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Try the end zone view

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

Ryan from Hamilton, Ontario:
I would imagine you have probably played your share of golf games with professional football players. Who among those is the best golfer, past or present?

Vic: Brant Boyer and I played a lot of golf together when he was with the Jaguars. Boyer can play; he's got the whole game. Keenan McCardell's got the whole game, too. Kenny Anderson is a top-notch golfer and is recognized as such throughout the league. I was fortunate enough to be on Dick Jauron's team when we won the first-ever "Hacker's and Wacker's Invitational," which was a golf tournament the assistant coaches organized for the day of Tom Coughlin's Jay Fund golf tournament. It didn't get the "Hacker's and Wacker's" name until later, when it became a social event.

Rick from Fairport, NY:
I may be riding "The (Fence)," but I can't take this lying down any longer. Home games that aren't sell-outs will continue to be blacked out, there will be no mention of a certain team in Western Pa. (even if it is one of the elite NFL franchises of all-time), and "Ask Vic" is so powerful that it could affect (political party name withheld) rule in certain third-world countries. Do I get it?

Vic: Yes, you get it. It's June. It's the best I can do. By the way, I apologize that the censors deleted your reference to a specific political party. Censorship is all around us. We must obey. Our minds must be narrowed.

Jeff from Jonesboro, AR:
Why don't you just let someone else do the question and answer section? It is obvious that you hate it by your responses, especially to Buddy from China. Please, do us a favor.

Vic: Would you like a tissue?

Bob from Marquette, MI:
I think you should answer any question you choose, whether it may offend some "Ask Vic" readers or not. I, for one, enjoy your stories about past players, regardless of who they played for. Let's not forget freedom of the press. Don't allow a few disgruntled readers to censor your column. If they don't like the story, they have the free will to skip that story. I hope that one day you will answer Charles' question, as I'd really like to hear your memories as well.

Vic: Oh, I'd be too afraid. Someone might call me a nasty name. Then I'd need a tissue.

Eric from Jacksonville:
I have heard some people say hockey on television should be shown from a north-south angle, not an east-west angle. That being said, do you think football on TV should be shown the same way?

Vic: I don't think I ever saw a football game from anywhere but the end zone until I became a sportswriter. The first time I walked into a press box, all I could do was stare at the field because it looked so different from that angle. Anyhow, watching football from the end zone offered a very different perspective. When the ball was snapped and the linemen raised, that was the last you were going to see of the ball until it was either thrown or kicked. I was told to watch the right guard because the right guard would take you to the ball. I doubt if it's that way nowadays because so few teams pull and trap and, of course, the majority of plays are passing plays, but it was a great learning tool for me back then. I learned how to watch a football game without watching the ball. I still find myself doing it; little keys, such as if the tight end blocks down it's a run, if he releases it's a pass. That's what the north-south angle promotes in the way of viewing and I heartily recommend to all fans to spend some time in the end zone and keep your eyes on the linemen. See if you can develop your own run-pass keys.

James from Jacksonville:
I know you probably get flooded from close-minded Jags fans, but please don't punish everyone that reads your column. I grew up with the Jags. I was 12 when we got our team, but I still want to learn about the days of Staubach and Unitas, back when all home games were blacked out. I have a passion for the game and I hate that my favorite writer can't answer questions about teams of 30 and 40 years ago because of the ignorant few. Will you please answer the question about the days when QBs called their own plays?

Vic: You're right. This is America, not China. All right, here we go: Every team has what's called a "hot" color. I knew a team whose "hot" color was brown. That means that every time the quarterback called out, "brown, brown," he was alerting his offensive teammates to an audible, a changing of the play. The number that followed the "hot" color would be the new play. Anyhow, this team had a very good quarterback who had a somewhat stormy relationship with his head coach, who was also very good. In fact, they're both in the Hall of Fame now. The quarterback liked to irritate the coach. The coach sent a play into the huddle on a third down. The team broke the huddle, the quarterback stepped under center, looked around, and then called out, "brown, brown." The coach was livid because the quarterback had done that quite often. The coach yelled "no, no, run the play." The quarterback, however, changed the play and the play he called scored the game-winning touchdown. After the game, the coach was asked what the play was. "The one I didn't call," the coach said.

Justin from Bonanza, AR:
In your opinion, what former NFL player or coach has been the best TV analyst present or past?

Vic: I liked Merlin Olsen. He may not have been hard-hitting or boisterous enough for some people, but I liked his work and I liked him as a person.

