Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Mike from St. Mary's, GA:
I'm in Columbus, Ohio, for training for two weeks. I was surprised earlier to see that people here were crowding the streets walking to the Buckeyes' practices, and this not two hours from either Cleveland or Cincinnati. It's frustrating knowing this area can support both those teams with a fanatic college town smack in the middle, and Jax won't give up its Gators long enough to see what a beautiful pass David Garrard can throw.
Vic: I've never understood the college football or pro football one or the other thing. It's always perplexed me. One of the reasons Jacksonville was attractive to the NFL was because of its passion for college football, yet, it's now being used as one of the excuses for the Jaguars' ticket-sales problem. I don't get it. Why can't you like both? It's not as though the University of Florida is in Jacksonville. It's 90 miles away. It's similar to what Notre Dame is to Chicago, or what Michigan and Michigan State are to Detroit, or what Ohio State is to Cleveland and Cincinnati, or what Penn State is to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Please, somebody tell me why you have to like college or pro football and not both, and don't tell me it's because people don't have money to buy tickets to both. The fans from Jacksonville in attendance at Florida games represent a fraction of the total crowd.
John from Charlotte, NC:
Can you explain the experimentation with the 3-4? My understanding (which primarily comes from you) is that the 3-4 is not something you can simply experiment with, that it is a philosophy that you build your defense around; you draft for it, you sign free agents for it, etc. It doesn't seem like they have the players for the 3-4. As Gregg Williams' defense taught us last year, it's players not scheme.
Vic: We won't know what the Jaguars intend to do schematically until the regular season begins, but it's my belief they intend to use the three-man fronts they've been practicing in pass-rush situations, and not as their base defense. Jack Del Rio has already said it; the Jaguars don't have the behemoth, two-gapping linemen a team needs to play the 3-4 as a base defense. First of all, what I've seen in practice isn't a 3-4. It's four defensive linemen, mostly, with one of them, usually Derrick Harvey, standing up. That's not a 3-4. The 3-4 is about a lot more than having a defensive end take his hand off the ground and stand up. What I'm seeing is a zone-blitz look for passing downs.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
How does the Jaguars' current version of the 3-4 defense differ from what Coughlin did when dropping Tony Brackens back in coverage?
Vic: You're right on the money. It's very similar. In fact, I'd be tempted to say it's nearly identical. It's four defensive linemen with one in a standing position who might rush or drop into coverage.
Jon from Jacksonville:
Your colleague at the Times-Union said all home games will be blacked out; not maybe or probably will be blacked out. You seem to think there is still hope for the contrary. I assumed he was saying Mr. Weaver made a decision similar to the preseason games. Can you clear it up?
Vic: He quoted Wayne Weaver as having said all 10 home games will be blacked out. I think what Weaver was attempting to convey is that because the number of unsold tickets is so high, it's a veritable certainty all home games will be blacked out. I never said there's hope. What I've said is should the Jaguars experience a rush of ticket sales that sell-out the general bowl seats prior to the 72-hour blackout deadline for any home game this season, the blackout for that game will be lifted and it'll be shown on local television. Given the state of ticket sales, the chance of that happening is very slim. That's what Weaver was attempting to convey.
Bill from Jacksonville:
I'm getting tired of people saying that if we sign Tebow they will buy tickets or if the Jags are winning they will buy tickets. The ironic thing is that if the Jags have a winning season, there is no way they can sign Tebow because he will probably go in the top 10. Can I have some of your insight on this?
Vic: I think he'll be there for them.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
I have been a five-year season ticket holder and chose not to renew, but not for any of the reasons you state. I did not renew because of the fans and fan services, not the team. The fans in Jacksonville complain because we yell too loud or stand up during the game. They then complain to fan services which then comes and gives you a warning and asks you to sit down. The truth is the fans in Jacksonville have no idea how to enjoy a football game. I witnessed this scenario happen every game to someone last year. Good bye, Jags, I will miss you but not your pompous fans.
