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Worst play-call ever, but it worked

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

Angie from Jacksonville:
I know Jack Del Rio still has two years left on his contract, but is there any truth to the rumor that he expressed interest in the head coaching job in Dallas? If so, doesn't that mean that he doesn't want to be here any more? I think that will put a sour taste in the mouth of Wayne Weaver, the players and the fans. Just tell me the rumor isn't true, Vic. I don't want him to leave.

Vic: There's only one guy who can answer that question, so I asked him. Here's what Jack Del Rio said: "I have no interest and I've expressed no interest. We have a strong roster, I have a very supportive owner and my family loves it here in Jacksonville."

Justin from Flemington, NJ:
What do you think about Mike Shula being added to the Jaguars coaching staff?

Vic: I like coaches who have a lot of experience but haven't started making plans for their retirement. Shula has a ton of experience but he's still young enough to have dreams of moving back up the coaching ladder. He's been a head coach in a major college program and an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the NFL. He comes from an esteemed coaching family, which means he's been exposed to football his whole life. What's not to like?

John from St. Augustine, FL:
Do you enjoy watching any other sports besides football?

Vic: I like watching college basketball. I enjoy golf, playoff hockey and playoff baseball. I wouldn't watch tennis, soccer or the NBA if they pushed my head against the TV screen and held my eyelids open.

Joel from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I noticed during the playoffs that some teams went for it on fourth down a lot more than I noticed during the regular season. Specifically, I remember the Cowboys (Parcells), Seahawks, (Holmgren) and Patriots (Belichick) doing this. Is changing your tactics and becoming more aggressive in the playoffs what makes these Super Bowl winning coaches so great? Do you think teams need to be more aggressive in the playoffs in order to succeed? Would you have done the same in those situations if you were a coach?

Vic: When Bill Parcells was winning Super Bowls, with the Giants, he was an ultra-conservative coach who played to the strength of his team, which was its defense. Ron Erhardt was Parcells' offensive coordinator and Erhardt told me that when Parcells would see him looking at his play sheet with a hint of excitement, Parcells would walk behind Erhardt and whisper, "Run it, run it, run it." Mike Holmgren has always been a "West Coast offense" guy, which means he's going to employ a lot of passing in his offense and that's usually going to be judged as aggressive play-calling. I've never considered Parcells or Holmgren to be fourth-down "gamblers." Bill Belichick, however, does more fourth-down gambling than any coach I have ever seen. He really got wild on fourth down against the Colts and his gambles were successful. Does gambling on fourth down make a coach great? Yeah, as long as he wins. What about the coaches who had the confidence in their defense to be patient and play the field-position game? In Super Bowl X, Chuck Noll ordered a running play on fourth-and-four at about the Cowboys' 30-yard line with about two minutes to play in the game. His kicker was in the tank, his punter had already had one blocked and he decided he simply wanted to put the game in the hands of his defense. Noll didn't even try a pass; he just ran it up the middle and it was easily stopped. Is that going for it? It was the worst play-call I have ever seen, or maybe it was genius because the defense intercepted Roger Staubach to preserve the win.

Brian from Jacksonville:
Having been away I had a lot of "Ask Vic" reading to catch up on. I don't know if you're putting it behind you and not answering any more "All-Colts Day" e-mails but Jags fans sure showed how soft they were in some instances. Last I checked, "Ask Vic" is a football medium on the Jags board. How many non-Jag questions are answered during the year? Do we need all questions to be Jag-related? Hey, folks, you know what keeps a business running? Customers. You know what keeps a website running? Visitors. Get the connection. Bring in NFL fans and you get more hits and the message boards become more fun and maybe even informative. Wanting Vic to die? Thinking this would turn off fans from buying tickets? I didn't realize so many Jag fans had to be coddled. Keep them angry, Vic.

Vic: This column helps ease my aggression. It's therapeutic. I feel so much anger every morning that by lunch time I'm played out. I'm a kinder, gentler person the rest of the day.

Jonathan from Maumelle, AR:
If you had to choose, would you rather us sign a proven quarterback or a proven wide receiver?

