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Depth at the bottom

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

Steve from Tallahassee, FL:
When you are watching the game at the stadium, what are you actually watching on each play? Do you follow the ball or do you look at a specific position? I always find it amazing that the radio and TV announcers can see everything at once. Or are they cheating and several different people are telling them what happened on different parts of the field?

Vic: Broadcasters have "spotters" who provide the names of the players who are involved in the action. Sportswriters have the benefit of replay. We don't have to know what happened immediately. We can review the play by replay to know why the play succeeded or failed. The first thing we want to know is what happened. In other words, who gets credit for the carry, for example, and how many yards were gained? The statistical information comes first and that requires us to follow the ball. The analysis comes second, which causes us to look at the TV monitor. That's pretty much what we do on every play.

Courtney from Jacksonville:
The signing of Troy Edwards and Randy Hymes are sure to increase your Chad Owens e-mails. I'm actually excited about the signings because it's going to create more competition. The winners of the starting jobs will be most deserving. Your thoughts?

Vic: The Jaguars obviously wanted more wide receivers. They wanted more competition. Were they not satisfied by what they saw in mini-camp? It's logical to have that suspicion, but I don't think the additions of Edwards and Hymes address the top of the Jaguars roster. I didn't see much from the lower ranks of the wide receivers in mini-camps. In my opinion, that's the impetus for signing Edwards and Hymes. I don't think they were signed to push Ernest Wilford, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams.

DeShawne from Camden, NJ:
I know you're probably tired of hearing about Philly stuff by now, but you said you was interested in seeing The Linc. I want to let you know you is in for a real treat if you go, man. I mean, I remember The Vet and how ghetto that was since I was little, but The Linc is something else, bro. I mean, from the second you enter the city you can just feel it in the air, bro. You see the big stadium coming up the Walt Whitman Bridge with the huge pictures of players and you just can't explain it, bro. If you go, you'll finally see what all the hype is about and why Philly is the greatest sports town in the country. Make sure you stop by Pat's Steaks in South Philly before you leave, dawg.

Vic: I'm flattered that you would share your experiences with us. I do, indeed, intend on covering the game between the Jaguars and the Eagles at The Linc this year and I am looking forward to it. We probably won't be staying in Camden, so I'll miss out on The Walt part of the experience. As far as South Philly is concerned, I truly believe it's the best neighborhood in America for restaurants. Is it OK if I call you bro?

Kenneth from Lake Charles, LA:
I was very surprised when you suggested the NFL owes Flutie an apology for size bias, regarding him playing the position of quarterback. A historian such as yourself is certainly aware of the decades of discrimination blacks faced, and still do to a limited extent, when it comes to being a QB. Where was your advocacy?

Vic: I am against all forms of discrimination.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
I know there's a poll on who had the best draft of the four teams in the AFC South on the front page of, and I know the Jaguars are leading in that poll. My question to you is if you agree or disagree with that statement.

Vic: It's ridiculous that the Jaguars are leading that poll. Houston had the first pick of the draft and seven overall picks. The Texans had the first pick of every round except rounds five and seven, and the Texans had the first two picks of round three. In contrast, the Jaguars had the 28th pick of the draft and six overall picks, and the Jaguars' highest position in any round was 16th in the third. Figure it out. That's the difference between 2-14 and 12-4.

Leonard from White Hall, AR:
You said hometown players used to be a big reason for following players, but I would say it still is in some places. DeAngelo Williams, Matt Jones, Shawn Andrews, "Batman" Carroll, Kenoy Kennedy, Ken Hamlin and so forth are all players from Arkansas or who came through Arkansas' system, and all have large followings of Arkansas fans on the pro level, even if we can't always get to the games.

Vic: Arkansas is a state, not a town.

Joe from Batavia, IL:
With all this talk about Jimmy Smith's credentials and his likelihood of getting into the Hall of Fame, his situation brings to mind another man in the Jags organization, Ken Anderson. Here's a guy that has held multiple NFL records for the quarterback position and has even been to a Super Bowl. Do you think that if the Bengals had beaten the 49ers in the Super Bowl he would be in?

Vic: I've told Ken he came within a yard of the Hall of Fame. Had Pete Johnson gained that one more yard and denied the 49ers their goal-line stand in Super Bowl XVI, Ken would be in the Hall of Fame. How much do Super Bowl wins count toward Hall of Fame election? Look at it this way: Ken Anderson is statistically superior to Bob Griese in every meaningful way except one, Super Bowl wins. I think Ken will make it into the Hall of Fame some day.

David from Jacksonville:
If you had it in your power to repel any changes that have been made to the game as we see it today, what would it be?

Vic: Replay review; I don't like it and I never will like it because it's selective justice. On some plays we use it, on other plays we don't. What's fair about that?

Eric from Neptune Beach, FL:
Every time you reminisce about old-time players it makes me wonder, what happened to nicknames?

Vic: Maybe we've all become too important to have fun.

Evan from Hull, Quebec:
I've always been a fan of the numbers by position approach, and I'm not pleased to see that the newly-signed receivers will wear numbers in the teens. Do you think the league should set up a rule specifying numbers or is that just not necessary?

Vic: The league does specify numbers by position: QBs, punters and kickers—1-19; WRs—10-19 and 80-89; TEs—80-89; RBs and DBs—20-49; centers—50-59 (60-79 if 50-59 not available); guards and OTs—60-79; DL—60-79 (90-99 if 60-79 not available); LBs—50-59 (90-99 if 50-59 not available). The numbers WRs may wear was expanded to 10-19 a couple of years ago, out of necessity. The number of wide receivers and tight ends on NFL rosters is growing, for the obvious reason that pro football is increasingly becoming a passing game.

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