Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Brandon from Tampa, FL:
I have to say, "Ladies' Day" was the best "Ask Vic" I've ever read. How refreshing it was to read questions that asked about the development of the roster, players and football in general without interjecting comments assuming that person knows something the men in charge do not.
Vic: I had so many good questions I couldn't fit them in the column space, so I've used some of the overflow in today's column.
Steve from Fleming Island, FL:
Do you think the 3-4 defense is a fix for our personnel problems or a long-term strategy?
Vic: When you allow 305 yards rushing, I don't think you can say the defense you played was a fix. I understand why the Jaguars are playing it, but I'd like to see them go back to the 4-3 as soon as possible because, in my opinion, they just don't have the personnel to play the 3-4. You need lots and lots of linebackers to play the 3-4. You need guys who can sack you, strip you, intercept you and take the ball to the "house," so to speak. It's a defense for playmakers and the Jaguars don't have them. Long-term it can be made to work, but it would require a draft commitment.
James from Jacksonville:
Since the Jags have a young roster, wouldn't it be a good thing to run practices the way Coughlin used to run them? Maybe we wouldn't see two-hand touch on Sunday. Sure, there might be injuries, but the group as a whole would become tougher.
Vic: In all the years I've covered football, I saw fewer nine-on-seven drills in the years I covered Tom Coughlin's teams than on any other teams I covered. Coughlin has a reputation as a taskmaster, and he is, but his practices were more about tempo than tackling. I used to tease him about the blocking sled rusting against the wire fence. Every time I asked him to run the "Oklahoma" he'd give me a dismissive look. If you liked passing the ball, Coughlin's practices were for you because that's what the Jaguars did from start to finish. He ran the most precision-like pass-offense I have ever covered and his practices were tough from a tempo standpoint, but other than the first few training camps that gave Coughlin his "tough guy" image, his practices were soft on contact.
Chad from Orange Beach, AL:
Why is tradition so much better in the NCAA than in the NFL? Is it just because we live in SEC country?
Vic: Yes, it's because you live in SEC country, where college football tradition is much greater than that of the pro teams in the area, largely because the pro teams have significantly less history. In the northeast and upper Midwest, pro football is king and its teams have magnificent traditions. One of my all-time favorite traditions involves the numbers on the front of the Steelers helmets. They're not there in the preseason; only the numbers on the back of the helmet appear during the preseason. The numbers aren't put on the front until the final roster cut has been made. On that day, when a player walks into the locker room and sees the numbers on the front of his helmet, he knows he's made the team.
Patrick from Dixon, CA:
Pro-Bowl voting just opened up to the fans recently and I was wondering if you feel any Jaguars would deserve a vote for their performance thus far this season?
Vic: Maurice Jones-Drew is having a Pro-Bowl season.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
What is your opinion of the Brandon Spikes eye-gouging incident?
Vic: My opinion is that it's symptomatic of a greater problem.
Jerell from Orangeburg, SC:
If the defensive line is such a problem, why was so little done to improve it in the offseason?
Vic: The Jaguars had a double problem. They had to rebuild both lines. You can only do what you can do and passing on better players at other positions isn't the right thing to do. As far as free agency is concerned, it's dead. The bulk of the free agents are overpriced marginal players, and this team was certainly in no position to get into a bidding war with the Redskins for Albert Haynesworth. You can't do it all in one year. This is going to take time.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Can you explain the defensive line thing? You say Harvey is a good end and he shouldn't be looked at as just a sack guy.
Vic: Whoa! When did I say that? You got the wrong guy. Please, don't put words in my mouth. In my opinion, when you pay $17 million for a pass-rushing defensive end, you should have a reasonable expectation of sacks.
Michael from Silver Spring, MD:
I have been a reader for a long time. I remember two years ago, when you said the price the Jaguars will pay for an explosive offense was an aging defense that will suffer because it is being neglected in the draft. That was way back in 2007.
Vic: You didn't have to be a genius to see that. You can't keep drafting wide receivers and not expect your defense to decline. Wide receivers are a dime a dozen. You gotta get the big guys early because they're at a premium.
Travis from Jacksonville:
Can you do a quick analysis of what went well in the first Titans game and compare and contrast the second game?
