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Always competition

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

Ryan from Hamilton, Ontario:
Did anyone suffer any injuries in mini-camp practices? I know Matt Jones had a back problem, but was there anything else?

Vic: John Henderson sprained his left ankle Friday morning, which ended his participation. It's a simple sprain that should heal quickly, according to what we were told.

Paul from Jacksonville:
You used the term "punch" in describing what you noticed right away about Clint Ingram. I am not familiar with that term. Would you please explain?

Vic: When a defender is about to engage a blocker, the defender thrusts his hands and arms into the chest or shoulders of the blocker in an attempt to ward him off and deny him the ability to get to the defender's body. That thrusting technique is known as a defender's "punch" and Ingram's got a good one. Offensive linemen also use the "punch" technique to ward off pass-rushers. Leon Searcy had the best "punch" I've ever seen. He could knock the air right out of a guy.

Dave from Orange Park, FL:
Vic, in Peter King's "MMQB" column, he wrote that "Jimmy Smith caught 526 more footballs than Lynn Swann, for 6,825 more yards. Unfortunately for the retiring Jaguar, that sentence will probably be as close as Smith will come to sharing immortality with Swann, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame." Do you think this is a fair statement, or is Jimmy going to be a victim of small-market bias five years from now?

Vic: Lynn Swann isn't Jimmy Smith's competition any more than Don Hutson was Swann's. A certain number of players from each generation of pro football will make it into the Hall of Fame. Swann's competition, for example, was a player such as Drew Pearson. Jimmy's competition will be Marvin Harrison, Hines Ward, etc. Why is Swann in and Pearson isn't? Because Swann was a Super Bowl star. That's where the bias is. It's a bias for guys who distinguished themselves on the league's biggest stage, the Super Bowl. A lot of people believe that to be elected to the Hall of Fame you must be a famous player. The Super Bowl makes you famous. Ward will have that going for him when it's his time to be considered. Jimmy won't and it'll hurt him. It could hurt Harrison, too, although Harrison will likely get in on the strength of the acclaim the Colts' passing attack got for Peyton Manning's record-setting success. One generation should not be compared to another generation when attempting to make a case for one player against another player. Players of yore didn't have a chance to play in today's game, but they starred in the game of their day and their day deserves its rightful place in the Hall of Fame. Bob Griese threw only seven passes in the Dolphins' Super Bowl VIII win, so how do you pile up pass-catching stats in that kind of offense? You don't, but Paul Warfield made the game's big catch. That's how receivers of that generation were measured: by the big catch. Hall of Fame voting is a subjective thing. I think the guys who do the voting do a great job. They are great historians of the game and they have great respect for what the Hall of Fame means. They'll get it right.

Ted from Oakland, CA:
Will Chad Owens pass Jerry Rice as the most prolific wide receiver in history? Please, I need to know right now.

Vic: Why not a mini-camp "Ring of Honor?" We could call it the "How Did They Look? Hall of Fame."

Kim from Jacksonville:
Is it coincidental that Fred (Taylor) came to mini-camp looking sharper than usual?

Vic: He probably heard about the "How Did They Look? Hall of Fame." Mini-camp has become a special event in my life. I can't wait to cover next year's mini-camp.

Joel from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Could you please explain to me what the term "number one" receiver means? It was my understanding that number one receiver means number one on the depth chart.

Vic: "Number one" wide receiver generally refers to the split end or "X" receiver. The other wide receiver in an offensive formation that includes a tight end ("Y") is the flanker or "Z" receiver. The split end is on the line of scrimmage, therefore, he's got to be big enough, strong enough, athletic enough and fast enough to beat jamming and press coverage. "X" is the more physically demanding of the two wide receiver positions. The flanker or "Z" is off the line and doesn't have to contend with as much jamming because he has more room to maneuver.

Tim from St. Louis, MO:
In reference to your answer about role-based running backs: Isn't it telling the defense what you are doing if you bring in the great pass-catcher or the short-yardage guy?

Vic: Here comes "The Bus" on third-and-one. Who do you think is gonna get the ball? Now stop it. Good teams don't take what you give them. They take what they want. After you've established those roles, however, there's nothing wrong with a little dipsy-do once in awhile, just to keep 'em honest. Let "The Bus" throw one, right? Being predictable has its advantages.

James from Jacksonville:
Are we officially in "dead time," yet?

Vic: No, "dead time" doesn't start until late June, when OTA's are done and the players bug out until the start of training camp. I'm not going to tell you the next month is going to produce exciting stuff, but there will be stuff.

Parks from Port Orange, FL:
You have said you don't prefer a running-back-by-committee approach. What about a receiver-by-committee that utilizes all the different pass-catching abilities on the roster? Can you remember any team in the past being successful with this approach?

Vic: I prefer a running-back-by-roles approach, and I prefer the same approach at wide receiver. I think we're talking about the same thing. What I don't want to see is guys running in and out for no particular reason other than to utilize all the personnel. That's for the preseason. By the regular season, roles should be defined and executed.

Tony from Greenville, SC:
Being a Colts fan, it seems there's a lot of worry in Jags fans about replacing Jimmy Smith. All things considered, will it be easier for the Colts to replace Edgerrin James or easier for the Jaguars to replace Smith?

Vic: It should be a little easier for the Jaguars to replace Smith because the team has drafted early and often at wide receiver and some of the young wide receivers on this team are coming into their prime years now. Smith and James, however, are both great players. Their kind don't come around often, so, expectations for replacing them should be tempered. Define replace, right?

Tom from Melbourne, FL:
So it looks as though there's potential in several receivers. Are we looking at a pass-heavy offense?

Vic: I hope not.

Bryan from Paterson, NJ:
I was just curious as to how David Garrard did in mini-camp?

Vic: I thought David threw the ball very well. I thought he was sharp in everything he did and I took particular notice of his attitude. He was very serious about everything he did which lets me know he's there to compete, and that's a good thing. Byron Leftwich is the Jaguars' starting quarterback, but, in my opinion, Garrard's performance in Leftwich's absence late last season is deserving of a greater presence. No one is going to say there's a competition, but there always is, no matter who the player is or what the position is. Football players are naturally competitive people. Garrard is here to compete, as he should.

Jason from Orange Park, FL:
Someone on the boards brought up the idea of the team selling stadium cushions for the bleachers, which could also double for autograph surfaces. Would the sale of those cushions be subject to the team giving 65 percent of the revenue from the cushions? I thought the sale of merchandise from the team website was exempt and was local revenue the team was allowed to keep. Did that change in the latest CBA?

Vic: It sure did.

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