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What record is realistic?

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

Chris from Jacksonville:
What would have been the call had the blocked punt we had gone through the back of the end zone?

Vic: Safety.

Joel from Orange Park, FL:
What a game. You are exactly right on how you have to win an NFL game today (be able to run out the clock and put yourself in a position to be the last to score). The Matt Jones trick plays were exciting at first but it looks like they have run their course. I would like to see the end of trick plays and just concentrate on making Jones a good receiver. Your thoughts?

Vic: You are a wise man.

Marc from Murfreesboro, AR:
I read your response yesterday about the 10-second run-off on the play just before half. It is my understanding that you can have a 10-second run-off for a dead-ball foul. If the clock were running at the time, it would have been the end of the half. The reason there was no run-off was because the dead-ball penalty came after a time out when the clock was not in motion. Is this correct?

Vic: You're right. I apologize for failing to have mentioned that the clock was stopped. The run-off rule is meant to forbid teams without a time out from stopping the clock by committing a penalty. In this case, the clock already was stopped.

Sean from Sunnyvale, CA:
After getting the Steelers game out of the way, the Jaguars now have a very easy schedule for the rest of the year. As you pointed out in Monday's article, the only team with a winning record the Jags face is the Colts. Realistically, do you see the Jaguars going at least 12-4?

Vic: I think that's realistic.

Brian from Jacksonville:
I wanted to wait a day before commenting so I could come off the emotional high. Wins matter, bottom line, but I am still concerned that this offense still does not exhibit the "it" needed to make opposing defenses nervous. Pittsburgh's defense seemed to know that no matter how inept their offense was the Jags offense couldn't put the game away. When you play a McNair or a Bulger, you face an opponent capable of patiently waiting for the defense to tire. When Pittsburgh went no-huddle, I felt the Jags defense had to work hard physically and mentally, battling the idea that if they couldn't stop Pittsburgh from scoring that the offense wouldn't step up. I have to believe the defense needs something from the offense that shows they can be explosive and take some of the pressure of the defense.

Vic: Of course they do. This is a team game. To be a championship contender, a team needs all three phases to be contributors. The offense is in development. It's still digesting a new system and I think we forget that from time to time. My expectation is that the offense will start to click as the playoffs near and that it'll all come together at the right time. That has to happen to be able to win in the postseason because you're not going to be facing any Tommy Maddox's in the playoffs.

Jeff from Oakley, CA:
Has the Reggie Hayward signing paid off? He already has 5.5 sacks, 18 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. If he keeps this up he'll be well worth the $10 million bonus. What's your evaluation on him so far?

Vic: He is exactly what the Jaguars needed when they signed him. Patience is a great virtue. We all knew the Jaguars were desperate for help at defensive end two years ago. They could've gotten wild in free agency but what they wanted wasn't there, just as the left tackle they wanted wasn't there in free agency this year. Instead of spending just to spend, they showed restraint and patience. When Hayward came along, they made their move because he was what they wanted and they, obviously, made the right decision.

Nathan from Golden, CO:
I just have one question for you. When the refs view a challenge and look at the replays, are they able to stop and slow the replay down, like they do on TV, or do they have to look at it at full speed?

Vic: They can slow it down, stop it, back it up; they have a minimum of six camera-angle shots from which to choose. In the end, of course, it comes down to what their eyes see and their definition and interpretation of the word "conclusive."

Jared from Jacksonville:
Is it safe to say the Vikings' character problems went further than just Randy Moss?

Vic: It would seem that way. Their problems, however, didn't develop overnight.

Thom from Jacksonville:
Leading up to Sunday's game, all the speculation was that either Fred Taylor would play or Alvin Pearman would start in his place. Do you think that starting Greg Jones instead was a deliberate plan to throw off the Steelers? Jones is more of a power runner, while Pearman is a smaller version of Taylor.

Vic: Yeah, I think it was an attempt to catch the Steelers by surprise and, if it was, it succeeded. The Steelers had never faced Jones and they had very little tape on him in a true running back capacity. They struggled to get a handle on him in the first quarter and that helped the Jaguars get off to a fast start.