Vic: This is the ultimate excuse: Blame it on the fans that go to the games. I think we can stop now. We've achieved perfection.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Just wanted to say I enjoyed "Jaguars Monday."I really liked the format. Great interview with the GM.
Vic: Gene Smith has been a huge hit with the media, and that's a major positive for this franchise because it never hurts to have the media on your side. What you heard on "Jaguars Monday" is a general manager who likes to talk about the Jaguars. You heard someone who respects the fans' part in all of this enough to make sure he uses the media to speak to them. I promise you, I will wear him out for you.
Andy from Jacksonville:
I was reading Gregg Easterbrook's "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column and he referred to something called a "Jax-only blackout policy." He stated that the team only needs to sell 50,000 of the 67,164 seats to televise a game. I was under the impression the general bowl was all that needed to be sold out to televise a game. Isn't that a league rule, not a rule that applies only to Jacksonville? Am I confused or is Easterbrook just taking a cheap shot?
Vic: Yes, the Jaguars only need to sell all of the general bowl seats for a home game to be televised locally. The 50,000 seats to which the column referred is the number of seats in the general bowl, so, as long as the 50,000 seats the Jaguars sell are in the general bowl, the game will be on TV. As it's been explained to me, this is a league-wide rule, not a Jacksonville-only rule. Seating that has a club license attached to it does not count toward the blackout number.
Tom from Jacksonville:
Who's got the conn when it comes to making cuts next week, Smith or Del Rio?
Vic: Gene Smith has the conn on all personnel decisions including final cuts but, I assure you, Smith is a guy who works well with others and he will listen carefully to the opinions of Jack Del Rio and his staff and he will undoubtedly factor that information into his final decisions. Smith is not an arbitrary guy.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
What do you think the Jaguars have planned for the role of recently-signed Ernest Wilford? Is he just an extra body to help get through the rest of the preseason, or does he have a legitimate chance to compete for playing time and a roster spot?
Vic: Del Rio said on Tuesday Wilford will be given a chance to compete for a roster spot. He also said Wilford is not the kind of tight end you would expect to use to "block the point," which would indicate that whatever role they envision for Wilford would be as a pass receiver.
Brian from New Britain, CT:
That's an amazing idea to let the Jags play one game internationally to reduce the burden on the Jacksonville area and hopefully gain the goodwill of the league. I personally would like to see a game played in either Mexico or Europe, and maybe you're right about playing in another market, maybe Orlando?
Vic: When a reader first proposed the Orlando idea to me, I brushed it off due to the lack of an NFL-caliber facility in Orlando. The more I think about it, however, the more I like the idea. The truth of the matter is that Jacksonville needs Orlando much as Buffalo needs Toronto. When I started looking at it in those terms, it started to make sense.
Ron from Orlando, FL:
During the entire offseason, you blasted people with your arrogant, smug mouth for asking about the 3-4 and talking about the possibility of the Jaguars moving to it. Ready to man up and eat your words?
Vic: I'll absolutely eat my words and be happy to do so, Ron, should the Jaguars play the 3-4 and be successful with it. As I said, however, I don't see them using it as their base defense.
Mike from Jacksonville:
With the signing of Ernest Wilford, does this mean the injury to Zach Miller is more serious than we thought?
Vic: I asked Gene Smith on "Jaguars Monday" if Miller would be back this season and Smith said he would. That's the best I can tell you at this point.
Ron from Pensacola, FL:
Why is there so much hate?
Vic: I think a lot of it has to do with the attendance situation and blackouts. The hate kind of started right after that infamous day-after-Christmas game in 2004, when the stadium was empty-looking for a game against Houston that, had the Jaguars won, would've put them into the playoffs. Jacksonville got exposed. It was ripped by the media nationally and that kind of kicked off the anger. I think Jaguars fans are embarrassed about the ticket situation and nobody likes to be embarrassed. It makes you angry and this column would seem to be a dumping ground for that anger. That's OK, as long as I'm in a good mood, but I have my bad days, too.