Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Sam from Jacksonville:
According to the Jaguars ticket gauge, there were still 3,500 unsold tickets as of Wednesday morning. Is there a chance the nationally-televised game could be blacked out?
Vic: Tony Boselli said on Jaguars This Week last night that he'll get it done. I believe him. Please forgive me, but I'm more concerned about the big picture than this weekly mania for beating the blackout. We need a hot ticket, folks. That's what wins. "And afterward, men in tall hats and gold watch fobs will thump their chest and say what a brave charge it was." What good is that? You know what I mean? It's not about chest-thumping. It's about loving football so much that you can't imagine being anywhere else. In presenting Mike Ditka for induction to the Hall of Fame, George Halas said: "Mike Ditka didn't try harder. He cared more." We shouldn't have to try.
Brandon from Staten Island, NY:
Thought this might be of some interest to you. It is the website for the Pottsville Maroons, who claim to have won the 1925 NFL championship, though the NFL does not recognize this. Link
Vic: It's one of the great debates and mysteries in football history. In 1963, the NFL appointed a special commission to investigate the matter and even as late as 2003 the matter was brought up again at a league meeting. The Pottsville Maroons were a powerhouse. In my opinion, they got screwed. I've read on the subject. It's good stuff.
Ron from Jacksonville:
Do you like parity in the NFL? There is something to be said about having a king of the mountain to try to knock off every season, like in the old days.
Vic: I like parity. I like the idea that I'm not often going to cover blowouts. Here's the rub: They didn't name the Super Bowl trophy after Vince Lombardi because he went 8-8, if you know what I mean. We need great teams. They're important.
Charles from Jacksonville:
Many great players have come from small schools, but how have quarterbacks measured up to the other positions in recent years? Have you seen any that might be on Mr. Smith's radar next draft?
Vic: I don't know the numbers. All I know is that you find football players where you find football players. If you allow the size of a school to prejudice your opinion, you're not a very good scout and you're not likely to find the Deji Karim's of the football world. Pat Devlin of Delaware is likely to be a high pick in next year's draft. He's 6-4, 220, and has a good arm. Hey, Joe Flacco's done OK, huh?
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
"How many times, if ever, has an entire division been 3-2 after five games? Vic: It's happened twice. The last time it happened was in 1918 when the Pottsville Maroons, Latrobe Brailliers, Greensburg Fiscus' and Jeannette AC each started the season 3-2 in the Anthracite Division. I remember it well." Yes, but were any of those teams on Monday Night Football that week?
Vic: No, but the Maroons beat the Frankford Yellow Jackets that season on Monday Morning Football.
Wes from St. Augustine, FL:
I am not a Shack Harris apologist. His selections of Leftwich, Williams, Jones, Harvey and Nelson were atrocious, however, he doesn't get much credit for Lewis. Do you think, overall, Lewis has been a hit, as far as being a first-round selection?
Vic: Marcedes Lewis is more than a hit; he's a home run and he was a great pick by Harris. He is, by far, Harris' best first-round pick. Let's give Shack credit where credit is due. Has there been a better second-round pick in recent years than Maurice Jones-Drew? How about Josh Scobee? Is he worth a fifth-round pick? Shack did very well in the later rounds. The first round was a problem and the biggest part of that problem is the money that's spent in that round. It's the money round. It's where you're supposed to find your star players.
Patrick from Marinette, WI:
May I complete the NFL team of the decades? 1950's Cleveland Browns, 1940's Chicago Bears, 1930's Green Bay Packers and 1920's Canton Bulldogs.
Vic: Browns in the '50's? The Detroit Lions were 3-1 against the Browns in NFL title games in the '50's.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
So, where were you and what were you doing when Bill Mazeroski launched "The Greatest Homerun Ever?" Link
Vic: I was nine years old and standing in front of a black and white Admiral TV. The nuns let us out of school a little early so we could see what was left of the game; they had been giving us updates during the afternoon. I ran down the street and got home in time to see Hal Smith hit his three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the Pirates a two-run lead. Smith should've been the hero. Poor guy. The Yankees rallied to tie in the top of the ninth, as Mickey Mantle pulled off one of the great base-running plays in baseball history. Maz was the first guy up in the bottom of the ninth. I don't remember what I was thinking, because it happened so suddenly. The first pitch was high, then he hit the second pitch over the 406-foot mark in left field. I stood in front of the TV stunned. I ran outside to see if I could find a friend to tell him the news. I remember that when I got outside – it was a warm day – all I could hear was the sound of screaming inside the homes on the street. For me, the story started much earlier. I remember always having to listen to my dad and my grandfathers and uncles ripping on the Pirates, who were nearly as awful back then as they are today. At one point in that era, Branch Rickey told Ralph Kiner, who was in a contract hold out, "I finished last with you, I can finish last without you." Well, I remember that it was the first week of the season in 1960 and I was in the barber shop – I even remember the name, DeCaro's – when the barber asked me what the Pirates were gonna do that year. I said they were gonna win the World Series. There were a bunch of old guys in there at the time and they all laughed at me, which made me angry. All summer long, every time I came back in for a haircut, the barber said here comes the kid who said the Pirates are gonna win the World Series. I was nine years old and I was in love. I can't imagine what lasting effect it would've had on me had they lost Game Seven.
