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A dose of humility

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Dan from London, ON:
Without the three-point stance, are we going to see linemen get even bigger?

Vic: Teams would probably start scouting "The Biggest Loser."

Sebastian from San Antonio, TX:
It seems the AFC South will be one of the toughest divisions next season and the draft may be the difference-maker to how the season turns out. Who has the better scouting department in the division and who do you foresee having the best draft with the picks they have?

Vic: They all have good personnel departments. The Colts and Titans have proven through the years they know how to draft, and the Jaguars and the Texans did outstanding work in last year's draft. Yes, the draft can be a difference-maker if you pick a player such as Chris Johnson, who plays a position that would allow for immediate impact, but I don't think the draft should be viewed as a difference-maker for that year. It's dangerous to think that way because that's when you start looking for wide receivers and running backs and ignore players at premium positions that require long-term development, such as quarterback and left tackle. In my opinion, what happens in the division next season will first be determined by how the Colts come off their Super Bowl loss. Will they have a hangover? Has their run played out? I have questions about them. Houston nearly beat them twice and the Jaguars were on the verge of ending the Colts' winning streak late last season. Their record suggests dominance but, frankly, I don't see it. I think they can be had. The Titans have a lot of pieces in place. The big decision they face is at quarterback. The Texans are ready to roll. They have a quarterback who can challenge Peyton Manning. The Texans could be the next Saints. Houston's defense improved as the season wore on, but its running game didn't. That's the next challenge for the Texans. They need to get a big back and start pounding. The Jags have taken steps but still have miles to go. The big offseason challenge for them is about deepening the roster with more talent.

Steve from St. Augustine, FL:
I like what you do. I was rooting for the Saints and I'm happy for them, however, if you don't feel that was a block in the back on Manning, your credibility goes down in my eyes.

Vic: I'll cry all night.

John from Jacksonville:
In the All-Fans Jaguars team voting, where is the love for the long-snapper?

Vic: With all due respect to Joe Zelenka, you can't have long-snappers on an all-time team. Imagine having the Bears' all-time long-snapper on an all-time team with Dick Butkus. I'd be too afraid of Butkus to do something like that. You just can't have a guy who spends all his time shooting things between his legs on the same plateau with the giants of the game. I didn't even want to have punters and kickers on the all-time team. They made me do it.

Jacob from Kentwood, MI:
I know he left Jacksonville prematurely, but I'm still glad to see Brunell get his ring. Now he can ride off into the sunset. Do you think number eight will be retired by the Jags?

Vic: I'd rather he wasn't because my memories are intact and they don't need to see the most important player in Jaguars history wobble around a training camp field and go gray at the temples. I don't know what it is with this fascination for retiring a Jaguar. The years Mark Brunell spent quarterbacking this football team can never be taken away. They are etched deeply in my love for the history of the game and this franchise. I wanna remember him for that scramble in Denver in the 1996 playoffs. I wanna remember him for that knee injury in '97 and for running onto the field in introductions for that Monday night classic against the Steelers. I wanna remember the guy who showed up in my hospital room when I had cancer. My memory is very, very good and I use it often to recall moments that mean a lot to me. I really don't wanna see Mark standing on the sideline wearing a baseball cap. That would do nothing for me.

David from Atlanta, GA:
What is your opinion of Jimmy Clausen?

Vic: I like him. He's a player I look forward to seeing at the combine. I really hope he throws. In a weak class, he has the arm to be a combine star.

Richard from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Thank you, Vic, thank you. As high school players in the late 1940's, we still wore leather helmets of varying age but the first string got the newer hard-leather hats with no mask. We blocked and tackled with our shoulders primarily but never led with our face or head as players do now. Are there any stats to show the frequency of concussions back then? I do remember at college in '49 getting the new suspension helmets, but still no mask.

Vic: They called them headaches back then.

Reggie from Orange Park, FL:
While we are getting rid of the facemask, why don't we get rid of the whole helmet? Then let's see how many players would lead with their head.

Vic: The helmet was never intended to be used as an aid or weapon in tackling. It was intended solely to provide protection for the head. Shoulders were for tackling. We desperately need to get back to that kind of thinking and I don't think it'll happen as long as helmets include facemasks.

Bill from Jacksonville:
What do you think of Joe Haden? Does he have Revis potential?

Vic: Yes.

Evan from Thomasville, GA:
I can't buy season tickets because you don't know the difference between American Idle and American Idol. That's my excuse.

