Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.com

Two things must happen

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

Tom from Jacksonville:
I am sick and tired of all the talk about buying tickets and the blackout of games. I have been a season ticket holder for the past eight years and go to every game. This is entertainment and if people do not want to go they shouldn't feel like they have to buy a ticket to see it. Don't blame the fans; if the show isn't good nobody will show up.

Vic: I think you know what's on the other side of the coin.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Isn't the whole injury report thing just a way for the NFL to pacify the gambling industry?

Vic: I don't know what you mean by pacify. The NFL system for providing an injury report and updates is intended to avoid accusations the league or any of its teams withheld information for the purpose of manipulating the betting line. I'm amazed college football hasn't adopted the same system for reporting injuries, especially since college football has endured point-shaving accusations.

Dan from Tyler, TX:
Is there a penalty if a coach lies about a player's injury or is it just frowned upon? I ask because you responded that an upgrade from "out" on Wednesday to "probable" on Saturday would get the commissioner's attention. What penalties, if any, can he impose?

Vic: The Broncos and Cowboys were each fined heavily a few years ago for what the commissioner considered to be manipulation of the injury report. Teams may also lose draft picks for such violations.

Greg from Jacksonville:
I think I read that the Jaguars were going to check with the league regarding the legality of using a screen shade to keep players cool the way Seattle did. What was the ruling?

Vic: The league said there was nothing wrong with what Seattle did.

Mike from Jacksonville:
What happened to opening up the offense? What happened to throwing the ball down the field? This was a conservative three yards and a cloud of dust offense afraid to take chances down field. Why did the Jaguars not follow your keys to the game and throw some jump balls to receivers who have a staggering height advantage? I am at a loss. Can you help me?

Vic: Did you not see the rush on Byron Leftwich? He barely had time to find his primary receiver, let alone survey the field. I covered "Blitzburgh" in 1994 and I don't remember ever seeing a quarterback under more siege than what Leftwich faced on Sunday. At one point in the second quarter, Dwight Freeney had an impact on several consecutive plays. He took over the game. Consider this: Peyton Manning's impact was minor compared to Freeney's. He was the star of the game, and when a pass-rusher dominates and disrupts a game as completely as Freeney did, plans and schemes are replaced by desperation. Frankly, I thought the Jaguars should've abandoned the pass and gone strictly to the run, only because no quarterback should be subjected to the punishment Leftwich sustained.

Peter from Toronto, Ontario:
Looking at Chad Owens, has he turned into a "jar on the shelf?"

Vic: His inability to hold the punt-return job is a setback and I don't know when he'll get another opportunity to earn the coach's confidence. I think it's logical to say he needs some time to sort all of this out. I'm not ready to quit on him for this year, but he may have stepped into the "jar on the shelf" category.

Junior from Tucson, AZ:
Even though it was a loss, do you think the Jaguars will finally get some respect from ESPN and NFL.com analysts?

Vic: The defense, no doubt, opened eyes with its performance against the Colts. Every team that plays the Colts this year will look at the tape of that game. But let's get off the respect kick. It sounds so whiny. The Jaguars don't need respect, they need wins.

Ben from Columbus, OH:
The down-the-field attack sounds sexy but it's useless if Leftwich has no time to throw downfield. I'm just wondering if this is fixable because I don't think there will be much success in the passing game if this continues.

Vic: You're absolutely right. Throwing the ball down the field requires a deeper pass drop and more time to allow defenders to come open. If you're going to throw the ball deep, you better pass-block. I think that's why you saw more sideways stuff against the Colts than you saw against the Seahawks. It wasn't as though Dwight Freeney's performance was completely unexpected. The guy had just embarrassed Jonathan Ogden, for whom they have a bust waiting in Canton.

Chris from St Augustine, FL:
Did Jacksonville focus too much on Peyton Manning and forget about Edgerrin James? Run the ball and stop the run. You sold me, Vic.

Vic: Maybe I sold you on run the ball and stop the run, but you didn't see "stop the run" in my "10 things" last Friday because this was the one game in which the priority had to be on "stop the pass." I'm a diehard stop the run guy but you can't let Peyton Manning do to you what he did to everybody all last season. The guy threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars in Indy last year, and even though the Jaguars won that game, you don't figure to win many games when you allow those kinds of numbers. The Jaguars defense did its job on Sunday. Yeah, it got soft against the run in that 17-play drive – fatigue definitely became a factor, which is the charm of the running game – that produced the game-winning touchdown for the Colts, but it wouldn't be fair to find fault with the Jaguars' defensive scheme. It will be examined by every team the Colts will play this season. I'll be stunned if the Browns don't use the same scheme this Sunday.

Thom from Jacksonville:
How can the Colts defense go from the laughingstock of the NFL to completely dominant? Or is the Jags offense just that bad again?

Vic: Let's wait a little bit before we pass judgment. The Ravens offense the Colts shut down in week one was shut down by Tennessee in week two, and what the Colts did against the Jaguars was the direct result of a mismatch on the left side of the Jaguars offensive line that contaminated just about everything the Jaguars wanted to do. When you're sacked six times, you find yourself needing to gain more than 10 yards for a first down much too often. Dwight Freeney is the reason the Colts defense has become a hot unit. Upcoming opponents will study him. They'll find ways to neutralize him. When that happens, then we'll find out if the Colts are truly better on defense. By the way, in terms of yards allowed, the Colts defense is tied for 25th in the league.

Steve from Glenside, PA:
How did our offensive line go from a strength last year to very unpredictable this year?

Vic: Actually, it went from a strength in 2003 to something less than that last year. The Jaguars had a lot of difficulty converting short-yardage plays last year and that was the first sign of problems up front. It hurt this team greatly when Mike Pearson suffered a severe knee injury in the fourth game of last year. He was a player on the rise when that happened and he hasn't fully recovered from his knee reconstruction surgery. When you lose your left tackle, you're going to have problems.

Matt from Munster, IN:
Leftwich took quite a scary hit and what surprised me was the lack of class the Colts and their fans have. They cheered as Byron rolled on the ground in pain and for every other player on the Jags that got hurt. Also, the defensive coordinator's sign was uncalled for and I applaud Byron for his actions.

Vic: I have a little different take from you. Colts fans gave Byron Leftwich a good-natured applause as he was assisted from the field. I have no problem with Colts fans. The John Teerlinck slash-the-throat gesture is too unprofessional for my taste. It's a tough game; it's a vicious game. It doesn't, however, have to be a distasteful game.

Chase from Orange Park, FL:
What was the reason for Reggie Hayward being on the bench late in the fourth quarter?

Vic: He had back spasms.

Desmond from Spring Hill, FL:
Could you tell me from what you have seen of our offense – personnel and new offensive scheme – when this offense could possibly break out?

Vic: It needs two things to happen: The left side of the line must improve and a touchdown-maker other than Jimmy Smith must emerge at wide receiver. I think Byron Leftwich has already settled into the new scheme.

David from Jacksonville:
How do you stop the pass rush? Would screen passes stop this? Is this one of the problems associated with an immobile quarterback?

Vic: Screens don't slow the rush; draw plays are intended to do that. That's one thing you do against aggressive pass-rushes; run draws. Mobile quarterbacks help, but if you want to have a legitimate passing attack, you have to pass-block. Peyton Manning wasn't sacked once. I remember him being rushed once early and taking a hit on the knee after he threw a pass late in the game. That's it. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Alfie from Jacksonville:
Do you feel some of the shots were cheap on Byron?

Vic: There's no gentlemanly way to sack the quarterback. It's a tough game.

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