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Bucs got Bryant off the junk pile

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

Kevin from Jacksonville:
After, yet, another poor performance by Garrard, is it time to look at bringing in either a young QB to groom or someone to offer some competition?

Vic: It's been time. It's overdue time to bring in a young quarterback to groom and stimulate the position. If a young quarterback presents himself in next spring's draft, I would think the Jaguars would absolutely have interest. You always want a young guy waiting in the wings at that position.

Steve from Jacksonville:
How do you keep your interest and enthusiasm up for a team that is doing as poorly as the Jaguars this season?

Vic: I still enjoy it. It's what I do and what I like. I enjoy going to the stadium and being with people I know and like. I will admit, however, that I feel a sense of loss this year that the team I cover is not involved in the playoff race. I feel as though I've lost a friend. December is my favorite month of the year, but not this year. It's almost as though there hasn't been a December.

Leroy from Ocala, FL:
According to reports on ESPN, Tim Tebow is a second-day draft prospect. Does this mean the Jags will take him early so he doesn't go somewhere else?

Vic: I'll address this and then I'm gonna let it go away because I don't want this silliness to begin more than a year ahead of time. I can't imagine that Tebow will declare eligibility for the draft, unless he's told that he'll be a first-round pick. When he becomes eligible for the draft, which may not occur until after the 2009 season, it'll be time to talk about him and his professional future, but that time is not now.

Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Looking forward to the draft, do you think there's a good chance that with the looming rookie salary scale everyone seems to think is coming with the next labor deal that there's going to be a larger number of talented underclassmen coming out in the draft next spring?

Vic: Yeah, that's the common thought, that college players will be inclined to declare draft eligibility before the current CBA expires.

George from Raleigh, NC:
1976 Bucs (0-16) vs. 1976 Pitt Panthers (12-0): Who wins? Be honest!

Vic: The Bucs would've won. A pro team will always beat a college team, no matter how bad one is and how good the college team is.

Casey from Jacksonville:
Did you think the offensive line improved measurably against the Bears? The TV commentators spent quite a bit of time pointing out good surge against the Bears defense and, indeed, it looked like they were a much more coordinated group than they were last week.

Vic: I thought the Jaguars offensive line played pretty well on Sunday. The Bears were number six against the run and the Jags moved the ball on the ground pretty well against a team that dedicated very little effort toward pass-defense and a concentrated effort toward stopping the run. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew ran hard and they had holes at times.

Mike from Jacksonville:
I read that Mike Walker recently lost a close friend. My condolences. He has had his moments this season, both good and bad. Will we see Walker active in the next few games?

Vic: Mike lost his best friend on Thanksgiving and then Mike lost his father on Saturday. My memory of Mike's father is of cheering his son on at training camp this past summer. This has, indeed, been a difficult season for this team.

Ryan from Clyde, OH:
Out of all of the teams in the NFL, what is the team that is surprising you the most this season?

Vic: I would probably say it's a tie between the Titans, the Steelers and the Ravens. I didn't see Kerry Collins taking over at quarterback in the first game of the season and I didn't see the Titans' top two rookie picks providing the impact they have. The same goes for Baltimore rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. Who expected him to play this well? As for the Steelers, I don't know how they're doing it. Yeah, they have a great defense, but their running game is 23rd in the league, they're 29th in sacks allowed per pass play and they may have the worst offensive line in the league. So how have the Titans, Steelers and Ravens gotten it done? Well, the Steelers are number one in overall defense, the Ravens are number two and the Titans are number three. If ever there was an example that defense wins games, there it is.

Seth from Jacksonville:
A few local sports announcers feel the Jags passing game would be improved if they had a traditional drop-back passer that was able to better survey the field and deliver. They use Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Kerry Collins as guys who stepped in and improved their team's average passing game fairly quickly. Thoughts on that?

Vic: In my opinion, Peyton Manning would struggle with these receivers. I watched replay of the Falcons-Saints game and Ryan's receivers were taking passes away from the Saints' pass-defenders all over the place. As far as Flacco and Collins are concerned, the Ravens and Titans have the 28th and 24th-ranked pass-offenses respectively. I've already explained how those two teams win.

Jake from Harrisonburg, VA:
I would love to see Percy Harvin go to the Jags. He would provide a deep threat and could possibly help by lining up in the backfield 10-20 times per game.

Vic: Harvin is an offensive coordinator's dream, because Harvin offers so much creativity. He's one of the new-wave running backs, a Reggie Bush, Brian Westbrook type who's as good catching it as he is running with it. In Harvin's case, he offers legitimate wide receiver potential, too. He'd be a great pick for any team, including the Jaguars. There may be another new-wave kind of back in next spring's draft. The sophomore at Pitt, LeSean McCoy, has a decision to make on coming out or staying in. He's already said he intends to stay in, but Dave Wannstedt said that's a decision that should be revisited when the season is over. I like that kind of reaction by a coach; looking out for what's best for his players. Harvin and McCoy are running backs who flourish in space. Then there are the true between-the-tackles pounders. A team needs one of each in today's game.

Cole from Melbourne, FL:
I know you think wide receivers are a dime a dozen, but would Anquan Boldin be worth pursuing in the offseason, or do you think we have enough young talent to develop?

Vic: I think the Jaguars desperately need new young talent at wide receiver, but if you allow other teams in the league to identify that talent for you, it's going to cost a lot of money. In other words, I'm not a free-agent guy; never have been, never will be. I like getting my players from the draft. I'm OK with patching in bargain-basement free agency, but if you're looking for talent to develop into long-term core players, the draft is the place to go. Free agency is a trap.

John from Orange Park, FL:
Peter King says Jack has looked disinterested two weeks in a row. I think he looks more shell-shocked. What's your take?

Vic: Facial expressions mean nothing. This whole sideline demeanor thing is ridiculous. Anybody who thinks Jack Del Rio is disinterested is really out of touch with the Jaguars. The guy is suffering, as any coach in his situation would. I don't try to read facial expressions and in Del Rio's case I don't have to do that to know what he's thinking and feeling. He's trying to ride out the storm. If you sat in press conferences with Del Rio three times a week, you'd know that easily and he wouldn't have to put on a sideline act to convince you.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
You're the Jags GM, you have a top-five pick. Nobody is willing to give you what you want to trade down. The BAP is Crabtree from Texas Tech. Make the pick or take less than what you want to trade back to get more picks?

Vic: If he's the top guy on your board, you probably like him, right? So go ahead, pick him. Having said that, I doubt that he'd be at the top of my board. I'm not inclined to have a receiver that high on my board and he's a guy who's had bouts of the dropsies. I want linemen and next spring's draft will have them. My goal would be to get into position to draft the one I want at the appropriate spot in the draft.

Kamen from Bellevue, WA:
What do you think of Antonio Bryant? He's having a fantastic season.

Vic: Here's a classic case of finding an impact wide receiver off the junk pile. Bryant's success is simply a matter of maturity. He struggled greatly with immaturity at Pitt; his skills were undeniable but they were troubled by bouts of misconduct. The worst part was that they weren't really bad things he did, just silly things that set him back and caused Terrell Owens-type distractions with which most coaches won't live. Bryant is one of those guys who just seemed to be overly spirited. He needed to mellow a little. Maybe age has done that for him. Has he finally matured? Has he finally put the silly stuff behind him? If he has, the Bucs have struck it rich.

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