Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Rey from Laredo, TX:
Byron Leftwich played poorly in the first three games of the season but they came up with three wins. Now he starts coming alive on offense with two straight 300-yard games but they lose. What is going on with the Jags? Do you think they still have a legit shot at the playoffs?
Vic: Professional football is about defense. When you play well on defense, you usually win. When you play poorly on defense, you usually lose. What's going on with the Jaguars? They're playing poorly on defense right now, which is why they lost in San Diego. If they fix the defense, and I believe they will, they will have a chance to make the playoffs. My expectation is that the Jaguars will make a strong run in the second half of the year. Right now, they have some problems to work through.
Alan from Lakeland, FL:
I decided to name our son Jaxson instead of Mark. When we tell our son, we won't use the word mascot but "the world's greatest entertainer."
Vic: That won't work. He'll want to know who. He'll run away from home and spend all of his life searching for that person, that thing for whom he was named. He'll be in and out of therapy, then one day he'll write "Ask Vic" for advice and I'll tell him he was named for the Jaguars mascot, and all of life will come into focus for him: His parents named him after a costume. Please re-consider.
Michael from Rock Hill, NY:
If our defense continues to play the way it did against San Diego, do we even stand a chance against Kansas City?
Vic: I think you know the answer to that.
Stephen from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
So, you are telling us there is no one out there on waivers who can play defensive end, or on someone's practice squad?
Vic: I'm not a personnel expert. The Jaguars have a personnel department, however, that is full of people who know the whereabouts of every prospect in the free world, and probably some in the not-so-free world, too. It is their response that answers your question. They know they have a problem at defensive end. Take it from there.
John from Brooklyn, NY:
I wrote to you last week going into the Chargers game and mentioned switching one of the defensive tackles like Stroud to defensive end, and you did not answer me and I was right, I felt it coming. Were you surprised by that move?
Tim from Atlanta, GA:
Are we now paying for the Hugh Douglas cut? I am not a fan of Hugh, because I think he fell way short of the investment we made to get him, but it appears to me he could have helped us at the DE position. I remember in one of the "Jaguars Summer" programs one of our defensive coaches wanted to hang on to him. What do you think?
Vic: I think they made the right decision. If you have to decide whether or not you should cut a guy who is one of the highest-paid players on your team, you better go ahead and do it. What you're forgetting is the Paul Spicer injury. He was the one player the Jaguars couldn't afford to lose. If he hadn't been injured, you wouldn't be asking this question.
John from Annapolis, MD:
Are we ready to say, yet, that passing up Kenechi Udeze for Reggie Williams was a mistake?
Vic: The Jaguars downgraded Kenechi Udeze because of his shoulder injury. That's something we won't be able to accurately gauge until later in his career. Actually, your question might be more to the point about Will Smith, who has two sacks and is playing pretty well. Udeze has one sack. All of this is crystal ball stuff and five games aren't enough to clear the picture. What we can say is that the Jaguars clearly have a greater need at defensive end than they do at wide receiver. I'll agree with that. The reason I'm not quick to jump on the Udeze or Smith bandwagon is because I think the bigger issue is Ben Roethlisberger. Last spring's draft was widely considered a nine-player lottery. Unfortunately for the Jaguars that ninth player turned out to be a quarterback. At that point, the issue became how do you recover the value Roethlisberger's availability offered? If I could turn the clock back, I'd like to see the Jaguars trade out of that pick, get whatever extra they could, then go from there. As far as Udeze, Smith and Reggie Williams are concerned, five games isn't enough to make a call on who will have the better career.
John from Atwater, CA:
How are the Jaguars going to stop the Chiefs from running over them? How are the Chiefs going to stop the Jaguars from passing all day? Two defenses that can't stop anybody but themselves; looks like another ugly game. Which defense do you think will show up for this game?
Vic: Jack Del Rio will have his defense ready to play. I'm not making any predictions, but the Jaguars defense will "show up." I'll guarantee that.
Patrick from High Point, NC:
A friend and I are having a disagreement about the interpretation of a rule that I hope you can clear up for us. We both agree that if a ball-carrier, while being tackled by an opposing player, fumbles the ball when he contacts the ground, he is considered down at that spot because the ground can't cause a fumble. But what if a ball-carrier who falls to the ground with no aid from an opposing player, and is not touched by an opposing player while in the down position, fumbles the ball as a result of contact with the ground?
Vic: It's a fumble. Go get it.
Evan from Los Angeles, CA:
Do you think this will be the week it all comes together offensively and Fred Taylor has a breakout game?
Vic: The Chiefs are 26th against the run. I think the Jaguars running game bears a lot of responsibility for a top performance this Sunday. Yes, it's time that it all comes together and Fred Taylor has a breakout game.
Gary from Nancy, KY:
Is the Kansas City game a must-win game in the sense of the team believing they can compete the rest of the season?
Vic: I hesitate to use the term "must-win" this early in the season because too often I've done that and a couple of months later I've looked back and thought about what a foolish statement that was. Is it a must-win game? No, but it's an awfully big game at this point in the season.
Dave from Jacksonville:
You say it takes time a lot in your answers. How much time?
Vic: If you have to ask that question, it's possible nothing I can say will satisfy you. I can tell you that when Jack Del Rio and James Harris took over this football team, they inherited an extremely weak roster. It was a roster that needed, in my opinion, at least three years to repair. If that timeline doesn't satisfy you, I'm sorry, but I've been consistent with that estimate all along and, in my opinion, the Jaguars are on track in their reconstruction. My expectation for this season is that they be a division title contender. My expectation for next season will, almost certainly, be adjusted higher.
Clay from Nashville, TN:
During "Jaguars Summer," coach Del Rio complained about the players joking and having too much fun on the plane after a loss. What was the plane ride back from San Diego like?
Vic: There was no movie, which Jeff Lageman called to my attention as I was writing, and most of the players appeared to sleep.
Nate from Tampa, FL:
I keep hearing about Steve McNair's injuries and how he has trouble sleeping at night because of them. What keeps him playing even after knowing it's going to take years off his life?
Vic: Are you kidding me? Do you think it might be the money?
Jeff from San Diego, CA:
Now will you get your "girly" nails done? Powder blues, baby!
Vic: Being that you're from San Diego, you didn't have a chance to see the one-minute commentary I did for the Jaguars' pregame TV show. I did it on the Chargers' powder blues and I said that when I was kid they were the coolest thing I had ever seen. I'm not a big uniform guy, but in a day and age when every team seems to want to darken its uniform colors, the Chargers' powder blues were as fresh as the air at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday. Why does your team persist in wearing those dark blue rags when they could wear those awesome powder blues?
Lee from Jacksonville:
I can guarantee what we would like to draft in round one next year, a pass-rusher. Are any worth a first-round pick?
Vic: Early indications are the defensive end crop will be strong.