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Barnes player of critical importance

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

John from Jacksonville:
How can you become eligible for the practice squad?

Vic: By not being on a 45-man roster for nine games in any one season or not having been on the practice squad for three seasons. Oh, by the way, there's one other thing you have to be able to do: play football.

Chad from Orange Park, FL:
What players have signed with another team that were originally cut by the Jaguars this season?

Vic: Jamaal Fudge and Tony Gilbert were signed by Atlanta. Todd Bouman signed with Baltimore. Trae Williams was signed to the Eagles practice squad. Those were as of the close of business on Wednesday.

Doug from Jacksonville:
I just want you to know I appreciate your input, I appreciate the fact you have opinions but present the facts, I appreciate your knowledge and obvious passion for the game but keep it in perspective. With all that said, I am the proud owner of a half-season pass times two. Yes, I bought one, then decided I didn't want to miss any games so I bought another one. You are a part of that excitement. Looking forward to a great season.

Vic: I appreciate being appreciated.

Kyle from Rochester, NY:
On the offensive side of the ball, who are the players who you most see making it to the Pro Bowl?

Vic: I think Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jones, David Garrard and Vince Manuwai are legitimate candidates on the offensive side of the ball. I think Tony Pashos is a very good right tackle but there's a strong bias for left tackles in Pro-Bowl voting. Marcedes Lewis is emerging at tight end but Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Heath Miller, Dallas Clark, etc. make that a tough group to crack.

Andy from Jacksonville:
What are the key matchups for the Jags this Sunday in Nashville?

Vic: Let's start with Khalif Barnes vs. Kyle Vanden Bosch; the quarterback's blind side is always a good place to start. Then let's go to Vince Manuwai vs. Albert Haynesworth. That's a critical matchup because Haynesworth is the Titans' disruptor and, for that reason, he must be neutralized. On offense, I would also include the Jaguars' wide receivers vs. the Titans' cornerbacks, Nick Harper and Cortland Finnegan. The Jags' wide receivers need to achieve some separation. On defense, the key matchup, in my opinion, is the Jaguars' front four vs. the Titans running game. The Jags must stop the run to have any chance of winning this game. Another burden falls on the Jaguars' linebackers to make sure rookie running back Chris Johnson is not allowed to get into the secondary. If he breaks into the clear, he's gone. Nothing in the Titans' passing game scares me, which means the Jaguars' pass-defense should be able to overmatch Vince Young and his very ordinary receivers. The big matchup in coaching, in my opinion, is Dirk Koetter vs. Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Koetter has the balance on offense to make play-calling a big deal. He must keep the Titans off balance so they can't load up against the run or tee off to rush the passer.

Charlie from Nashville, TN:
You going to hit up the honky tonks in Nashville, Vic?

Vic: I think Nashville has a lovely downtown but I'm not a honky-tonk guy. I'll get off the bus, go to my room, change into my I'm-in-for-the-night clothes, then spend the rest of the evening watching college football. Sunday morning, I'll get up, steal the soap, get on the bus and go to the stadium.

Shaun from Jacksonville:
Since rejoining the team, has Harvey opened up more to the media or does he still show hesitation in that area?

Vic: I hope he's a better pass-rusher than he is an interview.

Dave from Elkton, FL:
I do not understand the moves made by Del Rio. Wouldn't you think there would be a pressing need for another experienced tackle?

Vic: Tackle, especially left tackle, is the most difficult position in the league at which to find available talent. Quarterbacks are easier to find than tackles. Nothing is accomplished by signing a guy solely because he plays a position, if he doesn't play the position well.

Darrick from Jacksonville:
What are roles and responsibilities of the team captains?

Vic: Go to midfield for the coin toss. You don't have to appoint someone to a leadership role. They assume that role naturally, with or without the title. The five captains Jack Del Rio appointed are team leaders. Other leaders will emerge and they will perform the leadership function of a captain without the designation.

Brian from Fruit Cove, FL:
I noticed the NFL injury report format has changed. What is the difference between full participation and not being on the report at all?

Vic: Players on the report either have an injury, are recovering from an injury or were less than full participants in practice for another reason. In other words, they have injury or practice issues. Not being on the report at all means that those players do not have an injury issue and were full participants in practice.

Michael from Silver Spring, MD:
After Brad Meester got injured you wrote, "The offensive line cannot sustain one more injury." Now Richard Collier is in the hospital fighting for his life. What will the team have to do to correct for his absence?

Vic: It's all on Khalif Barnes' shoulders now. The Jaguars don't have another true left tackle. Barnes is the man. He has to play well and play always. In my opinion, after David Garrard, Barnes is the most important player on the team. If he plays well, I would expect Garrard to play well. If Barnes doesn't give Garrard the confidence a quarterback needs in his blindside protector, it's likely the passing game will regress. A quarterback has to know he can put his feet on the ground and throw the ball. If he's worried about what's going on behind him, he'll develop happy feet, which is another way of saying his full attention won't be on his receivers.

Jeff from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I have grown up in Jacksonville and have heard about the numerous shootings. I have never felt a connection with anyone shot and always assumed it just happened to bad people. I feel for Richard and his family. How long is a gunshot recovery or are we not there yet? Did he have any vital organs badly damaged? I can't believe there are monsters out there who would try to take and ruin others' lives.

Vic: Jeff, specifics have yet to be offered on Collier's condition. Everyone appreciates the family's wishes and the sensitivity of information as it pertains to law enforcement's pursuit of justice. I would like to think, however, that more information will be forthcoming because Collier has a lot of fans who are generally concerned about his well-being and it would sure help everyone's morale if we could get some good news about Collier.

Tyler from Oviedo, FL:
Why is Reggie Williams on the injury report? He seemed fine against the Redskins last week.

Vic: The media got blindsided on that one. When we met with Jack Del Rio at noon on Wednesday, we knew nothing about Williams having a hamstring injury. Coaches, of course, aren't obligated to reveal injury information until four o'clock on Wednesday. It is what it is.

David from Jacksonville:
I know it's a couple of days late, Vic, but thank you for the "Labor Day Ask Vic." You worked while the rest of us had a day off with our family and friends.

Vic: I had a high school coach who, during practice on Labor Day, would walk around saying, "Football players labor on Labor Day." Hey, coach, so do football writers.

Norman from Jacksonville:
I just wanted to say how happy I am to see that Paul Spicer was named a team captain. He is a hard worker and a great motivator. What player in your years of reporting do you think was the best team leader?

Vic: Joe Greene was the best team leader I ever covered. When he spoke, it was as though he was providing a state of the team address. I remember interviewing Joe one day when a young player was playing music rather loudly at his locker. It was distracting. In the middle of saying something, Joe stopped, turned toward the player and just stared. It took awhile for the young player to see Joe's gaze and the pause was starting to become uncomfortable. When the young player finally saw Joe staring at him, he jumped up and turned the music off. The interview resumed. There are very few players who have so much esteem that they can speak without talking. Spicer's good. I like him a lot. I like his no-nonsense style. When guys speak their mind as freely as Paul does, they don't have to be worried about being victimized by a reporter. He always shoots from the hip so it's not news when he does. It's a wonderfully refreshing concept. Put 10 Pro Bowls on Spicer's resume and he could turn the music off, too.

Jon from Kittery, ME:
I guess politics and football have something in common, Vic. When facts are presented that people don't wanna hear, just blame the media.

Vic: Wasn't that amazing? I didn't know their hate of the media had reached that level.

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