Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Fergal from London, Ontario:
You seem to agree with Del Rio's philosophy. In that regard, when Coughlin was coach did you agree with him as completely? What philosophical differences, if any, separated you and T.C. when he was around?
Vic: Tom Coughlin was and still is a sensational coach. What he did with this team in 2002 is one of the finest coaching jobs I have ever witnessed. The best examples of his coaching were back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and Cleveland in early Dec. of that year. The Jaguars lost time of possession by more than 27 minutes combined and were doubled-up in yardage in both games, but they came within a two-point conversion of taking the Steelers into overtime and lost to the Browns on a "Hail Mary" pass. The Jaguars committed no turnovers in either game and were not penalized in the Steelers game. Coughlin absolutely got the most out of one of the two weakest rosters in Jaguars history. I don't know if fans really appreciated the coaching job he did that year. Coughlin also had the most sophisticated and productive pass-offense I've ever covered. The guy is a great coach. I just wish the Jaguars had been less aggressive in pursuing free agents and more conservative in managing their salary cap during Coughlin's years. That's what did him in and, in my opinion, you had to have been blind not to see it coming. Even as the team was in the process of winning 14 games in 1999, it was easy to see the situation was in decline because the cap was about to flatten them. That was my philosophical difference and there was no disguising it. I hated what the Jaguars were doing to their cap and I was very candid about it.
William from Jacksonville:
If the Jaguars were to acquire Terrell Owens for this season or any future season would you: A) resign and become an ESPN Classic shut-in; B) set your hair on fire; C) push "Shack" and Jack off the Dames Point Bridge and follow it up with a half-gainer; D) all of the above?
Vic: I'm already an ESPN Classic shut-in, my hair would burn out in seconds and I'm afraid of heights. I don't know what I'd do.
Ron from Jacksonville:
In response to all of the people asking about the criticism from Jaguars fans, you've got to understand that this a city full of people who have grown up watching nothing but the Gators playing under Steve Spurrier. Jacksonville has grown so used to seeing 30 and 40 points per game and we just can't comprehend that it's not realistic in the NFL.
Vic: It didn't work real well for Spurrier in Washington, did it?
Steve from Jacksonville:
Does Green Bay have premium seating? What does a ticket at mid-first level on the 50-yard line in Green Bay cost? What about the 30-yard line at the same position?
Vic: It depends on who the scalper is because there are no tickets available in Green Bay. Yes, Steve, Green Bay has premium seating but I don't know what the specific costs are for the seat locations you're suggesting. Let's do this another way, OK? The average price of a ticket at Lambeau Field in 2004 was $54.40, which ranked 17th in the NFL. The average price of a ticket at Alltel Stadium in '04 was $40.80, which ranked 30th in the league.
Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
Your last editorial made sense, except for one thing. You've been using that excuse from day one. You have been saying for three years to let the players mature. Let the players develop slowly. As it seems, Jacksonville doesn't seem to have much time left. How many years is an acceptable time frame for all of this?
Vic: Are you kidding me? Running out of time? Years 4-7 are considered to be the prime years of a player's career. This is just the third season of the Jack Del Rio era. Take a look at the roster and the core players' years of experience. This team is still two or three years from hitting its stride. Truth be known, the Jaguars are way ahead of schedule. It's not a matter of being patient. This is the way it is. There is no other way. You either do it this way or you go crazy and destroy your salary cap and spend the next five years saying I won't do that again. There are no guarantees. We watch and we wait. What we do know, however, is that there's a chance. When you build your team according to a plan that provides for a healthy salary cap, you always have a chance.
James from Middleburg, FL:
Is a preseason game blacked out due to the NFL or to the owner? I thought the owner had the choice during preseason?
Vic: The TV blackout rule is established by the league – actually it was established by an act of Congress in 1973, which has long since expired but the NFL continues to operate according to it – and it pertains to preseason, regular-season and postseason games. The rule is such that if a game isn't sold out and the home team owner wants the game televised in his or her market, then that owner has to buy the remaining tickets. What that means, of course, is that the owner would have to cut a check to the visiting team for 34 percent of the unsold tickets. There's a tendency to look the other way in the preseason when the unsold tickets are minimal. The unsold tickets for Thursday's game against Atlanta are not minimal.
Michael from Daytona Beach, FL:
If the radius for blackouts is 75 miles, how come people in Daytona can not see a televised game? We are over 100 miles away.
Vic: It's not according to where you are, it's according to where the TV signal penetrates. If the TV signal of the station capable of broadcasting the game penetrates to within 75 miles of the game's location, the penetrating TV signal is blacked out. Daytona's signal penetrates the 75-mile radius of Jacksonville.
Pete from Jacksonville:
Hey, Vic, just updating from Wolfson's Bone Marrow Unit. It's been intense and an uphill battle but I'm progressing on schedule. My family told me about the get-well e-mails back home and I thank all "Ask Vic" readers for their support. Now, onto my question or comment. Your article about the staunch defense and young offense is identical to the guest editorial I wrote for the Jags' formula for winning. It's a broken record by now and it seems fans keep falling back on it. Please don't respond to it anymore.
Vic: Are you accusing me of plagiarism? Are you saying I've stolen your work? You must be feeling better. Good!
Clyde from Jacksonville:
You have discussed at one time or another in the preseason the development of draft picks Matt Jones, Chad Owens and Alvin Pearman. Would you comment on how the remaining 2005 draft class – Khalif Barnes, Scott Starks, Gerald Sensabaugh, Pat Thomas and Chris Roberson – are doing?
Vic: Barnes is learning both tackle positions. He has struggled, which is to be expected. Proper technique is critical to performance at tackle and I think it may be the second-most difficult position to learn. Starks is competing for the starting right cornerback job. Sensabaugh has been a big hit and the Jaguars think he offers potential beyond what they thought he could be when they drafted him. He'll be a special teams contributor this year and a "jar on the shelf" at safety or cornerback. Thomas was slowed early by a hamstring injury. Roberson shows some upside for a seventh-round pick.
Brian from Orlando, FL:
Vic, have you been to getthegameon.com and seen what Charger fans are doing to avoid blackouts?
Vic: It's not a long-term solution. It's a quick-fix gimmick that sends the wrong message: "You don't have to buy a ticket." As I have said, it's not about blackouts, it's about sellouts. The future of professional football in Jacksonville depends on selling tickets, not on avoiding blackouts.
Jon from Spokane, WA:
How many years does John Henderson have left on his deal?
Vic: Two; this year and next.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
By you saying the Jaguars sold about the same number of single-game tickets over the weekend as last year's first weekend and that last year the Pittsburgh game provided a major boost, we basically did better this year with no so-called boost, right? Was that what you were trying to say?
Vic: Yeah. The Pittsburgh game last year was the only game in Jaguars history for which every ticket was sold; not one single remaining. Obviously, it was a major boost. The Jaguars don't have a game on their home schedule this year with that kind of drawing power, although, the game against the Colts could become that kind of game if the circumstances are right.
Vinnie from Staten Island, NY:
I feel things are heading in the right direction and some regular-season wins could push people back into the seats. Am I right or just wishful thinking?
Vic: I think you're right. I think Jaguars fans are "stepping up to the plate." The blackout for Thursday's game doesn't bother me because for teams that don't sellout on a season-ticket basis, preseason games are a difficult sell.