Vic: Come on! Receivers are a dime a dozen. Established quarterbacks are few and far between. In the whole league, there might only be a dozen guys who I would classify as proven quarterbacks who are young enough to be considered their team's guy for the long-term future. Those quarterbacks represent the greatest premium players in the NFL.

Ken from Ft. Smith, AR:
Haven't been around in a while but I was wondering, what are the chances the Jags might trade Matt Jones?

Vic: I know Matt Jones is a god in Arkansas, but football players, even Matt, are like new cars when you drive them off the lot. They immediately lose a lot of value, unless, of course, they're quarterbacks.

Dan from Indianapolis, IN:
If a Pro-Bowl alternate is added to the game due to injury, is he then considered a Pro-Bowler for that year?

Vic: Yep.

Caleb from Stinnett, TX:
If the Colts win the Super Bowl this year, it will be two years in a row we have beaten the champions in the regular season, which shows we have what it takes but we are just very inconsistent. Do you agree or am I off?

Vic: The Texans beat the Colts, too. Do the Texans have what it takes? I don't know why fans won't accept parity as a fact of life in the NFL, but I assure you that it is a fact. The gap between the top of the league and the bottom of the league is very small. Any team can win it all if it gets hot at the right time of the year and, provided, it's in the playoffs. That's where the Jaguars have failed the past two seasons. They weren't playing their best football at the end of the season. In 2005, injuries beat them up at the end. In '06, the quarterback position imploded for them. Everybody keeps talking about inconsistency. They wanna know why were the Jaguars so inconsistent? First of all, the balance of the league creates natural inconsistency for all teams. The Colts lost to every team in their own division. Chicago lost at home to Miami. The second ingredient for inconsistency is poor play at the quarterback position. The most consistent teams have the most consistent quarterbacks. The Jaguars, obviously, have been unsettled at the quarterback position the last two years.

Steve from Jacksonville:
I agree that Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but how much of his success is from having a talented coach or does the coaching matter when you are that good? Also how much success does Bill Belichick owe to Tom Brady?

Vic: Belichick was 5-13 and on his way to being fired when Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe as the Patriots' starting quarterback. Since then, Belichick is 83-26 with three Super Bowl titles. What do you think it is?

Jon from Tallahassee, FL:
I was watching "Real Sports" on HBO and there was a story about retired players not getting the medical benefits they need to survive. There were a few players featured that could barely move but didn't qualify for the NFL's medical plan. I remember one very interesting fact about it: only 144 out of 9,000 retired players qualified for any kind of medical compensation. What do you think about this?

Vic: I think it's tragic that the men who made the game what it is today are not treated with the same reverence that today's players receive. Today's players should drop to their knees and bow their heads whenever they are in the presence of a heritage player. They paved the way for today's riches for little more than a mention in history.

Thomas from Valdosta, GA:
Could you please explain for my father-in-law why you feel Brett Favre should not return to the game next year. It would greatly help to settle a huge argument.

Vic: There's an old saying in football: "If you're not getting better, you're getting worse." That's why I say it's a young man's game; because young players are usually getting better and old players usually aren't. Favre is clearly not getting better.

Phillip from Wahiawa, HI:
"Forget about the smoke and pre-game dance. Look at the plays in the game." You have to admit that was a pretty cool dance, though, right?

Vic: You betcha. When you can dance like that, who has to play?

Bryan from Kernersville, NC:
Any news from the Senior Bowl? Guys that helped themselves?

Vic: Running back Tony Hunt of Penn State certainly helped himself with the MVP award. Hunt was probably the big winner at the Senior Bowl. Chris Leak was good in practice. The wide receiver from LSU, Dwayne Bowe, was said to have been impressive in practice. Defensive end Jay Moore of Nebraska opened some eyes.

Brett from Glendive, MT:
Why is everyone so intent on saving Barbaro? He won't be able to be ridden again. If a horse was lame, it was shipped off to become glue and dog food. Just my opinion.

Vic: Just because he can't run doesn't mean he can't, well, you know.

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