Trey from Salt Lake City, UT:
I am a full-time college student, married and have one child. I work full-time, as well, to make sure my family has everything they need. My wife and I will be flying out there on Friday for the Monday night game. Even though things are tight right now financially, we feel this money is well worth the trip. Go Jags!
Vic: Come to the WOKV broadcast tent in the south end zone terrace area before the game. I would like to welcome you to Jacksonville.
Mike from Mill Valley, CA:
I thought you might enjoy this story I saw in the Times a couple of weeks back. Link
Vic: I love a good sports story.
Tyler from Neptune Beach, FL:
Which would you rather build a team around, a great defense and average offense, or a great offense and an average defense?
Vic: I don't know that there's a difference. It's all a matter of what you feel comfortable doing and how you do it. Offensive people would tell you they'd prefer to have a great offense because that way they could strategize to effectively play defense by controlling the clock and the tempo of the game. Defensive people would tell you they'd prefer to have a great defense because that would tend to keep scores low and that would mean you'd usually have a chance to make a play at crunch time and win. I prefer low-scoring games so I would probably lean toward defense.
Lou from Jacksonville:
We've just entered the second quarter of the season and I feel it's not too early to make an assessment on the talent level of this team. In my opinion, it's not unrealistic to say the Jaguars could have five players selected to the Pro Bowl: Lewis and Jones-Drew on offense, Kampman on defense and Scobee and either Osgood or Owens on special teams. When you also consider all the young talent Gene Smith has drafted the previous two years, I believe this team is two years away from going deep in the playoffs.
Vic: You might be a little overly optimistic on the Pro Bowl prediction but, otherwise, that's a pretty good assessment.
Shaun from Jacksonville:
I was always under the impression that once a player goes on IR their season is over? I never heard of the minor injury designation the Chargers are using.
Vic: S. Merriman was put directly on the injured reserve list. His season with the Chargers is over. The Chargers put Merriman on IR with what is termed a "minor injury," which means his recovery is expected to occur within the next six weeks. At that point, the Chargers must cut Merriman. If they cut him after the trade deadline, which is next Tuesday, he must go through the waiver process. He could be claimed by any team in the league and play for them immediately. The genesis of this whole thing is that the Chargers want to cut him but they're stuck with his injury liability until he's healed. Everything after that is just red tape. He's a vested veteran, which means that if he clears waivers, the Chargers would have to pay his salary for the remainder of the year. He could double-dip the Chargers and his new team, should his new team sign him after he clears waivers, so the Chargers have to hope he's claimed by a team.
Michael from Columbus, OH:
Week six's prime-time games (Sunday and Monday night) will feature three AFC South teams. Would you agree this signifies the toughness of the division and the fact that it is one of the league's best divisions?
Vic: OK, I surrender. It's the best division in the NFL. I don't know that I believe that but I'll say it just to make these questions go away. Now that I've made this proclamation, what happens? Does the AFC South get better bowl games? Does it move up in the coaches' poll? Does it get a better TV contract? Michael, this is the NATIONAL Football League. This isn't a Southern conference still fighting the Civil War, or a Midwestern conference attempting to defend its tradition. The AFC South, frankly, is a division of rejects. These are the teams the other AFC teams didn't want. I kind of like that, but there's no AFC South championship trophy. NFL divisions are little more than a means by which teams pass into the playoffs.
Steven from Jacksonville:
The Pats traded Randy Moss for Deion Branch, is how I look at it, and that's not an upgrade.
Vic: That's not correct. You could say they traded Moss for Branch and a first-round pick, and I'd make that trade any time, even in Moss' prime, which has very definitely passed.
Mike from Jacksonville:
How come you never wear teal on game day or other reporters don't dress up for game day?
Vic: Reporters are expected to be objective.