Mike from Jacksonville:
It seems in order to beat the Colts you must be able to bring pressure from all angles and be able to disguise where it is coming from. The (name withheld), Pats and Chargers were able to do this and beat the Colts. The problem is those teams are 3-4 and we're a 4-3 defense. Do you think the Jags can do it from a 4-3 or do we need to play a 3-4 against them?

Vic: You present interesting information. I don't think you should change your defensive philosophy because of one opponent, but it's certainly worth a look. What is it about the Colts that makes them vulnerable to the 3-4? That's the question you're asking and it's valid.

Michael from Los Angeles, CA:
You consistently refer to Lawrence Taylor as a player that changed the game, a comment that I agree with. I was curious as to your perception of how he changed it.

Vic: Until Taylor came along, linebackers by and large dropped into coverage on passing downs. Taylor turned them into pass-rushers.

Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I'm thinking about getting a Jaguar tattoo. Would you recommend the Jaguar cat head featured in the website, or the cat head with the claws sweeping down?

Vic: I prefer the cat head with the claws sweeping down the arm. It looks great at the beach.

Tom from Jacksonville:
While reading Tuesday's column, specifically the answer that included the Bears' 73-0 win over the Redskins, this thought suddenly struck me: Do you think the NFL will ever institute a mercy rule? I believe this mercy rule is a detriment to sport at all levels, since it instills an it's-OK-to-quit attitude among our youth. Your thoughts?

Vic: I feel certain we'll never see a mercy rule in professional sports. I don't think it's a bad idea in amateur sports. It's all in the approach. Here's an example. I once coached a youth all-star baseball team that was in a tournament and was about to play the top-seeded team. In pregame, it was clear to see the outcome was not in doubt. It was a built-for-tournament-play team with August-birthday kids. It was a team that would go on to lose to Chinese Taipei in the Pony League World Series. Our kids had no chance and I could see the exasperation, maybe even fear, on their faces. What was I gonna do, give 'em a pep talk? OK, guys you can do it. No, they couldn't do it. I'd be lying and that wasn't gonna work. This was going to be a five-inning game and we all knew it. I had to get their minds off the score and give them another goal, so this is what I said: "OK, guys, let's get 15 outs. When we leave here today, let's be able to say we got them out 15 times." The other coaches started to laugh but, honestly, our kids immediately got some life to them. They celebrated every out, all 15 of them. When the 10-run rule was invoked at the end of five innings (we were the home team, unfortunately), our kids felt as though they had accomplished something, and they had. Perception is reality, isn't it?

Nate from Macclenny, FL:
Great Article on David Garrard. It's good to see we have depth at that position. At any rate, did it cross your mind while writing that article, the number of Leftwich-hater e-mails you may receive?

Vic: That never entered my mind. Even if it had, it wouldn't change anything. As I cover practices, I look for stories. David Garrard is one of the stories of this spring, especially coming off his performance at the end of last season. It's obvious David has a new attitude. He's here to compete. That wasn't the case at this time last spring and Jack Del Rio confirmed that. I think that made Garrard worthy of a story. That's the only consideration, ever.

Joe from Orange Park, FL:
There are a lot of people in the business of football, including people who think they know football, yet are really business men or marketing people who like to think they know football. As someone who has been around the block, what topics or common misconceptions (I call them red flags) do some people talk about when you first meet them that tips you off that they are perhaps a pretender and should stick to the non-football part of the business?

Vic: I'm not sure I understand your question, but I'll give it a try. The one red flag for me are the words "play action." If someone starts telling me the Jaguars need to use more "play action," I immediately become leery of the person. I have found that most people don't have a clue what play action is. Most people use play action to describe a play in which the quarterback is rolling out and has several options. Simply put, play action is a fake hand-off. That's all; nothing else. I wait to hear if that's what the person believes play action is. If it isn't, I smile, say "you're right," and move on.

Becky from Jameel, NJ:
My husband is a lying cheat. He tells me he loves me but he has cheated our entire marriage. Every time he gets caught, he denies it all. Then he admits he was wrong and begs me to forgive him. This has been going on for so long. Everyone in town knows he's a cheat. I don't know what to do.

Vic: He probably just needs a hug. Well, obviously, he needs a hug, but maybe he needs more hugs from you. You could do that, or you could just spend all of his money. That works for most women.

Spencer from Richmond, VA:
Does David Garrard have any realistic chance of becoming the starting quarterback for the Jaguars?

Vic: David Garrard has put himself in a position to compete. Byron Leftwich is a tough, super-competitive person and he will answer the challenge. That's the perfect environment for success. There's no doubt in my mind that the best man will be the Jaguars' starting quarterback. Right now, Leftwich is that guy.

Ben from Jacksonville:
How do you feel today, Vic?

Vic: I feel well, thank you. I hope you are also well.

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