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Bruce is starting to look bigger

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

Gary from Clark, NJ:
What happened to Matt Jones in court yesterday?

Vic: He pled "not guilty" to drug possession charges. A trial date has been set for Oct. 10.

Tim from Tallahassee, FL:
Why is it so hard for people to just have common sense and not act like a moron at the game, yet, still root the team on?

Vic: It's just that simple. I think we all know where the line is between enthusiasm and unruliness.

Mike from Jacksonville:
How does Mkristo Bruce compare physically to Jeff Lageman during his playing days?

Vic: Jeff was 10 pounds heavier. I took a harder look at Bruce on the field on Monday and he looked bigger than he did the first time I saw him. It must be those sacks.

George from Jacksonville:
Did Mike Smith decide to not kick the field goal on fourth down just to prevent the game from going into overtime, or is his style just go big or go home?

Vic: If it had been a regular-season game, Mike would've ordered a field goal attempt, but you don't do that in a preseason game. These players' careers are at stake. You don't make them play longer than necessary in a preseason game. If you do that kind of stuff, you're being disrespectful of them and that's not going to win you their loyalty.

Scot from Jacksonville:
I hear you on your thoughts about how small-market teams will keep up – draft well and don't spend recklessly in free agency – but how will small-market teams have a chance if the big teams can afford to pay their draft picks so much that the small teams can't even sign their own picks?

Vic: Players aren't going to hold out a whole season, lose the signing bonus they could've invested and re-enter the following year's draft with the likelihood they'll be drafted even lower than they were the year before. If all players drafted by small-market teams did that, the next year's draft would be so deep that small-market teams would be getting first-round talent in the second round. Small-market teams will have to hold the line. They'll have to negotiate longer and harder and that could mean having rookies who hold out longer, and that makes having jars on the shelf even more important. As I said, in a no-cap, wild-west environment, small-market teams will have to be better in everything they do, and that includes negotiating contracts.

Bill from Orange Park, FL:
"Sport's Illustrated's" Peter King wrote on Monday about a recent trip to Jacksonville: "Jacksonville just never became Atlanta Jr., which the NFL was sure would happen when it committed to putting a franchise here 15 years ago. Still looks like Hartford with palm trees to me. Nothing wrong with that, but business didn't grow the way the NFL thought it would." Your thoughts?

Vic: He's right. That's why Jacksonville has to over-achieve. Did we not understand that right from the beginning?

Mike from Jacksonville:
What's your stance on artificial crowd noise?

Vic: Love it; can't get enough of it. How could you not like artificial crowd noise? It makes everything seem so real.

Patrick from Jacksonville:
Would you say Brian Witherspoon has freakish speed?

Vic: Brian Witherspoon is so fast that, in Monday morning's special teams only practice, he ran through the kickoff coverage team so fast that he made the red hats on their helmets blow off.

Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
Did you catch Sergio Garcia's comments after the PGA Championship? I thought it was pretty cool to see someone say, hey, I finished second and life goes on. Of course, he will get criticized for never winning the big one, but a second place check for a major golf tourney is a nice pay day. It's a shame that more fans don't have that same perspective towards sports.

Vic: Yeah, I heard the interview and, frankly, it left me with a sour taste. He pooh-poohed the outcome as though it really didn't matter, but the thing that really bothered me was his comment about Padraig Harrington. "He played well," Garcia said in a kind of condescending tone. He played well? Hey, he sank two big putts with the game on the line. That's two majors in a row for Harrington, who has the kind of grit under pressure that Garcia seems to lack. Garcia is a great young golfer, but he's on the verge of becoming the Spanish version of Phil Mickelson. Maybe those high-collared shirts Garcia wears are starting to choke him.

Donny from Lake Mary, FL:
Thanks for the preseason blog; I didn't expect it. Will you please elaborate on your observation that Reggie Nelson is being sent where the ball is?

Vic: It's another way of saying he's always around the ball, which I started noticing back in OTAs. He is going to be the featured player in this defensive scheme. He is going to be this defense's play-maker. They want to get him around the ball because he has the ball skills to catch it or pick it up and do something with it.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I'm a new reader of this column. Found out about it from some buddies at the game on Saturday. I love all the information. Keep it up. My question: What are three things I can look forward to for the Jags this season? What are three concerns I should be aware of, as well?

Vic: I think you can expect the Jaguars to throw the ball more often and for more yards and more touchdowns. I think you can expect more sacks of the opposing quarterback and more takeaways because those two things tend to go hand in hand. On the concern side, I have to wonder what impact an attack-style defensive philosophy will have on the Jaguars' run-defense. Rushing the quarterback and stopping the run often don't go hand in hand. I worry about injury at the quarterback position because the depth isn't there as it was a few years ago, but my greatest concern is on the offensive line. It can not afford one more injury.

Rick from Jacksonville:
Any rule changes instituted this year that will be significant?

Vic: Reporters must get two feet down in the press box and they may defer their choice of hot dog to halftime.

Jordan from Kill Buck, NY:
Will you do an "Ask Vic" in the third person?

Vic: Yeah, Vic likes that idea. Vic is gonna do that tomorrow. That's not normally what Vic is all about, but Vic can do what Vic has to do to be Vic.

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