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Call me Vicbow

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Mike from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I have an idea for a new poll question. I think it's time you had a nickname. Please help me out. My choices are: 1.) Ketchbow, 2.) Vicbow, 3.) Teevic and 4.) Teeketch. I'm confident that a nickname like this would make you more popular than ever.

Vic: I'm going with Vicbow.

Greg from Carlsbad, CA:
From Kuharsky: When the Browns waived Don Carey injured last summer, the Jaguars caused a bit of a stir by claiming him. It's a move that's not made very often in such situations, but is certainly within the rules. Can you explain?

Vic: When a team cuts a player who has an injury, he is officially classified as "waived injured." This is for the purpose of alerting interested teams that the player has an injury because any team claiming that player must accept the liability of the player's injury. If no team claims the player, then the player returns to the team that waived him and at that point the team usually either does an injury settlement with the player or puts the player on injured reserve, which is what the Browns wanted to do with Carey, if I remember correctly. Why didn't they just put Carey on IR to start with? Because the Browns would've lost a roster spot from their 80-man. Big deal! Hey, if they liked Carey so much, then they shouldn't have allowed something as silly as a spot on the 80-man from protecting him. The Jaguars simply claimed Carey, which meant they accepted his injury liability. Look, once upon a time there were all sorts of unwritten rules. You didn't claim players from teams within your division or look out. You didn't claim players who were cut by an upcoming opponent or look out. Ask Keenan McCardell about that one. Once upon a time, teams actually loaned players to each other, but all of that occurred during more honorable times and when leaguethink was an unwritten rule you didn't violate or look out. Times have changed. All of that is gone. Now we do things to each other such as writing contracts with "poison pills" in them. Oh, baby, if you had done that years ago, your quarterback would've been wearing a bullseye. No more. The Browns knew that.

Mike from Groton, CT:
Do you think if we don't draft Tebow the questions will stop, or will people start asking how we can trade for him?

Vic: It'll depend on whether he's a success or a failure, but that's no different from any player you could've drafted but didn't. In this case, however, the scrutiny will be more intense.

William from Tallahassee, FL:
I just looked through last year's draft and the only people that made a name for themselves in the late rounds are running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. There rarely is a defensive tackle that plays often in those rounds. I'm just saying this cause I found it interesting. Do you think Gene and Jack know this?

Vic: Sure they do. You gotta get the big guys early. Everybody knows that.

Keith from Miami, FL:
Do you like the Jags' chances of trading back and acquiring a second or third-round pick?

Vic: Not unless one of the top two quarterbacks is still available.

Simon from Holmdel, NJ:
Do you expect the Jags to be in trade talks with Philly for McNabb?

Vic: No, and feel free to spread the word because I'm getting really tired of having to read this question, too.

John from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
It's all become so clear with each comment on Tebow the Jaguars have made and all the little hints you've planted. The Jaguars are playing a masterful game of draft poker and will select Tim Tebow with the 10th pick overall. The Jaguars will remain true to their draft board and select the best player available because that's what he is. I was able to use my newly-acquired remote viewing skills to see the board and now I'm calm. Timmy will be in teal and the stadium will be filled with teal and 15. The Jaguars aren't moving and life is good again. I'm no longer worried about that.

Vic: I'm so happy for you, Johnbow.

Trevor from Jacksonville:
Looking at the poll of who we should play first my vote is for the Eagles. The Eagles travel well and will sell a lot of tickets, getting us off to a good start, and it'd be nice to send 'em all home with a big L. Who would you like to see us play in the home opener?

Vic: The Colts at one o'clock.

Kamal from Novi, MI:
Why is the draft held so much later after the combine? Has it always been like this? This whole two months of speculation and subterfuge doesn't do any good for anybody involved, does it?

Vic: It's good for TV. It builds suspense and drama. When I started covering the NFL, the draft was conducted a week following the Super Bowl. It was 17 rounds, too. My early memories of the draft are of sitting in a smoke-filled press room for two days and having nothing to fill the time – there was no ESPN (what?) back then – except the pick and time pools we arranged to entertain ourselves. Every year we let the coaches into the pools and they always won, which should've come as no surprise because they controlled the pick and the time. That was my first tip that sportswriters are stupid. If memory serves me correctly, first it got pushed back to March, to allow more time for scouting, and then the rounds were cut from 17 to 12 in 1977. The big change occurred at some point in the '80's, when Mel Kiper's hair arrived on the scene. It was announced that the draft would be covered live by ESPN, which caused us all to laugh. How would they fill the time between picks, we chuckled? Yeah, we were smart, weren't we? The next big change came with the arrival of the salary cap era, as the rounds were reduced from 12 to seven. Why have these changes occurred? Because they are part of the natural evolution of the game, which is controlled by television, which is all about money. Whenever you have a question, make TV and money the answer and you'll be right every time.

Kevin from Oakland, NJ:
Is any player really worth the first pick of the draft?

Vic: That's a good question. The answer is yes, but your question caused me to go to the list of first overall picks to decide which ones were and which ones weren't worth the first overall choice. Here are the ones I can say without any reservation were worth the first overall pick: Bill Dudley, Charley Trippi, Chuck Bednarik, Leon Hart, Kyle Rote, Paul Hornung, Buck Buchanan, Ron Yary, O.J. Simpson, Terry Bradshaw, "Too Tall" Jones, Lee Roy Selmon, Earl Campbell, Billy Sims, John Elway, Bruce Smith, Troy Aikman, Orlando Pace, Peyton Manning. First picks haven't been overwhelmingly successful in recent years.

Kurt from San Francisco, CA:
Hey, Vic, brand new season ticket holder here; bought two seats and don't even live in Jacksonville. It took about 10 minutes on the phone and I donated my tickets to the Jags Foundation. That's two seats off the market. The 30/30 deal can't be beat. Prices are reasonable (cheap, no, but certainly not outrageous). C'mon, folks, it's up to all Jaguars fans to buy up and fill the seats. You fans wanna keep your team? You gotta back your team. I did my part; have you done yours?

Vic: What caused you to do it? Are you just one of those California, left-wing do-gooders? If you are, then you done good.

Nicholas from Miami, FL:
Given that GMs are aware of each other's drafting philosophies, another virtue of drafting BAP becomes immediately apparent. Trading out of a top spot and acquiring more picks becomes much easier. If the Jaguars were known for drafting BAP, they could have credibly threatened to draft, for example, Ben Roethlisberger, unless a team gave the Jaguars picks worth commensurate value. A BAP-drafting team is more likely to reap the king's ransom of Mark Sanchez or Roethlisberger than one that drafts for need.

Vic: It's also easier to disguise your pick. Everybody knows your needs, but you're the only team that knows your board.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Is gossip part of sports reporting now?

Vic: Yes.

Zach from Boise, ID:
What methodology is used to determine the preseason schedules across the league?

Vic: The league is looking for geographic fits, especially intra-conference match ups of teams within the same time zone.

Lou from Jacksonville:
Let's assume Gene Smith sticks to his value board and passes on Tebow in the first round. Tebow then gets picked up early in the second round by another team. What do you feel will be the overall reaction from the community?

Vic: They'll use it as an excuse. Tebow is the last excuse. That's why I favor picking him with the Jaguars' second pick, if he's available. I don't think it's fair to expect the Jaguars to use the 10th pick on him. That would be outrageous. I'll go with the second pick, however, whatever round it's in, provided he's still available.

James from Carmel, NY:
What are your thoughts on Colt McCoy?

Vic: He lacks arm strength. He'd have to play in a dink and dunk system, and heaven forbid he should have to play in a postseason game in the Northeast.

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