With win, Saints will be number one

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

Kevin from Savannah, GA:
You seemed to dismiss Byron's mechanics as not a problem the last couple of years. I am glad that you have finally come around and realized what many have been saying for a while now. His long, slow delivery is not conducive to much success in the NFL.

Vic: I acknowledged in his rookie season that he had a wind-up delivery. It's called an "under and up." I don't have a problem with that. A lot of successful quarterbacks have had personalized deliveries. Byron's under and up is his personalized delivery and even though you'd like him to be tighter, he can be successful the way he is. What he has to eliminate is his tendency to reach the ball back. That's the one that gets him into trouble. He doesn't do it all the time, but it resurfaced Sunday in Indianapolis. He reached the ball back on the second interception and Mike Doss said he was reading Byron's throwing motion. I don't expect a make-over. It wouldn't be fair to expect any quarterback to reconstruct his natural throwing motion. Byron's throwing motion is going to be long and loose because it fits his body type, but reaching the ball back is something he can and should eliminate. Reaching is the equivalent of tipping the pass, and it also makes the ball vulnerable to being knocked out of his hand.

Sol from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Your discussion of "Cannonball" brings to mind Don "Bowling Ball" Nottingham. Where did he go to college and do you have any favorite Don Nottingham stories?

Vic: There's your goal-line pounder. Nottingham scored 34 career rushing touchdowns, even though he rushed for fewer than 2,500 yards. At 5-10, 210, Nottingham exposed no sharp edges. There was nothing to grab. His roundness made tackling him difficult and Nottingham also had a penchant for anticipating the tackle, which gave him a forward lean that guaranteed another yard or two after contact. If you want a yard, you give him the ball. If you want 10 yards, you give it to someone else. Nottingham played at Kent State, my alma mater. I got a chance to watch him play in my freshman and sophomore years.

John from Jacksonville:
In baseball, when a pitcher is starting to lose his speed or control, a manager thinks nothing of replacing him with a reliever. In football, it seems that replacing a QB during a game is tantamount to questioning his manhood. If a QB is obviously having a bad day, like his passes are short or floating into the secondary, what's the big deal about asking his reliever to step in and take a shot? What am I missing?

Vic: For starters, there isn't enough time in practice to prepare two quarterbacks. The starter gets almost all of the work, so, when you bench the starter and play the backup, you've basically wasted all of the practice time you've given the starter. There's more. Teams need to know who their quarterback is. They need to meld with their quarterback and develop a personality that fits his. What you're talking about doing is something that might win one game but cause season-long losing. You need to find a quarterback who the team accepts as its leader and then stick with that guy. Always see the big picture.

Paul from Herndon, VA:
Baltimore in the Super Bowl? Vic, I know you love a good defense and a solid running game, but I think you're going pretty far out on a limb here. The Ravens' three opponents this season are a combined 0-9. Ray Lewis and Steve McNair are aging and will wear down as the season drags on. Their offense is struggling to create points. They have a tough schedule. I guess we will see in the next few weeks, though, because they have quite a stretch coming up. What is it about the Ravens that makes you pick them for the Super Bowl?

Vic: I like what they've done in moving the Titans franchise to Baltimore. I like all of those veteran players. I know, I know, it's a young man's game, but what's more important, building a young team you can develop into a long-term winner, or saving the coach's job? Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and mortgage your future salary caps by signing players who will be gone in a year or two. The future is now, right? Yeah, baby, be bold. Free agency is the way to go.

John from Jacksonville:
You said, "this team won't need 30 points to win. Let's start with 20." Don't you have to score at least one more point than the other team? Even if Scobee makes both kicks, the final score is a 21-20 loss.

Vic: Twenty points a game is an old-time NFL standard. Teams with good defenses, such as the Jaguars, have long embraced the philosophy that they should win any game in which they score 20 points. Only three teams scored more than 20 points against the Jaguars last season. That's why I said, "let's start with 20." Yeah, you only need one more point than your opponent, but the Jaguars are averaging 15.7 points per game so far this season and if you apply that average to last season, the Jaguars would've finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. Just give me 20 a game. That's all.

Mike from Moberly, MO:
Super Bowl, Baltimore vs. New Orleans? I was thinking Baltimore would likely be there with that great defense and their new-found effective offense. What is it that you see in New Orleans that makes you think they can sustain a high enough performance level to carry them through the season and the playoffs?

Vic: They have play-makers, plus, they have great fans. Did you feel the energy in that building on Monday night? That team is for real, man. I've always been big on what a team does in September. A lot of people believe it's important to play your best football late in the season, but I'm a September guy. I love the early-season bandwagon. I like teams that go 13-0 and inspire debate about whether or not they're the greatest team of all-time, then collapse. It's not about patience and endurance and what a team does in December and January. It's about jumping to conclusions early in the season about teams that haven't played anybody. I'll tell you what I'm gonna do. If the Saints win in Carolina this Sunday, I'm gonna put them right at the top of my all-important power rankings.

Abel from Jacksonville:
You must be joking. The Saints will not be in the Super Bowl. They won't even make it to the playoffs.

Vic: You're just not a believer. You're a hater. Can't you feel the love? The Saints are the team. I have no doubt.

Dustin from Kissimmee, FL:
I'll tell you what's happening (to our minds). Like Madden said on Sunday night, it's no longer a game. It has actually become another version of the Civil War with this internet and the media fueling the fire. Hatred is being brought out in the worst of people and how long do you think before something catastrophic becomes of it?

Vic: I don't think we're headed for a catastrophe, but the behavior of fans is bordering on disaster. What I'm seeing are fans who act like players. They see all of the trash-talking and angry behavior on the field, then they put on the jersey of their favorite player and do their own trash-talking. It's a real turn-off for me. When I encounter that kind of pseudo-macho personality, I get away as fast as I can.

Cole from Tallahassee, FL:
Does it surprise you that, according to a "Harris Interactive Survey," the Jaguars are the least popular team in the league among adults who follow pro football? Only one percent selected the Jaguars as their favorite team.

Vic: Yeah, I'm a little surprised. I would've thought the Saints and Cardinals would've fit beneath the Jaguars. I think what we should do is let the Harris survey results give us an appreciation for how big of a job selling the Jaguars is. The Jaguars have done a great job marketing their product to what fans they have. They have sold a lot of tickets, despite not having a lot of fans.

Joel from Orange Park, FL:
Power rankings are a hoot. When were last year's Steelers ranked number one?

Vic: Never; at least not in my power rankings, and I don't remember seeing them number one in anybody else's power rankings. Does that mean the Steelers have to give back the Lombardi Trophy?

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