which it was, because that also got Jevon Kearse a sack. The Jaguars did not alert the league.

Ryan from Lake Oswego, OR:
Vic, just watch, Brunell will be released after the season and he will go somewhere and turn them into a winner, while the Jags will still be horrible and Leftwich will still be a slow, overweight quarterback with a big arm who can't win a game.

Vic: And will you write back and say you were wrong if this doesn't occur?

Eric from Valley Cottage, NY:
Being a Jags fan from the start and absolutely loving their early playoff runs, I must ask, do you foresee any in the nearby future, say the next 4-5 years? Or am I just an idiot for asking this, because each team relies so heavily on picks and their salary caps?

Vic: I wish I had a crystal ball and could answer your question. Years ago, it was possible. You could look at a team and see the accumulation of young talent and you knew the playoffs were in that team's future. Of course, back then there was no free agency or a salary cap. Players had no means for leaving one team and going to another, unless they were traded or released. Back then, teams were concerned only with accumulating talent, not the loss of talent to their competitors. I'll use the team I used to cover as an example. Chuck Noll drafted Joe Greene, then Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, Franco Harris and, five years after Noll made Greene his first-ever draft choice, Noll picked Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster in the 1974 draft. It put the Steelers over the top and they kept that cast of players together through four Super Bowl titles. These days, by the time Noll got to the '74 draft he would've been losing players in free agency from his first two drafts. What it all means is that it's very difficult to predict playoff runs these days because we don't know who's going to stay and who's going to leave. All I can tell you is what you already know: The Jaguars need more players.

Shaun from Melbourne, FL:
If I write in more than once with the same question is it more likely to get in?

Vic: No.

Shaun from Melbourne, FL:
If I write in more than once with the same question is it more likely to get in?

Vic: No.

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