Vic: The difference is that in the first game between the two teams, the Titans came out throwing and had three consecutive three-and-out possessions to start the game, and that allowed the Jaguars to jump out to an early lead. In the second game, the Jaguars came out throwing, had two three-and-outs and an interception and the Titans took the early lead.
Josh from Miami, FL:
So you don't mind Garrard being thrown under the bus by Del Rio? Would you mind if Garrard did the same thing to his offensive line? What if he got sacked six times in a game and told the press that his offensive line needed to learn how to block. Then his offensive line says he needs to get rid of the ball quicker. Del Rio shouldn't have made that comment and you know it.
Vic: I asked him directly if some of the nine consecutive passes to start the game were the result of plays being changed at the line of scrimmage and coach Del Rio said, "Yes." Would you prefer that he lie? I would not.
Mandy from Baltimore, MD:
Last Sunday I heard multiple broadcasters complaining about the unreasonable fines handed out by Roger Goodell to various players for what the commentators perceived as questionable penalties. This commentary conjured up visions of Goodell sitting in a tower high above the clouds reviewing game tape in the dark searching for the smallest infraction in which he could impose his will and a huge fine upon the unsuspecting player, all the while laughing in an evil and onerous way. Figuring that my imagination had just run away with me, I thought, "I should ask Vic." Who reviews the tape and makes the final decision on fines? Does Roger Goodell truly make every single decision of imposing fines as the commentators seemed to infer?
Vic: The commissioner has an office of football operations, headed by Ray Anderson, who bring these matters to the commissioner's attention and recommend appropriate punishment.
Christy from Jacksonville:
First, I want to say that I enjoy your column enough to trudge through the testosterone field on a regular basis. I know the deficiencies in the Jaguars roster are attributable to the lack of success in past drafts, but how do we know that the problem was entirely the drafting decisions and not the inability to effectively develop the talents of the players who were drafted? I don't know how they compare to other NFL teams, but it seems the Jaguars coaching staff has had a high turnover rate and I wonder what effects that instability has had on player development.
Vic: How many of those failed draft picks are starring for another team? Reggie Williams and Matt Jones are out of football. Byron Leftwich is on the bench in Tampa. See what I mean?
Steffanie from Jacksonville:
I am a lady and I read "Ask Vic" every day. I surprised my husband last weekend by flying him to Nashville and buying front-row tickets behind the Jags bench for his birthday. My question: Why can't other quarterbacks in the league change plays and read the defense like Peyton Manning? Is it about intelligence or coaching?
Vic: Manning is the master of it but he's also in an offense that features it and displays it by putting him in the shotgun and allowing him to call out the changes for everyone to hear. In contrast, Terry Bradshaw called all of Super Bowl XIV from the line of scrimmage but there was very little visual indication of it happening because Bradshaw made the primary calls in the huddle and then changed the play while under center. When you don't huddle and you're in the shotgun, you have to be more animated.
Maureen from Jacksonville:
How would you rate David Garrard's performance to date?
Vic: He's been up and down. Garrard was sensational against Houston and Tennessee and rallied the Jaguars to victory against St. Louis after having committed a terrible mistake late in the game. I won't blame him for the loss in Indianapolis because no quarterback could've succeeded under that pass-rush, but he wasn't very good against Arizona or Seattle and his performance in Tennessee most recently is one of the worst of his career. Garrard has real talent. When he's good, he's very good. He makes jaw-dropping plays, but he makes them both ways and the bad way has to stop. That's the challenge Garrard faces now at this stage of his career. The bad games have to end.
Greg from Jacksonville:
Is the revival of "Touchdown Jacksonville" our city's way of over-achieving? I guess being reminded to buy tickets is better than having games blacked out.
Vic: I commend everyone involved in the attempt to "revive the pride," but we can't count on save-the-whale campaigns to provide much more than temporary relief. There's only one thing that'll work long-term: a genuine love of football strong enough to cause enough people to buy tickets to fill the stadium.
Miguel from Mexico City, Mexico:
I saw in the Mexican news that the Jaguars had another blackout and the attendance has been really low. You warned us, Vic. Also international press now.
Vic: It's a tragedy that Jacksonville is gaining a worldwide reputation for being a bad football town, and it's gonna get worse if we don't do something about it. You want the NFL? You got the NFL. This is the big leagues and it's covered by big-league media. There are no college cover-ups in this league.