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A point of reference

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

Steve from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Which T.O. will we see in Dallas? I believe the real T.O. is the destructive one we saw in Philly and in San Fran. Your ideas?

Vic: His natural tendency is to divide. Bill Parcells may be the one coach who can deal with that. In fact, Parcells' reputation for being a no-nonsense coach is going to be at the test. My guess is that the first time Terrell Owens gets so much as an inch left of center, Parcells is gonna land on him real hard. This could be fun to watch.

Stevon from Jacksonville:
What are your thoughts about Paul Tagliabue's standing in NFL history?

Vic: His years as commissioner will be remembered as a period of intense prosperity for owners and players alike. Everything increased: profits, franchise values, salaries, ticket prices, sponsorship agreements, TV revenue, etc. In my opinion, the revenue envelope was pushed a little too hard and needed more regulation. If there's a more lasting product of Paul Tagliabue's term as commissioner, it may be stadium construction. Pete Rozelle predicted that stadium construction would represent the next period of the NFL and Tagliabue made Rozelle's words prophetic. These new stadiums are great sources of civic pride and they are going to be with us for a long, long time.

Mack from Jacksonville:
Who do you think will be a good replacement for Paul Tagliabue when he retires in July? Of course we need a guy that is going to be leaguethink.

Vic: I don't know who that person will be but I hope he's a football guy. The game has been pushed around in recent years to make it more entertaining. The game now needs some attention as an athletic competition.

John from Jacksonville:
Tony Boselli will be the first Jaguar in the "Ring of Honor." My favorite football memory of Tony Boselli was when he ran completely across the field on an interception to tackle the cornerback. I have never seen a lineman with that much speed. What is your favorite memory of Boselli?

Vic: My favorite memory is for a purely personal reason and it goes all the way back to the beginning of this franchise's existence, which is why it's my favorite memory. The Jaguars were in their first-ever training camp, in Stevens Point, Wisc. Boselli had injured his knee and was sent back to Jacksonville for surgery. I had been hired to be the editor of the team newspaper, "Jaguars Inside Report," which made it through nine seasons before it drowned in red ink. I had left Stevens Point to return to Jacksonville to put together our inaugural issue of JIR and, having done so, was now on my way back to training camp. Wayne Weaver's plane was going back to Stevens Point to pick up its owner and I was told I could ride back on Wayne's plane. Surgery complete, Tony also rode back to Stevens Point on that plane and I can remember sitting across from Tony and thinking to myself, "I wonder if this kid can play." Well, the kid could play. He became the best left tackle I have ever covered. He became a friend with whom I loved to talk about football. He became the symbol of the great early years of this franchise. As I sat at yesterday's press conference, I thought of that moment on that airplane. It's one of those points of reference we never forget.

Fred from Portland, OR:
According to your "Salary Cap 101" series, there's a "last capped year plus three rule." The last capped year is 2010, meaning signing bonus money is allowed to be amortized through 2013? Am I correct or did they do away with that rule?

Vic: That rule doesn't exist now. "Salary Cap 101" is outdated and will have to be taken down because it'll be too difficult to fix.

David from Norfolk, VA:
I thought I was the only one with "Ask Vic" withdrawals. Anyway, unless Houston shocks the world, they are going to get a very dangerous running back and it looks like the Titians are going to land a great quarterback, probably Cutler. Our division is going to get much more competitive, or am I giving this draft too much importance?

Vic: This draft could have a long-term affect on the AFC South because Houston and Tennessee are drafting so high in the order and will have players of major impact potential available to them. We're talking about a play-making, touchdown-scoring running back and a franchise quarterback. If Reggie Bush turns out to be a star for Houston and if Tennessee drafts one of the available quarterbacks and he, too, turns out to be a star, then the AFC South will become a very difficult place to compete for the next several years. This is without a doubt a window of opportunity time for the Jaguars, who should be stepping into their prime years this season.

John from Jacksonville:
I have season tickets; I just love the atmosphere at a game. I feel great when we win and bad when we lose. Sportswriters are supposed to be objective, not biased. Do you often get a chance to have a beer, watch a game in the stands with the crowd, cheer for a team and just be a fan?

Vic: The last time I watched a game in the stands I was too young to have a beer. Too many years in the press box have made me the last person in the world with whom you would ever want to watch a football game. I watch football in silence, as though I'm observing open-heart surgery. I decline any and all invitations to Super Bowl parties. I prefer to watch football alone. If someone is in the room with me when I'm watching a game and they attempt to talk to me, I become irritated. I offer no reaction at any time and I don't speak. During the playoffs this year my wife asked me what the score was and it immediately angered me because she was in another room, she couldn't care less what the score was and I knew she was just checking up on me. My son in the Air Force called me during the replay of the Troy Polamalu play in the Steelers-Colts game and I told him to call me back later. Why am I like that? It's a result of all those years of watching games in silence in the press box. It's a result of all those press box announcements at kickoff that "this is a working environment and cheering will not be tolerated." For me, football is a silent thing. Have you ever seen the movie "Being There?" I like to watch.

Andy from Jacksonville:
I'm happy the Jaguars went with a "Ring of Honor" instead of retiring numbers. The great players will always be remembered without taking their numbers away. Do you agree?

Vic: I completely agree.

Trey from Jacksonville:
I am the one who said all of the CBA talk was "C-Span stuff." I wanted to apologize for my outburst. I didn't know it was that serious. Forgive me?

Vic: Of course you're forgiven. Aren't you glad I forced that stuff down your throat? I knew people weren't going to like it but I knew they needed to know what it was all about. You're gonna need it the future, too, because you know what's gonna really hit the fan the next time around. This time, it was owners vs. owners. The next time, it'll be owners vs. players.

Chris from Mansfield, TX:
Is there any truth to the idea that teams should draft defense and sign offensive free agents?

Vic: You'll go broke doing it that way because offense is the expensive side of the ball and free agency is a significantly more expensive form of player acquisition than the draft. If you're going to use one forum for one side of the ball and the other for the other side of the ball, it would be much better to acquire defensive players in free agency and offensive players in the draft.

Aaron from Amarillo, TX:
The Jaguars took Tony Boselli as their first draft pick. Can you tell me who Carolina took as theirs?

Vic: Carolina traded down to the number five spot and selected Kerry Collins. The 1995 draft produced some big-time players: Boselli, Steve McNair, Joey Galloway, Warren Sapp, Ty Law, Derrick Brooks. How about J.J. Stokes as the 10th overall selection? Hugh Douglas was the 16th pick and Kyle Brady forever became a draft-day story as the ninth pick. Mike Mamula was selected seventh overall and forever became the standard by which combine workout wonders are judged. Korey Stringer was the 24th pick of the '95 draft and I can't help but remember that if George Young had his way Stringer would've been the Giants' pick at 17. The Giants picked Tyrone Wheatley but Young had lobbied for Stringer based on Young's "planet theory," that there are only so many people on the planet as large as Stringer and when you have a chance to take one, you have to take him.

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