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Delay is means of protection

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

Mike from Jacksonville:
R. Jay Soward was signed by the Toronto Argonauts on Tuesday. Does anyone on Del Rio's staff keep in touch with the guy anymore or are they waiting for him to possibly be reinstated? I would think they would still be interested in him if he turned it around, and he and Del Rio share the same college which can only help. Can you give us some insight into this?

Vic: An NFL team may grant permission for a player to sign with another club in another league. As Soward pertains to the Jaguars, the five-year contract he signed in 2000 is due to run out at the end of the 2004 season, but the contract tolls, which means it stops during a suspension period. Soward has served two seasons on suspension, which means those two years are added to his current Jaguars contract. If the Jaguars decide to retain Soward on their roster – he has not been re-instated by the league so he remains suspended without pay – they would, of course, retain rights to him. I can't predict the rest.

Ron from Green Cove Springs, FL:
I am not happy with the new policy of broadcasting the game-day radio show on a delay. This may make the broadcast sync with the TV, but for the fans at the game it's going to be a bummer. It's almost essential to listen to the game on the radio while in the stands in order to know what's going on, especially up in the cheap seats. Can anything be done about that, or is it in the hands of the FCC?

Vic: The FCC doesn't require radio stations use a delay system, but the FCC will fine the station if bad language gets out over the air. Delay is a way for stations to protect themselves against fine, which is what WOKV is doing, in this instance. I appreciate your point, but you never know when Lageman or Sexton might spill coffee on themselves.

Wade from Jacksonville:
: I know we're getting new scoreboards. I've been to Ravens Stadium and if they are even close to the size of those daddies, we are in for an amazing experience in sensory stimulation. Do you know what the comparison is?

Vic: The new video screens that will be installed in Alltel Stadium will be 24 feet by 90 feet. The video screens in Baltimore are 24 x 100, which make them the largest permanent video display screens in any sports venue in the world. I have a 19-inch TV in my bedroom. Size isn't the issue; placement is. In Baltimore, the scoreboards are down low and close to the field. That's what gives them the appearance of being so overwhelmingly large.

Jordan from Jacksonville:
What will the "entertainment zone" be like because I have season tickets and I want to know what I'm getting.

Vic: The "entertainment zone" will officially be known as the "Pepsi Plaza," which will include entertainment groups for each game and a grass interactive area that will afford space for activities such as obstacle course, quarterback challenge, punt catch, field goal kicking, etc. The Jaguars cheerleaders, Jaxson de Ville and a drum corps or band will be on hand to entertain visitors. I suggested to Wayne Weaver that the area be used for a driving range.

David from Oviedo, FL:
When Tampa Bay and Seattle joined the league in the late 1970s, it took them forever to become competitive. Exactly, what advantages did the league provide to Jacksonville, Carolina (and Houston) that allowed them to become competitive so quickly?

Vic: It was more difficult for Tampa Bay and Seattle to build their teams, mostly because they didn't have the advantage of free agency. That's the difference between yesterday's game and today's game. But it's not correct to say it took Tampa Bay and Seattle "forever" to become competitive. The Bucs were in the NFC title game in their fourth season, 1979, and the Seahawks had consecutive 9-7 records in just their third and fourth seasons.

Justin from Jacksonville:
What do you think of Quinn Gray? I like his size and I think he can become a good quarterback soon. What do you think? Will he get a chance with the Jaguars to show what he has?

Vic: Quinn Gray is what I refer to as one of those "jars on the shelf" players every team needs to develop to achieve inexpensive depth. In my opinion, it's those "jars on the shelf" players who distinguish the stable franchises from those that jump up and down. Gray is getting a solid look from the Jaguars. I agree with you that he's a player who has natural ability. Another preseason may surface his skills in a big way and reward the Jaguars for the investment of time and development effort they've put into Gray.

Nate from Tampa, FL:
Is Reggie Williams likely to keep number 11 throughout his career? Just curious, before I go out and spend 75 bucks on his jersey.

Vic: My understanding is that number 11 is his permanent number.

Chris from St. Augustine, FL:
This is a football website, right? So why are you answering questions about horse racing? I have asked you many good questions that you have left unanswered, but I love your column and I am going to give it another shot. Have the Jaguars signed any of their 2004 draft picks or are they close to signing any of them?

Vic: The days of having the draft class signed by Memorial Day are over. Relax and enjoy the Smarty party.

Scott from Canandaigua, NY:
How come Hugh Douglas wears number 53 if he is a defensive lineman?

Vic: Because he's "grandfathered." With that having been said, I would like to appeal to those of you who are number crazy to please give it a rest. I am numbered out and I'm going to resist answering questions about numbers. The information I provided in yesterday's column is absolutely correct. It comes directly from the Jaguars' equipment manager, Drew Hampton. I understand that a lot of people have great interest in jersey numbers and I appreciate that interest, but, frankly, I don't care if Marcus Stroud wears number one and Byron Leftwich wears number 99. Sammy Baugh wore number 33 and Red Grange wore number 77 and though those numbers were ill-suited for their positions, it seemed to work for them. Give me a couple of weeks to recover and I'll start answering jersey number questions again.

Daniel from Arcola, IL:
I like the uniforms just the way they are. What's your take?

Vic: My problem is that I don't know what "just the way they are" means. Does that mean teal jerseys and white jerseys with white pants, or teal jerseys and white jerseys with black pants, or black jerseys with black pants? In my opinion, the importance of uniform design is the identity it provides for the team. It's important for football fans to know exactly who the Jaguars are by merely looking at the uniform, and the way to achieve that kind of identity is to settle on a uniform design and stick with it. When you see the Michigan helmet, you know exactly who that team is. Penn State only has one thin stripe on its whole uniform – no names, logos, insignias – but it's one of the most distinctive uniforms in all of sports. It's about tradition and it takes years to build. That's what I want to see the Jaguars do; build tradition. In my opinion, it's time to pick a uniform design and stick with it.

Sam from Asheville, NC:
Given the lack of depth the Jaguars have at defensive line and the addition of Tommy Hendricks, Greg Favors, Jorge Cordova and Daryl Smith, do you think it's conceivable the Jaguars might use the 3-4 in some passing situations?

Vic: Jack Del Rio said yesterday he and his defensive staff will be creative in finding ways to rush the passer, and he acknowledged the need to be creative is the result of a lack of depth at defensive end. That means it's possible the Jaguars could employ the 3-4 to throw opponents a curve, but it's more likely that a fourth linebacker, such as Jorge Cordova or Akin Ayodele, would be used as a hand-on-the-ground defensive end. The Jaguars are not a 3-4 team. They don't have 3-4 personnel and they don't incorporate the principles of the 3-4 into their defensive philosophy.

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