Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Rodney from Jacksonville:
In your time covering the NFL, what position has evolved the most?
Vic: It's probably either tight end or linebacker. I remember when Dallas would shift the tight end across the formation before the snap of the ball. That was cutting-edge stuff at that time but it was mild compared to what was ahead. The next stage of evolution for the tight end position was wide receivers lining up as tight ends. Kellen Winslow was the trend-setter; Shannon Sharpe would follow. Then came the H-back, which was a tight end/fullback hybrid, followed by the Dallas Clark-type tight end, which is more of a wing back or slot receiver. The bottom line is that the tight end has gone from the classic Mike Ditka in-line blocker who can catch and make big plays, to a sort of utility player who does everything well except block. As for linebacker, when I started covering the NFL, linebackers were run-stuffers that had enough mobility to drop into the hook zones. They blitzed a little but that wasn't the focus of the position, until Lawrence Taylor arrived on the scene. He revolutionized the position and for outside linebackers the position evolved into an emphasis on pass-rushing, especially in the 3-4 scheme. The next wave of evolution produced big linebackers that had the ability to cover beyond the hook zones. Levon Kirkland was playing at 270 pounds when he was knocking away passes 40 yards downfield. What it means is that the range of the linebacker position has probably increased more than for any other position on the field. Linebackers are making plays in today's game from sacking the quarterback to defending deep balls downfield.
Sue from Jacksonville:
If that was supposed to be "tough love," I missed the love. I'm wondering if he's all that as a commissioner. The economy here is still in the storm and we've sold more new tickets than ever. The business community has responded. Goodell didn't seem to see anything positive. "Tough love" is supposed to include some love, balanced by a "there is more to be done." All I heard was greed. What about two New York teams and their ticket sales in a new stadium? What will he say when they aren't sold out? It's Jacksonville's fault. The NFL was not used to problems with ticket sales before we started it.
Vic: What did he say that isn't the truth?
Seth from Jacksonville:
With the unfortunate news of the injury to D'Anthony Smith, how big of an impact will this have and do you think someone like Jeremy Mincey can step up and contribute?
Vic: It's impossible to know what impact the loss of Smith will have on the Jaguars this year because we'll never know if he would've developed quickly enough as a rookie to have made an impact. My concern is for his full recovery. Smith is a top talent and if I could look into the future and know that he'll make a full recovery from Achilles surgery and that he won't lose any speed or power, I'd feel a strong sense of relief. I think we all know from Reggie Hayward that Achilles injuries can take something out of a guy. As far as Mincey is concerned, he's an end. Some of the fans attending training camp might have seen him lining up at times as a tackle, but that was strictly as a rusher in a sub package. The guy on whom you want to focus is undrafted rookie Ko Quaye. Smith's injury clears a path for Quaye to assert himself.
Mike from Jacksonville:
With passing offenses being dominant in today's game, do you see the play-action being as effective as it once was? Do defenses still respect the run enough for it to be effective?
Vic: I think teams playing against the Vikings and Titans will still respect the run enough for the Vikings and Titans to sell play-action. Let's not get silly about the move to the passing game. There's no rule that says you can't run the ball.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
I know we're just getting into training camp but how does Trevor Harris look so far?
Vic: He remains a player of interest. I'll watch him throw a pass, it'll sail and I'll think to myself, "The kid just doesn't have an NFL arm." Then, a little later, he'll zing one in. I think it was Monday evening when I saw him throw what I believe is his best pass since joining the Jaguars. He was rolling to his left and he fired a bullet to a receiver along the sideline. Harris put the ball right on the receiver's hands and in time for him to get two feet down in bounds. That was an NFL-caliber throw. I wanna see more of Harris. He's got all of the other stuff. I wanna see if he has the arm.
Zoltan from Budapest; Hungary:
So far, has any area of the team produced better than you expected? Is there any area you have concerns?
Vic: The defensive line play has been exceptional.
Justin from Jacksonville:
I always wondered how and when do the players receive their guaranteed money. Do they get it right when they sign the contract, is it monthly or yearly? Is it all in one lump sum or spread out?
Vic: You can guarantee anything, including salary. The conventional means of guaranteeing money is by the use of bonuses: signing bonus, roster bonus, option bonus and the "falling off a log" bonus, which is a bonus for a specific performance that's as easy to do as falling off a log. The payment of all of those bonuses have a date attached to them that was negotiated by the team and the player.
Nick from Miami, FL:
When does your Monday evening radio show resume? Except for the mild nausea that comes upon me when you're referred to as "always effervescent," it's a very enjoyable program.
Vic: It returns to the airwaves on Mon., Aug. 16, at six p.m. This year, it bears the name "Jaguars Monday with Gene Smith," so I have that going for me, which is nice.
Bill from Jacksonville:
With the popularity of the Oklahoma drill, why doesn't everyone except the QB and receivers participate? Is it a good indicator of anything?
Vic: You mean like an Oklahoma gang bang in which anybody who wants to hit somebody can just run at them and hit them? Yeah, I like that. I understand, of course, that the passing-game sissies would have to be excluded. Jack Del Rio and I were talking yesterday about the Oklahoma and the excitement it creates in fans and players. Nothing gets your heart beating like the Oklahoma does. It's amazing. It's such a simple drill; it lasts for two seconds. This afternoon we'll get Oklahoma II with Tyson Alualu and Vince Manuwai and I've been besieged by requests for a video of the matchup. I honestly belief you could sell tickets to the Oklahoma. So why don't more coaches use it? I don't get it. What's wrong with having a little fun? What's wrong with hearing the pads pop at least once in training camp? I gotta tell you, folks, camps get softer every year. I think that's why the Oklahoma is experiencing a rebirth of interest. It used to be a training camp staple. Now it's a dirty word, but not in Jacksonville.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Was the Alualu signing the event you predicted would happen this week to place butts in the seats? Or shall we await something else?
Vic: Wait for something else. It won't be long.
Robert from Las Vegas, NV:
Do you think Brett Favre is finally retired for good?
Vic: I hope not. I hope this goes on forever. There's a point at which something becomes so bad it's good. We've reached that point. This is fun now. The fun is watching to see how many people actually care about whether or not he comes back.
Jon from Orlando, FL:
Everyone deserves a second chance, but something is bothering me here and I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. The Jaguars have been making a big deal the last couple of seasons about bringing in character guys, but what message does bringing in Joe Cullen send to the players? Is there a double standard here? One set of rules for the players and another set for the coaches? I am troubled by this and would love to hear your thoughts. Keep up the good work.
Vic: You're troubled by self-righteous indignation. Learn to become a more compassionate and forgiving person and your troubles will go away. Joe Cullen is a great football coach and a man who possesses the strength of character to have dealt with adversity and overcome it. I'm reminded of one of coach Noll's favorite stories, the one about the two monks. I won't tell it as well as coach Noll but it goes something like this: Two monks came upon a fair maiden at a swollen stream she wanted to cross. She asked for help and one of the monks picked her up and carried her across the stream. The two monks then continued on their journey. Far down the road, the one monk stopped the other monk to tell him he was troubled that he had carried that fair maiden across the stream, since the monks had taken a vow not to have physical contact with women. The second monk then said, "Yeah, I carried her across the stream, but I put her down on the other side, you have carried her all the way here." Let it go, Jon. You won't be nearly as troubled.