Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Travis from Tampa, FL:
This isn't really a question, it is more of a comment, but I just wanted to say Leftwich is a really classy guy. Even when he should be blaming his teammates he blames himself. That, to some, might not be a good thing but it shows me that he isn't the type of guy to point fingers and what not. I really like him from a personal standpoint and I'm very much looking forward to him blossoming for the Jaguars. He is a class act. Your thoughts?
Vic: Byron Leftwich gets it. He understands that leadership skills are the biggest part of playing the quarterback position and you're not going to grow in esteem in your teammates' eyes if you blame them for the offense's failures. The best quarterbacks I've covered have been the guys who've had the broadest "shoulders." Leftwich has that quality about him.
Corry from Orange Park, FL:
What worries you more, the fact that the Jags dropped so many passes or that they allowed 176 yards rushing?
Vic: Nothing alarms me more than bad run-defense. If you can't stop the run, you're going to suffer in every way. You may have a great offense, but if you can't stop the run your offense won't be on the field long enough to have an impact on the game. Run-defense goes to everything; most importantly, it goes to state of mind. Seeing your opponents stick the ball down your throat produces a feeling of inferiority and helplessness. Dropped passes aren't a good thing; you don't want them to happen. If you give me a choice, however, I'll take dropped passes over bad run-defense any time. The importance I place on stopping the run is one of the reasons I was so alarmed by the rushing yards the Jaguars allowed in the final two games of last year. What caused that? Why did it happen? I'm not someone who can just shake that off by saying, oh, well, it was just two games. I know Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith place major importance on stopping the run and I have no doubt the Falcons' ability to run the ball against the Jaguars will cause a strong corrections effort this week.
Robert from Las Vegas, NV:
What do you think of Fred Taylor's success in the Atlanta game?
Vic: His first run of the game gained 13 yards up the middle. He showed burst and an ability to take a helmet hit on the knee that was surgically repaired last January. It was only one play but it's cause for major encouragement and optimism about Taylor's ability to be this team's star running back this season. Del Rio wanted a quick sign that Taylor is back and that's exactly what happened. There's another question that has to be answered, however, and we won't know the answer to that question until Taylor gets a full workload. How will his knee respond the day after he gets 20 carries in a game? Will it swell and require rest, or will it show no ill effects and require no down time? That's the real issue for a guy coming off knee surgery.
Mike from Piscataway, NJ:
After watching the loss to Atlanta and listening to some of the comments made by the broadcast team in the booth, it had me wondering: If our receivers manage to hang onto half of the dropped passes, that would excel Leftwich in many categories and hush the anxious fans that keep placing blame on him for our lack of point production. What do you think, Vic?
Vic: The worst thing about dropped passes is that they tend to kill drives. How much better would Byron Leftwich's stats look if his receivers stopped dropping passes? A lot better, not only for the passes that weren't dropped, but also for the passes that weren't allowed the opportunity to be thrown.
Mike from Jacksonville:
After a mediocre outing for the Jags and a meaningless week four in the preseason, I am looking for levity. We have all seen the quotes from Dick Vitale's quizzing of a player: "What's wrong with you, son? Is it ignorance or apathy?" To which the player responds, "I don't know and I don't care." Any gems from your player or coach interviews that you can share?
Vic: My all-time favorite that fits this time of the year was a Chuck Noll traditional following a bad performance at cut time. "The problem isn't cutting, it's stopping," Noll would say.
Chris from South Bend, IN:
The situation at right cornerback unfortunately appeared no different than last year. From Scott Starks getting beat for a touchdown to Chris Thompson's pass interference, this position looked extremely weak once again. What was your assessment and is there any hope for this position? It just seems too easy to exploit at this point.
Vic: One of the game's all-time great cornerbacks, Mel Blount, was beaten deep so often early in his career that it was actually thought he would be cut, and that was in his fifth season. Scott Starks showed me a lot in the first two weeks of training camp. In the third week of camp, however, he seemed to hit a rookie wall. I don't know if his legs got heavy or if he began to experience mental fatigue but, all of a sudden, he lost his quickness. It will return. He's just hit a temporary wall. Chris Thompson was challenged in the Tampa game and responded beautifully. His next challenge is to follow one strong performance with another one. Kenny Wright is a veteran. He's endured all of the trials and tribulations Starks and Thompson are experiencing. That's why Wright has won the job. I don't share your sentiments on the position. I think the right cornerback position's arrow is pointing up, for the present and, especially, for the future. I attribute that belief to the development of young players at the position that is ongoing. David Richardson is one of those young players, too.
Jeff from Staten Island, NY:
In regard to your answer to James from Sierra Vista, AZ, I have had "NFL Sunday Ticket" for three seasons and I am able to watch all the Jacksonville games. I believe blackout rules do not apply to "Sunday Ticket."
Vic: I obviously assumed too much when I answered the question. I assumed that people would read the answer and understand that I was referring to local Jacksonville "Sunday Ticket" users. In fact, I even said, "when a game is blacked out in a city." I assumed the reader would know that I was referring to Jacksonville and not Staten Island, NY. OK, so let's do this one more time. If you have "NFL Sunday Ticket" and you live within the area that is being blacked out, you will also be blacked out. In other words, "NFL Sunday Ticket" customers are subject to the same blackout rules that confront regular network TV users. With that, I am done answering questions about blackouts. If you want to see the game, buy a ticket. If you don't want to buy a ticket and choose to risk being blacked out, then call your local affiliate to find out if you'll be seeing the game.
Clay from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What is your take on the Colts' 0-4 preseason record. Do you think this is an omen of things to come in Indy over the next couple of years?
Vic: Preseason records are meaningless. The preseason is about player evaluation. Years ago, fans seemed to understand and accept that. In recent years, however, fans seem to be getting more bent out of shape about every little thing they don't like about their team's performance in the preseason.
Logan from New Bremen, OH:
Since Troy Edwards was released, do you think Matt Jones will take a number three receiver spot on the roster or will it be a different player on the Jags receiving corps?
Vic: I asked Jack Del Rio that question yesterday and he hesitated to name Matt Jones the team's number three receiver. Del Rio referred to the original plan for Jones that Del Rio announced on draft day, that he will be used in specific roles as he develops fully into a true wide receiver. I respect that plan. We'll see what happens.