Vic: Think about it, Evan. I'm really not that dumb.

Adrian from Inglewood, CA:
"This is save the whale and you only get one chance to save him." Does that mean a one-year ultimatum?

Vic: It means we've reached the moment of truth, so to speak. I think we all understand what's at stake. This is it. The whale clings to life.

Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
I think the gas gauge idea is great but do you think it will affect ticket sales? Season tickets are a big commitment; it's not like a fundraiser where people could just contribute a small amount to boost the gauge a little.

Vic: I think the gas gauge idea will help promote awareness of the ticket sales campaign. Everybody wants transparency. OK, here it is. Jaguars fans are going to know exactly where the team stands in its efforts to sell tickets. There'll be no mystery, no midsummer surprise.

Kelvin from Warwick, UK:
Just received my "Ask Vic" mug. How early do teams start seriously discussing trades for the draft?

Vic: Personnel directors are usually on a friendly basis with other personnel directors, largely because they were all scouts in the field at one time or another and they shared the same tape in scouting this college or sat next to each other in the same press box at that university. In other words, they still talk to each other a lot. One guy might say to another one, "I'd sure like get back that second-round pick I traded last year," with the hope that it might stimulate his friend to call him on draft day to trade up to draft the player he wants. Serious trade talk, however, really doesn't start until the week of the draft. That's when we start to get a strong idea of how the players are going to fall. You need to know that before you can start trading because it's the order that determines how teams will fit themselves to it.

Scott from Miami, OK:
So what is your opinion of the bill that has been put before the Missouri House of Representatives that a professional sports team cannot blackout its games if it receives money from the city, county or state? Do you think they will be able to pass a law that prevents an NFL team from blacking out its games if they are not sold out?

Vic: I'm not familiar with Missouri politics, but I can tell you this: The TV blackout rule by which the NFL has voluntarily abided for more than 30 years was not created by the NFL, it was created by an act of the U.S. Congress.

Jesse from Jacksonville:
What went wrong with the Rams? How did they get from one of the best in the league to the worst?

Vic: Bad drafting did it. Why can't I get that across? In almost every case, bad drafting is to blame. The Rams' 2005-06 drafts have produced only one starter, fifth-round pick Clifton Ryan. Only a few players from those two drafts are even with the Rams now.

Debbie from Indianapolis, IN:
Enough picking on the Colts. There are many teams that would love to have done what they have the past 10 years. Every year someone loses the Super Bowl. If you want to pick on a team, then pick on the Lions or Browns, who have never even been to a Super Bowl. I am sure your Jaguars would love to lose the Super Bowl. Your stadium would probably be filled if they lost the Super Bowl. Just face it, the Colts are always one of the best teams but not always the best. They overachieve in the regular season because Peyton Manning prepares for every game like it's a playoff game and the other team does not until it is actually the playoffs. You state all these quarterbacks with great postseason records but those quarterbacks do not get into the postseason every year like Peyton Manning. What is worse, not getting into the playoffs at all or losing in the playoffs? All teams would rather be in the playoffs and lose than not make the playoffs at all.

Vic: Your tone has changed. As your Colts were heading toward 14-0, I kept getting questions asking me when the Colts' decline was going to begin. Colts fans were trumpeting the greatness of their never-ending dynasty, but now I sense a little humility has crept into your kingdom. Well, now it's my turn to have a little fun and, oh, baby, I am having some fun. By the way, Terry Bradshaw played in eight consecutive postseasons, Joe Montana played in the postseason in nine out of 10 consecutive seasons, Troy Aikman played in the postseason in eight out of nine consecutive seasons, and Tom Brady has been in the playoffs seven times in his career. That's 14 combined Super Bowl victories in 32 combined postseasons. That's how great quarterbacks do it.

Kamen from Bethel, CT:
You posted in your Feb. 9 segment that the combined Super Bowl record of Bradshaw, Montana, Aikman and Brady was 14-1, and that it should have been 15-0. I'm curious about exactly what you mean. Obviously, that one loss was the Patriots to the Giants a couple years ago. Why do you feel it should have been won by the Patriots?

Vic: Because two passes in the Giants' game-winning drive should've been intercepted and the big completion of the drive shouldn't have been caught. The gods wanted Bill Belichick to lose.

John from Jacksonville:
Is it fair that the Jaguars didn't put a Tebow payment plan in their season-ticket package? We're forced to make initial payments on season tickets we won't want if they don't draft our hometown hero.

Vic: I wouldn't worry about that.

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