Bryan from Jacksonville:
If the Colts were to go on and finish the season at 15-1 and the Jags were to finish at 14-2 and the other division title winners were 13-3, would the Jags get a first-round bye or would they have to travel on the road to play a team with a worse record?

Vic: Only division title winners can qualify for a bye. Both wild-card teams are on the road for the first two weeks of the playoffs. The only chance a wild-card team has of hosting a playoff game would in the conference title game, provided the opponent is the lower-seeded wild-card team.

Gabe from Tallahassee, FL:
Don't you think sportscasters need to stop looking so literally at statistics? From what I heard before the game, you were the only one to hint that Jacksonville would stop the run. Everyone else noted that our 29th-ranked run-defense would get run all over by the Steelers. They obviously forgot that in the past three games we faced quarterback/receiver combinations such as Manning/Harrison, Plummer/Smith and Palmer/Johnson, where we couldn't stack our defenders to not give up the big pass play. Your thoughts?

Vic: When a team has two Pro-Bowl defensive tackles, you have to believe it can stop the run any time it wants by stacking its defense against the run. The Jaguars clearly and logically stacked their defense against the Steelers run. Not only did the Jaguars load the box, they also conditioned themselves mentally to play run first and pass second. I thought that was very clear to see in the linebackers' movements. I was on several Pittsburgh radio shows last week and in each one I said the Jaguars' 29th ranking in run-defense was misleading; that the Jaguars would stop the Steelers' running game and force them to pass. It was a no-brainer. When Maddox became as likely to throw an interception as he would a completion, stopping the run became almost too easy. You had to be blind not to have seen this coming.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
I listened to your commentary on Byron on "Jaguars Reporters" and I disagree. I have been watching him and I like what I see. The play where he had the ball knocked out of his hands, the ball was up high and not at his shoe tops. The receivers are dropping too many passes. I think the offensive line is playing much better. I'll give the Steelers credit for how they played against him. Can you give us more details on what concerns you?

Vic: Let's start with this: The Steelers have great young defensive backs. Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, Ricardo Colclough, Troy Polamalu and Chris Hope are the long-term nucleus of the Steelers' defenses of the future. They're all big, fast, athletic guys, so, Byron Leftwich was throwing to some pretty small windows on Sunday. The concern I expressed on Monday's show was that, all of a sudden, I'm getting the feeling everybody is playing Leftwich the same way. I have this feeling everybody is forcing him to throw outside the numbers and, as a result, his completion percentage has dropped considerably. Leftwich has completed just 53 percent of his passes in the last three games. Have the Jaguars' opponents hit on something? I posed that question to James Harris following Monday night's show and "Shack" honored me with his thoughts. He discounted my theory because he said Leftwich can make all of the throws, so it wouldn't matter to him what defenses tried to do in the way of directing the ball because Leftwich can make the throw to whatever part of the field he's being directed. I had a chance to talk to Ken Anderson, the team's quarterbacks coach, early this morning. Anderson also rejected my theory and went on to praise Leftwich for having found receivers in the face of furious pass-rushes in Sunday's game. Anderson cited one rush that resulted in Leftwich being nailed hard by Polamalu right after getting rid of the ball. If Harris and Anderson like what they see, that's good enough for me.

Tucker from Tallahassee, FL:
How would you rate the performances of Reggie Hayward, Kenny Wright and Terry Cousin? Are we getting our money's worth?

Vic: The Jaguars' pro personnel department should be proud of the free-agent crop it produced. Hayward is a big-money, high-risk guy on whom the pro personnel guys hit it big. Wright is someone they identified on the Houston bench and he's playing up to the level of a true starting-caliber player. Cousin is a bargain-basement steal.

Jon from Van Buren, AR:
I love reading your column and I sometimes have my questions posted. Tonight, in our JV game, I broke my left leg. I'm finished for the season and will miss part of the offseason. Do you have any advice on what I can do to make a full recovery?

Vic: I'll leave that to your doctor but I broke my leg in high school and I can offer you one bit of advice: When it starts to itch real bad inside that cast and you get the urge to shove a yardstick down inside there and itch, don't do it. I did it and it was a big mistake.

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